J Infertil Reprod Biol, 2020, Volume 8, Issue 2, Pages: 9-17. https://doi.org/10.47277/JIRB/8(2)/9  
Spermatogenic Efficacy of Pausinystalia yohimbe  
(K. Schum.) Pierre ex Beille Roots in Male Rats  
Adekunle O. Ojatula*  
Phytomedicine Research Centre, Botany Unit, Department of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science, Ondo State University of Science and  
Technology, Okitipupa, Nigeria  
Received: 06/05/2020  
Accepted: 03/06/2020  
Published: 20/06/2020  
Background: The roots of Pausinystalia yohimbe have been traditionally acclaimed as aphrodisiac. In the present study, methanol  
extract of the root was evaluated for its effect on sexual orientation behaviour and spermatogenesis in albino Wistar rats.  
Methods: Forty five (45) male albino rats were randomly divided into five groups of nine rats each. Rats in group I (control) were  
administered 1 mL/kg body weight distilled water (vehicle), group II received 5 mg/kg body weight sildenafil citrate (Viagra), while  
those in groups III, IV, and V were given 25, 50, and 100 mg/kg body weight, respectively, of methanol extract of Pausinystalia  
yohimbe root in the same volume. Female albino rats were made receptive by hormonal treatment. Sexual orientation behaviour  
parameters were monitored on days 1, 7 and 14 by pairing with receptive females. A change in sexual orientation behaviuor was  
assessed by orientation towards female, towards environment and towards self, while spermatogenic activity was evaluated on day 14.  
Results: Administration of the extract had pronounced effect on sexual orientation behaviour of male towards the female rats on days  
and 14. Males treated with the extract displayed more frequent and vigorous anogenital sniffing and mounting as compared to  
untreated animals. Libido was also at increase in extract treated male rats. The extract had stimulated the spermatogenetic activity and  
accessory reproductive organs performance in albino rats. The increased spermatogenesis in extract treated groups was confirmed by  
change in histoarchitecture as evidenced by increase in number of spermatogenic elements and parameters.  
Conclusion: P. yohimbe exhibited remarkable increase in sexual orientation, libido and spermatogenic activity which are some of the  
indices that determine the ability of a male to produce viable spermatozoa. These findings support the folk use of this plant as an  
Keywords: Aphrodisiac, Herbal drugs, Pausinystalia yohimbe, Sexual orientation, Spermatogenesis  
are facing the problems of infertility. Infertility is the  
diminished ability or the inability to conceive and have  
offspring. Statistics reveal that more than 2 million married  
couples are now experiencing problems with infertility.  
Approximately 6 million women between the ages of 16 and  
Sexual relationships are among the most important social  
and biological relationships in human life; and sexual health is  
an important component of an individual’s quality of life and  
well-being. In human society, one of the main aims of  
marriage is procreation (reproduction) to ensure the continuity  
of an individual’s lineage and, more importantly, for sexual  
fulfillment of both partners. For life to continue, an organism  
must reproduce itself before it dies (1). In Homo sapiens,  
reproduction is initiated by the mating of a male with a female  
in sexual intercourse which facilitates the coming together of  
sperm and egg for the purpose of fertilization (2). For there to  
be a normal sexual intercourse and sexual fulfillment in males,  
the male sexual organs (the copulatory organ, that is, the  
penis) and factors relating to erection must function normally.  
The recurrent or repeated inability of the male to perform a  
satisfactory sexual function or any disorder that interferes with  
the full sexual response cycle is a major problem facing the  
reproductive process, and it varies markedly in degree (3).  
Perpetuation of one’s race is the dogma of all living  
organisms. All living organisms strive to achieve this through  
the process of reproduction, which is the vital process that  
5 have infertility issues and about 30% of cases are found in  
the man alone (4). But infertility is not always a women’s  
problem. Infertilities are due to the women (female factors) or  
man (male factors) or caused by a mixture of male and female  
factors or by unknown factors (5).  
There are different types of assisted reproductive  
technologies that are used to treat infertility. These treatments  
are highly effective when it comes to increasing the chances  
of conception, but are very expensive and are often associated  
with a number of physical and emotional side effects (6).  
About 30%-50% of problems in infertile couples are due to  
male infertility (5). Present day’s people are turning to herbal  
remedies to improve this infertility problem as they are easily  
approachable to common man; and researches are carried out  
to find out the plant products that can be used to treat this kind  
of infertility problems. Several plant extracts have long been  
used to treat problems with fertility. In fact, evidence of the  
use of herbal extracts for male and female fertility dates all the  
way back to 200 A.D (4).  
