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Also known as yohimbehe or johimbi in other parts of the world, the benefits of using yohimbine for treating erectile dysfunction is established by the medical community. The active ingredient yohimbine is a prescription medication.

Bottom line. It works.

As there are potentially side effects and dangers so stay within the recommended dosage. Always start at the lowest dose possible and increase gradually until you get the benefits of taking this herb without experiencing some of the side effects.

We have written a detailed health article on the causes and possible cure for erectile dysfunction (ED) using natural remedies.

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Table of Contents

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Evidence of Benefits (Leaf Rating System)

logo leaf natural remedies review rating system Erectile Dysfunction (ED) / Impotence

Extensive research studies show that yohimbine (the most active ingredient found in yohimbe) helps with impotence.

Research conducted by Herz (June 2003) reported that "yohimbine is known as a central amplifier of erection and is useful in psychogenic and mild organic erectile dysfunction." As well, A.T. Guay et al. (February 2002) concluded in their research that "yohimbine is an effective therapy to treat organic erectile dysfunction in some men with erectile dysfunction."

A. Morales (March 2000) in stated that "... [a] few controlled, randomized human studies have consistently shown an advantage of yohimbine over placebo." Researchers A.A. Adeniyi et al. (May 2007) also concluded that, "Yohimbine is a useful treatment option in orgasmic dysfunction." Researchers A.M. Senbel et al. (July - August 2008) reported that yohimbine enhances the effect of Viagra (sildenafil) on erectile process in rats. In addition, yohimbine also increased the amount of ejaculated semen in a research study conducted in dogs.

There are other extensive research studies conducted on yohimbine (some dating back as far as 1987) and they all show that yohimbine benefits mild to moderate ED in males.

For a list of other natural remedies that is used to treat ED, click here.
logo leaf natural remedies review rating system Sexual Dysfunction from Using Antidepressants

Research studies also show that yohimbine helps to reverse the sexual dysfunction caused by using SSRI antidepressant medications such as Prozac (fluoxetine), Celexa (citalopram), Cipralex (escitalopram), Luvox (fluvoxamine), Paxil (paroxetine) and Zoloft (sertraline).

The benefit of yohimbine is found in research studies done in both humans and animal models. J.T. Clark et al. (Aug 1984) concluded that, "These results indicate that pharmacological treatment [by yohimbine] of sexual (libido) dysfunction may be useful."

Researchers believe that alpha 2-adrenoceptors (which yohimbine blocks) are involved in the modulation of sexual arousal.

Other researchers in their studies obtained similar results as well.
logo leaf natural remedies review rating system Aphrodisiac / Increase Sexual Desire

A randomized double-blind placebo-controlled study conducted by C.M. Meston and M. Worcel (August 2002) reported that yohimbine combined with L-arginine significantly increased sexual arousal compared to placebo in postmenopausal women.

Another independent study by T. Lebret et al. (June 2002) show similar positive results in males.

We have written a detailed health article on the causes and treatment of low sex drive (libido) along with natural remedies you can use.
logo leaf natural remedies review rating system Fat Loss / Weight Loss

A study conducted by S.M. Ostojic (October - December 2006) concluded that the, "Percentage of body fat significantly decreased in the yohimbine group after the supplementation protocol."

As well, M.F. McCarty (June 2002) research study suggests that yohimbine can promote weight loss.

Not all research results are positive.

A study conducted by L. Sax (September 1991) found that yohimbine had no effect on body weight, body mass index, cholesterol, body fat and fat distribution in male subjects after a six month period.

Facts about Yohimbe

What is it?

Yohimbe is a tree found in Central Africa. The parts used is the bark and it contains around 6% of yohimbine. One of the most active ingredient in yohimbe is yohimbine, a prescription drug in Canada and the United States.

It has been used by people in Africa for hundreds of years as an aphrodisiac in men.

How does it work?

It is believed that yohimbine works by blocking alpha 2-adrenergic receptors and stimulating other receptors. These events lead to increase blood flow to the penis and decreased blood flow out of the penis leading to a stronger and longer duration of erection.

