Yohimbe is a tree that originated from western and central Africa. The bark of this tree has a chemical called yohimbine that is extracted and commonly used in medicines, supplements, and herbal teas.
In Yohimbe supplements, the extract is commonly labeled as Yohimbe bark extract or yohimbine. This is a common active ingredient in some sexual enhancement pills.
Although there are not a lot of studies about the effects of the natural Yohimbe extract, evidence suggests that it is a potent ingredient for treating certain conditions.
The recommended daily dosage of Yohimbine for treating sexual issues is 15-30 mg.
Pausinystalia Yohimbe tree was first discovered by the pygmies growing as a wild tree in West Africa, where it is treated as a common remedy for coughs, fever, and leprosy.
Some African tribes praised this tree as a powerful aphrodisiac, while others use it as a mild hallucinogen and as a local anesthetic.
This ingredient first emerged in Europe when German missionaries discovered the tree in the 19th century. It quickly became popular in Europe and was later nicknamed “love tree”. The bark used to be added into candies which were later called “love candies” and became popular among lovers.
Yohimbine is a stimulant that induces euphoria and confidence.
It is most commonly used in male enhancement pills as it works by increasing blood flow to the genitals making a person sexually aroused.
It is also a potent oral medication usually used for:
increasing sexual desire;
treating erectile dysfunction;
treating sexual issues caused by taking SSRI’s (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors);
aiding with general sexual health issues experienced by men and women;
boosting athletic performance;
low/high blood pressure;
and diabetic nerve pain.
Yohimbe and Weight Loss
While other weight loss supplements promote fat loss, Yohimbine works by extending the amount of time the body burns stored fats. This supplement can be considered thermogenic as it increases body temperature resulting in faster weight loss.
This is very suitable for individuals who are leaner and have low fat percentage.
Yohimbe must be taken with precaution as there have been a number of serious side effects. Some are as follows:
Rapid and irregular heartbeat
When the recommended dose is taken, it can still cause the following mild side effects:
Upset stomach, nausea, vomiting, bloating
Anxiety, agitation, irritability
When taken in high dosage, this ingredient can cause panic attacks, breathing difficulties, disturbingly low blood pressure, heart problems, paralysis and even death.
A study looked at calls received by California Poison Control between 2000 and 2006. The result shows that people who contacted them about Yohimbe have the higher possibility of needing medical attention than those who were calling about other ingredients.
Clinical Toxicology reported a case where a bodybuilder lost consciousness and experienced repeated seizures after taking 5 grams of Yohimbe while competing in a body-building contest.
Yohimbine is used as an active ingredient in some male enhancement pills. It is not recommended to take supplements with Yohimbine for an extended time because of its serious side effects.
Yohimbine can be dangerous for long-term use.
Must not be taken by children.
Must not be taken by pregnant and nursing women.
Not recommended for individuals who have bleeding conditions as it can increase the risk of bleeding. For this reason, it is also dangerous for individuals who recently had a surgery. For those already taking this supplement, it is advised to stop intake two weeks before the scheduled surgery.
Not recommended for individuals who have schizophrenia as it can worsen psychosis.
Yohimbe must be avoided by individuals who are suffering from BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia) as it can worsen the condition.
The chemicals in yohimbine can worsen the symptoms of depression, PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and anxiety.
Liver disease can also alter how the liver processes the chemicals found in Yohimbe.
Yohimbe can slow down or completely stop the flow of urine in people who are already suffering from kidney disease.
Not recommended for individuals who have low or high blood pressure.
This ingredient is not for those who have heart problems.
Not recommended for those who have diabetes as the ingredient can affect the insulin and blood sugar levels.
Taking certain medications with Yohimbe can increase the risk of negative side effects of both substances. In some cases, Yohimbe can lessen the effectiveness of other prescription drugs. For these reasons, it is not safe to take this supplement together with the following:
Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). MAOIs are prescription drugs that treat depression. Yohimbine has the same effects caused by MAOIs so taking them together will increase the risk of side effects caused by both medications. Some MAOIs include tranylcypromine and phenelzine.
Antidepressants such as Elavil and Tofranil. Taking both at a time can lead to heart problems.
Medications that decrease the blood pressure. Side effects observed in Yohimbe can make these medications ineffective.
Opioid antagonists. Drugs such as Naloxone (Narcan) can affect the brain the same way as Yohimbine does. Taking them at a time can increase the side effects associated with both substances like nervousness, trembling, anxiety, and hot flashes.
Antipsychotics. Similar drugs to Thorazine, Prolixin, and Stelazine can have increased side effects when used with Yohimbine.
Stimulants. Coffee, nicotine and other stimulants can cause high blood pressure and rapid heart rate. These side effects can worsen when stimulants are taken at the same time as Yohimbine.
The man-made version of yohimbine is labeled as yohimbine hydrochloride. This chemical is commonly found in prescription drugs for erectile dysfunction. Any supplement that contains yohimbine hydrochloride is not considered “natural”.
It is not clear if yohimbine hydrochloride has the same benefits as the natural Yohimbe bark extract. However, studies suggest that yohimbine hydrochloride has these benefits:
Weight loss: A 2006 study proved that yohimbine hydrochloride has effectively decreased body fat. The subjects in the study are 20 elite soccer players who took 20mg of the chemical for 21 days. During the study, the subjects didn’t experience any negative side effects.
Helps with erectile dysfunction: This study shows that the chemical yohimbine hydrochloride is an effective solution for both erectile dysfunction and delayed ejaculation. As a result, manufacturers of male enhancement pills started adding yohimbine hydrochloride as an active ingredient. There is not enough research done for the natural Yohimbe extract so this study does not prove that it has the same effect as yohimbine hydrochloride.
Although yohimbine hydrochloride is a potent ingredient, it is in FDA’s list of poisonous plants.