Tag Archives: American exceptionalism

Ptychopetalum olacoides

Botanical Name : Ptychopetalum olacoides
Family: Olacaceae
Genus: Ptychopetalum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Santalales

Common Name : Muira Puama, Potency wood, Marapuama, Marapama, Muiratã, Muiratam, Pau-homen, Potenzholz

Habitat :Muira Puama is native to the Brazilian Amazon and other parts of the Amazon rainforest
Description:
Ptychopetalum olacoides is a shrub or a small trees growing to about 14 feet in height. Its leaves are short-petioled, up to 3 inches in length and 2 inches in breadth light green on upper surface, dark brown on lower surface. The inflorescences consist of short axillary racemes of 4 to 6 flowers each. The root is strongly tough and fibrous, internally light brown with thin bark and broad wood, has a faint odor, and tastes slightly saline and acrid.

CLICK & SEE  THE PICTURES

The small, white flowers have a pungent fragrance similar to jasmine’s. The Ptychopetalum genus is a small one – only two species of small trees grow in tropical South America and five in tropical Africa. The two South American varieties, P. olacoides (found in Brazil, French Guiana, Guyana, and Suriname) and P. uncinatum (found only in Brazil), are used interchangeably in South American herbal medicine systems. The olacoides variety is usually preferred, as it has a higher content of lupeol (one of the plant’s active phytochemicals).
Medicinal Uses:
Historically all parts of Muira Puama have been used medicinally, but typically it is the bark and root of Ptychopetalum olacoides which is harvested and used both traditionally and in herbal products. It contains long-chain fatty acids, plant sterols, coumarin, lupeol, and the alkaloid muirapuamine. There is a second almost identical species, Ptychopetalum uncinatum, which is sometimes used as a substitute with the only noticeable difference being a lower concentration of the chemical lupeol.

The root and bark are used for a variety of ailments by indigenous peoples in the Rio Negro area of South America, but the effectiveness of Muira Puama preparations are unproven.

There is evidence that Muira Puama is anxiogenic in rodents (causes anxiety), which would be consistent with a stimulant effect, without affecting coordination. However, rather than increasing the activity of excitatory neurotransmitters, it decreases the activity of an inhibitory neurotransmitter.

Ptychopetalum olacoides, a traditional Amazonian “nerve tonic”, possesses anticholinesterase activity.

Abstract
The cholinergic hypothesis of Alzheimer disease (AD) has provided the rationale for the current pharmacotherapy of this disease, in an attempt to downgrade the cognitive decline caused by cholinergic deficits. Nevertheless, the search for potent and long-acting acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitors that exert minimal side effects to AD patients is still an ongoing effort. Amazonian communities use traditional remedies prepared with Ptychopetalum olacoides (PO, Olacaceae) roots for treating various central nervous system conditions, including those associated with aging. The fact that PO ethanol extract (POEE) has been found to facilitate memory retrieval in the step down procedure in young and aged mice prompt us to evaluate its effects on AChE activity in memory relevant brain areas. POEE significantly inhibited AChE activity in vitro in a dose- and time-dependent manner in rat frontal cortex, hippocampus and striatum; a significant inhibition was also found in these same brain areas of aged (14 months) mice after acute administration of POEE (100 mg/kg ip). We propose that such AChE inhibitory activity is a neurochemical correlate of a number of therapeutic properties traditionally claimed for P. olacoides, particularly those associated with cognition.

Muira puama is still employed around the world today in herbal medicine. In Brazil and South American herbal medicine, it is used a neuromuscular tonic, for asthenia, paralysis, chronic rheumatism, sexual impotency, grippe, ataxia, and central nervous system disorders In Europe, it is used to treat impotency, infertility, neurasthenia, menstrual disturbances and dysentery. It has been gaining in popularity in the United States where herbalists and health care practitioners are using muira puama for impotency, menstrual cramps and PMS, neurasthenia and central nervous system disorders. The benefits in treating impotency with muira puama has recently been studied in two human trials which showed that Muira puama was proven to be effective in improving libido and treating erectile dysfunction. In a study conducted in Paris, France, of 262 male patients experiencing lack of sexual desire and the inability to attain or maintain an erection, 62% of the patients with loss of libido reported that the extract of muira puama “had a dynamic effect” and 51% of patients with erectile dysfunctions felt that muira puama was beneficial. The second study conducted by Waynberg in France evaluated the positive psychological benefits of Muira puama in 100 men with male sexual asthenia.

It is important to note that to achieve the beneficial effects of the plant, proper preparation methods must be employed. The active constituents found in the natural bark thought to be responsible for Muira Puama’s effect are not water soluble nor are they broken down in the digestive process. Therefore taking a ground bark or root powder in a capsule or tablet will not be very effective. High heat for at least 20 minutes or longer in alcohol in necessary to dissolve and extract the volatile and essential oils, terpenes, gums and resins found in the bark and root that have been linked to Muira Puama’s beneficial effects.

Safety:
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.

Allergies:
Avoid in individuals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to muira puama (Ptychopetalum olacoides), any of its constituents, or any related members of the Olacaceae family.

