Yohimbe is an alkaloid extracted from the Yohimbe tree which supports healthy male sexual function and promotes weight loss.
Yohimbe Mode of Action
Yohimbe is an alkaloid of the Pausinystalia yohimbe tree and in the plants of the Rauwolfia family (1). It is also known as Corynanthe johimbi and Corynanthe yohimbe. The Yohimbe tree is native to central and western Africa, primarily the Congo, Cameroun, and Gabon. It has been used as an aphrodisiac in folklore (2).
The active indole alkaloid is found in the bark of the yohimbe tree. The bark can contain up to 0.6-1.38% of the yohimbe alkaloid, combined with other alkaloids chemicals that account for up to 6% of the content of the bark. Most supplements are standardized to the yohimbe content alone (2).
The aphrodisiac effects of yohimbe are due to the dilation of blood vessels in the genitals, increased reflex in the spinal cord, and the transmission of nerve impulses to genital tissue. The sexual enhancement effects are believed to be through increased blood flow to the genitals and central nervous system excitatory impulses for men. In women, the sexual enhancement effects are believed to be through increasing blood flow to the vagina and its blood vessels (2).
Yohimbine is one of Yohimbe’s constituents which works directly on the central nervous system by increasing sympathetic outflow and increasing the release of norepinephrine. Yohimbine also inhibits monoamine oxidase (MOA), peripheral serotonin receptors, calcium channels, and can deplete dopamine within the brain (2).
Yohimbine also promotes weight loss due to its ability to promote lipid metabolism, and it increases fat burning through inhibiting alpha-2 adrenoceptors on fat cells (2).
Pure Nootropics’ Yohimbe contains 2% bark plant extract (standardized to 2.2% Yohimbine HCL) and provides 5 mg per capsule. Suggested use for adults is 1 capsule by mouth daily.
Yohimbe Side Effects & Toxicity
Yohimbe may have side effects, interactions with foods, medical conditions, medications, and herbs/supplements.
If you have heart disease, anxiety, benign prostatic hyperplasia, bleeding conditions, depression, diabetes, hypertension, hypotension, kidney disease, liver disease, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or schizophrenia, avoid the use of Yohimbe. (2)
Side effects may include anxiety, insomnia, agitation, restlessness, excitation, vertigo, tremors, flushing, dizziness, headache, low blood pressure (hypotension), high blood pressure (hypertension), hypertensive crisis, heart palpitations, QT-interval prolongation, fluid retention, myocardial infarction, chest pain, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, increased urinary frequency, rash, decreased libido, and muscle aches (2).
Interactions with food: Avoid consuming large amounts of foods that contain tyramine (such as red wines, fermented meats, aged cheeses, etc.) because it may increase blood pressure unsafely.
Avoid foods that contain vasopressors (such as coffee, cola, tea, fava beans, and chocolate) because it may increase blood pressure unsafely (2).
Interactions with medications:
*If you are taking MAOIs (monoamine oxidase inhibitors), such as Nardil (phenelzine), Parnate (tranylcypromine), and others, a MAJOR interaction will occur. Do not use Yohimbe if you are taking MAOIs.* (2)
If you are taking anticoagulant/antiplatelet medications, such as aspirin, Coumadin (warfarin), Plavix (clopidogrel), heparin, Fragmin (dalteparin), Ticlid (ticlopidine), Lovenox (enoxaparin), and others, a moderate interaction may occur (2).
If you are taking antihypertensive medications, such as Lasix (furosemide), Vasotec (enalapril), Capoten (captopril), Norvasc (amlodipine), Diovan (valsartan), Cozaar (losartan), and others, a moderate interaction will occur (2).
If you are taking Clonidine (catapres), a moderate interaction may occur (2).
If you are taking CYP2D6 substrates (Cytochrome P450 2D6), such as Elavil (amitriptyline), codeine, dextromethorphan, Clozaril (clozapine), Norpramin (desipramine), Duragesic (fentanyl), Prozac (fluoxetine), Dolophine (methadone), Demerol (meperidine), Zofran (ondansetron), Ultram (tramadol), Desyrel (trazodone), Zyprexa (olanzapine), Lopressor/Toprol XL (metoprolol), and others, a moderate interaction may occur (2).
If you are taking Guanabenz (wytensin), a moderate interaction may occur (2).
If you are taking Naoloxone (Narcan), a moderate interaction may occur (2).
If you are taking Phenothiazines, such as Thorazine (chlorpromazine), Prolixin (fluphenazine), Mellaril (thioridazine), Stelazine (trifluoperazine), and others, a moderate interaction may occur (2).
If you are taking stimulant medications, such as epinephrine, Adderall (amphetamine/dextroamphetamine), Sudafed (pseudoephedrine), Tenuate (diethylpropion), Lonamin (phentermine), and others, a moderate interaction may occur (2).
If you are taking tricyclic antidepressants, such as Elavil (amitriptyline), Tofranil (imipramine), and others, a moderate interaction may occur (2).
Herbs and Supplements Interactions:
If you are taking anticoagulant/antiplatelet herbs/supplements, such as Panax ginseng, garlic, danshen, ginger, clove, angelica, and others, a theoretic interaction may occur (2).
If you are taking Berberine, a theoretic interaction may occur (2).
If you are taking herbs and supplements which contain caffeine, such as guarana, cola, coffee, mate, and tea, an interaction may occur which increases the risk of high blood pressure crisis (2).
If you are taking Ephedra, the risk of a high blood pressure crisis increases (2).
The toxicity of Yohimbe bark taken orally in rats is 1075 mg/kg, and the LD50 for oral use in animals is 65 mg/kg (2).
For further information, please see our References Tab above.