Arts &
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Vol. 18, No. 2, 2019
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Robert J. Lewis
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Alex Waterhouse-Hayward

yohimbe and




Former lead singer of the legendary 222s, arguably Montreal's first punk rock band, Chris is now a freelance writer based in Montreal. You can check out his writing at where he combines the sardonic humour of David Foster Wallace and the deliciously contrived irreverence of Anthony Bourdain.

Being the swashbuckling mega-stud I am, I don’t generally have problems in the erection department, at least not yet, thank God. Okay sure, I often find myself involuntarily sporting them at odd or inopportune times, like when I’m showering with other men or at my daycare center job when given the task of disciplining some of the more rambunctious children, but getting hard is rarely an issue.

Yet I do suffer from being bummed fairly regularly, often find myself lacking motivation, simply too despondent to do much more than lie around the house watching Oprah and longing for better days ahead that I know will never come. Sound familiar, potheads?

Which, actually, is how I initially came to discover Yohimbe. About a year ago a mutually bummed female friend of mine handed me a half dozen Yohimbe capsules with the sales pitch that they worked sort of like an upper, yet without any of the nastiness associated with speed. Better, these mood enhancing babies were both cheap and legal. “Oh, and by the way,” she said in passing, “Apparently some guys [and gals] use it as a form of herbal Viagra, sends blood rushing down to the genitals, they say.”

Thinking this was just more sales talk, I didn’t make much of the information. After all, if you listen to the hype, everything from ginseng to raw oysters to MDA is supposed to work magic on your bone. I promptly put the capsules away and totally forgot about them until a few weeks later when I found myself flat broke and desperately in need of some mood enhancement. “What the fuck,” I decided, “might as well take this herbal junk and see if anything happens,” knowing damn well that the word ‘herbal’ is usually just a nice way of saying “doesn’t do anything at all.” I knocked back the recommended two capsule dosage, grabbed the wife, and head out to engage in one of our favourite activities while stoned, driving around the city pointing and laughing at people innocently going about their daily business. Yet the Yohimbe didn’t seem to make this activity any more engaging whatsoever. Truth is, like most other herbal concoctions I’ve ingested, there were few, if any, noticeable effects at all. Cheap and legal maybe, but horseshit all the same.

And then, several hours later, it happened. Sitting on my couch watching Frontline on PBS it came to my attention that I was, in fact, sporting a boner the likes I haven’t had since the Olsen twins hit puberty. I didn’t even make the Yohimbe association. Nor was I especially horny. It was only after addressing the situation not once, but TWICE, and still finding myself rigid as a schoolboy that it finally dawned on me, “Ah yes, the Yohimbe.”

So how about that? Yohimbe really does work on one level. Not that it’s an especially practical solution for those afflicted with erectile dysfunction, given that, in my case, at least, the aforementioned miracle only came about many hours after initially ingesting the stuff. And you can certainly forget about getting high off it, I finished the rest of my Yohimbe caps and never got a buzz, only enviable cockstands.

Just remember when you go rushing out to cop some Yohimbe that you need to get the shit which contains yohimbine, the alkaloid which is the active erection inspiring ingredient. A lot of products on the market sold as Yohimbe bark extract contain so little of the yohimbine alkaloid as to be effectively useless. Of course, the good stuff might also eventually kill you, in that even the smallest amounts of yohimbine alkaloid is notorious for giving people serious heart palpitations and/or excitation with insomnia for up to 30 hours. But hey, a heart attack sure seems like a small price to pay in exchange for the God-like erections this wonderful African sex root will bring to a man. No?

Also by Chris Barry:
Feed Your Head
Talking 12-Tone with Patti Smith
Beauty Pageants: The Golden Years
Swingers' Clubs as Safe Zones
Bust a Move
Trapeze - Swinging Ad Extremis
Hells in Paradise
The Cannabis Cup
Colonic Hydrotheraphy


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