Guarana | What is Guarana fruit | Uses of Guarana fruit | What are the Health Benefits of Guarana fruit | Nutritional Value of Guarana fruit
Guarana (pronounced /ˌɡwɑrəˈnɑː/, from the Portuguese guaraná, Paullinia cupana (syn. P. crysan, P. sorbilis) is a climbing plant in the maple family, Sapindaceae, native to the Amazon basin and especially common in Brazil. Guarana features large leaves and clusters of flowers, and is best known for its fruit, which is about the size of a coffee bean. As a dietary supplement, guarana is an effective energy booster: it contains about twice the caffeine found in coffee beans (about 2–4.5% caffeine in guarana seeds compared to 1–2% for coffee beans).
As with other plants producing caffeine, the high concentration of caffeine is a defensive toxin that repels pathogens from the berry and its seeds.
The guarana fruit’s color ranges from brown to red and contains black seeds which are partly covered by white arils. The color contrast when the fruit has been split open has been likened to eyeballs; this has formed the basis of a myth.
* Sticks were initially used by Indians, who grated the stick using the sharp, rasp like, tongue of the Pirarucu fish. The grated powder was then mixed into a drink with water and sugar.
* The sticks are also used by the Satarê-Mawé tribe and its descendants who use it to make moulded figures, which are a popular item with tourists.
* The powder is widely available and can be mixed with water or fruit juice and some sugar in the same way.
* In Europe, guaraná was first marketed as an alternative, medicinal plant from the Amazon, beneficial to the overall health and the powder for was (and still is) sold in health shops.
* Some retailers promote it as an afrodisiac, however, there is not much evidence for this at the moment.
* More recently, guaraná has been discovered as an alternative ‘smart drug’ in the house/rave scene and some (expensive) drinks have come on the market. These drinks bear, as far as I have experienced, no resemblance with the Brazilian style softdrink. Some see guaraná as ‘mind expanding’, but the only effect it has is similar to that of caffeine and a strong cup of coffee would probably provide more caffeine at a lower price.
* Even guaraná cigarettes were seen, with a logo that resembles a hemp plant on the packet. This is a very strange use of guaraná and it is doubtful that it will have either the suggested ‘mind altering’ effect or be much beneficial to ones health. If someone does know more about this, please let me know.
* The syrup is used for the manufacture of carbonated soft drinks, which are very popular in Brazil. It is usually one of the things Brazilians miss when they are abroad.
This variety is what inspired these pages, so they might be slightly biased to the soft drinks.
>> Guarana should not be used by people who are sensitive to caffeine or xanthines.
>> People with heart conditions, diabetes, high blood pressure, epilepsy, overactive thyroid, anxiety, insomnia, and kidney disease should only use guarana under the supervision of their doctor.
>> The safety of guarana in pregnant or nursing women has not been established. Since many doctors recommend limiting caffeine during pregnancy and nursing, guarana should be avoided because caffeine content differs from product to product and it isn’t possible for consumers to accurately estimate how much caffeine they are consuming through guarana.
>> Guarana should not be taken with any products containing ephedra. Serious adverse effects have been reported with this combination. It may increase the risk of stroke, hemorrhage, myocardial infarction, and sudden death and has been associated with increases in heart rate, blood pressure, and potentially harmful changes in glucose and potassium levels.
>> A report published in the Journal of Herbal Pharmacotherapy described the case of a heart rhythm abnormality called premature ventricular contraction associated with two herbal supplements that both contained large doses of guarana.
>> Initial symptoms of guarana overdose include difficulty urinating, vomiting, and abdominal cramps and spasms. If you suspect a guarana overdose, seek medical attention immediately.
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