Botanical Name: Paullinia cupana
Species: P. cupana
Synonyms: Paullinia. Guarana Bread. Brazilian Cocoa. Uabano. Uaranzeiro. Paullinia Sorbilis.
Part Used: Prepared seeds, crushed.
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.
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.
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.