Category Archives: Herbs A – Z

Yohimbe Bark (Corvanthe yohimbe)

Yohimbe Bark (Corvanthe yohimbe)

Yohimbe is a tree that grows throughout the African nations of Cameroon, Gabon and Zaire. (A similar plant in South America is called Quebracho). For centuries, natives from these areas have ingested both the crude bark and purified compound as a tonic to enhance sexual prowess and as an aphrodisiac. The bark has been smoked as a hallucinogen and has been used in traditional medicine to treat angina and hypertension. The herb is a sensual stimulant for healthy men and women. Today, doctors prescribe an extract from the tree to treat organic impotence.

Yohimbe’s energizing effects stem from it’s ability to increase blood flow to the genitals, both male and female. It is thought to stimulate the pelvic nerve ganglia and thus is helpful for men with erection problems. In fact a prescription drug, yohimbine hydrochloride, is the only FDA approved drug for impotence. Effects can include increased libido, increased sensation and increased stamina. Women have also reported similar effects and general pleasant sensations.

Yohimbe bark contains about 6% yohimbine. This constituent is an indole alkaloid that is classified as an alpha-2-adrenergic blocking agent. The herb has a general nervous system stimulatory effect and can cause changes in blood pressure by dilating blood vessels. It can increase the heart rate, raise body temperature and increase blood pressure. At higher dosages, it has a mild psychotropic effect.

Yohimbe bark stimulates chemical reactions in the body that may aid in psychogenic cases of impotence, due to fatigue, tension and stress. Clinical studies have shown the herb to be effective in restoring potency in diabetic and heart patients who suffer from impotency. As an alpha-adrenoreceptor blocker, yohimbe reduces the effect of hormones that cause constriction of blood vessels, which typically increases as we age. It increases the body’s production of norepinephrine which is essential in the formation of erections. Yohimbe may also boost the adrenaline supply to nerve endings, which can quicken male sensual stimulation. It has been used in combination with ginseng and saw palmetto as a remedy for men with low sex drive.

Yohimbe is also a short term MAO (monoamine oxidase) inhibitor and should be used with caution, especially if you have high blood pressure. Being an MAO inhibitor, yohimbe should not be taken with any food or drink containing tyramines (cheese, chocolate, beer, aged meats, nuts, etc.) and particularly not with the amino acids tyrosine or phenylalanine. A rise in blood pressure can result from the body not being able to remove the tyramines from these foods. It may be dangerous if used with anti-depressants, sedatives, antihistamines, caffeine, or amphetamines. Yohimbe may have other side effects such as racing heart rate, irritability, headache, nausea, sweating, dizziness and frequent urination. Anyone with a heart condition, kidney disease, glaucoma or history of gastric or duodenal ulcers should avoid this herb.

Part Used: The inner bark. Used in tablet, liquid extract, and powder forms.

Common Use: The herb has been used for centuries as an aphrodisiac for men, and has similar effects with women. Recent studies suggest the drug may be effective in the treatment of male impotence especially that associated with diabetes.

James F. Balch, M.D.: A hormone stimulant. Increases libido and blood flow to erectile tissue. May increase testosterone levels. Dr. Balch adds: Caution: May induce panic attacks and hallucinations in

some individuals. May also cause elevated blood pressure and heart rate, headache, dizziness, and skin flushing. Should not be used by women or by persons with kidney disease or psychological disorders.

Editor: While Dr. Balch’s cautions doubtless have some validity, yet my investigations led me to believe that such reactions were extremely rare. The claim that it should not be used by women is also

believed to be unjustified, though this herb is more commonly used by men. Again: do your own homework, and make up your own mind.

James Green, Herbalist: Yohimbe has a strong aphrodisiac effect, believed to be due to stimulation of the lower centeres in the spinal cord. Some researchers feel this is due rather to the hyperermia (blood

engorement, in this case in the pelvic area) produced. Thought to be of no value when impotence stems from organic nerve trouble, and it is said by some to be harmful when it is used for impotence that is

caused by chronic infamatory disease of the sexual organs or of the prostate (U. S. Dispensatory, 24th ed.). “Its actions apppear to go directly to the sexual centers of the spinal cord increasing tonicity.

