Erectile dysfunction can affect men of any age, but it is especially prevalent among men who are over the age of 40. Erectile dysfunction is not caused by one specific factor, and its roots can be either psychological, physiological or both. When erectile dysfunction is a result of underactive libido, difficulty sustaining an erection or the use of antidepressant medication, one potential treatment is the consumption of yohimbe.
What is Yohimbe?
Yohimbe is an evergreen tree that can grow to extraordinary heights. At full maturity, the yohimbe tree can stand at over 90 feet high and be more than 40 feet wide. The tree itself has a thin rough bark and thin green leaves. They require warm temperatures to grow, and when cultivated they rarely grow to the same heights, generally topping out at 40 to 50 feet tall. Yohimbe trees require moist soil, necessitating an environment with relatively high humidity, which is why they are typically found in jungles and forests rather than in plains or steppes. Although yohimbe is the common name for the tree, the species itself is officially called Pausinystalia yohimbe.
Unlike other herbal remedies that rely on nuts, seeds or leaves, it is the bark of the yohimbe tree that is used for medicinal purposes and to treat erectile dysfunction. Harvesting the bark of the yohimbe tree can be done in several ways in order to extract the alkaloids within. Traditionally, the bark was pulled away from the tree as it began to dry out, and the twigs of the tree were also used. Today, entire trees are cut down to access the bark, or the trees are stripped of bark and then left to regenerate over the next year. Harvesting yohimbe has only become a big industry in the last 70 years, following mass scientific experimentation with the tree in the 1930s.
The Yohimbe tree is native to Africa, and it is found primarily in the countries of Nigeria, Gabon, Cameroon and the Congo. Although Western Africa is where yohimbe grows naturally, some pharmaceutical companies are cultivating it in new places around the world. Individuals who rely heavily on alternative and holistic healing methods also grow yohimbe trees in their backyards, although doing so requires a warm and humid climate that is certainly not found everywhere.
In Western Africa, yohimbe was used by Bantu tribes in a variety of different ways. Even hundreds of years ago, its value as a sexual stimulant was observed, and it was given to soldiers and hunters before they set off away from home for days at a time. Yohimbe was also prized for its effect on heart problems, leprosy and high fevers. Bark was boiled into a tea or dried and chewed in order to release the alkaloids inside.
Yohimbe Extract and Erectile Dysfunction Treatment
Yohimbe has been used as a treatment for erectile dysfunction for a myriad of reasons. Perhaps the most common is that yohimbe has the potential to dilate blood vessels. Dilated blood vessels may increase the circulation in the body, making it easier for blood to flow to the penis and then remain trapped there, sustaining the erection, for the duration of sexual activity. Men who struggle to achieve an erection due to physical factors may find that yohimbe makes sexual activity easier and more enjoyable.
Yohimbe is also proven to address a different aspect of erectile dysfunction. Men taking antidepressants often find that their libido is lowered, their erections are more challenging to sustain and their sexual pleasure is even diminished. Yohimbine, the alkaloid derived from the plant’s bark, can help individuals combat the side effects of antidepressant medication. Users may find that their libido is restored to the same levels as before prescription antidepressant medications were taken, restoring sexual happiness and fulfillment.
Although yohimbe certainly has benefits when it comes to erectile dysfunction, yohimbe bark can also be beneficial to women. Research suggests that yohimbe increases receptiveness in the central nervous system, which in turn increases pleasure and libido. Not only do some women feel more interested in sexual activity, they also report stronger and more frequent orgasms as well as greater overall satisfaction with their partner’s performance.
Drawbacks and Risks of Yohimbe
Although yohimbe is natural and has been used for centuries, there are still some risks associated with its consumption. In fact, the yohimbe side effects are so pronounced that in some countries, such as Germany, it is a controlled substance and can’t be purchased without a prescription. While risks are typically minimal, it is important to understand and address them all before using yohimbe as a treatment method for erectile dysfunction.
• Minor Side Effects: The majority of side effects reported due to yohimbe are minor and unpleasant rather than major or life threatening. Dizziness, a rapid heart rate, nausea and anxiety are some of the most common side effects of consuming yohimbe. Thankfully, some of these side effects are transient, meaning they only occur for brief periods of time and eventually resolve on their own. Some side effects like nausea and dizziness may be eliminated by eating food or increasing electrolytes in conjunction with yohimbe consumption.
