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What Is Yohimbine?

Prescription strength yohimbine is used to treat low sex drive.
Yohimbine hydrochloride is most often used in the treatment of male erectile dysfunction.
Article Details
  • Written By: T. L. Childree
  • Edited By: R. Halprin
  • Last Modified Date: 01 November 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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Yohimbine is an alkaloid found in the bark of the West African Yohimbe tree. It was traditionally used as an aphrodisiac by West African natives. Yohimbine extract is available in both over-the-counter and prescription forms to treat various ailments. The most common use of this alkaloid is for erectile dysfunction in males, but several other applications have also been discovered. Yohimbine has been known to cause serious adverse side effects in certain people and should probably be taken under the supervision of a health care professional.

This alkaloid is one of many found in the Pausinystalia yohimbe tree bark. The bark of this tree was traditionally used as a sexual stimulant by West African natives. The active alkaloid has been extracted in a standardized form by modern scientists and sold in natural and prescription-strength formulas. The pharmacological term for this extract is yohimbine hydrochloride. It is commonly prescribed to treat a variety of different ailments because of its stimulant effect.

Yohimbine hydrochloride is most often used in the treatment of male erectile dysfunction. Some clinical studies have shown that this alkaloid effectively increases the incoming flow of blood to the male genitals and decreases the outgoing flow. The full effects are usually experienced after a few weeks of treatment. This regimen is not effective for all patients, however, and certain studies have discounted its benefits altogether. In addition to erectile dysfunction, this substance has proven to be an effective treatment for several other ailments.

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Prescription strength yohimbine is sometimes utilized in the treatment of a low sex drive condition known as male hyposexuality. It is believed that the increased blood flow to the genitals results in more frequent sexual arousal in some patients. This treatment has proven to be somewhat effective for treating hyposexuality in female patients as well. The drug is also used to treat reduced sex drive caused by certain types of antidepressant medications.

In addition to hyposexuality disorders, yohimbine has been utilized in the therapeutic treatment of dry mouth and post-traumatic stress disorder. A few studies have shown that this alkaloid may also help bodybuilders increase muscle mass. Over-the-counter formulations of this substance have become very popular as a result of these findings. This compound is also believed to aid in weight loss although clinical studies have shown no definite correlation.

Although it is a natural substance, excessive quantities of yohimbine can be unsafe. Both over-the-counter and prescription compounds have been known to cause serious side effects when administered in high doses. These side effects are rare, but may include anxiety, elevated blood pressure, insomnia, dizziness, and hallucinations. Seizures and kidney failure have also occurred in extremely rare instances. This substance should generally be taken under the direction of a health care professional to help prevent serious side effects.

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