Common name: Guarana
Part used: Seeds
Habitat and Description: Guarana is a climbing shrub native to South America, most notably Paraguay. It has divided compound leaves, flowers yellow panicles, pear shaped fruit which isthree sided, three-celled capsules with thin partitions, in each a seed like a small horse-chestnut half enclosed in an aril, flesh coloured and easily separated when dried.
History and Folklore: Guarana comes from the indigenous Paraguayan languages Guaraní and Tupi-Guaraní word 'guara-ná', which roughly translates as 'fruit like the eyes of people'. Guarana has a rich folklore and spiritual significance in Guaraní and Tupi cultures. The myth surrounding wild and domesticated guarana centres around a deity killing a beloved local child. To attempt to console the villagers, a kinder deity planted the right eye of the child in the village, giving rise to domesticated guarana, and the left eye in the forest, giving rise to the wild variety of the plant. Guarana is traditionally made into guarana bread, which is a cylindrical roll of powdered guarana seed paste, which is then made into a sweetened tea. This indigenous method of preparation and traditional uses of guarana spread with the advance of colonialism and recipe for guarana bread is even found in the classic 20th Century herbal 'A Modern Herbal' by Mrs. Grieve..
Constituents: Alkaloids inluding caffeine (significant levels, up to 5%), theobromine, theophylline, guaranine, tannins, catechutannic acid starch, fixed oil
Actions: Central nervous system stimulant, cardiac stimulant, short acting diuretic, vasodilator, smooth muscle relaxant, laxative, antioxidant (up to four times thr antioxidant levels compared with green tea, but much more stimulating), febrifuge, aphrodisiac, nervine tonic,
Traditional and current uses:
- To increase stamina and alertness, short term memory and task orientation in the short term
- To clear the mind and energise the body, a different effect to coffee
- Type 2 diabetes and other conditions of oxidative stress
- Apathy, drowsiness, brain fog, mental exhaustion, sluggish digestion and mind, fatigue in hot weather (short term relief)
- For headache (not chronic), may be alongside aspirin to increase it's short term symptomatic relief
- Rheumatic pain
- Menstrual headache with fatigue and mental irritation
Disclaimer: The information on this website is provided for educational use only, and is not intended as a replacement for the services of a qualified medical herbalist, doctor or licensed health practitioner. The information contained herein is not diagnostic, always consult a medical health professional before embarking on a treatment programme. Urban Fringe Dispensary disclaims any liability, loss, injury or damage incurred as a consequence of the use and application of the advice given herein.