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Yohimbe

General Information

The yohimbe tree is a tall evergreen that is native to western Africa. The bark of the tree contains a chemical called yohimbine. The amount of yohimbine in dietary supplements may vary; some yohimbe products have been found to contain very little yohimbine. A drug form of yohimbine – yohimbine hydrochloride – has been studied for erectile dysfunction.

Common Name(s)

yohimbe, yohimbe bark

Scientific Name(s)

Pausinystalia yohimbe

Scientific Name(s)

As a dietary supplement, the dried bark of the yohimbe tree is used as a tea and taken by mouth. An extractextractto get, separate, or isolate a desired active ingredient of the bark is also put into capsules and tablets.

What is this product used for?

Yohimbe bark has traditionally been used in Africa as an aphrodisiac (to increase sexual desire).

The herb is currently used for sexual dysfunction, including erectile dysfunction in men.

Your health care provider may have recommended this product for other conditions. Contact a health care provider if you have questions.

What else should I be aware of?

There is not enough evidence to determine if yohimbe is effective for any health condition. Yohimbe has been associated with high blood pressure, increased heart rate, headache, anxiety, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, tremors, and sleeplessness. Yohimbe can be dangerous if taken in large doses or for long periods of time.

People should not combine yohimbe with monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors, as their effect may be greater when combined. Yohimbe should be used with caution when taken with medicines for high blood pressure, tricyclic antidepressants, antiplatelets, anticoagulants, or phenothiazines (a group of medicines used mostly for mental health conditions such as schizophrenia). Yohimbe can also interaction with stimulants, naloxone, and certain drugs metabolized by the liver (e.g., codeine, donepezil).

People with certain diseases should not use yohimbe. These include:

  • bleeding conditions
  • diabetes
  • heart disease
  • high or low blood pressure
  • kidney problems
  • liver disease
  • psychiatric conditions

Stop taking yohimbe at least 2 weeks before elective surgery to avoid excessive bleeding.

Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding and children should not take yohimbe.

Before taking any new medications, including natural health products, speak to your physician, pharmacist, or other health care provider. Tell your health care provider about any natural health products you may be taking.

Source(s)

  1. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH). Herbs at a Glance. Yohimbe. https://nccih.nih.gov/health/yohimbeAccessed April 3, 2014.

  2. Natural Medicines. Yohimbe Monograph. Accessed May 31, 2016.

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