Yohimbine, a compound derived from an African plant, is used by some individuals a dietary supplement and a medication. Its use in therapeutic capacities is due to its activity as an alpha blocker. Alpha blockers are so named because they prevent alpha adrenergic receptors in the body from being bound by the naturally occurring transmitting molecule epinephrine. There are multiple potential therapeutic uses of yohimbine for women including sexual effects, treating dry mouth, and decreasing some side effects caused by certain antidepressants.
This drug has been used to treat erectile dysfunction in men, but some evidence exists for using yohimbine for women to treat sexual issues, as well. Women may experienced improved blood flow to the genital region after using this medication, helping to increase sensitivity. Therefore, some females have used this compound to treat lost libido.
Certain antidepressant medications classified as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, can create sexual side effects. SSRIs can occasionally cause some females to lose interest in sex. A possible use of yohimbine for women is to reduce the severity of these side effects. Some studies conducted by the United States government suggest that this effect of yohimbine for women could be useful, but researchers also caution that more evidence may be needed in order to recommend it as a reliable therapy.
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Yohimbine for women that have dry mouth is another potential use that has been considered. American government studies have used yohimbine extract as an experimental treatment for women with dry mouth, which may also be caused by SSRIs and other drugs. After taking this supplement, some women seemed to produce more saliva, suggesting that this could be a useful therapeutic role for yohimbine.
As with other chemicals, yohimbine interactions with other supplements and medications are possible. This substance can cause some individuals to feel overstimulated when combined with caffeine, modafinil, and other stimulant compounds. Other alpha blockers could have enhanced effects when taken with yohimbine, as well.
Even when taken on its own, some individuals may experience unwanted, unpleasant, or even dangerous effects from yohimbine. Women taking this medication have sometimes reported high blood pressure, anxiety, insomnia, and elevated heart rate. In serious, but rare cases, damage to the kidneys could occur, and some women have reported seizures. Taking this drug while pregnant could also endanger the fetus, as there is a chance that yohimbine could pass into the fetal blood stream.