Yohimbe is an herbal supplement that is extracted from the bark of a West African evergreen tree. For hundreds of years this bark was used in Africa, primarily as an aphrodisiac. Today, Yohimbe can be found over the counter or by a prescription and is used as a remedy for several things.
Typically, the main reason Yohimbe is taken is to treat erectile dysfunction. It is often referred to as the “natural Viagra”. Yohimbe is shown to relax and dilate blood vessels thus increasing blood flow. This increase in blood flow helps to achieve and maintain an erection. Also, it is believed to stimulate the area of the brain that is responsible for sexual desire. Because of this, Yohimbe has also been used to treat sexual side effects caused by some antidepressants.
Another reason Yohimbe is taken is for weight loss. It has become popular with bodybuilders, as well as others, looking to boost their metabolism. It is believed Yohimbe increases norepinephrine in the bloodstream which effects fat utilization in the body. The increase in norepinephrine helps break down triglycerides and fatty acids. The release of free fatty acids in the bloodstream indicates stored fat is being burned, resulting in weight loss.
Other possible effects of Yohimbe are treatment of dry mouth and lowering of blood pressure. However, more research is needed in these areas.