Yohimbe: Benefits, Uses and Side Effects

Medically reviewed by Vd. Naveen Sharma, BAMS Vd. Naveen Sharma Vd. Naveen SharmaBAMS facebook_icon
Written by , MSc (Biotechnology), Professional Certificate In Food, Nutrition & Health Swathi Handoo MSc (Biotechnology), Professional Certificate In Food, Nutrition & Health Experience: 4 years
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Yohimbe is a Central African herb. It has been used in traditional medicine to cure several health issues, including fever, cough, and heart diseases. Yohimbe is also an anesthetic, hallucinogen, and an aphrodisiac. It has become popular as a cure for erectile dysfunction. To know all about yohimbe, keep reading.

Table Of Contents

What Is Yohimbe?

Yohimbe (Pausinystalia yohimbe) is an evergreen tree that is native to western Africa. The bark of yohimbe is used to make extracts, tablets, and capsules. In parts of Africa, tea made from yohimbe bark has been used as an aphrodisiac (to increase sexual desire) (1).

Yohimbe is also used as a dietary supplement for athletic performance, chest pain, diabetic neuropathy, high blood pressure, impotence, and weight loss (1).

The principle ingredient in the yohimbe bark is a compound called yohimbine. Yohimbine is an indole alkaloid that has been widely used to treat cough, fever, leprosy, and heart disease (2).

Yohimbine hydrochloride, a standardized form of yohimbine, is available as a prescription drug for erectile dysfunction.

Want to know how this happens and what exactly yohimbe does? Scroll down and get started!

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What Does Yohimbe Do To Your Body? What Is The Mode Of Action?

1. Cures Erectile Dysfunction In Men

Yohimbine showed a remarkable positive effect on sexual performance in animal studies. This bark extract constituent is an antagonist to the alpha2-adrenergic receptor (present in the muscles).

Due to this activity, yohimbine increases sexual activity by inhibiting the engagement of alpha2-adrenergic receptors in the corpus cavernosum erectile muscle tissue. This causes a sustained enlargement of the corporeal tissue of the penis, allowing better blood flow (2).

Taking 5-10 mg of purified yohimbine, three times a day, might temporarily solve erectile dysfunction in men (2).

Did You Know?

Yohimbe extracts and yohimbine are added to bodybuilding supplements. But there is no concrete evidence yet that yohimbe or yohimbine help you build that dream body.

2. Restores Potency And Boosts Testosterone In Men

Yohimbe increases the blood flow to the penis and brings about erection. It also increases the production of norepinephrine, a hormone critical for the formation of an erection. Hence, this herb can restore potency in men – especially in those who are impotent because of diabetes and heart diseases (3).

According to a study conducted on men with orgasmic dysfunction, a dose of 20 mg of yohimbe helped 16 out of 29 men reach an orgasm. In a few cases, this herb could cure orgasmic dysfunction completely (3).

Yohimbe can promote sexual drive in men, increase vigor and stamina, and prolong erections in normal men (3).

3. Might Increase Libido In Women

There is insufficient scientific evidence to evaluate the effect of yohimbe extracts on women. Some studies claim that yohimbe can increase sexual arousal in postmenopausal women. However, there was no difference in arousal in women treated with yohimbine and other precursors (4).

The combination of L-arginine and yohimbine is said to cause vascular smooth muscle (VSM) relaxation. This happens because yohimbine can increase nitric oxide (NO) production, which is essential for VSM relaxation in response to various stimuli (5).

But clinical trials that demonstrate this property in primates and humans haven’t taken off yet.

4. Might Improve Response To Antidepressant Medication

Research indicates alpha2-adrenoceptors antagonism may improve the response to antidepressant medications. Yohimbine is one such alpha2-adrenergic receptor antagonist that boosts the efficacy of antidepressant drugs like fluoxetine (6).

Yohimbe (or yohimbine) can solve another problem with antidepressant medication – orthostatic hypotension. Orthostatic hypotension is a form of low blood pressure that happens when you stand up from sitting or lying down.

