Of all the medicinal plants found in the Brazilian rainforest, Guaranà (Paullinia Cupana) is one of the most well-known and underestimated. Other common names of this plant are Brazilian cacao or guaranà bread. It has been known to rainforest dwellers since time immemorial and found its way to Europe via explorers towards the end of the 17th century.

This extraordinary plant takes its name from a native word meaning 'secret eyes'. Anyone who has been lucky enough to see the guarana plant growing will know why. The fruits of this lush shrub hang together in large clusters like bright red grapes. The red skins burst open and emit white seeds with a dark core Walking through the forest it's like having a million eyes staring at you.

For millennia, Guaraná has been more than just food and useful medicine for the Maués-Saterés Indians. They consider it a gift from the gods. Cultivation, production and use of Guaranà are linked to ancient myths and rituals. To the Native Americans, the medicinal value of this plant and its ability to stimulate the brain and keep the body active and vital is nothing short of a miracle.
It takes alertness and strength to survive in the hot, humid, and hostile environment they inhabit. The Indians rely on Guaranà, which they believe aids them in their ongoing struggle against the jungle. Since big cities can also be viewed as a kind of jungle, the same applies to civilized realms.

The Indian tradition passed down through the generations tells of the origins of the Guaranà: Far back in the mists of time, a boy was born to the tribe. He was no ordinary child, but gifted like never before - so much so that he aroused the envy of the forest spirits, one of whom slew the boy in the depths of the forest. The child prodigy's body was ceremonially carried to his home village and embalmed, but his eyes were buried in the forest floor. In this place, a Guaranà sprout sprang from the earth and brought the gift of perpetual vigilance and constant attention to mankind - the only means of surviving despite the hardships and dangers of the Brazilian rainforest.

But what is it that makes this plant so valuable to humans?

First of all, the guarana plant is a marvel of evolution. She survived by embracing and climbing the giant trees of the Amazon jungle in her thirst for sunlight. The Native Americans managed to tame this vigorous climber and over the centuries they cultivated it into a hardy, strong shrub. They rescued it from the forest and planted it in the clearing islands of their villages. Because the guarana bush grew here, they could harvest a valuable crop of seeds without having to scale the huge trees, whose crowns often spread as little as sixty meters above the ground. This "elixir of eternal youth", as the Indians call it, presents scientists with a paradox. The natives use it for a number of conflicting purposes: it increases physical performance and reduces appetite; it is an effective remedy for diarrhea and also helps with constipation; it tolerates heat and humidity better and is valued as a cooling, refreshing drink.

As early as 1893, the following entry on the subject of "health" was found in Everybody's Pocket Cyclopaedia, a reference work of which 560,00 copies were sold in Great Britain within a few years:

"Megrim or Headache with Nausea: There are several types of Megrim, the most common forms being hemicrania, blindness headache and biliary headache. This condition is more common in women than men, with the first attack often occurring around the age of ten. The attacks usually come once or twice a month and may last from two to four days; during this time they expose the patient completely
battle. Sometimes they are accompanied by attacks of double vision, and sometimes they end with a period of severe nausea. It is not uncommon for them to be accompanied by neuralgia, and many of the remedies recommended for Megrim are also suitable for treating nerve pain. The susceptibility to the attack depends largely on the general state of health. The symptoms are much more common when the patient is malnourished, lacks exercise or suffers from constipation. One of the best medicines for this ailment is Guarana, or Brazilian cacao, which should be given in doses of five grains three times a day.”

One of the main components of Guaranà is the chemical compound called "guaranine". This compound consists of tannins and caffeine bound to them. Attempts have been made to use the isolated active substance (e.g. extracted, pure caffeine) as medicine. The tannin-caffeine compound called guaranine has not been individually extracted and isolated as such. The wisdom of the natives has proved to be correct. Natives only use whole seeds and there are no side effects. Although the energizing properties are very similar to those of caffeine, when combined with the other components of the plant, they produce a gentle and long-lasting effect. Thanks to the relatively high tannin content, Guaranà is also very suitable for the treatment of diarrhea and digestive problems. More importantly, Guaranà contains powerful sapoņins similar to those found in ginseng. They act as a counterbalance to the stimulation provided by the guaranine.

Studies on guaraná


Theophylline, Theobromine, Adenine, Allantoin, Alphacopaene, Anethole, Caffeine, Carvacrol,
caryophyllene, catechins, choline, dimethylbenzene, dimethylpropylphenol, estragole, guanine,
Hypoxanthines, Mucilag, Proanthocyanidins, Protein, Salicylic Acid, Tannin and Xanthine.

Hence the wide range of possible applications:

  • Slows down the aging process
  • Improves memory performance
  • Has a mood-enhancing effect
  • Helps in the muscular area
  • Pure sun dried
  • Gidranà
  • Keeps you awake and alert for 4-6 hours
  • From Brazil with Porquéñao Society
  • http://guaranin.neuroplastic.info
  • For the references see supplement with studies.

The study by Meyer & Ball (2004), University of Tasmania, Australia, shows that alertness/alertness, measured by test results, is significantly better after drinking guaraná than after drinking coffee. Above all, this study shows that this effect increases the longer the test lasts. The greatest difference in results was achieved after more than 2.5 hours. An indication that the active substances contained in Guarana are released into the body more slowly and gently than in coffee.

