The Guarana herb has been known to generations of people from the Amazon. They have long regarded guarana as a reliable energy booster and a help to those with cognitive problems.
Guarana is a climbing evergreen plant that is native to the Amazon region, most notably in the lush tropical forests of Brazil. The Guarana plant has large leaves and clusters of flowers. Its fruit is similar in size to that of the coffee fruit.
The Brazilians cultivate guarana in commercial scale as there is a big demand for the seeds of the herb, which is mostly used as a caffeine substitute in so-called “energy drinks”.
The guarana seeds are roasted and pulverized and are made into a paste. The guarana paste is shaped into bars, dried, and then consumed as an herbal snack. The seeds can also be brewed to make a sweet and astringent drink.
The active constituents of the guarana plant and seeds are the fair amount of the alkaloid caffeine and traces of other substances, including the compounds theophylline and theobromine, commonly used as stimulants. It is said that guarana seeds contain 2.5 times the amount of caffeine than coffee does. Others say that the stimulant in guarana is called guaranine and is merely similar to caffeine. Many say guaranine is better tolerated by the body than caffeine.
A guarana tea drink can be made by boiling two grams of crushed guarana seeds in 250 ml of water for about 10 minutes. The guarana tea may be taken thrice daily at a cup per dose. Each cup of guarana tea can provide about fifty mg of guaranine (caffeine) to the person who drinks it.
The side effects observed with excessive guarana consumption are similar to those of excessive caffeine intake. These include anxiety, trembling, hyperactivity, frequent urination and palpitations. Pregnant and lactating women are advised not to use guarana herb or drink guarana tea.
The following are some health benefits attributed to this tea:
- May help treat migraine headaches.
- May help alleviate depressive mental state.
- May help enhance memory, alertness and other cognitive capacities.
- May help enhance and boost energy levels.
- May help treat chronic diarrhea.
- Though yet to be conclusively proven, there are some indications that guarana tea may help in weight loss.