Yohimbine is a product made from the bark of the yohimbe tree, a species native to west Africa. Yohimbine is an alkaloid, one of a group of nitrogen based compounds present in plants that acts as a base, a substance that combine with acids to form salts. Many alkaloids have a pronounced effect upon the function and performance of the human body;
Among native African cultures, the bark of the yohimbe tree was renowned as an aphrodisiac. Modern medical science has recognized the value of Yohimbine in the treatment of erectile dysfunction.
Yohimbine is classed as one of the medications known as sympatholytics, those drugs or other pharmaceutical agents that act against the sympathetic nervous system, the portion of the autonomic nervous system that regulates the "flight or fight response", as well as the function of various glands.
Yohimbine is a vasodilator, a chemical that causes the blood vessels to expand. This action results in an increase in the amount of blood flowing to the peripheral parts of the body. In a similar fashion, yohimbine acts to trigger the release of noradrenalin from the adrenal gland, a hormone which produces an accelerated heart beat and tends to dilate the airways in the lungs, making breathing easier.
Modern scientific research has focused on the potential use of yohimbine as an anti-oxidant, the molecular scavengers that operate within the body to neutralize the effects of free radicals, those substances that are electrically unstable and consequently seek to balance themselves by preying upon otherwise stable cells within the body. Free radical activity is a contributing factor to the spread of cancers within the body. Similar research has also illustrated the potential for yohimbine as a weight loss product. When consumed, yohimbine tends to increase the conversion of stored fats to triglycerides, the fatty acids used by the body as an energy source.
Yohimbine has few side effects; given its effect upon heart rate, it is not recommended for use by persons with a prior history of heart disease or other known cardiovascular irregularities. The most common side effect attributed to yohimbine in an otherwise healthy person is dizziness.