What is Yohimbe
Yohimbe is the name of an evergreen tree found in parts of central and western Africa. The bark of yohimbe contains a chemical called yohimbine, which is used to make medicine. Yohimbine hydrochloride (Aphrodyne, Yocon) is a form of yohimbine that is a prescription drug in the US.
Yohimbe supplements often list yohimbe bark extract or yohimbine as the active ingredient. However, some of these products might not provide accurate information about the amount of yohimbine in the supplement. Also, some yohimbe supplements list yohimbine hydrochloride as an active ingredient. Yohimbe products containing man-made yohimbine hydrochloride as an ingredient are not legal to sell as a dietary supplement in the US.
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.
How does it work ?
- Sexual problems caused by antidepressants (antidepressant-induced sexual dysfunction). Yohimbe bark contains yohimbine. Taking yohimbine seems to improve sexual problems caused by certain antidepressants. It’s unclear if taking yohimbe bark has this effect.
- Anxiety. There is mixed evidence about the effectiveness of yohimbine, the active ingredient in yohimbe, for treating anxiety related to phobias. Some research shows that it does not improve anxiety when combined with exposure-based therapy used to reduce fear of flying. However, other research shows that taking yohimbine along with exposure-based therapy helps treat claustrophobia better than exposure-based therapy alone. The effect of yohimbe bark on anxiety is not clear.
- Athletic performance. Yohimbe bark contains yohimbine. Early research shows that taking yohimbine for 21 days doesn’t improve exercise performance or build muscle mass in soccer players. It’s unclear if taking yohimbe bark has any benefit on exercise performance.
- Depression. Early research shows that taking yohimbine, the active ingredient of yohimbe, daily for 10 days does not improve depression symptoms. The effect of yohimbe bark on depression is not clear.
- Dry mouth. Early research shows that taking yohimbine, the active ingredient in yohimbe, improves symptoms of dry mouth in people taking antidepressants. The effect of yohimbe bark on dry mouth is not clear.