Yohimbe - Pausinystalia Johimbe

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This Yohimbe (Pausinystalia johimbe) monograph is an excerpt from the 1999, first edition of Dr. Sharol's book "Herbal Medicine From The Heart of The Earth." You can purchase the 2020, third edition of this book with an expanded materia medica/monograph section, herbal formulas and directions on making herbal products in Dr. Sharol's Book Store. You receive free shipping in the USA.

Yohimbe - Pausinystalia johimbe in the Rubiaceae or Madder family

Part used: Bark

Taste/smell: The taste is not very distinguishable, slightly astringent.

Constituents: Contains a large number of alkaloids, including yohimbine. Yohimbine concentration appears to increase in older branches.

Dosage: The alkaloid yohimbine was found to be most effective at 15-20 mg per day. Small amounts of the alkaloid have shown results while larger doses loose the desired clinical effect.  The dry herb is not used much. Side effects can be seen at the effective dose! This can be a dangerous herb.

Use: (a) Impotence.

This is an herb I include in this book, as I want to caution people against using it. Yohimbe has caused serious health issues for unaware individuals who have used it. Yohimbe bark has a history of use in Africa for potency. However, much of what you find on the market currently is not even the herb Yohimbe and does not contains the active alkaloid yohimbine. Perhaps this is good, since it’s constituent yohimbine can be unsafe for many people to use. The alkaloid, yohimbine, has been used successfully with male erectile dysfunction, orthostatic hypotension and narcolepsy. Although the mechanism is unclear, it appears to work by blocking alpha-2 adrenergic receptors in the brain.  In the periphery, yohimbine has been suggested to inhibit alpha-1 and alpha-2 adrenoceptors as well as enhancing the release of nitric oxide from cavernosal endothelial cells  

Safety is a big issue with this herb. Case reports of side effects from yohimbe or the alkaloid yohimbine have included progressive kidney failure, lupus-like syndrome and atrial tachycardia which required a cardioversion to stop it, and an erection that necessitated an emergency room visit and insertion of a shunt. From 2000-2006 in the state of California, 238 cases of adverse reactions to yohimbe/yohimbine consumption were reported to Poison Control. The most common issues were gastrointestinal distress, tachycardia, anxiety, agitation and hypertension. I personally have seen a case of atrial tachycardia due to ingestion of Yohimbe that required a cardioversion and permanent damage. I suggest people do not use this herb.

Contraindications: The side effects of the alkaloid yohimbine include high blood pressure, increased heart rate, manic reactions, bronchospasm, palpitations, insomnia, anxiety, irritability, shivering, sweating, nausea, flushing and headaches which all can be attributed to its central adrenergic activity. 15-20 milligrams of yohimbine alkaloid can induce hypertension; 12 milligrams can induce a hypertensive crises if taken with tricyclic antidepressants; 10 milligrams can induce mania in bipolar disease; 15 milligrams have been associated with bronchospasm.  The National Institute of Health also warns consumers about taking yohimbine supplements if they suffer from schizophrenia, anxiety, depression or post traumatic stress disorder. Additionally, they warn consumers about taking yohimbine or Yohimbe supplements with some of the antidepressants and antipsychosis drugs: “People should not combine Yohimbe with monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors as effects may be additive. Yohimbe should be used with caution when taken with medicines for high blood pressure, tricyclic antidepressants, or phenothiazines (a group of medicines used mostly for mental health conditions such as schizophrenia). People with kidney problems and people with psychiatric conditions should not use Yohimbe”.

If you are looking for directions on making teas or tinctures, please see our "Making Herbal Products" page.

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Copyright 1999 by Sharol Tilgner, N.D. (ISBN 1-881517-02-0) - all rights reserved.

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