Catuaba - Brazilian Tonic Herb
Catuaba is the herb native to Brazil and considered to be Brazilian, since it was popularized in that region for its numerous benefits. Erythroxylum catuaba (other names commonly given to the plant are Tatuaba, Chuchuhuasha, Caramuru, and Pau de Reposta) is a small vigorous-growing tree that belongs to the family Erythroxylaceae; grows in Amazonas, Para, Pernambuco, Bahia, Maranhao, and Alagoas. The principal genus of Erythroxylaceae family contains species with the cocaine content, however, these alkaloids are not found in catuaba. The plant produces bright yellow and orange flowers and small oval fruit which is not edible.
Known to prefer fertile soils and high content of organic matter, catuaba can be found growing in lower canopy in the Amazonian forests. It favours various types of soil, from dark red latossol to yellow red latossol, and cambissol from basaltic and granitic origin.
For various preparations the bark of the plant is used, being the source of major active compounds in catuaba.
Catuaba is typically released in form of capsules, powders, teas, and tinctures. The bark is also available in many formulas, being combined with other herbs.
Definite varieties of catuaba contain yohimbine, chemical known to enhance libido and increase erectile function. Another constituent - cinchonain - is the active component producing antibacterial actions. Also, fatty acids, phytosterols, antioxidant flavonoids, alkaloids, tannins, aromatic oils, cyclolignans and sequiterpenes are the major constituents of the herb providing it with the anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving, antidepressant, cytotoxic, antiviral, antimicrobial, aphrodisiac, nervine and tonic actions. The researches have proven that catuaba possesses potentisl anti-HIV activity as the result of the inhibition of HIV absorption into cells.
We know about the benefits of catuaba thanks to the Brazilian tribe called Tupi Indians, who were the first to discover the incredible properties of catuaba bark. They primarily used it to as a male aphrodisiac and a tonic to the male organs. The enhancement of sexual function is achieved through the stimulating of the nervous system. Catuaba bark is used for male impotency nowadays, too. The nervine and tonic properties of the bark make it powerful against restless sleep and insomnia from hypertension. Catuaba is also effective in treating failing memories, and is generally brain-stimulating. European herbal medicine favours catuaba for its ability to fight exhaustion, genital dysfunction, fatigue and agitation; to relieve pain and relax blood vessels, to kill viruses and bacteria. Catuaba extracts strengthen blood cells, help them fight various kinds of pathogens and generally improve circulation.
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