Side Effects and Warnings
*Muira puama is generally considered by experts to be a safe herb, and no serious adverse effects have been reported in the available scientific literature.
*Muira puama may raise blood pressure and CNS (central nervous system) stimulation, which may alter blood pressure, heart functions, and CNS effects on heart tissue. Muira puama may also have proposed testosterone-like proprieties, which may cause anabolic side effects, such as increases in energy, aggression, or appetite, changes in voice, or enlargement of genitalia.
*Use cautiously in patients taking steroidal drug therapy or in patients with hormone-sensitive conditions (e.g., breast cancer, endometriosis, ovarian cancer, prostate cancer).
*Use cautiously in patients with hypertension (high blood pressure) or cardiac disease, as muira puama may exacerbate these conditions.
*Use cautiously in patients taking CNS-acting medications, as muira puama may stimulate the CNS.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding : Avoid use during pregnancy due to reported idiosyncratic motor/sacral stimulant properties. Muira puama is not recommended in breastfeeding women due to a lack of available scientific data.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ptychopetalum
http://www.rain-tree.com/muirapuama.htm#.VsFcAipTffI
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12895682
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_LMN.htm
http://www.foodsforliving.com/ns/DisplayMonograph.asp?storeID=F491B142FA784F2CBDF1E053A643A6A7&DocID=bottomline-muirapuama

Advertisements

Guarana

Botanical Name: Paullinia cupana
Family: Sapindaceae
Genus: Paullinia
Species: P. cupana
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Sapindales

Synonyms: Paullinia. Guarana Bread. Brazilian Cocoa. Uabano. Uaranzeiro. Paullinia Sorbilis.

Part Used: Prepared seeds, crushed.

Habitat: Guarana is native to the Amazon basin and especially common in Brazil.

Description:
Guarana is a climbing shrub took the name of its genus from C. F. Paullini, a German medical botanist who died 1712. It has divided compound leaves, flowers yellow panicles, fruit pear shaped, three sided, three-celled capsules, with thin partitions, in each a seed like a small horse-chestnut half enclosed in an aril, flesh coloured and easily separated when dried. The seeds of Guarana are often used or mixed with those of P. Cupana. Guarana is only made by the Guaranis, a tribe of South American Indians..……….click  &  see the pictures

(Note: Marcos Garcia, Embrapa-CPAA, Manaus Amazonas, Brazil, also points out “The origin habitat of Guarana is the Amazon Region. But actually it is cultivated in others locations at Southest of Brazil.” – editor HTML version – A MODERN HERBAL)

After the seeds are shelled and washed they are roasted for six hours, then put into sacks and shaken till their outside shell comes off, they are then pounded into a fine powder and made into a dough with water, and rolled into cylindrical pieces 8 inches long; these are then dried in the sun or over a slow fire, till they became very hard and are then a rough and reddish-brown colour, marbled with the seeds and testa in the mass. They break with an irregular fracture, have little smell, taste astringent, and bitter like chocolate without its oiliness, and in colour like chocolate powder; it swells up and partially dissolves in water.

Guarana features large leaves and clusters of flowers, and is best known for the seeds from its fruit, which are about the size of a coffee bean.

Edible Uses:
As a dietary supplement, guarana is an effective stimulant: its seeds contain about twice the concentration of caffeine found in coffee seeds (about 2–4.5% caffeine in guarana seeds compared to 1–2% for coffee seeds).As with other plants producing caffeine, the high concentration of caffeine is a defensive toxin that repels herbivores from the berry and its seeds.

Guarana is used in sweetened or carbonated soft drinks and energy shots, an ingredient of herbal teas or contained in capsules. Generally, South America obtains most of its caffeine from guarana.

Constituents: A crystallizable principle, called guaranine, identical with caffeine, which exists in the seeds, united with tannic acid, catechutannic acid starch, and a greenish fixed oil.

Medicinal Uses:
Nervine, tonic, slightly narcotic stimulant, aphrodisiac febrifuge. A beverage is made from the guaran sticks, by grating half a tablespoonful into sugar and water and drinking it like tea. The Brazilian miners drink this constantly and believe it to be a preventive of many diseases, as well as a most refreshing beverage. Their habit in travelling is to carry the stick or a lump of it in their pockets, with a palate bone or scale of a large fish with which to grate it. P. Cupana is also a favourite national diet drink, the seeds are mixed with Cassava and water, and left to ferment until almost putrid, and in this state it is the favourite drink of the Orinoco Indians. From the tannin it contains it is useful for mild forms of leucorrhoea, diarrhoea, etc., but its chief use in Europe and America is for headache, especially if of a rheumatic nature. It is a gentle excitant and serviceable where the brain is irritated or depressed by mental exertion, or where there is fatigue or exhaustion from hot weather. It has the same chemical composition as caffeine, theine and cocaine, and the same physiological action. Its benefit is for nervous headache or the distress that accompanies menstruation, or exhaustion following dissipation. It is not recommended for chronic headache or in cases where it is not desirable to increase the temperature, or excite the heart or increase arterial tension. Dysuria often follows its administration. It is used by the Indians for bowel complaints, but is not indicated in cases of constipation or blood pressure.
In the United States, guarana has received the designation of “generally recognized as safe” by the American Food and Drug Administration.

Preliminary research has shown guarana may affect how quickly the body perceives itself to be full. One study showed an average 5 kg (11 lb) weight loss in a group taking a mixture of yerba mate, guarana, and damiana, compared to an average one-pound loss in a placebo group after 45 days. Although inconclusive about specific effects due only to guarana, this study differs from another showing no effect on body weight of a formula containing guarana.

Guarana extract reduced aggregation of rabbit platelets by up to 37 percent below control values and decreased platelet thromboxane formation from arachidonic acid by 78 percent below control values. It is not known if such platelet action has any effect on the risk of heart attack or ischemic stroke.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guarana
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/g/guaran43.html