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.
Yohimbine is a kind of herbal medicinal plant. It has been regarded as an aphrodisiac in Africa for a century. Its main ingredient is Yohimbine, which is an alkaloid.
Nowadays, yohimbine is not only considered to be beneficial to sexual health (stimulating libido and improving sexual dysfunction), it is also a common ingredient in weight loss products. However, due to its potentially dangerous side effects, most countries list it as a prescription drug control, so it must be used with caution
What are the recommended empirical effects (benefits) of Yohimbe?
Improve male sexual dysfunction?
Sexual excitement is a wide range of physiological processes, including various brain, hormones, emotions, nerves, muscles and blood vessels. If one of them goes wrong, it may cause sexual dysfunction.
Several studies have pointed out that the effect of yohimbine in improving erectile dysfunction ranges from 34% to 73%, and most of these effective cases are related to psychological erectile dysfunction (non-organic).
A controlled study showed that (for a period of 30 days, 20 patients with organic erectile dysfunction), high-dose yohimbine could not effectively improve erectile dysfunction compared to placebo. Note 2
A recent double-blind controlled study pointed out (a period of 4 weeks, the subject is 40 patients with mild to moderate erectile dysfunction), and the use of yohimbine and arginine can help improve erectile dysfunction. Note 3
The underlying mechanism may be related to the effect of selective alpha-2 adrenergic receptor antagonists, which can promote smooth muscle and vasoconstriction.
＊Conclusion: As of now, there is no clear evidence that yohimbine can improve sexual dysfunction, and the effect of improvement is inconsistent. It needs further confirmation
Cellulite and weight loss
For most people, weight loss is not only to add points to the appearance, but also to improve health. According to the World Health Organization, about 2.3 billion people worldwide are overweight (over 15 years old), and another 700 million people are obese.
Globally, diseases related to overweight and obesity each year indirectly cause 34 million deaths, which translates into a loss of life of about 3.9% (if life expectancy is 100 years old, obese people will live 4 years less). Note 5
A double-blind controlled study pointed out (for a period of 6 months and 37 adult men) that taking yohimbine did not improve any of the variables set in the experiment, including weight, body mass index, body fat, and total cholesterol. Note 4
Another double-blind controlled study found (21 days, 20 professional football players) that although yohimbine (20mg per day) has the effect of reducing body fat on subjects, it has effects on body weight, muscle quality and athletic performance Indicators are not helpful. Note 3
The mechanism behind yohimbine’s fat burning is related to its thermogenesis, epinephrine release, and regulation of adenylate cyclase activity
＊Conclusion: The fat-removing effect of yohimbine can only be seen in people who combine exercise or fasting, and it has no obvious fat burning and weight-loss effect for ordinary people
Improve specific phobias
Phobia is an overwhelming and unreasonable feeling of anxiety for low-risk objects or situations, which makes the person involved involuntarily want to avoid
Phobias can be roughly divided into five categories, such as animals (insects, snakes, dogs), natural environments (darkness, storms, altitude), scenarios (enclosed spaces, elevators, flying), blood injection injuries (see blood or injections) and others (Suffocation, noise, specific clothing)
A randomized controlled study pointed out (a period of 7 days and 20 claustrophobic patients) that taking yohimbine can expand the effect of exposure-based treatment. Note 6
Another double-blind controlled study found (targeted 76 patients with flying phobia) that taking yohimbine could not improve the results of virtual reality exposure therapy. Note 7
The underlying mechanism is related to raising the level of norepinephrine and increasing the tolerance to stress response
＊Conclusion: As of now, there is no clear evidence that yohimbine can improve phobias, and the improvement effect is inconsistent. It needs further confirmation
Are there any side effects of yohimbine?
Yohimbine is a prescription drug (used to improve peripheral blood flow or mydriasis) in North America, which means it needs to be used with medical personnel approval. And due to possible dangerous side effects, it is listed as a banned drug in some countries
Possible side effects or adverse reactions of oral administration (small doses) include: gastrointestinal discomfort, high blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, dizziness, gastrointestinal problems, abnormal excitement, tremor, sleep disturbance, anxiety, sinus pain, irritability, headache, frequent urination, skin rash , Nausea, vomiting, etc.
Large doses (hundreds of milligrams) may cause breathing difficulties, paralysis, sudden drop in blood pressure, heart problems and death.
Safety precautions (taboo)
Pregnant women, breastfeeding women, children, poor liver and kidney function, schizophrenia, prostate problems, post-traumatic stress syndrome, cardiovascular disease, abnormal blood pressure, depression, anxiety, and diabetes should not be used (because it may be potentially dangerous)
Do not use anticoagulant drugs or 2 weeks before surgery (may affect coagulation function)
Do not use it in combination with hypertension, diabetes, or psychiatric drugs (may affect the effects of drugs, cause poor effects or enhance effects)
The Bottom Line
Yohimbe is a popular herbal supplement marketed to help with erectile dysfunction and improve body composition and weight loss.
Yohimbine is the main active ingredient in yohimbe supplements, and there is evidence that it can effectively improve erectile dysfunction. However, the research on weight loss and body composition seems to report mixed results.
Studies have revealed several cases of inaccurate labeling on yohimbe products. Not to mention, taking this product comes with the risk of some potentially harmful side effects.
Because of these things, it may be safest to avoid this supplement altogether or at least make sure you are purchasing a product from a reputable company.