Yohimbe Bark Extract: Side Effects and Benefits

Yohimbe is an arborescent plant growing in central and western part of the African continent. A compound extracted from the plant’s bark has been used for centuries in local healing practices. The modern medicine calls it yohimbe too. The major mode of use traditionally associated with this active agent has been and still remains male enhancement. As a core ingredient of multiple supplement formulations, it helps treat a variety of sexual disorders in men.

yohimbeInterestingly, yohimbe use cases are based primarily on the extract’s solid track record provided by the traditional medicine rather than on modern rigorous studies. Let’s take a closer look at this interesting plant, which boasts this unshakable reputation.

Historical Background

Some centuries ago, the pygmies populating West-African regions revealed Yohimbe tree as a source of a valuable raw material they used to treat fever, cough and other slight maladies. The substance was praised as an easily available and effective anesthetic. Later, they noticed it also had a potent aphrodisiac effect.

The plant’s popularity surged exponentially when European missionaries realized the latter benefit. Since that time, yohimbe has been cultivated and harvested on a commercial basis. Over the last decades, the substance has been a common ingredient of male enhancement pills, liniments and creams.

Health Effects

benefits_yohimbeThe major proven benefits delivered by yohimbe include boosting confidence and making a patient feel euphoria. However, the plant’s extract is appreciated primarily because it can effectively stimulate blood flow, specifically to the genital area, thus improving a man’s capacity to achieve a hard erection. Some auxiliary effects to mention:

  • libido boosting;
  • boosting performance in active athletes;
  • the metabolism correction and promoting excessive-weight loss;
  • removing chronic or accumulated fatigue by causing an energy burst;
  • blood pressure normalization;
  • helping out people experiencing depression;
  • treating diabetic nerve pain.

Weight loss facilitation is probably the second most valuable effect when it comes to yohimbe use cases. The agent corrects a patient’s metabolism rate so that the body consumes its fat deposits more actively.

Possible Side Effects

side_effects_yohimbeWhile time-tested and praised by millions of happy users worldwide, yohimbe-based formulations are known to potentially cause some serious side effects, which include:

  • pounding heart;
  • elevated heart attack risks;
  • seizures;
  • kidney dysfunction.

Most of the time, patients who avoid overdosage tend to not experience the above problems. Still, some mild issues may sometimes occur, which include:

  • upset stomach, bloating;
  • vomiting, nausea;
  • uncommon agitation, anxiety and irritability;
  • insomnia;
  • headaches;
  • rashes;
  • drooling;
  • excessive sweating;
  • sinus pain, etc.

Also, rapid heartrate is an intrinsic effect you should always keep in mind. Overdosage increases the above risks; some patients reported serious heart- and blood pressure-related problems.

A case has been reported by Clinical Toxicology when an athlete taking increased doses of yohimbe to boost his performance lost consciousness right during a workout session, and repeated seizures occurred.

Safety Guidelines

Based on the history of formally reported side effects, medical professionals have concluded that supplements containing yohimbe should not be taken in an uncontrolled way. It is advisable to consult your doctor both before and during the course. Also, taking this type of remedies for an extended period of time should be avoided. In this respect, please keep in mind the following considerations.

Yohimbe-based remedies are strongly not recommended to expecting and breastfeeding mothers. Also, they should be kept away from children.

As the ingredient acts through boosting blood flow, people with bleeding conditions, chronic or post-surgery, fall into a group of special risk. If you currently are a yohimbe supplement user who has a scheduled surgical manipulation, you will be better off stopping the course well in advance.

The ingredient is considered to be able to worsen psychosis, so it should be avoided by people with mental disorders. This advice also applies to anxiety, depression and similar conditions.

Benign prostatic hyperplasia is another condition that can be aggravated by taking yohimbe pills. The agent also affects liver and kidneys. It can cause urination problems, especially if you already have an underlying kidney condition. Should you have any doubts, seek a prior professional consultation or postpone the idea of using yohimbe remedies until you are sure to be safe.

Obviously, individuals vulnerable to cardiovascular problems should be especially cautious when making a decision on taking the discussed remedies. Another big group of risk is diabetes patients, since yohimbe can affect blood sugar and insulin levels too.

Can Yohimbe Be Taken Along with Other Medicines?

While yohimbe can cause certain adverse side effects by itself, taking it along with other medicines is an extra risk factor. In some cases, it will just reduce or annihilate the effectiveness of drugs you take in relation with your underlying diseases. That is why this kind of combination is not recommended. In case you still want to try out, visit your doctor first to make sure such a yohimbe course will not damage your health.

The following types of prescribed drugs require special attention in this respect:

  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors – because their effect in terms of depression treatment is much the same as that of yohimbe, and this combination increases risks.
  • Antidepressants – as they contribute to heart risks.
  • Blood-lowering remedies – because their effect can be minimized or destroyed by the substance in question.
  • Opioid antagonists – they act in a way similar to that of yohimbe, so taking these two types of remedies can aggravate adverse effects characteristic to both.
  • Stimulants like tobacco, coffee, etc. – because they add to rapid heart rate, and the cumulative effect can be health-threatening.
  • Antipsychotics like Prolixin or Thorazine – because there is evidence that yohimbe can enhance adverse side effects of such drugs.

Yohimbine Hydrochloride

yohimbe_hydrochlorideUpon the beginning of the era of yohimbe commercial use, yohimbine hydrochloride, an artificially synthesized version of the plant extract, has been proposed to cut production costs and reduce the manufacturers’ dependence on natural raw material supplies.

While the man-made agent has been proven to deliver mostly the same benefits as its African counterpart, supplements and other product forms that use this version cannot be considered as natural and, therefore, 100% safe. To support the statement, let us provide just one fact: yohimbine hydrochloride is on the list of poisonous ingredients issued by FDA.

Nevertheless, the chemical is widely used today in a number of products marketed to treat erectile dysfunction and obesity. To be on the safe side, make sure you always read a product’s label carefully to know which yohimbe version it has been built around.