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The alkaloid known as yohimbine is the primary active constituent in yohimbe, although similar alkaloids may also play a role. Yohimbine blocks alpha-2 adrenergic receptors, part of the sympathetic nervous system.2 It also dilates blood vessels. Yohimbine inhibits monoamine oxidase (MAO) and therefore may theoretically be of benefit in depressive disorders. However, it does not have the clinical research of other herbs used for depression, such as St. John’s wort.
Yohimbine has been shown in double-blind trials to help treat men with erectile dysfunction.3, 4 Although, negative studies have also been reported.5, 6
Standardized yohimbe products are available. A safe daily amount of yohimbine from any product is 15–30 mg.7 Yohimbine should be used under the supervision of a physician. Traditionally, a tincture of the bark, 5–10 drops three times per day, has been used.
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The information presented by Healthnotes is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2017.