There is a dearth of erectile dysfunction (ED) and sexual enhancement products on both the medical and herbal markets. The primary ingredient of these herbal supplements is yohimbe. According to the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), yohimbe is extracted from the bark of an African evergreen tree. When ground up and ingested, it acts as a stimulant. It dilates blood vessels in and around the central nervous system, allowing blood to circulate with greater ease. While studies show that yohimbe may be effective in the treatment of erectile dysfunction, many groups warn that its side effects present a danger. Consumer Reports includes yohimbe on its list of “Hazardous Ingredients,” linked to serious or theoretical risks.
As Part of a Blend
Dr. Todd Nippoldt, an endocrinologist with the Mayo Clinic, writes that herbal ED supplements may be dangerous due to the uncertainty of how it will react with the patient’s body. While prescriptions and over-the-counter medicine is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, herbal supplements are not. A supplement with yohimbe and other herbs may conflict with prescription medications or the body’s metabolism. Nippoldt says to be wary because “you can’t be certain what you’re taking.”