The healing power of yohimbe

Yohimbe is a 30-meter-high tree that grows in the African countries of Nigeria, Gabon, Cameroon and Zaire. The bark is known for its use in erection problems. A natural medicine based on the bark of the yohimbe tree is freely available almost everywhere in the world. Only in Germany is emphasis placed on the dangers of palpitations and low blood pressure. Yohimbe is sold worldwide as an aphrodisiac. A preparation used for erectile dysfunction comes from the bark of the yohimbe tree that grows in Africa. If too much is taken, it can lead to palpitations and lowered blood pressure. It is a plant that is not without danger. An unpleasant side effect can also be: persistent erection. That may not sound problematic at first, but it is experienced as painful by all the men it happens to.
NB! This article is written from the personal view of the author and may contain information that is not scientifically substantiated and/or in line with the general view.

Botanical drawing yohimbe / Source: Franz Eugen Köhler, Köhler’s Medizinal-Pflanzen, Wikimedia Commons (Public domain)


  • Yohimbine
  • History of yohimbe use
  • Active substances
  • Yohimbe bark as an aphrodisiac
  • Other medicinal effects of yohimbe
  • Dose and safety
  • Contraindications


Yohimbine is more commonly used than the bark. It is a product that is sold worldwide. Yohimbine is an alkaloid extracted from yohimbe. This is a standardized preparation, which means that it can be dosed much more precisely than the powder. It strangely has fewer side effects. It often happens the other way around: a completely natural product has fewer side effects than an isolated, active substance. Yohimbine is often given to people who take medications that have the side effect of greatly reducing the desire for sexual activity, such as antidepressants.

In Africa people smoked the bark because it would make them stronger in battle.

History of yohimbe use

In Africa, yohimbe has been used generation after generation as an aphrodisiac and as a treatment for impotence. It was also used to treat fever, leprosy, high blood pressure and heart problems. In addition, it was used by warriors as a stimulant before fighting another warrior. The powder was sometimes smoked to induce hallucinations. Yohimbe compresses were placed on the skin as an antiseptic to treat pain. The medicinal use of yohimbe was first used in Europe around 1890. It has been used for over 120 years to treat impotence and to enhance the sexual experiences of both men and women. The use of yohimbe has decreased somewhat after Viagra came on the market. However, there is a risk of the yohimbe tree disappearing because it is harvested too much for the bark.

In Latin, Yohimbe is called pausinystalia yohimbe . A Latin synonym is: Corynanthe yohimbe.

Active substances

Only the bark of the tree is used for phytotherapeutic purposes. This bark contains mainly indolakaloids such as yohimbine as active substances. It also contains the alkaloids corynanthin, pseudo-yohimbine and allo-yohimbine. It also contains heterozygous compounds including ajmalicine and its tetracyclic derivatives in the form of corynantheine.

Yohimbe bark as an aphrodisiac

For 50% of people who take yohimbe, it is an excellent aphrodisiac. Yohambine is the active substance in this. It dilates the blood vessels in the genitals and also has a reducing effect on the orthosympathetic nerve, which, among other things, regulates ejaculation in men and causes orgasm in women. For these medicinal reasons, yohimbe is used in phytotherapy for the following indications:

  • Frigidity in women,
  • Erectile dysfunction,
  • Impotence in diabetics.

Yohime bark is a natural medicine with various side effects. Yohimbe should only be used on prescription by a doctor. Nevertheless, this bark is widely available as a supplement in drugstores and smart shops.

Other medicinal effects of yohimbe

  • Yohimbe is used for Raynaud’s disease, ‘dead fingers or toes’ due to vascular spasms.
  • It is a remedy for dysmenorrhea or painful menstruation.
  • It can be used for chronic constipation.
  • Prostatitis with difficult urination is remedied.
  • In ophthalmology, the local anesthetic effect of yohimbe is used in surgical operations involving the nose and middle ear.

Dose and safety

There are two ways to use this medicinal plant.

  • Powder: 0.5 grams to 1 at a time, a maximum of 3 grams at a time and 10 grams per day.
  • Mother tincture: 20 drops 3 times per day.

The use of yohimbe must be subject to a large number of restrictions and it is therefore wise that it is only taken on the prescription of a doctor or herbal therapist. The most important unwanted side effects are:

  • Priapism or persistent erection,
  • Hypotension or decreased blood pressure,
  • palpitations,
  • Salivation,
  • Enhanced breathing,
  • Irritability, migraine,
  • Anxiety, trembling, dizziness,
  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea.


Contraindications are situations in which the use of yohimbe is better avoided or should only be used in consultation with a professional doctor or herbal therapist. In some cases, yohimbe should not be taken. If people suffer from schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, high blood pressure, heart cramps, heart disease, kidney disease and liver disease, the product should be avoided. Furthermore, it should not be given to pregnant women, children and the elderly. When taking a medicine that falls into one of the following categories, yohimbe bark should be avoided or only used in consultation with a doctor: antidepressants, antihypertensives, sympathomimetics and narcotic painkillers.