Medically Reviewed on 8/31/2022

Generic Name: yohimbe

Other Names: aphrodien, corynanthe yohimbi, corynine, johimbi, Pausinystalia yohimbe, quebrachine

Drug Class: Herbals

What is yohimbe, and what is it used for?

Yohimbe is an evergreen tree (Pausinystalia yohimbe) native to central and western Africa. Yohimbe bark has traditionally been used as an aphrodisiac and to enhance sexual performance.

Yohimbe bark products are widely available as herbal supplements over the counter (OTC) in the U.S., promoted for male and female sexual dysfunction, athletic performance, weight loss, as an aphrodisiac, and many other purposes.

The active compound in yohimbe is yohimbine, an alkaloid that constitutes approximately 6% of the yohimbe bark. Yohimbine is available as a prescription drug in the U.S. to treat erectile dysfunction. Yohimbine works by blocking alpha-2 adrenergic receptors, protein molecules on nerve cells that are stimulated by norepinephrine. This results in increased blood flow into the penis and reduced outflow of blood, which helps maintain an erection. Yohimbe may not have the same effect as yohimbine, but it likely increases blood flow to the penis and vagina.

There is very little research on yohimbe as a dietary supplement and no scientific evidence to support any of its uses, except possibly for erectile dysfunction. The FDA has classified yohimbe as an unsafe herb containing the toxic alkaloid, yohimbine, and other alkaloids. The sale of yohimbe dietary supplements is restricted or banned in several countries because of inaccurate labeling and the potential for serious side effects.


What are the side effects of yohimbe?

Common side effects of yohimbe include:

Call your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms or serious side effects while using this drug:

This is not a complete list of all side effects or adverse reactions that may occur from the use of this drug. Call your doctor for medical advice about serious side effects or adverse reactions. You may also report side effects or health problems to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.


Erectile Dysfunction (ED) Causes and Treatment See Slideshow

What are the dosages of Yohimbe?

There is insufficient scientific information to know what might be an appropriate dose of yohimbe. Numerous regimens are available, follow manufacturer’s recommendations.

Suggested dosage:

Sexual Dysfunction

  • 15-30 mg orally daily
  • Bark tincture: 5-10 drops orally three times daily


What drugs interact with Yohimbe?

Inform your doctor of all medications you are currently taking, who can advise you on any possible drug interactions. Never begin taking, suddenly discontinue, or change the dosage of any medication without your doctor’s recommendation.

The drug interactions listed above are not all of the possible interactions or adverse effects. For more information on drug interactions, visit the RxList Drug Interaction Checker.

It is important to always tell your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider of all prescription and over-the-counter medications you use, as well as the dosage for each, and keep a list of the information. Check with your doctor or health care provider if you have any questions about the medication.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

What else should I know about Yohimbe?

  • It is best to avoid taking yohimbe, natural products are not necessarily safe.
  • The FDA has classified yohimbe as an unsafe herb, containing the toxic alkaloid, yohimbine, and other alkaloids.
  • Check with your healthcare provider before taking any herbal supplement.
  • If you do take OTC yohimbe:
    • Follow manufacturer’s directions exactly
    • Store safely out of reach of children
    • Seek medical help or contact Poison Control in case of overdose
  • Herbal supplements do not undergo rigorous evaluation by the FDA for safety and efficacy. Products may differ in formulations and strengths, and labels may not always match contents.
  • Yohimbe products contain varying amounts of yohimbine and some formulations may contain as much yohimbine as the prescription drug. A study that analyzed 49 supplements with yohimbe found that only three of them contained the amount of yohimbine advertised on the label.


Yohimbe bark products are herbal supplements promoted for male and female sexual dysfunction, athletic performance, weight loss, as an aphrodisiac, and many other purposes. Common side effects of yohimbe include cardiac conduction disturbances, cardiac failure, high or low blood pressure (hypertension/hypotension), rapid heart rate (tachycardia), anxiety, excitation, irritability, insomnia, headache, dizziness, tremor, paralysis, respiratory depression, and others. Yohimbe is also associated with heart attacks and seizures. Do not use yohimbe if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

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Medically Reviewed on 8/31/2022