yohimbe bark

Last reviewed 01/2018

Yohimbe bark:

  • used as either an aphrodisiac or for the treatment of male impotence (1,2)
    • "...compared with placebo Yohimbine may be more effective at improving self-reported sexual function and penile rigidity at 2 to 10 weeks ( very low-quality evidence).."(2)

  • adverse effects (2,3):
    • review (3) reported that adverse effects were generally minor and reversible, and included agitation, anxiety, headache, mild increase in blood pressure, increased urinary output, and gastrointestinal upset
    • Yohimbine was associated with a higher proportion of adverse events compared with placebo (10-30% with yohimbine v 5-16% with placebo; significance assessment not performed)
    • two men withdrew from the subsequent crossover RCT because of a hypertensive crisis in one and severe palpitations in the other (2)

  • yohimbe has central alpha adrenoceptor actions which can cause tachycardia, atrial fibrillation, hypertension and chest pain (1)

  • can reduce the effectiveness of CNS acting anti-hypertensives including methyldopa and clonidine through its effects on central alpha2 receptors (1)


  1. British Heart Foundation (9/2003). Herbs and the Heart.
  2. Khera M, Goldstein I. Erectile dysfunction.Clin Evid (Online). 2011 Jun 29;2011. pii: 1803.
  3. Ernst E, Pittler MH.Yohimbine for erectile dysfunction: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials. J Urol 1998;159:433-436.