Infertility has been a recurring problem among male and  
female individuals. Today, orthodox medicine has almost  
exceeded its limits in resolving problem of infertility. This is  
why the use of phytomedicine is becoming a main stay in the  
treatment of infertility. It has been reported that alternative  
medicines have proven efficacious in the treatment of human  
a species to represent itself in the following  
generation in the form of its offspring. Different contraceptive  
methods are in practice for family planning (i.e., for  
population control). At the same time, there are couples who  
Corresponding author: Adekunle O. Ojatula, Phytomedicine  
Research Centre, Botany Unit, Department of Biological  
Sciences, Faculty of Science, Ondo State University of  
Science and Technology,  
infertility (4). A multi-faceted therapeutic approach to  
improving male infertility involves identifying harmful  
Okitipupa, Nigeria. E-mail:  
J Infertil Reprod Biol, 2020, Volume 8, Issue 2, Pages: 9-17. https://doi.org/10.47277/JIRB/8(2)/9  
environmental and occupational risk factors, while correcting  
elongated winged seeds. Its geographical spread is from  
south-western Nigeria to Gabon and Zaire. Yorubas call it  
‘Idagbon’, Ibos call it ‘Likiba’ while Hausas call it  
‘Burantashi’ (14). The extract of the root of Pausinystalia  
yohimbe (K. Schum) Pierre ex Beille is one of such sex tonics  
that is largely used by the people as an aphrodisiac with the  
ability to increase sexual and fertility potency, and virility.  
To the best of my knowledge, this is the first time in  
literature, reporting the spermatogenic effect of Pausinystalia  
yohimbe root; as compared to the frequently used plant  
material of Pausinystalia yohimbe, the stem-bark, in the open  
literature. The plant’s root is reported in the folk medicine of  
the indigenous people of Ilaje area of Ondo State, Nigeria to  
be more efficacious and potent in enhancing reproductive  
activity in male than the stem-bark (15). I showed in a  
research study that methanol extract of P. yohimbe root  
increases sexual behaviour and mating performance in male  
rats (16). Therefore, it is my interest to process this plant’s  
root for systemic study on its stimulatory effect with a view to  
explain the effect of the extract on spermatogenesis and sexual  
behaviour in male rats.  
underlying nutritional imbalances to encourage optimal sperm  
production and function. A number of nutritional therapies  
have been shown to improve sperm counts and motility,  
including camitine and zinc. Numerous antioxidants have also  
proven beneficial in treating male infertility such as vitamins  
C and E (7). Specific botanical medicines have been  
documented in several studies as having a positive effect on  
sperm parameters. Chen et al. (8) found extracts of Panax  
notoginseng capable of significantly enhancing in vitro sperm  
Hitherto, sexuality is  
a complex, multi-dimensional  
phenomenon that incorporates biological, psychological,  
interpersonal and behavioural dimensions. Sexual behaviour  
in male rats consists of three distinct phases, viz., mount,  
intromission and ejaculation. Male sexual performance is a  
phenomenon associated with male sexual response cycle  
components; and a normal male sexual response cycle is  
functionally divided into five interrelated events, viz., libido,  
erection, ejaculation, orgasm, and detumescence (1). These  
must occur in a defined timely sequential steps for a normal  
sexual function. Any hinderance in the effective  
performance/completion of the sexual response cycle or the  
disruption of its ordered sequence leads to male sexual  
dysfunction (9).  
Materials and Methods  
.1 Animal stock  
The protocol for experimentation was approved on 12th  
Androgens play a crucial role in the development of  
secondary male sexual organs such as the epididymis, vas  
deferens, seminal vesicle, prostrate, and penis. Furthermore,  
androgens are needed for puberty, male fertility, and male  
sexual function (10). Testosterone is the principal androgen  
secreted by the testes, and stimulated by luteinizing hormone  
January, 2017 by the Ethical Committee (Ref. no:  
UNIBEN/NOEC/PBB_LSC/365/5) on Experimental Animal  
Use and Care of the Faculty of Life Sciences, University of  
Benin, Benin City, Nigeria. Sexually matured, healthy, albino  
rats of Wistar strain (Rattus norvegicus), weighing about 230-