Abu Dhabi: The Health Authority-Abu Dhabi has pulled seven different products containing yohimbine, a herb known for its ability to act as an aphrodisiac.

The authority issued an alert after receiving reports from pharmacy inspectors who found seven different products containing yohimbine in a food supplements shop in Abu Dhabi.

“We haven’t received any reports of anyone being affected by the herb,” said Dr Mohammad Abu Al Khair, Drug Consultant at the authority. “All seven products shouldn’t be found anywhere in Abu Dhabi now.”

Yohimbine is a powerful herb that originates from China. It can pose serious health risks for people with hypertension or heart, liver or kidney disorders. Used to treat impotence, yohimbine appears to relax and widen blood vessels in male genitalia.

The most common reported adverse effects of yohimbine are anxiety and increased urinary frequency. Other side effects include dizziness, gastro-intestinal disorders, diaphoresis, insomnia, headache, palpitations, severe hypertension and tremors.

The authority, Abu Al Khair said, has advised consumers not to use these herbal products, which may be available in the local market as dietary supplement or aphrodisiac.

“The authority also advises consumers who have health or medicinal concerns to contact their physician or the Poison and Drug Information Centre in Abu Dhabi on 800424.”

It is sold under various trade names

The products containing yohimbine are sold under different trade names including Horny Goat Weed, Maca Man Dietary Supplement, V Male With Herbs, Ultra man, Cobra, Yohimbi 451 and Yohimbe standardised.

Yohimbine, also known under the outdated names quebrachin, aphrodin, corynine, yohimvetol and hydroergotocin, is the principal alkaloid of the bark of the West African tree Pausinystalia yohimbe Pierre (formerly Corynanthe yohimbe), family Rubiaceae (Madder family). There are 31 other yohimbine alkaloids found in Yohimbe.

Some internet shops sell expensive formulations of yohimbine for transdermal delivery to effect a local reduction of adipose tissue, although there is no evidence that it is effective. Demand for products of this kind is frequently found in the bodybuilding community.

Controlled studies suggest that it is not a particularly effective treatment for impotence, and evidence of increased sex drive (libido) is anecdotal only.