Guarana (Paullinia cupana)
Usage / Preparation
This product is not sold or intended for the purpose of human consumption or cosmetic use. Any information provided about this product on this website, including any links to external websites, are solely intended for historical, scientific and educational purposes and must not be interpreted as a recommendation for a specific use of the product. The statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and the product is not intended to "diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease." The use and application of this product, based on the historical and scientific context provided in the product descriptions and articles, is solely at the customer's risk. This product is a botanical specimen of ethnographic value and interest only and is delivered with no express or implied fitness for any purpose. The product descriptions are compiled from sources we deemed to be reliable up to the date it was written but may contain omissions or errors in fact, or become outdated. It outlines the documented history of uses but should no way be construed to make any medical claims about the ability or efficacy of any of these plants to treat, prevent or mitigate any disease or condition. Although a plant may have a long history of being used for a particular purpose, scientific evidence proving its efficacy for that purpose may be lacking.
Guarana seeds contain caffeine 0.9%-7.6% (called guaranine by the german botanist Theodore von Martius who isolated it). They also cantain Adenine, Catechutannic-acid, Choline, D-catechin, Guanine, Hypoxanthine, Mucilage, Saponin, Starch, Tannin, Theobromine, Theophylline, Timbonine, Xanthine (2).
The uses of this plant by the Amerindians predates the discovery of Brazil. South American Indian tribes (especially the Guaranis, from whence the plant's name is derived) dry and roast the seeds and mix them into a paste with water. They then use it much the same way as chocolate - to prepare various foods, drinks, and medicines. According to a myth dating back to the Sateré-Maué tribe, guarana's domestication originated with a deity killing a beloved village child. In order to console the villagers, a more benevolent god plucked the left eye from the child and planted it in the forest, resulting in the wild variety of guarana. The god then plucked the right eye from the child and planted it in the village, giving rise to domesticated guarana.
Over centuries the many benefits of guaraná have been passed on to explorers and settlers. This plant was introduced to western civilization in the 17th century following its discovery by Father Felip Betendorf. By 1958, guarana was commercialized. Eighty percent of the world's commercial production of guaraná paste is in the middle of the Amazon rainforest in northern Brazil - still performed by the Guarani Indians, who wild-harvest the seeds and process them into paste by hand. (1)(2)
Paullinia Cupana (Paullinia sorbilis) is a climbing, shrubby vine, growing in northern Brazil, in moist, sandy locations. The flexible stem is very long, and takes root readily wherever it touches the ground, so that a single plant often extends over considerable space. In the wild state the vine attaches itself to large trees, and the fruit is difficult to collect, and of small yield; the vine is cultivated without support. The leaves are alternate, stipulate, and consist each of 5 smooth leaflets. The flowers are small, numerous, and disposed in erect, axillary, close panicles; the sepals are 5, the petals are 4, and have each a large pubescent scale on the inside, near the base; the stamens are 8, attached to a thick column. The pistil has a 3-lobed ovary, and a sessile, 3-parted stigma. The fruit is pear-shaped, and generally has a single brownish seed attached to the base, and nearly filling the pericarp. (3)
This product is illegal or somehow problematic to send to the following countries. Click on the country link for further information.
(1) Guaraná, Raintree Plant Database
(2) Guarana, Wikipedia
(3) Guarana (U. S. P.)—Guarana. King's American Dispensatory, by Harvey Wickes Felter, M.D., and John Uri Lloyd, Phr. M., Ph. D., 1898
(4) Document: NL E4-0-C-REF, Netherlands Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport
|Paullinia cupana is a climbing shrub that grows wild in the Amazon regions of Brazil and Uruguay, where it was first used by the Quaramis, a native South American Tribe. Its main function was as a refreshing beverage. Guarana has been used for hundreds of years by Brazilian Indians as a general tonic for the body and as a source of energy. Studies(4) have shown that Guarana helps to reduce mental fatigue and contributes to the body's resistance to stress.|