( Paullinia cupana )
Brazilian cocoa, uabano,
Febrifuge, stimulant, nervine,
diuretic, hunger suppressant
Guarana contains caffeine and is
considered a natural stimulant. Over 180 species of paullinia exist, with
guarana being one of the most caffeine-rich. The leaves, bark and seeds of
the paullina genus contain appreciable amounts of caffeine. A product known
as Brazilian cocoa is made from seeds which are harvested from the paullinia
vine which grows the Amazonian jungles. Today, it is brought to market by
Amazonian traders who sell it for its stimulant properties.
12.5 percent alkaloids, xanthines
( caffeine, guaranine ), theobromine, theophylline saponins, tannins and
Traditional rain forest use
The Maues and Murdurow Tribes
used guarana as a source of energy when traveling long distances. With
sticks of guarana as their only source of nutrition, these travelers would
scrape off tiny quantities for consumption throughout their journey.
According to South American folklore, the natural stimulating and nourishing
properties of the seeds were originally discovered by the Incas. Amazonian
tribes would typically pound the paullinia vine seeds into a fine meal and
then form a paste which they made into long rolls. When dried, the rolls
became a very dark color, resembling licorice. The Karijonas made decoctions
of the Paullinia splendida leaves as a tonic to counteract the debilitated
state that typically follows a bout with malaria. Many tribes indigenous to
the Amazon regions of Brazil, Peru, Columbia and Ecuador use varieties of
guarana as a daily stimulant. It is considered one of the most important
plants that make up the tribal diet.
Modern medicinal applications
Guarana is one of the riches
plant sources of caffeine but does not have the heated hydrocarbons found in
coffee. It is frequently combined with Chinese ephedra ( ma huang ) to
stimulate weight loss through thermogenesis. Guaranine can be used to
enhance energy and is also used as an appetite suppressant, an aphrodisiac
and for diarrhea, fatigue, gastrointestinal disorders, headaches, migraines,
neuralgia and PMS.
Guarana is used for its
stimulating properties and for its diuretic action. It is also considered
antidiarrheic and antifatigue. Its potential for treating migraine headaches
is under current investigation.
Guarana is a caffeine-containing
herb and should not be overused. Pregnant women or nursing mothers should
not use guarana. Overuse can cause a strain on the urinary tract, heart
palpitations, or insomnia. Combining guarana with herbs such as ephedra can
have harmful side effects.