Yohimbine is an alkaloid that is found in the bark of a West African evergreen tree—the yohimbe tree. Yohimbine might help treat impotence that can be caused by a variety of factors, although it comes with many risks.
Yohimbe bark is often not standardized based on yohimbine content. Therefore, it is a less reliable source than the drug form.
Yohimbine has a long history of being used as an aphrodisiac. Some studies have suggested that it may have the following pro-sexual effects:
Since the effective level of yohimbine is close to its toxic level, it is not clear that its benefits outweigh its risks. Side effects include:
Yohimbine may cause adverse reactions when taken with certain medications. These include:
If you have one of the following conditions, talk to your doctor before taking yohimbine:
Yohimbine is not usually prescribed for women. It should never be taken during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.
Yohimbine is classified as an MAO inhibitor. When taking MAOIs, you should avoid the following foods:
Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health
Men's Health Centre
Guay AT, Spark RF, Jacobson J, Murray FT, Geisser ME. Yohimbine treatment of organic erectile dysfunction in a dose-escalation trial. Int J Impot Res. 2002;14:25-31.
Herbs at a glance: Yohimbe. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health website. Available at: http://nccam.nih.gov/health/yohimbe. Updated July 2012. Accessed April 28, 2016.
Lebret T, Hervé JM, Gorny P, et. al. Efficacy and safety of a novel combination of L-arginine glutamate and yohimbine hydrochloride: a new oral therapy for erectile dysfunction. Eur Urol. 2002;41:608-613.
Yohimbe. EBSCO Natural and Alternative Treatments website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/biomedical-libraries/natural-alternative-treatments. Updated December 15, 2015. Accessed April 28, 2016.
Last reviewed April 2016 by Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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