An herb entry from the Ancient Herbs and Modern Herbs book by James K. Sayre, Copyright, 2001. All rights reserved.
Yohimbe - Pausinystalia yohimbe (Corynanthe yohimbe) - family: Rubiaceae (Madder Family).
This is a tropical evergreen tree that grows to about ninety feet high.
It has elliptic-to-oblong-shaped glossy dark green leaves. In the winter
it produces clusters of tubular flowers of white, yellow or pink. The flowers
are followed by winged seeds. Its bark has been used as a traditional West
African folk remedy for poor male sexual performance. Yohimbine is an poisonous
indole alkaloid, C21H26N2O3, which is extracted from the bark of the tree.
Traditional African folk use of bark as a remedy for coughs, fevers, heart
disease and leprosy. Traditional African folk use of bark as an aphrodisiac,
local anesthetic and a mydriatic (a drug that dilates the pupil of the eye).
This herb is currently being marketed in North America as a remedy for male
impotence. Note: do not combine Yohimbine, which is a monamine oxidase inhibitor
(MAO), with the use of hard cheese, homemade bread, liver, red wine or other
foods which contain tyramine. Note: do not consume if you have anxiety,
depression, diabetes, heart problems, high blood pressure, kidney problems,
liver problems, thyroid problems or ulcers. Note: do not use with antidepressants
or other prescription drugs. Note: do not use if you are pregnant or nursing.
Note: do not use if you are female. Note: some possible side effects include:
abdominal pain, anxiety, dizziness, fatigue, insomnia, high blood pressure,
nausea, vomiting and weakness. Note: some literature sources indicate that
an overdose may lead to paralysis and possibly death. Note: due to potential
toxicity, do not use internally. Native to western Africa.
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Web page last updated on 26 May 2003.