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What is Quebracho?

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  • Written By: A. Leverkuhn
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 18 November 2016
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Quebracho is a South American species of tree. One type of this tree, the Aspidosperma quebracho-blanco, is something that consumers might see on the dietary supplement market as an essential oil or herb remedy. This species is part of the order Gentianales and the family Apocynaceae, where other quebracho trees are classified differently.

Similar tree types grow throughout South America. The name “quebracho” is a kind of nickname that locals gave to these kinds of hard-wooded evergreen trees. The word is made from the words “quebrar” and “hacha” which, according to some sources, represent a longer phrase. Translated into English, the name might be read as “axe breaker.”

The "axe breaker" is found mainly in Argentina. Carpenters and woodworkers use the wood of this tree for many kinds of consumer products. The wood usually requires treatment during drying so that it does not crack or splinter.

Quebracho wood includes a phytochemical called yohimbine. This is an alkaloid with stimulant and aphrodisiacal effects. Some nutritional experts claim that the substance is useful for treating erectile dysfunction or certain types of depressive conditions.

In the fitness world, some are looking at yohimbine and other alkaloids in various plants as a way to stimulate the central nervous system. Some trainers believe that this can help promote weight loss by blocking receptors that inhibit fat burning. Those recommending plant extracts of quebracho as herbal remedies often suggest dosages of 50-250 milligrams.

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Some weight loss or fitness products now contain yohimbe elements. Companies that include this ingredient in products point out the above possible benefits to consumers. Others point out that some of these claims are not proven.

No herbal extract or other kind of homeopathic medicine is risk free. As with any herbal remedy, take care to consult a doctor before using a plant extract containing yohimbine. Consultation with medical professionals will help an individual decide whether to use a natural substance for an existing condition.

The yohimbine element is not exclusively found in the quebracho tree. Research shows that yohimbine and similar alkaloids are also found in the Pausinystalia Yohimba, a tree found in Cameroon and the French Congo area. Ongoing studies look at how the yohimbine element can be extracted and treated for possible dietary or medicinal uses.

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