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 Names—yohimbe, yohimbe bark
Latin Name—Pausinystalia yohimbe
What Yohimbe Is 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.
How Yohimbe Is Used
As a dietary supplement, the dried bark of the yohimbe tree is used as a tea and taken by mouth. An extract of the bark is also put into capsules and tablets.
What the Science Says
It is not known whether yohimbe is effective for any health conditions because clinical trials have not been conducted on the bark or its extract.
Side Effects and Cautions
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 MAO inhibitors as effects may be additive. Yohimbe should be used with caution when taken with medicines for high blood pressure, tricyclic antidepressants, or phenothiazines (a group of medicines used mostly for mental health conditions such as schizophrenia).
People with kidney problems and people with psychiatric conditions should not use yohimbe.
Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not take yohimbe.