Yohimbe Bark Extract as a Sexual Stimultant – Aphrodisiacs for Men

Over the ages, ways and means of improving one’s sex life have exercised great influence on mankind. The concern with aphrodisiacs in various cultures and times is proof of this obsession. Aphrodisiacs are reputed to raise libido primarily in two ways – either by evoking psychological and phallic associations with regard to shape, odor and color or by enriching the body with nutrients and hormones which are necessary for a healthy sex life. Yohimbe is one of those rare aphrodisiacs whose reputation as a sexual stimulant in traditional medicine has been confirmed and used by modern medicine.

Yohimbe as a sexual stimulant, also useful for erectile dysfunction

Yohimbe is derived from the bark of the evergreen tree, Pausilinia yohimbe which was formerly known as Coryanthe yohimbe. This tree is native to West African forests and belongs to the Rubiaceae family. Why is yohimbe considered an aphrodisiac? The primary active constituent of yohimbe bark is yohimbine HCI or Indole alkaloid, a psychoactive chemical of the tryptamine chemical class. In the standardized form, this substance is known as yohimbine hydrochloride and sold in the United States as a prescription drug for sexual and erective dysfunction among men. As a sexual stimulant yohimbine works by blocking alpha-2 andrenergic receptors and improving the dilation of blood vessels. Both these processes are crucial in achieving and maintaining an erection among men since the increase in blood flow to the penis helps to bring about an erection. In its herbal form, yohimbine is believed to work in the same way as the standardized drug and this is the reason why the bark of the yohimbe tree figured as an popular aphrodisiac for men in traditional cultures.

Yet another way in which yohimbe works to treat impotence is by increasing the body’s production of the chemical norepinephrone which is an essential for the ability to have an erection.  

Yohimbe boost libido

Besides treating erection problems, yohimbe is also believed to help in cases of low libido. The herb acts as a stimulant for the pelvic nerve ganglia besides injecting adrenaline to nerve endings. The result is heightened sensitivity in genital areas and greater sexual stamina. All these benefits serve to prolong erection and have better quality sex even among men who are not overtly suffering from erectile dysfunction.

Other than yohimbine HCI, the bark of yohimbe contains 31 other types of Yohimbane alkaloid. Even though in popular terminology, yohimbine, yohimbine hydrochloride and yohimbe bark extract are often used interchangeably, they are not identical and refer to various states and composition of the aphrodisiac substance.

While the most important aphrodisiacal use of yohimbe is as a herbal way of boosting male libido, the compound yohimbine has proved to be useful in the treatment of other sexual conditions as well. In its form as a drug, yohimbine is prescribed for low sex drive brought about as a side effect of certain anti-depressants as well as in cases of female hyposexual disorder.

Among other medical uses of yohimbine are as a blood-pressure boosting agent in autonomic failure and in the treatment of xerostomia. Some studies have also explored the possibility of using yohimbine to facilitate recall of traumatic memories as part of the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder. However it is crucial that this be carried out in a therapeutic setting only. Yet another study claims that oral yohimbine supplements may be useful in bringing about significant fat loss from the body. However this use is restricted among the athletic community and as yet has not been scientifically verified.

What is the right dosage? Very often the amount of yohimbine in the yohimbe bark may be variable or low. Because of this some people may prefer to take yohimbine as a drug rather than in the herbal form. However in both forms, it is imperative that correct dosage be followed since this is a potent substance and the range between an effective and dangerous dose can be very narrow. In the herbal form, yohimbe bark may be taken in the range of 15 to 20 mg per day. Generally, prescription yohimbe containing yohimbine has a standard dose of 5.4 mg per tablet and a typical dosage would include three times a day of this tablet per day. However in all cases of using yohimbine, whether in the herbal or pharmaceutical form, the dosage should be ideally decided by a trained health professional.

Side effects of yohimbe

If taken in the correct dosage, yohimbe does not usually lead to serious side effects. However some people have noted anxiety, increased blood pressure and heart palpitations after using yohimbe or taking yohimbine drug. In most cases though, side effects of the herb are temporary and reversible. Overdose of oral yohimbine, whether in the herbal or pharmaceutical form can lead to panic attacks, hallucinations, skin flushing, headaches, dizziness and in extreme cases even to seizures and renal failure.

Contraindications of using yohimbe

People suffering from kidney or liver conditions should avoid using yohimbine either in the herbal or drug form. In case of heart problems like arrhythmias and high blood pressure too, the substance is contraindicated. Yohimbine can also block the action of the drug brimonidine thus reducing the effective of medications for glaucoma. Anyone suffering from a latent or overt psychological disorder should refrain from using yohimbe. Also anyone taking yohimbe should go easy on foods like red wine, cheese and liver that are rich in tyramine

Yohimbe as an aphrodisiac

Historically, yohimbe has a strong reputation as an aphrodisiac. In traditional African medicine it was long used to treat impotency and other cases of sexual dysfunction among men. It is only after colonization that the western societies began to explore and attest to the benefits of herbs like yohimbe. For the past 75 years, the herb and its chemical component have been widely accepted in Europe as aphrodisiacs. At the end of 1980s, the US Food and Drug Administration too allowed yohimbine to be used in the treatment of male impotency. The increasing acceptability of the drug in modern scientific communities is evidence of the herb’s efficacy and versatility as an aphrodisiac.