5 Surprising Benefits of Yohimbe

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

The most important health benefits of yohimbe include its ability to treat erectile dysfunction, relieve depression, aid in weight loss, improve circulation, protect heart health, and improve mood. It is also known for improving athletic performance and treating dry mouth.

What is Yohimbe?

Yohimbe is a tree found in Central Africa that has the scientific name Pausinystalia johimbe, and it is known around in the world because of a powerful chemical called yohimbine found in the bark of this tree. It has been approved by international drug agencies for various health issues. It has a powerful effect on our systems, and like so many herbal medicines, yohimbe emerged from traditional uses. The bark is majorly used as an aphrodisiac, among other things. [1] [2]

The unfortunate part is that over-harvesting of yohimbe trees for its valuable bark and extracts has resulted in a dangerous drop in the availability of trees, particularly in certain West African countries. Always be sure to get a yohimbe tree extract, or anything claiming to contain yohimbine, from a certified herbal practitioner or health food store. Due to its range of applicable conditions, you want to ensure that you are dealing with a proper dose, as too much yohimbine can be dangerous.

Health Benefits of Yohimbe

Health benefits of this herbal supplement include;

Erectile Dysfunction

It is a complicated situation for men suffering from symptoms of impotence. The increase in circulation that you receive from yohimbe extract also affects the flow of blood to the genitals, which can help treat erectile dysfunction, increase fertility, and significantly boost libido. If your sex life has been suffering, perhaps a natural solution in the form of yohimbe is in order. Pharmaceutical aphrodisiacs can have a number of side effects as well, so yohimbe is frequently turned to. After all, this was the best traditional use of yohimbe! [3]

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Is the world glorifying everything skinny too much? Well, it’s going to stop because skinny doesn’t necessarily mean healthy. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Boosts Circulation

If you have a sluggish circulatory system, which might be evidenced by low energy levels, slow healing rates, and cognitive cloudiness, you may need a vasodilator. Yohimbe is a good vasodilator as it expands the blood vessels and helps in improving the flow of blood to provide additional oxygen and necessary nutrients to cells and organs. You can, therefore, improve cognition, boost energy levels, and improve healing if you add an appropriate amount of yohimbe extract to your herbal supplement regimen. [4]

Reduces Hypertension

Related to the above health benefit, this easing of tension in arteries and blood vessels does wonders for your overall cardiovascular health. Your heart has to work extra hard to pump blood through tight, constricting blood vessels, causing a rise in blood pressure. This can be a major contributor to heart attacks and strokes, as constricted blood vessels are more likely to become blocked. By adding yohimbine to your diet in some way, you can improve your overall heart health and prevent an acceleration of coronary heart diseases. [5]

Weight Loss

One of the most valuable and widely relied on uses of yohimbe relates to its effect on losing weight. For people that frequently work out and still are not able to reduce fat, yohimbine is capable of blocking certain adrenoreceptors in the body, which allows for higher norepinephrine levels in the body. Norepinephrine doesn’t allow for fat mobilizing to take effect, which leads to an additional fat break down in those difficult areas of the body. These effects on your hormone levels should be monitored carefully, so be sure to speak with a medical professional before adding this to your workout regimen. [6]

Improves Athlete Performance

Yohimbe is used to improve athlete performance. In connection with weight loss, it is also known to increase muscle mass and reduce fatigue. Studies have also advocated that it has the potential to increase the energy expenditure of people, thereby enhancing their energy levels. However, only a limited amount is considered safe as excessive intake may result in side effects. [7]

Relieves Depression

The human brain requires an adequate amount of dopamine to stay active and efficient. Low dopamine levels can lead to mood swings, fatigue, lack of motivation, and eventually depression. Yohimbine has unique properties, which help in raising the dopamine levels, thus giving relief from this miserable condition. However, only a prescribed amount can give you the desired result. So talk to your doctor before including yohimbine in your diet to avoid unnecessary side effects. [8]

Treats Dry Mouth

A study on yohimbe suggests that it is very beneficial in increasing the salivary flow in patients taking medicines that cause dry mouth. When the salivary glands do not produce enough amount of saliva to keep the mouth wet, people suffer from dry mouth or xerostomia. It usually occurs as a side effect of medications. [9]

Yohimbe Side Effects

While the health benefits of yohimbe are impressive and well documented, there are some side effects you should know.

Interaction with medicines: Combining this herbal element with other drugs can be dangerous, particularly due to its impact on hormone levels and blood pressure. If you combine this drug with another vasodilator, then you can suffer from low blood pressure.

Pregnancy: It is unsafe for pregnant or breastfeeding women to consume yohimbe as it can poison the baby.

Anxiety: An overdose of yohimbe can alleviate anxiety and lead to complications.

A range of symptoms have been reported, particularly from people who have taken too large of a dose; effects range from nausea and lightheadedness to frequent urination. Use of yohimbe is banned or restricted by some of the countries such as the UK. Always speak with a medical professional before adding a powerful herbal treatment to your health regimen.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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