Guarana (Paullinia cupana)
This is the famed tonic of the Brazilian Amazon and one of the few crops of Amazonia with positive ecological status. Natives take guarana (Paullinia cupana) daily as an energizer in much the same way Westerners enjoy coffee. Purchasing this product supports the peoples and habitats of the Amazon!
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 traditional foods, drinks, and medicines. Guaraná contains caffeine and the rainforest tribes have used the fruit mainly as a source of energy.
If using prescription medications, seek the advice of a health care professional before using this product. Not to be taken during pregnancy or if breastfeeding. Not for use by persons under the age of 18 years. Keep out of reach of children.
The Plant Itself
Guarana is a creeping shrub native to the Amazon (and particularly the regions of Manaus and Parintins). In the lushness of the Brazilian Amazon where it originates, it often grows to 12 m high. The fruit is small, round, bright-red in color, and grows in clusters. As it ripens, the fruit splits and a black seed emerges - giving it the appearance of an "eye" about which Indians tell legends.
Study began in earnest in the 1940s by Europeans who had discovered Guarana in their travels. The native uses for this seed were staggering; from curing fevers, headaches and cramps, to its main use within indigenous populations and worldwide today; as a powerful stimulant that isn't as jittery as caffeine.
One quick perusal of various websites and it becomes clear that many believe Guaran can be used to increase mental alertness, as well as fight fatigue, but can also elevate stamina. It's even become a main ingredient in sports energy drinks and a growing number of non-prescription "sex pills" on the market. .
Indigenous South American tribes and the general South American population, much like Maca, take Guarana on a daily basis. It's their Monster Energy Drink, their Coca Cola, or their daily cup of coffee. Literature states that among the medical uses they revere Guarana for, they have traditionally used it to fight fatigue. More covertly, though, many believe that it effectively fights aging, and that it has the power to detoxify the blood, giving this plant the title of "adaptogen"; a moniker that tonics such as Ginseng and Maca have long carried.
Guaraná Soda! is the national drink of Brazil, and contains a very healthy dose of Guarana as its main ingredient.
According to RainTree, 80% of the world's commercial production of guarana paste occurs smack dab in the center of the Brazilian Amazon rainforest, and is grown and harvested by the Guarani Indians. They still wildcraft the seeds and process them into guarana paste by hand. Now, the government, realizing the importance of this exportable cash crop, have employed indigenous people to collect, harvest and process Guarana seeds. In Manaus, many cooperatives support indigenous tribal economies through the harvesting and production of guarana, allowing the indigenous populations to buy their land back from the government, or allow them to protect their land from the government taking it away from them.