Guarana is a South American fruit that strangely enough resembles the human eye. This fruit contains four times the amount of caffeine than coffee beans and is one of the prime ingredients in energy drinks like Monster, Red Bull and Rockstar.
In fact, during the 17th century, the Jesuit missionaries noted that this herb gave members of the Amazon tribe so much energy that while hunting, they could go days without feeling hungry. Now today, guarana is still used to boost energy and promote weight loss, but the advantages don’t just stop there.
Botanical Name and Family of Guarana
Guarana is botanically known as Paullinia cupana. It belongs to the Sapindaceae or the Soapberry family and has been referred to as Brazilian cocoa and Zoom.
What Is Guarana?
Guarana is a climbing plant that obtains its name from an Amazonian tribe called Guarani who would brew a drink from the seeds of this plant. These seeds are as big as a coffee bean, black in color and partially covered by arils that are white, giving it an eyeball-like appearance.
This herb is widely used as a source of caffeine to prepare energy shots, carbonated and sweet soft drinks. Brazilian soft drinks have included guarana since 1909, but it only became widely utilized in the U.S. until recently.
Guarana has significantly more caffeine than coffee beans, however, this herb contains tiny amounts of theobromine and theophylline, which is similar to caffeine but affects the body differently for longer periods of time.
Active Ingredients Found in Guarana
Guarana contains caffeine (also called guaranine, mateine or theine), theobromine, theophylline, polyphenols and compounds such as epicatechin and catechin.
Health Benefits of Guarana
Guarana has been used as a stimulant to reduce physical and mental fatigue. It is also used to enhance the performance of athletes, aid weight loss and improve energy levels.
Guarana is also used for the following advantages:
- Improves mental health
- Increases sexual desire
- Promotes healthy skin
- Improves heart health
- Acts as a blood thinner
- Aids digestion
Guarana also acts as an astringent, malaria-preventive, anti-diarrheal and to treat joint pain, headache and fever. Researchers have found that Guarana helps improve mental performance, reduces anxiety, has a strong antibacterial and antifungal effect and is a strong antioxidant.
How to Use Guarana
Guarana is a very versatile herb that is available in the form of a paste, or in combination with other herbs in supplements or dried and used as a powder.
The appropriate dosing of this herb depends on a variety of different factors like age, health and other conditions. It is recommended to talk to an herbal practitioner so they can suggest the accurate dosing.
Side Effects of Guarana
Even though guarana possesses a variety of health benefits, there are certain side effects you should take into consideration before consuming this fruit. High doses (more than 300 milligrams per day) have been linked to the following ailments:
- High blood pressure
- Increased heart rate
- Rapid breathing
- Stomach cramps
Bleeding disorders, diarrhea, high blood pressure, heart disease and irritable bowel syndrome can worsen with consumption of guarana. Always speak to your doctor or herbal practitioner before using guarana.
The content of this Website is for informational purposes only, is general in nature and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, and does not constitute professional advice. The information on this Website should not be considered as complete and does not cover all diseases, ailments, physical conditions, or their treatment. You should consult with your physician before beginning any exercise, weight loss, or health care program and/or any of the beauty treatments.
Kennedy DO, Haskell CF, Wesnes KA, Scholey AB. Improved cognitive performance in human volunteers following administration of guarana (Paullinia cupana)extract: Comparison and interaction with Panax ginseng. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2004 Nov;79(3):401-11. PubMed PMID: 15582012.
2. Hamerski L, Somner GV, Tamaio N. Paullinia cupana Kunth (Sapindaceae): A review of its ethnopharmacology, phytochemistry and pharmacology. Journal of Medicinal Plants Research. 2013: 7(30); 2221-2229 DOI: 10.5897/JMPR2013.5067