What You Need to Know About Yohimbe
Yohimbe has long been used in Africa for its medicinal properties before many people became aware of it in the West. It offers a variety of health benefits. The efficacy is not just based on hearsay, but it is something that has been proven by some researchers.
You will find yohimbe extract in many supplements today. Why do these products include it? We discuss a number of the expected health benefits here. You will also find information on how it is used as well as safety.
What is Yohimbe?
Yohimbe is an evergreen tree belonging to the family of plants known as Rubiaceae. Its scientific name is Corynanthe yohimbe. The tree, which is native to Central and West Africa, is also called Pausinystalia yohimbe. It can be widely seen in countries such as Cameroon and Gabon.
The bark of this evergreen tree is medicinal. It has been used for this purpose in western and central Africa for centuries. It is being investigated today in Western countries for its potential to help in treating certain conditions, especially those that are sexual in nature.
The main active ingredient in yohimbe bark is yohimbine. This indole alkaloid is responsible for the health benefits you get from the herb. It was first extracted from the bark of the tree towards the end of the 19th century. Yohimbine was synthesized for the first time, using a 23-step process, in the late 1950s.
A standardized form of this active compound called yohimbine hydrochloride is a constituent of some prescription drugs in the United States.
The alkaloid is also said to come from the South America tree species Aspidosperma quebracho blanco and the perennial shrub Rauwolfia serpentina.
Yohimbe extract is used in veterinary medicine. It helps to reverses sedation in dogs and deer.
The herb also offers a number of benefits in humans. We shift our attention to some of these in the sections that follow.
Corrects Erectile Dysfunction
The most popular benefit of yohimbe is treatment of erectile dysfunction. The bark has long had a reputation of being a powerful aphrodisiac. You can find the extract in certain prescription medications used for correcting erection problems in some places outside the U.S. Many supplements today include it with the hope of it improving sexual function.
Yohimbe helps in this regard as a result of its ability to cause blood vessels to dilate. This allows blood to flow more freely around the body, including to the penis. The belief is that this effect can make it possible for men with ED issues to achieve firm erections.
The efficacy of yohimbe in resolving erectile dysfunction is such that some people describe it as “herbal Viagra.” It supposedly can correct sexual dysfunction in individuals who are even older than 75 years! There are clinical studies showing this herb has potential in the treatment of organic impotence in men.
The active ingredient in the bark can also stimulate the central nervous system. It enhances nerve impulses that contribute to orgasm. It is, therefore, not only beneficial for improving sexual function in men, but also in women.
Regulates Blood Sugar
High glucose levels in the blood are dangerous. This can predispose you to several unpleasant medical conditions. But the kinds of diet many people maintain expose them to risk of having excess levels.
You may get help from yohimbe in keeping the amount of sugar in your blood in check. There is research showing that it may possibly help in this regard. It blocks certain receptors to increase insulin levels and reduce blood glucose.
But there are experts who say yohimbe has no effect on blood sugar levels. They admit, however, that it improves the efficacy of drugs for treatment of diabetes.
Strips body fat
For those individuals having weight issues, it may be interesting to learn yohimbe can be of help. Some researchers have found that using the herbal extract may help to burn body fat.
Yohimbe bark is thought to block certain receptors that make it hard for people to do away with body fat. Suspected mechanisms of action include regulation of appetite and promotion of lipolysis, breakdown of fats.
The effect of yohimbe for fat loss was shown in a study of obese female subjects who were on 1,000-calorie diets. Those who received 20 mg of the bark extract lost three pounds more than those in the control group after a period of three weeks.
However, not all studies done to investigate possible weight loss benefits reported positive effects.
Yohimbe is a mild stimulant. This makes it potentially helpful for fighting lethargy, increasing energy, and boosting alertness.
The bark is an alpha-2 antagonist. It blocks alpha-2 receptors and improves the function of the sympathetic nervous system. This promotes the release of adrenaline to enhance athletic performance. Yohimbe can help guard against fatigue during and following exercise.
Helps with Depression
Yohimbe bark may help address the symptoms of depression, being an alpha-2 blocker. It has a chemical structure comparable to several drugs for correcting mental disorders.
There is evidence that alpha-2 antagonists can improve the efficacy of antidepressants. Dopamine is one of the neurotransmitters whose levels yohimbe is believed to increase. You may use it alone or in combination with other drugs, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), to fight depression.
It appears the active ingredient also increases the levels of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD). This coenzyme offers decent potential in the treatment or prevention of neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease.
Regulates Blood Pressure
You may find yohimbe beneficial for resolving issues related to blood pressure. It can increase or decrease blood pressure, depending on doses. Chosen dosage may bring about vasodilation or vasoconstriction – that is, the widening or narrowing of blood vessels.
Essentially, you can use it to correct low blood pressure or high blood pressure. But people are more likely to use it for the former.
Among the other benefits associated to yohimbe is control of side effects. Doctors may recommend it to patients to moderate adverse reactions from the use of certain medications, especially antidepressants. For example, it can help to deal with fatigue or sexual issues resulting from the use of these drugs.
Evidence from clinical studies suggests yohimbe may be helpful for preventing fainting. Its uses in traditional medicine also include treatment of angina.
How to Use Yohimbe
There is uncertainty on the amount of yohimbine you get in a dosage. The amount of the active ingredient will depend on, among other things, method of cultivation and part of the tree used. So, the dosage will vary widely among OTC products. Researchers at the Food and Drug Administration found that most of these contain negligible amounts.
For this reason, the FDA approved only prescription drugs containing yohimbe for treating impotence. A dosage between 5 mg and 10 mg three times a day was used in most clinical trials for treatment of erectile dysfunction. The drugs are available as tablets or capsules.
Dose typically depends on the goal of treatment.
You need to do your homework on safety and reliability if you intend using yohimbe supplements. These are not regulated by the FDA. You, therefore, want to make sure you are buying a high quality, trusted brand.
How Safe is Yohimbe?
You may not experience any adverse reaction if you are in good state of health when using yohimbe bark extract.
But inappropriate use can give rise to side effects. These can include abdominal distress, dizziness, headaches, increased heart rate, cold sweating, insomnia, and irregular blood pressure. In worst case scenario, yohimbe may cause over-stimulation of the central nervous system and paralysis.
It is not advisable for people with kidney or liver issues to use yohimbe. Pregnant and nursing women should also stay away from it.
There may be interactions between the herb and some medications. For instance, you may not use it with stimulants or ACE inhibitors.
Yohimbe has made a name for itself more because of its perceived ability to improve sexual function. It offers a variety of other benefits as well. But research findings on efficacy are mixed, even when there are prescription drugs containing it.
If you wish to use yohimbe supplements, make sure you buy a product by a reputable company. Many offerings on the market contain very low amounts of the active ingredient yohimbine. Do ensure you speak with your doctor when planning to use any supplement or drug containing the extract.