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What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings

What is Yohimbe?

The bark of the West African yohimbe tree is a traditional aphrodisiac and the source of yohimbine, a prescription drug for impotence. It appears to be modestly effective, but it also presents numerous safety risks. Yohimbe should not be used except under physician supervision.

Like the drug yohimbine, the bark of the yohimbe tree is widely used to treat impotence. Many herbalists report that the herb is more effective than the purified drug, perhaps due to the presence of other unidentified active ingredients. However, there have been no studies to evaluate this claim. Furthermore, due to the lack of supervision of herbal products, there are real concerns that herbal yohimbe might contain either too much or too little yohimbine. (See also Safety Issues .)

Yohimbine (the drug) is only modestly effective at best; better than placebo , but only successful in about 30% to 45% of the men who use it. 1 Yohimbine has also been evaluated in combination with the supplement arginine . 2 A double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of 45 men found that...

Safety Issues

The following discussion applies to the drug yohimbine, rather than the herb yohimbe. All risks of the drug apply to the herb, and there are additional risks to consider as well. For example, as noted above, the amount of yohimbine in a given sample of the herb may not be accurately reflected on the label. 3 Furthermore, additional constituents contained in the herb besides yohimbine might present unique (and unknown) risks of their own.

Yohimbine in any form should not be used by pregnant or nursing women, or those with kidney, liver, or ulcer disease, or high blood pressure. Intake of more than 40 mg a day of yohimbine can cause a severe drop in blood pressure, abdominal pain, fatigue, hallucinations, and paralysis. (Interestingly, lower dosages can cause an...