The natives of the rainforests of Brazil spoke of Guaraná as the elixir of youth. Guaraná is often used in anti-wrinkle face creams.
A 1998 study by Dr. Mattei from the University of Sao Paulo shows that guarana has an antioxidant effect. This means that cell aging is slowed down.
A study by Prof.-Basile from the University of Naples in 2005 shows two things: On the one hand, G. had an antibacterial effect and, on the other hand, after administration of G., the chemical reaction of proteins (cell aging) was reduced by up to 62.5%.
The most recent study (200) by Dr. Fukumatsu from the University of Sao Paulo shows that the DNA damage caused by a specific poison (cigarette smoke) could be reduced by 52.54% by the administration of G.

Students use G. mainly during the learning phase before exams and during exams. G. should soon find its way into the hectic business world.
The most recent study (2006) by Dr. Haskell of Newcastle University underlines the positive spiritual effect of G. on humans. This study also underlines the long-term effect.
Studies by Dr. Espinola from 1997 show that memory performance improved after taking G. in the areas of concentration, memory and endurance.
A study by Dr. Kennedy, University of Newcastle2004 shows that taking G. improved attention and shortened the time it took to recall stored information.

G. was on the doping list until 2004 because of its effects. G. Besides caffeine, it has even more ingredients to offer and seems to lead to clear increases in performance both in the anaerobic area (ice hockey, strength training, generally in sports with short, intense pressure to perform) and in the endurance area.
A study by Williams MH. From 1998 shows that caffeine affects the central nervous system and adipose tissue. This improves the mental state, in addition, the fatty acid oxidation is improved.
Another study by Dr. Espinola from 1997 shows that under stressful conditions physical performance could be significantly increased by taking G., whereas giving coffee or ginseng was not associated with an increase in physical performance.
Performance advantages can be identified above all in endurance sports and sports with anaerobic stress (energy production without oxygen).
Dr. Lima of the biomedical institute in Sao Paulo showed that after 14 days of taking G. the glycogen reserves contained in the muscle were greater than in the comparison groups. At the same time, there was a reduction in the fat content in the muscles.

The study by Dr. Haskell from the University of Newcastle (2006) shows in a double-blind study that taking G. has a mood-enhancing effect. In Brazil, G. is prescribed as a mild antidepressant.

A study by Dr. Bydlowski from the University of Sao Paulo (1988) shows that the clumping of blood platelets, i.e. thrombosis, is prevented.
dr Because Fonseca and independently Dr. Morton were able to show that already existing thromboses could be broken down by G.
The study by Dr. Campos from the University of Fortaleza (2003) shows that G. has a preventive effect on acute damage to the stomach caused by ethanol.

Credits (references):
Bastile, A., et al. Antibacterial and antioxidant activities of ethanol extract from Paullinia cupana.
Mart. In: J. Ethnopharmacol, 2005 Oct. 102(1): 32-6
Bydlowski. S. P., et al.
A novel property of an aqueous Guaraná extract (Paullinia cupana): Inhibition of platelet
aggregation in vitro and in vivo. In: Braz. J. Med. Biol Res. 1988; 21(3): 535-38
Campos, A. R., et. al.
Acute effects of Guaraná (Paullinia cupana Mart.) on mouse behaviour in forced swimming and
open field tests. In: Phytother. Res. 2005; 19(5): 441-3
Da Fonseca, C. A., et. al.
Genotoxic and mutogenic effects of Guaraná (P. c.) in prokaryotic organisms. In: Mutat. Res. 1994;
321(3): 165-73
Espinola, E. B.., et. al. Pharamcological activity of Guaraná (Paullinia cupana Mart.) in laboratory
animals. In: J. Ethnopharmacol, 1997 Feb: 55(3):223-9
H., et. al. Protective effects of Guaraná (Paullinia cupana Mart. Var. Sorbilis)m against
DEN-induced DNA damage on mouse liver. In: Food Chem. Toxicol. 2006 Jun; 44(6): 862-7
Haskell, C. F., et. al. A double-blind, placebo-controlled, multi-dose evaluation of the acute
behavioural effects of Guaraná in humans. In: J. Psychopharmacol, 2007; 21(1): 65-70
Kennedy, D. O. et. al. Improved cognitive performance in human voluteers following
administration of Guaraná extract: comparison and interaction with Panax ginseng. In: Pharmacol.
Biochem. Behav. 2004 Nov; 79(3): 401-11
Lima, W. P.., et. al. Lipid metabolism in trained rats: Effect of Guaraná supplementation. In: Clin.
Nutr. 2005 Dec; 24(6): 1019-28
Mattei, R., Dias, R. F., Espinola, E. B., Carlini, E. A. And Barros, S. B. (1998) Guaraná (Paullinia
cupana): toxic behavioural effects in laboratory animals and antioxidanits activity in vitro. In: J.
Ethnopharmacol. Mar: 60(2): 111-6
Meyer, Katherine & Ball, Peter Psychological and cardiovascular Effects of Guaraná and Yerba
Mate: A Comparison with Coffee. In: Revista Ineramericana de Psicologia, enero-juno, Ano/vol. 38,
numero 001, Brasil, 2004.
Williams, Melvin H., Ph. D. The Engogenics Edge: Pushing the Limits of Sports Performance. In:
Human Kinetics. Champaign, IL: 1998.


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