Guarana (Paullinia Cupana or Brazilian Cocoa) – climbing shrub of Amazon Basin. Found in Brazil, South America and Venezuela. Its growing in Uruguay is a subject of controversy.
First name this plant gained from its native users – Guaranis, a tribe of South American Indians. The origin of second appellation is concerned with German medical botanist C. F. Paullini, which investigated the plant. And “Brazilian Cocoa” – is a popular name, given for its stimulating properties. Six else names of it: Panela Supana, Uabano, Paullinia, Guarana Bread, Uaranzeiro, Paullinia Sorbilis.
This herb was known long ago as energetic enhancer. Ancient tribes ate crushed seeds before battles and used them as medicine. Further observations and investigations discovered also other health benefits. In 18th century this plant was introduced into France by physician after his visit to Brazil. Since that time it became widely adopted for treating migraine and nervous headaches, urinary tract irritation, neuralgia, paralysis and chronic diarrhea.
Guarana seed extract contains a substance called guaranine for its similar properties with caffeine. Some scientists say that guaranine is gust impure caffeine but their common compound methylxanthine releases more slowly (many hours) from guaranine than from caffeine. As a result guarana produces long-lasting boost in energy. Except this caffeine-like substance guarana contains chemicals called tannins which act as astringents.
Mentioned above properties of guarana compounds generated such medical applications:
- Stimulant. Brazilian Cocoa increases mental alertness, quickens perception and relieve fatigue. Can be used to extend work hours, delay sleep or improve athletic and mental performance. 2. Pain killer. Paullinia relieves nervous, rheumatic and menstrual pain. Chief use in Europe and America for headaches. Not recommended for chronic pain. 3. Astringent. Guarana alleviates mild forms of diarrhea and leucorrhoea. 4. Fat burning supplement. The remedy increases metabolic rate, curbs appetite and reduces hunger. It should be used with balanced low calorie diet. 5. A medicine for arthritis. 6. Coolant for tropical conditions.
The ability to increase sex drive and even treat alcohol abuse is also ascribed to guarana.
High caffeine content in Uabano had found an application in production of tonic drinks. Besides “Guarana Soda”, a national beverage of Brazil, world market offers dozens of energetic drinks with guarana content. Two nuts per cup is a usual rule for preparing tonic beverage at home. You can crush seeds with coffee-grinder, boil the powder for 10 minutes and drink received substance 3 times a day like tea but don’t forget that one cup (near 250 ml) of it contains 50 mg of guaranine. For those who don’t like the taste of this Guarana Bread encapsulated seed powder is widely available.