It is also believed to increase nervous signals to the tissues in the penis to increase sensitivity to sexual stimulation.

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Suggested Benefits and Traditional Uses

  • aphrodisiac / increase sexual desire
  • athletic performance enhancement
  • erectile dysfunction (ED)/ Impotence
  • fat loss / weight loss
  • fatigue
  • high blood pressure (hypertension)
  • physical exhaustion
  • sexual dysfunction (from using selective-serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) type antidepressant medications
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Side Effects, Toxicity and Warnings

One of the active ingredient found in yohimbe is yohimbine, a prescription medication. Reported yohimbe side effects include:
  • dizziness
  • nervousness
  • irritability
  • nausea and vomiting
  • headaches
  • skin flushing
  • sweating
  • fast heart rate
  • heart palpitations
  • tremor
  • insomnia
  • anxiety
  • stomach discomfort and irritability
Higher doses can result in greater side effects and additional side effects such as severe drop in blood pressure, paralysis, heart problems and respiratory depression (the slowing down of breathing).

However, it is reassuring to note that S.W. Tam et al. reported in their research paper in 2001 that yohimbine "has been found to be relatively free of side effects over the dose range predicted to be effective in ED."

Safety - In proper dose yohimbine (the main active ingredient found in yohimbe) is safe. Yohimbine, has been researched and is a prescription drug approved in Canada (by Health Canada) and the United States (by the Food and Drug Administration or the FDA).

Pregnancy and Lactation - Use in pregnancy, breastfeeding mothers and children is suspected to be unsafe. It is suspected that yohimbine might cause the uterus to relax. Avoid using if possible.

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Common Drug & Health Condition Interactions

High blood pressure medications - caution

Yohimbine found in yohimbe can cause an increase in blood pressure. Monitor blood pressure closely when starting or stopping yohimbe. Use under medical supervision.

Antidepressants - monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors - avoid

Taking yohimbine while on MAO inhibitors for treating depression can cause a significant increase in blood pressure.

Common MAO inhibitors include Manerix (moclobemide) and Nardil (phenelzine).

Kidney Disease - caution

Yohimbine might cause excess water loss.

Liver Disease - caution

In individual with liver disease, the metabolism of yohimbine might be altered.

Heart Disease / Angina - avoid or use under supervision

Yohimbine can cause tachycardia (fast heart rate) and palpitations and high doses can cause heart failure. Avoid if possible or use with caution under medical supervision.

Diabetes - caution

Monitor blood glucose levels closely when starting or stopping yohimbe as it may cause a drop in blood glucose levels.

Psychiatric Disorder - caution

In people with bipolar depression, schizophrenia and anxiety disorder it might trigger or aggravate the condition. Avoid if possible or use with caution starting with a low dosage first and only under medical supervision.

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Dosage & How to Take It

Typical dosage of the ingredient yohimbine used in research study is between 15 to 30 mg taken once daily.

When buying yohimbe, read the label and find out what percent is yohimbine, the active ingredient. (For example, a 451 mg of pure standardized extract states that it contains 2% or 9 mg of yohimbine.)

See this article Yohimbine Dosage to get information on how to convert between the herb and the active ingredient yohimbine.

One study conducted by l. Sax (Sep 1991) used a high dose of 43 mg daily. Higher dosage of yohimbine can be dangerous. Always start with the lowest dose and increase slowing while monitoring for side effects.

As well, higher dose (36 mg per day orally) might not be effective in humans as reported by P. Kunelius et al. (March 1997).

Cream / Gel Formulation - It is unknown whether yohimbine crosses into the skin and can be absorbed into the bloodstream. If not, it will not have an effect. Avoid this formulation.

One research study conducted by F.L. Greenway (Nov 1995) showed that a cream containing yohimbine applied to the thighs had no effect on fat loss on women's thighs.

Related Articles and Resources

What is sex drive and how do you boost it?

The List of Natural Remedies for Erectile Dysfunction


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