Monday, September 29, 2008

Chinese aphrodisiac may outperform blockbuster drug

Italian researchers are testing a promising alternative to Viagra that they're calling 3,7-bis-(2-hydroxyethyl)-icaritin - or more simply put, "horny goat weed."

In lab experiments, a semi-synthetic derivative of the active compound in Epimedium brevicornum, an ancient Chinese herbal remedy for impotence, performed as well as Viagra but with the potential for fewer side effects, the researchers say.

It's an ironic finding: Health Canada has issued a string of warnings on Chinese herbal products for erectile dysfunction because they contain undeclared sildenafil - the active ingredient in Viagra.

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