Yohimbe - Useful Herb for Blood Pressure | Constipation


Pausinystalia yohimbe Rubiaceae

A native if the forests of tropical Africa, yohimbe is a tall tree that call grow as high as 30m. Its reddish bark is crisscrossed with .fimows and cracks, while the silky iw/er surface is fawn coloured and grooved lengthways. Yohimbe has large, oval, pointed leaves that are 30-40clII long. Its green, yellow or pillkish buds develop into sweetsmelling white .flowers that turn yellow and then red. The tree's fruit is a .flat, shuttle-shaped capsule, with two valves that open to release l1umerous little winged seeds.

Parts used

  • Bark
  • Bark from the trunk is picked off in the dry season, cut into pieces and then dried in the sunshine. The bark from the branches is not collected, because it contains fewer active constituents.
  • The bark is odourless but has a bitter, astringent taste. It is used in pharmaceutical products.


The plant's principal constituents are indole alkaloids, for example, yohimbine. The bark also contains another active constituent, ajmalicine.


The properties of yohimbe bark mean that in no circumstances whatever should it be used except under medical supervision.

The dosage has to be precisely correct, otherwise the effects can be the opposite of those intended and cause an increase in blood pressure, digestive and nervous problems.

People with high blood pressure, kidney or liver disorders should not take yohimbe.

Medicinal uses

Yohimbe's traditional use as a treatment for male impotence has long been debated and remains the subject of active research. One of the plant's most popular uses is to treat impotence in diabetic patients.

Studies performed in Egypt in 2001 go some way towards supporting this use. Researchers found that yohimbine prevented an increase in blood sugar in both diabetic and non-diabetic rats through inhibition of alpha-2 adrenreceptors. These nerve receptors are also responsible for constricting blood vessels, and so their inhibition results in a widening of the vessels - a key to its potential for treating impotence. If further studies can verify this effect in humans, it is possible that yohimbe may one day be considered as a natural alternative to Viagra.

Yohimbe has also been used to treat low blood pressure, for example, during tricyclic antidepressant treatment. Yohimbine improves the strength and efficiency of intestinal muscles, and thus, relieves chronic constipation.


Plant in moist soil Yohimbe does not tolerate temperatures below 15░(, so must be grown in a greenhouse in the UK.


Preparations that contain yohimbe should only ever be taken in consultation with a qualified medical herbalist.


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