Yohimbe is used to arouse sexual excitement, for erectile dysfunction (ED), sexual problems caused by medications for depression called selective-serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), and general sexual problems in both men and women. It is also used for athletic performance, weight loss, exhaustion, chest pain, high blood pressure, low blood pressure that occurs when standing up, diabetic nerve pain, and for depression along with certain other medications. There is evidence from many studies that the active ingredient, yohimbine, can improve sexual problems associated with this class of medications used for depression. However, this benefit has not been described specifically for the yohimbe bark
If you suffer from low libido, yohimbine may help you regain sexual interest. However, the research for this use is limited and of poor quality, so NIH advises that more study is necessary before the agency makes a recommendation for this use. Existing studies focus on yohimbine hydrochloride, with women taking 5.4 mg three times daily to increase libido, according to NIH. Yohimbine increases blood flow to your genital region via your nervous system, according to Dr. Ray Sahelian of Los Angeles, nationally known medical writer and author of “Natural Sex Boosters.”
The exact mechanism by which yohimbine helps sexual function is not clear. Two effects of yohimbine that likely contribute to its improvement of sexual function are:
Blocking of presynaptic alpha-2 adrenergic receptors These are the receptors that the neurotransmitter norepinephrine uses as it moves through nerve cells to stimulate the sympathetic nervous system. When these receptors are blocked, the parasympathetic nervous system will dominate. One of the effects of the parasympathetic system is to increase blood flow to the penis. This aids the development and maintenance of an erection.
Yohimbine has significant side effects, such as anxiety reactions. According to the Mayo Clinic, yohimbine can be dangerous if used in excessive amounts. Higher doses of oral yohimbine may create numerous side effects, such as rapid heart rate, high blood pressure, overstimulation, insomnia and/or sleeplessness. Some effects in rare cases were panic attacks, hallucinations, headaches, dizziness, and skin flushing. More serious adverse effects may include seizures and renal failure. Yohimbine should not be consumed by anyone with liver, kidney, heart disease, or a psychological disorder. The therapeutic index of yohimbine is quite low; the range between an effective dose and a dangerous dose is very narrow. This may also lead to precipitation of panic disorder type reactions. Yohimbine in combination with modafinil is frequently associated with nausea, dangerous acute rapid heart beat, and acute increased blood pressure. Yohimbine exhibits some degree of MAOI activity while modafinil has been shown to increase levels of various monamines, and therefore could result in severe risk of dangerous side effects.
Source: Yohimbe is the name of an evergreen tree that is found in Zaire, Cameroon, and Gabon. The bark of yohimbe contains a chemical called yohimbine, which is used to make medicine.