This phenomenon is pronounced and frequent if you are on concomitant antidepressant medication. Yohimbine comes to rescue here. According to a study, low doses of yohimbine, about 4 mg given thrice a day, increased the blood pressure in such patients (7).

It’s amazing that this African herb has all the above life-changing benefits. But it also comes with a bag of troubles.

Read the next section to find out what the side effects could be.

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Is Yohimbe Harmful? What Are Its Side Effects?

Surprisingly, the side effects of yohimbe are better studied and well researched than its benefits.

The well-documented ones include hypertension, anxiety, acute headache, dizziness, and agitation (8).

A 2009 study by Myers and Barrueto reports a case of a 42-year-old male who had episodes of severe intractable priapism (painful erection) after ingesting an over-the-counter yohimbe extract (9).

Pregnant or lactating women should consult a doctor before taking yohimbe.

Despite these side effects, if you wish to take yohimbe or have been advised to do so, you may explore the markets for a range of user-friendly supplements.

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How To Take Yohimbe?

Yohimbe is available in the form of:

  • Alcohol-free extract – Buy it here!
  • Capsules – Buy it here!
  • Bark powder – Buy it here!
  • Wild harvested bark – Buy it here!
  • Muscle massage cream – Buy it here!

You can try any of these supplements with medical consent. But be mindful that supplements generally have a high dose of the extract.

The dosage of yohimbe or yohimbine (especially for stamina and bodybuilding) hasn’t been well established.

Some say that a daily dose of 15-30 mg is typical for impotence (10). Other researchers claim that a single dose of 100 mg (daily) does not have significant improvement in patients with erectile dysfunction (11).

This is why it is best to consult a doctor when it comes to deciding a suitable dose for you.

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If you are suffering from hypertension, inform your doctor. Avoid taking yohimbe or yohimbine.
High doses of pure yohimbe can be life-threatening. Read the instructions before using the supplement.

What’s The Verdict?

It only takes medical supervision, proper research, and monitoring for you to enjoy the benefits of this African wonder herb. Yohimbe can boost your sexual desire and solve sensitive biological issues like erectile dysfunction and low stamina with minimal side effects.

If you have tried yohimbe, please share your experience with us. Use the box below to type in your comments, suggestions, feedback, and relevant queries.


  1. Yohimbe” National Centre for Complementary and Integrative Health, National Institutes of Health.
  2. Yohimbine” Drug Record, LiverTox, National Institutes of Health.
  3. Exploring scientifically proven herbal aphrodisiacs” Pharmacognosy Review, US National Library of Medicine.
  4. The effect of yohimbine plus L-arginine glutamate on sexual arousal…” Archives of Sexual Behavior, US National Library of Medicine.
  5. Female Sexual Dysfunction: Therapeutic Options…” Cardiovascular & Hematological Agents in Medicinal Chemistry, US National Library of Medicine.
  6. Addition of the α2-Antagonist Yohimbine to Fluoxetine…” Clinical Research, Neuropsychopharmacology, Nature.
  7. Effect of yohimbine on blood pressure in patients with…” Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, US National Library of Medicine.
  8. Adverse events of herbal food supplements for body weight…” Obesity Journal, The International Association for the Study of Obesity.
  9. Refractory priapism associated with ingestion of yohimbe extract” Journal of Medical Toxicology, US National Library of Medicine.
  10. Looking for the Edge- Dietary Supplements” CHAMP, USU Consortium for Health and Military Performance.
  11. Therapeutic effects of high dose yohimbine” The
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Vd. Naveen Sharma
Vd. Naveen SharmaBAMS, Ayurveda Specialist
Dr. Naveen Sharma is a renowned Ayurveda specialist with an experience of 10 years. He completed his Bachelor’s degree in Ayurveda, Medicine and Surgery(B. A. M. S) from Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences, Bangalore, Karnataka, in 2007.

Read full bio of Vd. Naveen Sharma
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