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Guaraná

Uses

Botanical names:
Paullinia cupana

Parts Used & Where Grown

Guaraná is an evergreen vine indigenous to the Amazon basin. The vast majority of guaraná is grown in a small area in northern Brazil. Guaraná gum or paste is derived from the seeds and is used in herbal preparations.

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Our proprietary “Star-Rating” system was developed to help you easily understand the amount of scientific support behind each supplement in relation to a specific health condition. While there is no way to predict whether a vitamin, mineral, or herb will successfully treat or prevent associated health conditions, our unique ratings tell you how well these supplements are understood by the medical community, and whether studies have found them to be effective for other people.

For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being.

3 Stars Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.

2 Stars Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.

1 Star For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.

This supplement has been used in connection with the following health conditions:

Used for Why
1 Star
Athletic Performance
Refer to label instructions
Some athletes take guaraná, which contains caffeine, during their training, although there is no scientific research to support this use.
Some athletes take guaraná during their training; however, there is no scientific research to support this use. Guaraná contains caffeine. Another caffeine-containing herb sometimes used during training is kola nut.
1 Star
Fatigue
Refer to label instructions
Guaraná contains caffeine, and the indigenous people of the Amazon rain forest have used crushed guaraná seed as a beverage and a medicine to decrease fatigue.
Caffeine and the closely related alkaloids theobromine and theophylline make up the primary active constituents in guaraná. Caffeine’s effects are well known and include stimulating the central nervous system, increasing metabolic rate, and having a mild diuretic effect. The indigenous people of the Amazon rain forest have used crushed guaraná seed as a beverage and a medicine to treat diarrhea, decrease fatigue, reduce hunger, and to help arthritis.2
1 Star
Obesity
Refer to label instructions
Guaraná contains caffeine and the closely related alkaloids theobromine and theophylline, these compounds may curb appetite and increase weight loss.
The herb guaraná contains caffeine and the closely related alkaloids theobromine and theophylline; these compounds may curb appetite and increase weight loss. Caffeine’s effects are well known and include central nervous system stimulation, increased metabolic rate, and a mild diuretic effect.3 In a double-blind trial, 200 mg per day of caffeine was, however, no more effective than a placebo in promoting weight loss.4 Because of concerns about potential adverse effects, many doctors do not advocate using caffeine or caffeine-like substances to reduce weight.

Traditional Use (May Not Be Supported by Scientific Studies)

The indigenous people of the Amazon rain forest have used crushed guaraná seed as a beverage and a medicine. Guaraná was used to treat diarrhea, decrease fatigue, reduce hunger, and to help arthritis.1 It also has a history of use in treating hangovers from alcohol abuse and headaches related to menstruation.

How It Works

Botanical names:
Paullinia cupana

How It Works

Caffeine and the closely related alkaloids theobromine and theophylline make up the primary active constituents in guaraná. Caffeine’s effects are well known and include stimulating the central nervous system, increasing metabolic rate, and having a mild diuretic effect.5 One preliminary trial found no significant actions on thinking or mental function in humans taking guaraná.6 Guaraná also contains tannins, which act as astringents and may prevent diarrhea. However, this action has not been studied in human clinical trials.

How to Use It

A cup of guaraná, prepared by adding 1/4–1/2 teaspoon (1–2 grams) of crushed seed or resin to 1 cup (250 ml) of water and boiling for ten minutes, can be consumed three times per day.7 Each cup may provide up to 50 mg of caffeine.

Interactions

Botanical names:
Paullinia cupana

Interactions with Supplements, Foods, & Other Compounds

At the time of writing, there were no well-known supplement or food interactions with this supplement.

Interactions with Medicines

Certain medicines interact with this supplement.

Types of interactions: Beneficial Adverse Check

Replenish Depleted Nutrients

  • none

Reduce Side Effects

  • none

Support Medicine

  • none

Reduces Effectiveness

  • none

Potential Negative Interaction

  • none

Explanation Required

  • Caffeine

    Guaraná (Paullinia cupana) is a plant with a high caffeine content. Combining caffeine drug products and guaraná increases caffeine-induced side effects.

The Drug-Nutrient Interactions table may not include every possible interaction. Taking medicines with meals, on an empty stomach, or with alcohol may influence their effects. For details, refer to the manufacturers’ package information as these are not covered in this table. If you take medications, always discuss the potential risks and benefits of adding a supplement with your doctor or pharmacist.

Side Effects

Botanical names:
Paullinia cupana

Side Effects

As with any caffeinated product, guaraná may cause insomnia, trembling, anxiety, palpitations, and urinary frequency.8 Guaraná should be avoided during pregnancy and breast-feeding.

References

1. Duke JA. CRC Handbook of Medicinal Herbs. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 1985, 349.

2. Duke JA. CRC Handbook of Medicinal Herbs. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 1985, 349.

3. Leung A, Foster S. Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients Used in Food, Drugs, and Cosmetics, 2d ed. NewYork: John Wiley & Sons, 1996, 293–4.

4. Astrup A, Breum L, Toubro S, et al. The effect and safety of an ephedrine/caffeine compound compared to ephedrine, caffeine and placebo in obese subjects on an energy restricted diet. A double blind trial. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord 1992;16:269–77.

5. Leung AY, Foster S. Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients Used in Food, Drugs, and Cosmetics, 2d ed. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1996, 293–4.

6. Galduroz JC, Carlini EA. The effects of long-term administration of guaraná on the cognition of normal, elderly volunteers. Rev Paul Med 1996;114:1073–8.

7. Duke JA. CRC Handbook of Medicinal Herbs. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 1985, 349.

8. Gruenwald J, Brendler T, Jaenicke C, et al. (eds). PDR for Herbal Medicines. Montvale, NJ: Medical Economics, 1998, 1017–8.

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