• Major Risks: In very few cases, taking yohimbe as treatment for erectile dysfunction can cause more severe side effects than the ones listed above. While incredibly rare, some of these risks can include paralysis, difficulty breathing, kidney failure and extremely low blood pressure.
• Contraindicated Medicines: Generally, yohimbe can be take in conjunction with other medicines. However, there are some medicines that will function incorrectly when yohimbe is also present in the system. Anyone taking blood thinners, kidney medications or antidepressants should always talk to their doctor before taking yohimbe in any dose or form.
• Overdose Risks: Another concern to keep in mind regarding yohimbe is that there is a specific dosage window. Too little yohimbe, and it will be ineffective for the user. Too much, and users will be more likely to suffer from side effects and other serious risks. Although the exact amounts should always depend on the individual, the recommended range of consumption for yohimbe is between 30 and 50 milligrams per day.
How to Find and Take Yohimbe
It is not necessary to have a prescription in order to to purchase yohimbe, at least not in the United States. It is available in many pharmacies, health food stores and online retailers, although the dosage and recommended consumption can vary from seller to seller. However, it may also be possible to get a prescription for yohimbe from a physician or a holistic doctor. This is recommended for patients who want to take just yohimbine, an isolated part of the yohimbe bark that plays the greatest role in combating erectile dysfunction.
There are a number of different ways to consume yohimbe. Some of the most popular types of yohimbe products used to treat erectile dysfunction are as follows:
• Yohimbe Bark: Although not common, it is possible to buy yohimbe bark that has not be processed or treated. It is simply a bag or package of small pieces of yohimbe wood that can be ground down or brewed to make into teas or other liquids. This is a more time consuming method, and it can also be difficult to determine the exact amount of yohimbe that is ingested into the body because of preparation inconsistencies. Yohimbe bark should be kept in a cool and dry location to prevent it from spoiling.
• Yohimbe Tea: Yohimbe tea is essentially finely ground yohimbe bark that has been packaged into a convenient teabag. While easier to handle than yohimbe bark on its own, yohimbe tea can carry the same challenges when it comes to determining doses. In addition, it might be mixed with fillers or ordinary tea, reducing its effectiveness.
• Yohimbe Bark Extract: Yohimbe bark extract is a liquid that is often sold an ounce or two at a time. Administered by a dropper, users put just a few drops under the tongue to receive the benefits of yohimbe in seconds. The taste can be unpleasant for some, but others enjoy the quick dose and the fact that the amount can be adjusted slightly for personal preference over time.
• Yohimbe Pills and Capsules: The most common way to administer yohimbe is through pills, tablets and capsules. The majority of users find that this makes yohimbe convenient to take as well as portable. If yohimbe is taken in this way, it is important to read through the active ingredients and check that yohimbine is included, as that is the alkaloid that will have the greatest overall effect on libido and erectile dysfunction.
• Yohimbe Cream: Yohimbe can also be administered topically in the form of a cream. This has traditionally been used by athletes who want to harness the power of yohimbe for strength, speed or even weight loss, but it has the potential to be effective in terms of erectile dysfunction issues as well. Again, it is important to check active ingredients and dosage, and remember that it is still possible to overdose on yohimbe topically as well as orally.
Ideal Candidates for Yohimbe
Men suffering from erectile dysfunction are the ideal candidates to enjoy yohimbe benefits ranging from increased libido to stronger erections. Women, too, can benefit from ingesting or applying yohimbe. While children in Africa have consumed yohimbe for centuries, research is still limited in terms of development and overall side effects, so for now those under the age of 18 should not consume yohimbe.
There are some individuals with preexisting conditions who should not take yohimbe without first speaking to a medical professional. These individuals include, but are not limited to, pregnant women, anyone with insomnia, people with already low blood pressure, anyone with post-traumatic stress disorder, women who are breast feeding, those with manic disorders or a tendency toward manic behavior, seniors over the age of 85 and anyone with kidney disease.
Although yohimbe is a natural remedy for erectile dysfunction, it was overlooked by many medical professionals after the creation of oral medications that achieve the same objective. However, yohimbe may be a more holistic, organic way to both increase sex drive and sustain erections. Available in prescription format and over the counter, yohimbe is a versatile treatment method that can enhance sexual activity for both men and women.