Yohimbe supplements often list yohimbe bark extract or yohimbine as the active ingredient. However, some of these products might not provide accurate information about the amount of yohimbine in the supplement. Also, some yohimbe supplements list yohimbine hydrochloride as an active ingredient. Yohimbe products containing man-made yohimbine hydrochloride as an ingredient are not legal to sell as a dietary supplement in the US.
Yohimbe is most commonly used for its hallucinogenic effects. It is also used for sexual problems, to boost mood, for athletic performance, and other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support any use.
Uses & Effectiveness ?
Insufficient Evidence for
- Sexual problems caused by antidepressants (antidepressant-induced sexual dysfunction). Yohimbe bark contains yohimbine. Taking yohimbine seems to improve sexual problems caused by certain antidepressants. It's unclear if taking yohimbe bark has this effect.
- Anxiety. There is mixed evidence about the effectiveness of yohimbine, the active ingredient in yohimbe, for treating anxiety related to phobias. Some research shows that it does not improve anxiety when combined with exposure-based therapy used to reduce fear of flying. However, other research shows that taking yohimbine along with exposure-based therapy helps treat claustrophobia better than exposure-based therapy alone. The effect of yohimbe bark on anxiety is not clear.
- Athletic performance. Yohimbe bark contains yohimbine. Early research shows that taking yohimbine for 21 days doesn't improve exercise performance or build muscle mass in soccer players. It's unclear if taking yohimbe bark has any benefit on exercise performance.
- Depression. Early research shows that taking yohimbine, the active ingredient of yohimbe, daily for 10 days does not improve depression symptoms. The effect of yohimbe bark on depression is not clear.
- Dry mouth. Early research shows that taking yohimbine, the active ingredient in yohimbe, improves symptoms of dry mouth in people taking antidepressants. The effect of yohimbe bark on dry mouth is not clear.
- Erectile dysfunction (ED). There is evidence that yohimbine, the active ingredient of yohimbe, can be helpful for ED. However, this benefit has not been described specifically for yohimbe bark.
- Obesity. Yohimbe bark contains yohimbine. Early research shows that taking yohimbine for 8 weeks doesn't improve weight loss. It's unclear if taking yohimbe bark has any benefit.
- Low blood pressure that occurs upon standing (orthostatic hypotension). Early research shows that taking a single dose of yohimbine, the active ingredient in yohimbe, increases blood pressure in people with a head rush due to low blood pressure. However, other early research shows that it does not improve blood pressure. The effect of yohimbe bark on head rush is not clear.
- Other conditions.
The primary active ingredient in yohimbe is a drug called yohimbine. This is considered a prescription drug in North America. This drug can be safely used short-term when monitored by a health professional. However, it is not appropriate for unsupervised use due to potentially serious side effects that it can cause.
When taken by mouth in typical doses, yohimbe and the ingredient yohimbine can cause stomach upset, excitation, tremor, sleep problems, anxiety or agitation, high blood pressure, a racing heartbeat, dizziness, stomach problems, drooling, sinus pain, irritability, headache, frequent urination, bloating, rash, nausea, and vomiting.
Taking high doses can also cause other severe problems, including difficulty breathing, paralysis, very low blood pressure, heart problems, and death. After taking a one-day dose of yohimbine, one person reported an allergic reaction involving fever; chills; listlessness; itchy, scaly skin; progressive kidney failure; and symptoms that looked like the auto-immune disease called lupus.
Special Precautions and Warnings
Children: Yohimbe is POSSIBLY UNSAFE for children when taken by mouth. Children appear to be extra sensitive to the harmful effects of yohimbe.
Chest pain or heart disease: Don't use yohimbe. Yohimbine can seriously harm the heart.
Anxiety: Don't use yohimbe. Yohimbine might make anxiety worse in people with panic disorder.
Prostate problems: Use yohimbe with caution. Yohimbe might make the symptoms of BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia) worse.
Bleeding conditions: Taking yohimbe might increase the risk of bleeding in people with bleeding disorders.
Depression: Don't use yohimbe. Yohimbine might bring out manic-like symptoms in people with bipolar depression or suicidal tendencies in individuals with depression.
