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Guarana (Paullinia cupana)

Synonyms/Common Names/Related Substances:

  • 1,3,7-trimethyl-2, 6-dioxopurine, 1,3,7-trimethylzanthine, Brazilian cocoa, caffeine, caffeine-tannin complex, Dark Dog Lemon®, elixir of youth, gift of the gods, Go Gum®, guarana bread, guarana gum, guarana paste, Guarana Rush®, guarana seed paste, guaranin, guaranine, Guts®, Happy Motion®, Josta®, mysterious Puelverchen, pasta guarana, Paullinia, Paullinia cupana, Paullinia sorbilis, Sapindaceae (family), Superguarana, tetramethylxanthine, Uabano, Uaranzeiro, Zoom®.
  • Combination product examples: Euphytose® (Crataegus, Ballota, Valeriana, Passiflora, Cola, Paullinia); YGD (Yerbe mate, guarana, damiana).
  • Note: Guarana has one of the highest caffeine contents of all plants (up to 7%), and has been used by manufacturers for its caffeine content.

Clinical Bottom Line/Effectiveness

Brief Background:

  • Guarana is a native species of South America and has stimulating properties when taken orally.
  • The active ingredient in guarana was formerly called guaranine (tetramethylxanthine), but was later found to be caffeine. Guarana has the same stimulatory effect as caffeine and is often used for energy, weight loss and as an additive to soft drinks (e.g., Dark Dog Lemon®, Guts®, and Josta®).
  • The applicable part of guarana is the seed, which contains 2.5-7% caffeine, compared to 1-2% in coffee.
  • Guarana is generally regarded as safe when not combined with other stimulatory agents, such as ephedra (1).
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Dosing/Toxicology

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Precautions/Contraindications

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Interactions

Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.

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Mechanism of Action

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History

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Evidence Table

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Evidence Discussion

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Products Studied

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Author Information

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.