Guarana Seed Extract Benefits: Energy Booster and Health Enhancer
Guarana extract comes from guarana seeds which were discovered in the 1700's by a german botanist named Theodore von Martius. Martius isolated a bitter, white crystalline substance which he named guaranine in a chemical examination of guarana seeds. Guaranine is a naturally occurring caffeine found in Guarana. What makes it different from the caffeine found in coffee is that it is bound to sugars, acidic compounds and soluble complexes which coffee caffeine loses in the roasting process.
The caffeine in coffee is a stimulant that can give you a false feeling of energy, causing your body to experience a "spike and crash" syndrome. For awhile you feel recharged but before you know it you crash. Scientist have found that guarana releases it's caffeine gradually causing sustained energy over a long period of time. Other benefits discovered are increased mental sharpness , and enhanced long-term memory. Traditionally, it has been used for headaches and migraines. It is also used as an antibacterial agent.
Benefits of Guarana Extract
In a 1997 study, scientists found that guarana is effective as an energy tonic, for mental sharpness and as a long term memory enhancer with both single and chronic doses. What they found was that the whole seed extract performed better than equal amounts of either caffeine or ginseng. A Brazilian research group, who has been studying guaraná 's apparent effect of increasing memory, believe it to be linked to essential oils found in the seed.
There is a U.S. patent filed on several plants including guarana for promoting sustained energy and mental alertness without nervousness or tension. Guarana is often used in combination with other plants to promote weight loss by creating a sense of fulness.
Guaraná has traditionally been used for headaches and migraines. A 1997 study found the plant has pain-relieving ability. In 2001, a U.S. patent was filed on a combination of plants, including guaraná , to relieve pain and other symptoms associated with migraines and headaches.
There is documented evidence that guarana's antibacterial properties protect against E. coli and Salmonella. It has also demonstrated antioxidant properties. In 1998, scientists showed that a guaraná extract greatly increased blood glucose levels and suppressed hypoglycemia.
Current Uses for Guarana
Guarana's popularity has grown steadily worldwide because of all its great health benefits. It can be found under many labels and as an ingredient in many herbal formulas, energy drinks, and protein bars. Unfortunately, too many (unethical) manufacturers are simply adding the guaraná name to their labels to capitalize on its popularity - and adding chemical caffeine to their products instead.
New, standardized extracts of guaraná are now available that guarantee and standardize the extract to the caffeine content. Unfortunately, many of these use a seed powder or extract with added caffeine - rather than concentrating the caffeine from the natural seeds.
A good way to determine whether you are getting caffeine from the natural seed when shopping for guarana is to compare the prices of a supplement and a kilo of guaraná extract-if the extract is less than 3-4 times the cost of natural seed powder, it is likely a natural seed powder with some added caffeine.
Guarana Plant Summary
Main Preparation Method: infusion or capsules
Main Actions (in order):stimulant, antioxidant, memory enhancer, nervine (balances/calms nerves), cardiotonic (tones, balances, strengthens the heart)
- as a caffeine stimulant for energy
- as a weight loss aid (suppresses appetite and increases fat-burning)
- for headaches and migraines
- to tone, balance, and strengthen the heart, as a blood cleanser, and to reduce/prevent sticky blood and blood clots
- as a refrigerant (lowers body temperature) to prevent overheating and heat stroke
Properties/Actions Documented by Research:analgesic (pain-reliever), antibacterial, antioxidant, hyperglycemic, memory enhancer, nervine (balances/calms nerves), neurasthenic (reduces nerve pain), platelet aggregation inhibitor (to prevent clogged arteries), stimulant, vasodilator
Other Properties/Actions Documented by Traditional Use:anticoagulant (blood thinner), antiseptic, aphrodisiac, appetite suppressant, astringent, blood cleanser, cardiotonic (tones, balances, strengthens the heart), carminative (expels gas), central nervous system stimulant, digestive stimulant, diuretic, hypotensive (lowers blood pressure), laxative, menstrual stimulant, thermogenic (increases fat-burning)
Cautions: Avoid if allergic or sensitive to caffeine.