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By Serge Kreutz (2000)
The problem with yohimbe is that too many people have been writing about without understanding it.
A rather typical example is "Love Potions", written by Cynthia Mervis Watson, MD together with Angela Hynes. That book discusses yohimbe side by side with alleged "aphrodisiacs" such as vanilla and licorice. Apart from being disproportionate, the book also has the characteristics of housewife literature.
Cynthia Mervis Watson, MD recommends a recipe named Filibuster Orgasmic: "One night I prepared this punch for a party but told no one what was in it. By the end of the evening, one normally reserved and long-married couple was kissing passionately in a corner. A friend called me the next day and said she'd been 'all over' her boyfriend on the way home; she asked what I'd put in the punch. This recipe calls for herbal tinctures that you will find at a health food store. A tip: you will get more juice out of your oranges if you dip them in hot water before squeezing them. Serves about 20: 2 bottles of white rum; 2/3 liter of dry white wine; 1 cup Triple Sec; Juice of 10 oranges; Juice of 6 lemons; 20-ounce can of pineapple chunks, drained; 1 cup of sugar; 2 vanilla beans, split; 2 nutmegs, ground; 2 ounces of Muira Puama tincture, preferably in a base of vegetable glycerin and alcohol; 1-2 ounces of damiana tincture; 2 whole oranges studded with gloves; A handful of fresh or dried rose petals."
There are other recipes in the book. Some of them include yohimbe, other don't. Those that include yohimbe will certainly work (if the yohimbe used contains the alkaloid yohimbine), and they will work only because there is yohimbine in it. Yohimbe bark (if it contains yohimbine) is not on one level with vanilla. It's also not on one level with ginseng, muira puama, or damiana. Yohimbe is absolutely in a class of its own.
I'd call muira puama and damiana herbs, just as oregano or basil. Yohimbine, of course, is also of plant origin, but I'd call it a drug, just as aspirin, caffeine, cocaine, or heroin. Drugs have a LD50 value, the amount per test animal that it takes of a substance to kill half of the test animals. You can clearly overdose with drugs. But what is the LD50 value of oregano?
On the other hand, that it is so terribly effective is also the main downside of yohimbe (the bark) or yohimbine (the pharmaceutical extract). Ideally, a drug ameliorates a condition, and apart from that, a patient isn't aware that he has taken a medication. That will never happen with yohimbe or yohimbine. You either take an effective dose, and then you will feel it on all of your body until the yohimbine will have cleared, or you don't take an effective dose, and then you don't have the sexual effect either.
For many people, yohimbe is even worse than depicted in the above scenario. They take yohimbe and only suffer negative side effects (nervousness, heart palpitations, anxiety, and more that points in the direction of LD50), without any sexual benefit.
While yohimbine has been around in Europe for more than a century, a new exotic aphrodisiac is only now emerging in the Western world: the Southeast Asian tongkat ali (eurycoma longifolia by its Latin, scientific name). Apart from yohimbine, the eurycoma longifolia glycoproteins are the only herbal aphrodisiac for which an efficacy has been documented by scientific studies that have been included with the Medline database. To search for scientific proof of tongkat ali's efficacy, use Google to search for the term "Medline". Once on a Medline mirror site, search for: Eurycoma longifolia
The effect of tongkat ali is completely different from that of yohimbine. Tongkat ali works by stimulating testicular Leydig cells into shifting testosterone synthesis into high gear, probably by acting as a human chorionic gonadotrophin agonist. Increased testosterone levels, as caused by the tongkat ali, are believed to support libido. As a consequence of the increased emergence of sexual thoughts, more time is spent with sexual intercourse, or in preparation for such.
My own experience with tongkat ali is that it is not a substitute for sildenafil citrate if a man's problem is penile plumbing (erectile dysfunction). Rather, tongkat ali will facilitate mental sexual stimulation (libido). For younger men, libido stimulation definitely will result in better and longer lasting erections, and cause erections to appear more frequently. If the penile plumbing leaks, as is often the case with older men, an erectile agent like sildenafil citrate or alprostadil gel will still be needed.
While the efficacy pathway of tongkat ali is entirely different from that of yohimbe bark, it shares the same distribution problem. Most of the yohimbe bark sold in capsules is entirely worthless, and so is most of the tongkat ali sold in capsules.
Here is how you can assure and check the quality of your tongkat ali.
First, don't buy tongkat ali root, only buy extract. You would need 50 to 100 grams of tongkat ali root to get the effective amount of tongkat ali glycoproteins. This would be 1 to 2 gram of a 1:50 extract.
But not all that is sold as extract is indeed extract. We know of one brand circulating in the US, that claims to be extract, but just is root powder. Read the label very carefully.
Tongkat ali extract is extremely aquaphil. Moist a finger with your tongue and touch some tongkat ali extract with it; the minimal moisture will already make the tongkat ali extract sticky. If your tongkat ali remains powdery when touched, you are holding cellulose, and this means: tongkat ali powder, not tongkat ali extract.
You could apply the same testing method with yohimbe powder. Those preparations that indeed contain a good amount of the alkaloid yohimbine, or other alkaloids, should react quickly with water and result into a sticky substance (just as when you touch instant coffee powder). If not, again, you are handling a large percentage of cellulose. This means: bark powder, or root powder, but little alkaloids.
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Copyright Serge Kreutz