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Yohimbine is a medicinal extract taken from the Pausinystalia johimbe plant (commonly known as Yohimbe or Yohimbine). Yohimbe is one of five Pausinystalia evergreen species growing in West and Central Africa in lowland forests.

The tree grows about 30 m tall, with a straight bole that is rarely larger than 50–60 cm in diameter. The bark is grey to reddish-brown, with longitudinal fissures, easy to peel and bitter-tasting. The inner bark is pinkish and fibrous.

Extracts from Yohimbe have been used in traditional medicine in West Africa as an aphrodisiac and have been marketed in developed countries as dietary supplements. Extracts from the bark of Yohimbe are used in West Africa as a general tonic and as an aphrodisiac, it is also used by veterinarians to reverse sedation in dogs and cats.

The Bottom Line – Yohimbine is an extract from the Pausinystalia johimbe plant used in traditional medicine and marketed as a dietary supplement for weight loss.

Yohimbine HCl Health Benefits

Like many traditional medicines, Yohimbine carries with it a wide range of potential positive health benefits to the user including treatment for depression, anxiety, erectile dysfunction, increased performance during exercise, and even chest pain. However, there is very little evidence to support any of these claims.

One of the most notable uses for this product is weight loss. Yohimbine is widely available to purchase as a weight loss supplement in many countries. Again, the evidence for the effectiveness of supplementing Yohimbine for weight loss is very slim.

Below is a list of the possible benefits we’ve found:

Yohimbine Can Help With Weight Loss

A study carried out in 2006 by the Institute of Sports Medicine, Sports Academy, Belgrade examined the effects of Yohimbine on professional athletes to determine if it indeed contributed to an increase in weight loss.

The athletes (20 top-level male soccer players) were allocated to two randomly assigned trials. Subjects in the Yohimbine group orally ingested tablets that contains Yohimbine at a dose of 20 milligrams per day in two equal doses for 21 days.

There were no statistically significant changes in body mass and muscle mass within or between trials after the supplementation. However, the study did show that the percentage of body fat significantly decreased in the Yohimbine group after the supplementation protocol, compared to a placebo group. Whilst this study did show a reduction in fat, it’s important to note that these changes were seen in professional athletes, not an average person. [1]

Yohimbine Can Help With Erectile Dysfunction

Yohimbine has had questionable effects in men with organic erectile dysfunction, however, two studies have shown that it could potentially be used as a treatment for Erectile Dysfunction.

Whilst we did find two studies that showed Yohimbine supplementation had a positive effect on patients with Erectile Dysfunction (ED), the results are still varied between individuals, meaning there are most likely more unique aspects to each case that need to be studied and taken into account before we can confidently say Yohimbine is an effective treatment for ED in ALL patients suffering from this condition.

It is also important to note that these studies were carried out with patients suffering from Organic Erectile Dysfunction as opposed to chemically induced, or otherwise. [2][3]

The Bottom Line – This traditional extract could potentially  be used to help with weight loss and Erectile Dysfunction, however, the results of all studies are still mixed. More research needs to be carried out on a wider demographic to validate its effectiveness for these conditions, and uses.

How To Use Yohimbine HCl

Yohimbine Extract is sold in pill form and recommended to consume one or twice daily with a meal.

The most common methods of taking Yohimbine are:

  1. Capsule

The typical dosage amount for Yohimbine ranges between 2.5-5mg daily. It is recommended that you do not exceed 5mg.

Are There Any Foods That Contain Yohimbine HCl?

This specific extract is only found in pill/capsule form as it is directly extracted from the Yohimbine tree, and as such, is not commonly added to other foods, nor does it occur naturally in the food chain or other food sources.

Yohimbine HCl Side Effects List

Side effects are generally mild but also relatively unknown, however, the list below outlines possible side effects.

  • Nervousness
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Headache
  • Skin flushing
  • Anorexia
  • Nausea
  • Gastric distress
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Palpitations
  • Tachycardia
  • Dysuria
  • Pain
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Dizziness
  • Sweating
  • Weight gain
  • Constipation
  • Anxiety

Note: these side effects are possible but may not be the typical user experience.

Is Yohimbine HCl Safe?

There have been cases reported where consuming Yohimbine has resulted in high blood pressure and heart rate, palpitations, insomnia, irritability, excitation, shivering, sweating, flushing, and headaches.

One study also reported an overdose where the patient experienced weakness, generalized paresthesia, loss of coordination and memory problems, as well as severe headaches combined with dizziness, tremor, palpitations, and fear occur after 20-30 mins.

There seems to be no doubt that this product will increase your blood pressure which could lead to a number of health issues related to your cardiovascular system, short-term and potentially long-term. This is potentially unsafe to consume for someone in good health.

We would conclude this product is unsafe to consume for persons suffering from cardiovascular conditions or other medical conditions.

When Should I Not Take Yohimbine HCl?

  • If you are pregnant and/or breast-feeding: Not recommended for use by pregnant or lactating women.
  • If you’re a child under the age of 18: Not intended for use by persons under the age of 18.

Has Yohimbine HCl Been Linked To Any Deaths?

Yes, Yohimbine has been linked to at least two deaths. One concerning a 23-year-old male body builder and a 37-year-old male was found unresponsive on the floor of his residential bedroom.

In both cases, toxicology results stated: “the detection of Yohimbine in the blood was extremely beneficial and provided the necessary information for the Medical Examiner to determine the final cause and manner of death as Yohimbine intoxication and accidental.

The Bottom Line – This is potentially an unsafe product to consume regardless of whether you are in good health or not. This has been linked to at least two deaths and could lead to a wide range of cardiovascular issues.

Where Can I Buy Yohimbine HCl & Do I Need A Prescription?

Yohimbine Extract is readily available to buy without a prescription from health stores, online retailers and some supermarkets.


Yohimbine extract has shown to be potentially unsafe to persons in good health, and especially unsafe to those suffering from cardiovascular problems. Although studies have shown it could be used to help with weight loss, these studies were carried out on professional athletes so the same results cannot be guaranteed in persons of average or poor health.

It’s very important to note that this supplement has been linked to at least two deaths and was the determining factor of death outlined in autopsy reports. There is very little research into this supplement and should probably be avoided. There are easier ways to lose weight without putting your life at risk.

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This article has been reviewed and fact-checked by a certified nutritionist, and only uses information from credible academic sources.