Yohimbe - Yohimbina Yoimbina Ioimbina

Yohimbe: what is it

Yohimbe is the name of the drug made from the tree Pausinystalia yohimbe (Fam. Rubiaceae), particularly widespread in the regions of West Africa. The active principle that characterizes it is known as yohimbine, sometimes Italianized in the term "ioimbine".

Active principles

In the phytotherapeutic field, the drug is the part of the plant processed and used for its content in active ingredients with the desired therapeutic effect.

Yohimbe is the drug obtained from the innermost part of the tree bark Pausinystalia yohimbe; within it we find about 5% of pharmacologically active substances, among which the best known is the indole alkaloid Yohimbine, naturally accompanied by substances of similar structure and activity (ioimbinine, ioimbenina).

Properties and Uses

Yohimbe and Yohimbine are traditionally considered aphrodisiacs and stimulants. In the first case, reference is made to their ability to stimulate sexual desire and performance; in the second to the enhancement of physical or intellectual abilities, to produce psychedelic effects at high doses. In the Western world, Yohimbine is known above all as a substance useful for promoting sports performance, improving erections and promoting weight loss.

Mechanism of action

All these effects are due to the ability of yohimbine to interact with α2-adrenergic receptors, which are important in regulating the release of neuerotransmitters from nerve endings. In fact, these self-receptors behave like a kind of thermostat, capable of sequestering a part of the norepinephrine released and inhibiting its release in relation to the quantity captured. Yohimbine, in particular, acts as a potent and selective alpha-2-adrenergic antagonist (blocker); thanks to this activity, the "inhibitory feedback" control exerted by the α2-adrenergic receptors is lost, with an "inevitable increase in the noradrenergic activity. The main results of this effect are a greater dilation of the blood vessels of the genitals and an increase in lipolysis (due to the reduction of the anti-lipolytic effect due to the stimulation of the alpha-adrenergic receptors).Despite these assumptions, the mechanisms by which yohimbine carries out its effects have not yet been fully elucidated.


Regarding the alleged usefulness of Yohimbine as an aphrodisiac substance, numerous studies have been conducted. In light of the collected results, the current orientation is to attribute to this active principle a certain benefit in the treatment of erectile dysfunction, although its effects are considered modest and not always effective. The aphrodisiac action of ioimbine can be enhanced by the simultaneous intake of arginine, an amino acid necessary for the synthesis of nitric oxide (a very important substance in the mechanism of erection).

How to use

Since the Yohimbe drug can contain different percentages of Yohimbine and similar substances, the effects of its characterizing active ingredient have been studied by isolating it from the phytocomplex and administering it at doses normally between 15 and 30 mg - often divided into two or three intakes. daily - in the form of yohimbine hydrochloride (drug available only with a prescription). It is recommended to take it on an empty stomach, especially when you intend to promote the weight loss process.

Side effects

Especially when used in high dosages, Yohimbine can produce a long list of side effects, such as tachycardia, hypertension, insomnia, headaches, anxiety, hallucinations and panic attacks; its use is not recommended for patients with heart, liver and kidney diseases, or mental disorders, as well as the association with other stimulating preparations, such as caffeine, ephedrine or amphetamines.

In general, a prudent approach may be to start by taking Yohimbine at dosages about 3 times lower than the optimal dose, to be gradually increased over the following days. In this way, any side effects will appear in a less severe and more controllable way.

Due to the numerous contraindications and possible drug interactions, a medical consultation is necessary before taking Yohimbine-based preparations. Currently (May 2017), Yohimbe is not marketable in Italy as a food supplement.

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