Habitat & Cultivation : Indigenous to the tropical forests of the Brazilian Amazon, guarana is also actively cultivated in Brazil. The harvesting of seeds occurs when they reach full ripeness.
Parts Used : Seeds
Constituents : Guarana contains xanthine derivatives (including up to 7% caffeine, together with theobromine and theophylline), tannins and saponins. The xanthines are stimulant, diuretic and reduce fatigue over the short term.
History & Folklore : In Brazil, the customary method of preparing guarana involves roasting, crushing, and drying the seeds. These processed seeds, often formed into “cakes,” are utilized to make tea. This tea is commonly consumed to alleviate fatigue or address diarrhea. In recent times, guarana has gained popularity as a substitute for coffee.
Medicinal Actions & Uses : The medicinal applications of guarana resemble those of coffee (Coffea arabica, p. 192). It is often taken to alleviate headaches and migraines, address mild depression, and enhance energy levels. Similar to the concerns associated with prolonged or excessive coffee consumption, guarana shares the tendency to provide short-term stimulation while potentially inhibiting the body’s restorative processes in the long run. Given guarana’s elevated tannin content, prolonged usage is cautioned against, as tannins may hinder the absorption of nutrients in the intestines. Despite these considerations, guarana remains a valuable remedy for short-term energy boosts and the treatment of tension headaches that may not be relieved by rest. Additionally, guarana’s astringent properties make it effective in addressing chronic diarrhea.