Guarana Seed and Powder Profile
Also known as
Also known as- Paulinia cupana, Brazilian cocoa
Guarana is a name that has become extremely familiar in the mainstream consumer world as a caffeine substitute in an ever widening list of "energy drinks". A native evergreen sprawling, shrub like vine of the Amazon region, the guarana tree produces red berries that have been used like coffee in its native Brazil for centuries. When ripe, the berries split open at the end and look like a human eyeball (it's actually quite eerie to see.) A legend of the Satare-Maure Indians of Brazil tells that a beautiful woman named Onhiamuacabe gave birth to a child whose father was said to be a "mysterious being". The child was eventually put to death for eating some type of forbidden nuts. At his burial site a guarana bush began to grow from his eye. Native Indians still consider the effects of guarana to be supernatural in nature. The seeds of the berry are dried, roasted and then brewed to make a drink that is at first bitter and slightly astringent, then sweet. Traditional uses for guarana include stimulating the digestive system, reducing fever and treating migraines. Older texts contain reference to a substance called guaranine, said to be chemically identical to caffeine. More recently, many chemists argue that the substance IS caffeine, making guarana the highest source of caffeine available in nature. Guarana seeds contain 2.5 times the amount of caffeine than coffee does. Others state that guaranine is similar to caffeine, but is tolerated better by the body because it is not water soluble and is therefore released into the bloodstream more slowly.
guaranine and the alkaloids theobromine and theophylline, caffeine
Brewed as a tea, in food and snack items, added to coffee, as a capsule, and in extract form.
The first record for use for guarana is from the writings of a Jesuit priest in 1669, who traveled to visit the Maure Indians deep in the Amazon. They were using it as a daily tonic that they believed to help prevent malaria and dysentery, a belief that is still held to this day. It was cultivated by the indigenous peoples as far back as Pre-Columbian times, and was first commercialized for use in 1958. Guarana shows many promising health benefits, though research is ongoing. Guarana is rich in anti-oxidants, and is thought to help strengthen the heart, clean the blood and cool the body down.
Guarana is a central nervous system stimulant similar to coffee, but stronger. Anyone who has been advised to avoid coffee should avoid guarana, though it is rated GRAS by the FDA (generally regarded as safe). It's long term use is not recommended and it is to be avoided while pregnant.
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.