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The yohimbe is an evergreen tree native to the jungles of western Africa. Growing up to 30 meters in height, yohimbe has gray-brown bark which is fissured and split, and often spotted. The leaves are long and elliptical in shape. Tinctures and extracts made from the bark are used for health purposes.
Yohimbe bark contains a mixture of alkaloids, the most active of which is yohimbine.
The recommended dosage for yohimbe depends on its yohimbine content. The alkaloid salt yohimbine hydrochloride is prescribed at 15 mg per day (divided into three doses), and yohimbe extracts providing an equivalent amount of yohimbine would presumably have a similar effect. Although studies on yohimbe toxicity are lacking, a number of adverse side effects have been reported, including anxiety, elevated heart rate and blood pressure, sleepiness, irritability, dizziness, headaches, and nausea. Because yohimbine acts as a weak MAO inhibitor, it should not be taken with mood-altering drugs or foods rich in tyramine, such as liver, cheese, and red wines. Yohimbe is not recommended for psychiatric patients, people with panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, hypertension, diabetes, renal disorders, or people with a history of gastric or duodenal ulcers.