Yohimbe comes from the bark of Pausinystalia johimbe, a tree found in western and central Africa, specifically found in Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon, parts of Angola, Nigeria, Gabon, and the Republic of the Congo.
It is thought that Pausinystalia johimbe is not the only source for yohimbe bark; rather, it is likely that a number of different trees in the region contain this substance in varying concentrations.
In its native land, people often use the bark to make teas. In both its native Africa and in the western world, it has become a favorite natural treatment for male enhancement.
How Does Yohimbe Work?
In its native Africa and in the western world, yohimbe’s “claim to fame” is based on its abilities as a cure for mild erectile dysfunction.
Unlike some other herbs that make this claim, yohimbe’s capacity in this area have been scientifically substantiated by western biomedicine, a rare feat for an herbal remedy, though the majority of studies have been conducted on animals.
Yohimbe or, more specifically, the active ingredient yohimbine, is a pre-synaptic alpha-2-adrenergic blocker that stimulates noradrenaline’s distribution in nerve endings, which results in a vasodilatory effect.
In other words, yohimbe’s active ingredient facilitates the expanding of the blood vessels in the penis, encouraging greater blood flow and therefore, better erections.
It acts as a neurotransmitter (a chemical that relays messages and information throughout the body) that causes harder and longer erections in men and clitoral stimulation in women.
It is for these reasons that yohimbe is so often found in male enhancement supplements. However, the distinction between yohimbe and yohimbine must be made.
Yohimbe vs Yohimbine
Yohimbe refers to bark; yohimbine is the active ingredient that is extracted from that bark.
The difference between the two is that yohimbine is just that—pure yohimbine, with no other substances in it. It is highly concentrated.
Yohimbe is the raw material from which it comes, meaning that the yohimbine content is diluted and varies from bark to bark.
Yohimbine is an indole alkaloid that is only available by prescription due to its potency. Products that contain yohimbine are scientifically proven to alleviate symptoms of erectile dysfunction.
However, some men do not want to go to the doctor for their ED needs and therefore use natural herbal supplements, some of which include yohimbe.
The problem is that companies who make these products do not say how much of the active ingredient yohimbine there is in their formula, only the amount of yohimbe (and sometimes that information isn’t even shared).
This is a problem because sources of yohimbe don’t always contain enough yohimbine to make any difference In fact, when supplements containing yohimbe were analyzed, many were found to lack significant quantities of yohimbine, the active ingredient that is known to work.
For this reason, it should never be taken as a given that a supplement that includes yohimbe is actually effective.
The risks associated with yohimbe have led many male supplement/enhancement products to leave them out of their formulas. Its potency comes with major drawbacks.
- The most major of these is yohimbe’s documented history of causing kidney failure and heart failure. Those who are have kidney or heart problems should not take any supplement that contains yohimbe and no medication that contains yohimbine. It can cause hypertension and there are reports of hallucinations.
- Decreased urine production
- Vomiting, diarrhea, and nausea
- Chills and perspiration
- Can cause symptoms that resemble those of lupus.
In short, before taking a supplement that contains yohimbe, check with the doctor to make sure it is safe.
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