Yohimbine is an alkaloid found in two plants, Pausinystalia yohimbe and Rauwolfia serpentina. It has documented properties as both a stimulant and penile-erectile enhancement properties, and reportedly works as an aphrodisiac in some subjects. Yohimbine, typically extracted from the Yohimbe (Pausinystalia yohimbe) plant, is available over the counter as an aphrodisiac and stimulant fat burner, and is also sometimes used medically as part of a comprehensive erectile dysfunction (ED) treatent.
Yohimbine has activity at the α2A-adrenergic receptor and is being investigated in both human and animal subjects as treatment for type 2 diabetes who also have polymorphic α2A-adrenergic receptor genes. It is also useful in tests for simulating anxiety and inducing depressive states (after the stimulant effect subsides) in animal models.
According to the NIH and other sources, yohimbine is an effective drug when prescribed for erectile dysfunction. Other studies suggest that it is not effective in more severe cases, and have found that the reported increase in libido (as opposed to potency) is anecdotal at best. Morales et al argue that "conflicting results available may be attributed to differences in drug design, patient selection, and definitions of positive response.
Administering yohimbine to male rats has been shown to decrease the sexual refractory period, reduce sexual exhaustion, and reduce sexual satiety. The drug also increased the volume of ejaculated semen in dog subjects, lasting five or more hours post-administration. According to Adeniyi et al, yohimbine is effective in the treatment of orgasmic dysfunction in men, which is not to be confused with erectile dysfunction or the spectrum of desire disorders.
According to findings in mice by Dhir et al, yohimbine may have potential in humans for treatment of sexual side effects caused by selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and for female hyposexual disorder, as well as acting as a potentiation agent for the antidepressant effects of fluoxetine or venlafaxine. Interestingly, yohimbine has been used experimentally in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder to aid recall of traumatic events in a therapeutic setting, possibly by duplicating the effects of stress on the brain and acting as a "trigger." For this reason, individuals who have experienced post-traumatic stress disorder-like symptoms should probably avoid casual use of yohimbine.
In conclusion, yohimbine is a very versatile plant alkaloid, the potential of which has not yet been fully explored clinically. Like many effective plant alkaloids used traditionally, it offers expected (impotence, fat loss) benefits as well as unexpected potential (enhancement of antidepressants, scientific exploration of the nature of trauma), and like nearly all effective treatments - plant-derived or synthetic - must be taken seriously as it is not without side effects.
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