Diabetes: Don't use yohimbe. Yohimbe might interfere with insulin and other medications used for diabetes and cause low blood sugar.
High blood pressure or low blood pressure: Don't use yohimbe. Small amounts of yohimbine can increase blood pressure. Large amounts can cause dangerously low pressure.
Kidney disease: Don't use yohimbe. There is a concern that yohimbine might slow or stop the flow of urine.
Liver disease: Don't use yohimbe. Liver disease might change the way the body processes yohimbe.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): Don't use yohimbe. There is a report that four individuals with PTSD suffered worse symptoms after using yohimbe.
Schizophrenia: Use yohimbe with caution. The yohimbine in yohimbe might make people with schizophrenia psychotic.
Surgery: Yohimbe might increase the risk for bleeding. People who take yohimbe should stop at least 2 weeks before surgery.
Sensitivity to yohimbine: Don't use yohimbine.
Medications for depression (MAOIs) interacts with YOHIMBE
Yohimbe contains a chemical that affects the body. This chemical is called yohimbine. Yohimbine might affect the body in some of the same ways as some medications for depression called MAOIs. Taking yohimbe along with MAOIs might increase the effects and side effects of yohimbe and MAOIs.
Some of these medications used for depression include phenelzine (Nardil), tranylcypromine (Parnate), and others.
Do not take this combination
Clonidine (Catapres) interacts with YOHIMBE
Clonidine (Catapres) is used to decrease blood pressure. Yohimbe might increase blood pressure. Taking yohimbe along with clonidine (Catapres) might decrease the effectiveness of clonidine (Catapres).
Guanabenz (Wytensin) interacts with YOHIMBE
Yohimbe contains a chemical called yohimbine. Yohimbine can decrease the effectiveness of guanabenz (Wytensin).
Medications for depression (Tricyclic antidepressants) interacts with YOHIMBE
Yohimbe can affect the heart. Some medications used for depression called tricyclic antidepressants can also affect the heart. Taking yohimbe along with these medications used for depression might cause heart problems. Don't take yohimbe if you are taking these medications for depression.
Some of these tricyclic antidepressants medications used for depression include amitriptyline (Elavil), imipramine (Tofranil), and others.
Medications for high blood pressure (Antihypertensive drugs) interacts with YOHIMBE
Yohimbe seems to increase blood pressure. Taking yohimbe along with some medications for high blood pressure might decrease the effectiveness of medications for high blood pressure.
Some medications for high blood pressure include captopril (Capoten), enalapril (Vasotec), losartan (Cozaar), valsartan (Diovan), diltiazem (Cardizem), amlodipine (Norvasc), hydrochlorothiazide (HydroDiuril), furosemide (Lasix), and many others.
Naloxone (Narcan) interacts with YOHIMBE
Yohimbe contains a chemical that can affect the brain. This chemical is called yohimbine. Naloxone (Narcan) also affects the brain. Taking naloxone (Narcan) along with yohimbine might increase the chance of side effects such as anxiety, nervousness, trembling, and hot flashes.
Phenothiazines interacts with YOHIMBE
Yohimbe contains a chemical called yohimbine. Some medications called phenothiazines have some similar effects to yohimbine. Taking yohimbe along with phenothiazines might increase the effects and side effects of yohimbine.
Some phenothiazines include chlorpromazine (Thorazine), fluphenazine (Prolixin), trifluoperazine (Stelazine), thioridazine (Mellaril), and others.
Stimulant drugs interacts with YOHIMBE
Stimulant drugs speed up the nervous system. By speeding up the nervous system, stimulant medications can make you feel jittery and speed up your heartbeat. Yohimbe might also speed up the nervous system. Taking yohimbe along with stimulant drugs might cause serious problems including increased heart rate and high blood pressure. Avoid taking stimulant drugs along with yohimbe.
Some stimulant drugs include diethylpropion (Tenuate), epinephrine, phentermine (Ionamin), pseudoephedrine (Sudafed), and many others.
Be cautious with this combination
- For problems with sexual performance: 15-30 mg daily of yohimbine, the active ingredient in yohimbe. Doses of up to 100 mg of yohimbine daily have been used. However, significant side effects, some quite dangerous (including the possibility of death), would be expected with such a high dose.
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