Herbs > Guarana (Paullinia Cupana)
Also called Brazilian cocoa or zoom, Guarana has become popular in
the West in recent times, where it is often added to
trendy energy drinks. However, it has been used as
such for centuries by Amazon tribes, who make a type
of tea from the ground seeds of the guarana plant.
The guarana plant is native to the Amazon rain
forests. It is named after the Guaranis, an Amazonian
tribe noted for their use of the herb. Guarana has a
higher caffeine content than coffee, but in this form
the caffeine takes longer to absorb, providing more
Pure guarana is widely available from health stores,
pharmacies and supermarkets in the form of capsules
and powder. The powder can be made into a tea-like
drink by mixing it with hot water.
Either the tea or the capsules
are frequently taken to enhance the state of the
body. Guarana relieves fatigue, aids concentration
and improves the mood. It will also improve stamina,
and has been used for this purpose by professional
athletes. Like b coffee, however, it will make
one nervous and edgy.
Amazon tribes traditionally
used guarana to guard against malaria and dysentery.
They also used it as an aphrodisiac. Given that it
improves the mood and increases ones energy, it
is probably somewhat effective for this purpose.
Individuals suffering from hypertension of
cardiovascular disease should avoid guarana.
Excessive use of guarana can
cause caffeine dependency and damage the nervous
system. It is recommended that no more than 2
capsules be taken in any 6 hour period, and that the
dosage only be used occasionally.
Guarana can be used socially as a type of herbal
high. It is frequently used to invigorate the body,
allowing the user to be awake and energized all
night. Commercially available energy drinks are ideal
for this purpose. A tasty alternative to energy
drinks is guarana chocolate. This is made by melting
chocolate at a low setting in the microwave, or in a
bowl over hot water. Once thoroughly melted, stir in
guarana powder. The amount can be varied depending on
the strength desired. Pour the melted chocolate into
a dish, allow to set, and then cut into pieces. The
caffeine traces in the chocolate, as well as the high
sugar content, will boost the effects of the guarana.
Guarana requires a hot moist environment. It will
not grow at temperatures of less than 18░C. In the
right conditions, it will propagate from cuttings.
The seeds are harvested when ripe, then ground and
stored either as a paste or as a powder.
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