You lock your bathroom cabinets to keep medicine out of reach of your little ones, but did you ever stop to think about locking up your supplements as well? If you haven’t, you might want to start. Particularly when you consider that supplements are often sold in bottles that are not childproofed.

At least 275,000 calls — an average of one call every 24 minutes — were made to poison control centers because of exposure to all kinds of dietary supplements between 2002-2012, according to the Center for Injury Research and Policy and the Central Ohio Poison Center, both at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

Dangers Of Yohimbe

One supplement in particular was called out in a recent report published by the Journal of Medical Toxicology. Researchers called attention to yohimbe tree bark, which of all calls made to the poison control center had the most serious outcomes for children; including heart beat rhythm changes and kidney failure. In the study, 1,818 cases of yohimbe exposure were reported over the past ten years — 512 of which were considered serious.

Yohimbe is the name of an tree found in parts of central and western Africa. The bark of yohimbe has been used in Africa to treat fever and leprosy or as an aphrodisiac. Currently its most popular use is to treat erectile dysfunction in men and low libido in women.

The dosage range for yohimbe is very narrow, making it easy to take too much and become toxic. Even a so-called “safe” dose can cause dizziness, nausea, insomnia, anxiety, a rise in blood pressure, and rapid heartbeat.

For these reasons it is recommended that you don’t use the herb at all. It’s even more dangerous to have yohimbe in the house of you have children, since a small amount can cause them serious harm. The study found that 78 percent of yohimbe exposures occurred in children.

Supplements, in general, should be handled with caution and care (just like any other medication or drug). If you have kids in the house, keep them someplace out of reach, preferably in a childproof drawer or cabinet. Children can get sick ingesting small amounts of many different herbal supplements, like yohimbe. This study is a good reminder to be vigilant about keeping these products out of kids’ hands.