Impotence of a functional origin (neurasthenic impotence) appears to be directly affected by its use. It is useful where there is diminished excitability of the sexual centeres. In cases where there is a sudden

failure of power, producing despondency, foreboding and general mental depression, in young mairried men, it is satisfactory.” (Mr. Green’s source: Ellingwood)

Mr. Green cautions that more needs to be learned about his plant, and to abstain from its use with pharmaceuticals and alcohol.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Yerba mate (Ilex paraguariensis)

Yerba mate (Ilex paraguariensis)

This tea is widely consumed in South America. It is not as upsetting to the system as coffee or tea. It is frequently used as an aphrodisiac and more generally as a draught to relieve rheumatism and arthritis, for which it is claimed to be very effective. The caffeine content is very high.


Range: Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, South America

Action: stimulant

Used to Treat: arthritis, rheumatism

Yellowdock Root (Rumex crispus)

Yellowdock Root (Rumex crispus)
Mrs. M. Grieve: —Medicinal Action and Uses—The Yellow Dock is applicable to all the purposes for which the other species are used. The root has laxative, alterative and mildly tonic action, and can be freely used as a tonic and laxative in rheumatism, bilious complaints and as an astringent in piles, bleedings of the lungs, etc. It is largely prescribed for diseases of the blood, from a spring eruption, to scurvy, scrofula and chronic skin diseases. It is also useful in jaundice and as a tonic to the stomach and the system generally. It has an action on the bowels very similar to that of Rhubarb, being perhaps a little less active, but operating without pain or uneasiness.

Rumicin is the active principle of the Yellow Dock, and from the root, containing Chrysarobin, a dried extract is prepared officially, of which from 1 to 4 grains may be given for a dose in a pill. This is useful for relieving a congested liver, as well as for scrofulous skin diseases.

A syrup can be made by boiling 1/2 lb. crushed root in a pint of syrup, which is taken in teaspoonful doses. The infusion administered in wineglassful doses – is made by pouring 1 pint of boiling water on 1 OZ. of the powdered root. A useful homoeopathic tincture is made from the plant before it flowers, which is of particular service to an irritable tickling cough of the upper air-tubes and the throat. It is likewise excellent for dispelling any obstinate itching of the skin. It acts like Sarsaparilla for curing scrofulous skin affections and glandular swellings.

To be applied externally for cutaneous affections, an ointment may be made by boiling the root in vinegar until the fibre is softened and then mixing the pulp with lard.

The seeds have been given with advantage in dysentery, for their astringent action.

The Yellow Dock has also been considered to have a positive effect in restraining the inroads made by cancer in the human system, being used as an alterative and tonic to enfeebled condition caused by

necrosis, cancer, etc. It has been used in diphtheria.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
PLANET: Venus ELEMENT: Water Gender: Feminine USE IN MAGIC: Healing, Divination, Courage, Love, Psychic powers, Exorcism PART USED: leaves and flowering tops, gathered June to September

Other names: Folk Names: Achillea, Arrowroot, Bad Man’s Plaything, Carpenter’s Weed, Death Flower, Devil’s Nettle, Eerie, Field Hops, Gearwe, Hundred Leaved Grass, Knight’s Milfoil, Knyghten, Lady’s Mantle, Milfoil, Militaris, Military Herb, Millefolium, Noble Yarrow, Nosebleed, Old Man’s Mustard, Old Man’s Pepper, Sanguinary, Seven Year’s Love, Snake’s Grass, Soldier’s Woundwort, Stanch Griss, Stanch Weed, Tansy, Thousand Seal, Wound Wort, Yarroway, Yerw.

Features/description: The stem is angular and rough, the leaves alternate, 3-4 inches long and 1 inch broad, clasping the stem at the base, bipinnate, the segments very finely cut, giving the leaves a feathery appearance. It flowers from June to September. The flower, white or pale lilac, being like small daisies, in flattened, terminal loose heads, or chymes. The whole plant is more or less hairy, with white, silky hairs.

