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Guarana

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  • Botanical: Paullinia cupana
  • Family: Sapindaceae
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Guarana

Botanical

Paullinia cupana

Family

Sapindaceae

Known as

Guaraná, Paullinia sorbilis

Old Use

medical, culinary

Parts Used

fruit, seed

Medicinal

anxiety, asthma, bladder disease, bladder weakness, diarrhea, fatigue, fever, flatulence, flu, migraine, nausea, neuralgia, neurasthenia

Heart & Circulation

arteriosclerosis

Infection & Inflammation

fever, flu

Muscle & Joints

joint inflammation, joint pain

Mind & Nerves

fatigue (exhaustion), neuralgia, neurasthenia

Respiratory System

cough

Stomach & Intestinal

diarrhea, stomach complaints

Skin & Hair

hair loss

Properties

anti inflammatory, astringent

Description

This climbing shrub 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.

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.

Properties & Uses

Guaraná is used and well known for its stimulant and thermogenic action. In the United States today, guaraná is reputed to increase mental alertness, fight fatigue, and increase stamina and physical endurance. Presently, guaraná is taken daily as a health tonic by millions of Brazilians, who believe it helps overcome heat fatigue, combats premature aging, detoxifies the blood, and is useful for intestinal gas, obesity, dyspepsia, fatigue, and arteriosclerosis. The plant, considered an adaptogen, is also used for heart problems, fever, headaches, migraine, neuralgia, and diarrhea. Guaraná has been used in body care products for its tonifying and astringent properties, and to reduce cellulite. Guaraná also has been used as an ingredient in shampoos for oily hair and as a ingredient in hair-loss products. In Peru the seed is used widely for neuralgia, diarrhea, dysentery, fatigue, obesity, cellulite, heart problems, hypertension, migraine, and rheumatism.

Cautions

Guarana is POSSIBLY SAFE for pregnant and breast feeding women when taken in amounts commonly found in foods. If you are pregnant or breast-feeding, guarana should be taken with caution due to the caffeine content. Small amounts are probably not harmful. However, taking guarana in high doses by mouth is POSSIBLY UNSAFE. Consuming more than 200 mg has been linked to an increased risk of miscarriage and other negative effects. Anxiety: The caffeine in guarana might make feelings of anxiety worse. Bleeding disorders: There is some evidence suggesting that the caffeine in guarana might make bleeding disorders worse, although this has not been reported in people. If you have a bleeding disorder, check with your healthcare provider before starting guarana. Diabetes: Some research suggests that the caffeine in guarana may affect the way people with diabetes process sugar (glucose) and may complicate blood sugar control. There is also some interesting research that suggests caffeine may enhance the warning symptoms of low blood sugar in patients with type 1 diabetes. Some studies show that the symptoms of low blood sugar are more intense when they start in the absence of caffeine, but as low blood sugar continues, symptoms are greater with caffeine. This might increase the ability of diabetic patients to detect and treat low blood sugar. However, the downside is that caffeine might actually increase the number of low-sugar episodes. If you have diabetes, talk with your healthcare provider before starting guarana. Diarrhea. Guarana contains caffeine. The caffeine in guarana, especially when taken in large amounts, can worsen diarrhea. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS): Guarana contains caffeine. The caffeine in guarana, especially when taken in large amounts, can worsen diarrhea and might worsen symptoms of IBS. Heart disease: The caffeine in guarana might cause irregular heartbeat in certain people. Use with caution. High blood pressure: Taking guarana might raise blood pressure in people with high blood pressure due to its caffeine content. However, this effect might be less in people who are regular coffee-drinkers or otherwise use caffeine on a regular basis. Glaucoma: The caffeine in guarana increases the pressure inside the eye. The increase occurs within 30 minutes and lasts for at least 90 minutes after drinking caffeinated beverages. Osteoporosis: The caffeine in guarana can flush calcium out of the body through the kidneys. This calcium loss might help to weaken bones. To minimize this problem, don’t use more than 300 mg of caffeine per day. Taking calcium supplements may also help to offset these calcium losses. Postmenopausal women who have a genetic problem that affects how vitamin D is used by the body should use caffeine with caution.

Distribution

native to the Amazon basin and especially common in Brazil.

Constituents

The xanthine alkaloids (caffeine, theophylline, theobromine) are believed to contribute significantly to guaraná's therapeutic activity. In clinical studies, theophylline stimulates the heart and central nervous system, enhances alertness and alleviates fatigue. It also has strong diuretic activity and reduces constriction of the bronchials, making it useful in asthma. Theobromine has similar effects. Certainly many traditional uses of guaraná may be explained by its caffeine content. Among its many documented effects, caffeine has been shown to facilitate fat loss and reduce fatigue. The main chemicals found in guaraná are: adenine, allantoin, alpha-copaene, anethole, caffeine, carvacrol, caryophyllene, catechins, catechutannic acid, choline, dimethylbenzene, dimethylpropylphenol, estragole, glucose, guanine, hypoxanthine, limonene, mucilage, nicotinic acid, proanthocyanidins, protein, resin, salicylic acid, starch, sucrose, tannic acid, tannins, theobromine, theophylline, timbonine, and xanthine.

For educational purposes only This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.