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Yohimbe supplements are derived from the bark of the African yohimbe tree (Pausinystalia yohimbe). A primary active ingredient in yohimbe is yohimbine, which is also sold as a prescription drug. Yohimbe indirectly increases production of the brain chemical nor-epinephrine, which increases blood flow and which is thought to account for yohimbe's effectiveness for some types of erectile dysfunction and enhancement.
Yohimbe is primarily used to enhance erectile function in men. Yohimbe supplements formulated for this purpose may also contain other ingredients to support and complement yohimbe such as horny goat weed, ginseng, arginine and zinc. Yohimbe has ample scientific research attesting to its effectiveness,1 but users should keep in mind the complex nature of sexual response and understand that neither yohimbe nor any other sexual performance supplement works in every person every time.
Because nor-epinephrine has broad systemic effects such as increasing metabolism, energy and fat oxidation, yohimbe is increasingly being incorporated into diet and weight-loss formulas, although always in a much lower dose than products oriented toward sexual function.
Yohimbe is a very effective herb but also potent in its effects and therefore label directions should be followed closely.
Yohimbe products oriented toward sexual enhancement should only be used healthy men not using medications for any reason. Men with a health condition and/or taking medication should first check with their doctor. Diet products containing yohimbe have a much lower amount and are OK for men and women to use provided they read and follow label directions.
Side-effects of yohimbe can include rapid heartbeat, elevated blood pressure,2 increased urination,3 red eyes, insomnia, chills and headache.
1. Int J Impot Res. 2002 Feb;14(1):25-31.
2. Pharmacol Ther. 2001 Sep;91(3):215-43.
3. Pharmacol Ther. 2001 Sep;91(3):215-43.