Cultivation Yarrow is an undemanding plant that thrives even in poor soil but does best in a sunny position with good drainage and light soil.Yarrow grows well in zones 3-8 with some cultivars extending to zone 10. Plants are susceptible to disease in humid areas. Tolerates light shade. Soil-moderately rich and moist. Propagating-sow or divide invasive roots in spring or autumn. Growing-thin or transplant to 12 inches apart. Plant will bloom a second time if they are deadheaded. Not suitable for indoor growing. Harvesting-gather leaves and flowers in late summer. Preserving-dry both leaves and flowers.

Propagate from seeds, by root division or from woody cuttings taken in autumn or spring. They can take a year or two to establish themselves from seed. Place the plants 1-2 feet apart and divide the clumps when they become crowded. Taller cultivars may need to be staked, especially if grown in very fertile soil.

Culinary- LEAF, finely chopped slightly bitter, peppery young leaves into salads and cheese dips. Used like flour (the root) to thicken sauces Yarrow ale was a traditional drink at country weddings for centuries be fore the introduction of Hops to brewing. The ale has all of the healing qualities of the herb.

Yarrow Ale (makes about 8 16-oz. bottles)

1 gallon water (use bottled spring water)
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
1 cup organic unsulphured molasses
1 oz. dried Yarrow flowers (enough to pack two muslin tea bags)
1 quart strong Sage infusion
1 packet brewer’s yeast

Bring the water to a boil. Add the brown sugar, molasses, and one of the muslin bags of Yarrow. Boil for a half hour. Remove the herb from the “wort,” and allow the liquid to cool to 70 degrees (about room temperature — this will take a couple of hours). While the wort cools, prepare your fermenter. This can be any glass container larger than one gallon, with a wide mouth. Wash with soap and water, and rinse first with boiling water and then with a strong infusion of Sage to discourage unwanted bacteria. Pour the cooled wort into the fermenting jar. Dissolve the yeast in 1/2 cup of lukewarm waterand let it sit for about fifteen minutes. Add the yeast/water to the jar, and suspend the second muslin bag of Yarrow in the wort. Cover the jar loosely with plastic wrap or a loose top so the developing gas can escape. Let it foam up for a week or ten days. When the foam is gone, wash and sterilize bottles as above (recycled Grolsch beer bottles work well). Add 1/2 teaspoon of sugar to each bottle. Pour ale into primed bottles and cap or cork, label and date. Set bottles in a cool spot for a couple of weeks to carbonate, then refrigerate and enjoy.

Medicinal- LEAF, The Yarrow plant has been used throughout the ages for its healing properties. Yarrow is known to help with high blood pressure, digestive problems, and as an antiseptic. Yarrow can help with varicose veins, and other circulatory disorders. It has a balancing effect on urine flow, and help to cure bedwetting. It is used to alleviate muscle pain and headaches infuse as a tea for digestive problems.Aids progesterone production. Shrinks fibroids and hemorrhoids,Dries secretions & reduces menstrual flooding ,Regulates blood sugar levels & mood swings Yarrow tea is a good remedy for severe colds and is useful in the commencement of fevers. It opens the pores freely and is recommended for colds and measles.

NOTE: extended use may make skin light-sensitive Do not use Yarrow during pregnancy, for undiagnosed bleeding, or for more than two weeks.

Yarrow Tea The infusion is made with 1 oz. of dried herb to 1 pint of boiling water. It may be sweetened with sugar or honey with a small amount of pepper.

Tea Tips: Tea – 1 oz herb per 1 cup water. Drink 1/2 – 1 cup every hour until cold/ feverbreaks or bleeding stops

A piece of the plant held against a wound will staunch bleeding. An infusion can help to break a fever. A tea made from yarrow with peppermint and elderflower can be used to fight colds and flu.

Other Uses WHOLE PLANT, helps nearby plants to resist disease.

LEAF, speed decomposition by adding one chopped fresh leaf to each wheel barrel-load of compost.Adds color to a border. The flat heads add contrast to mounding or spiky plants.Use in fresh arrangements.Makes attractive dried flowers if cut before the sun bleaches them. To dry the flowers, cut them at their peak befor they start to fade and hang them head-down in clusters of six to 12 in a dry, airy place out of the sun.Fragrant addition to potpourri.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.