Everything You Need To Know About Guarana

Guarana: Everything You Need To Know

Coffee is no longer the king of caffeine. This bean is famed for its caffeine content and is used by millions to wake up in the morning, but there’s a berry that provides a much more potent stimulating kick. Meet guarana!

Guarana is a small, reddish-brown berry native to the Amazon basin. It might appear innocent, but this minute fruit is true rocket fuel. Guarana contains 4–6 times the amount of caffeine that coffee does, which makes it the king of the caffeine realm. Each berry houses a caffeine content of up to 4.5%.

Guarana provides a strong and energizing effect on our minds. If you’re looking for motivation and focus during long working hours, then look no further. Let’s take a closer look at this mighty berry and discover its numerous benefits.

WHAT IS GUARANA?

What Is Guarana?

Guarana (Paullinia cupana, paullinia, Brazilian cocoa, guarana bread) is a plant native to the Amazon rainforest. It can be found in Venezuela and some parts of Brazil. As a climbing shrub, the plant clings to and grows up on other plants, where it can reach a height of 12 metres. The guarana plant produces small red or brown berries about the size of coffee beans, with a peculiar appearance that resembles eyeballs.

The berries and seeds of the guarana plant are very high in caffeine, and are particularly rich in antioxidants and other valuable compounds. This gives guarana a stimulating effect. Energising beverages made from guarana extract are very popular in Brazil. But guarana is also becoming popular in the West as of late. In health shops, you can now commonly find guarana supplements such as guarana powder, extracts, and capsules.

Guarana - Paullinia CupanaView guarana

TYPES OF GUARANA

TYPES OF GUARANA

In recent years, guarana has become quite popular beyond South American borders. There are various ways you can now consume guarana:

  • Roasted guarana seeds (guarana em rama)

Roasted guarana seeds are quite similar to roasted chestnuts. The roasted “guarana nuts” are normally sold by guarana farmers in the Amazon. The roasted seeds are then made into powders or extracts.

  • Guarana powder and extracts

This is the type of guarana you will commonly see sold in health stores and similar places. You can easily use the guarana powder to make beverages. You can also use it if you want to make guarana pastes and tinctures. Extracts are a more concentrated form of guarana powder, with more of the active ingredients per dose. You can also find capsules with guarana powder or extracts. These are perhaps the most convenient way to dose guarana.

  • Guarana on a stick

Guarana on a stick is the traditional method of use and storage of guarana. Some believe that this type of guarana is stronger than other types, especially if the sticks are made by hand. For making the guarana sticks, the guarana seeds are first roasted and then ground into a powder. Water is added, and the guarana paste is made into dough and put on a stick. Afterwards, the “guarana on a stick” is dried over fire until it becomes hard.

  • Guarana syrup

This one is less common, but is slowly gaining popularity in Brazil’s beverage industry.

GUARANA VS. COFFEE

Guarana vs. Coffee

Coffee is not for everyone. The bitter taste and short lived energy burst can leave many of us wanting an alternative. In this case, Guarana may be a perfect choice.

One of the the main advantages of Guarana over coffee is the duration of the stimulation. Guarana energy is much longer lasting than coffee, plus the stimulation is less jittery and more clear in character. Guarana is absorbed slowly by the body. This results in a long lasting energy release over hours - a stark contrast to the fast rush and crash experienced with coffee.

Guarana not only contains higher amounts of caffeine than coffee, it also contains other alkaloids and fats that suppress the sensation of hunger and thirst. This is one of the reasons why Guarana is often used in weight loss programs. Also, since only a small amount of the powder is needed, there are virtually no calories being ingested, which further is ideal for anyone looking to loose weight.

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The natural heat that Guarana creates within the body is known as thermogenesis, and is a normal metabolic process that aids the breakdown of stored body fat into energy. Whilst the caffeine present in both coffee and Guarana is known to facilitate this, the theobromine and theophylline found in Guarana enhances it further.

As a result, Guarana is an extremely viable, and in many aspects preferable alternative to coffee. It delivers much longer lasting energy without the jitters, plus it packs healthy antioxidants. It could be argued that the quick rush from coffee is what you need in the morning; however, switching coffee for Guarana as a daytime drink can release more sustainable energy to get you through a hard days work.

THE GUARANA PLANT—BOTANICAL BACKGROUND

The guarana plant has divided compound leaves and develops loose clusters of yellow flowers. The fruit has the shape of a small pear, with three sides and three compartments where each contains a small chestnut-like seed encased in a soft, whitish-coloured flesh. The botanical name for guarana, Paullinia cupana, was given by early 18th-century German medical botanist C.F. Paullini.

THE HISTORY OF GUARANA

THE HISTORY OF GUARANA

The name “guarana” comes from the Guarani tribe of the Amazon rainforest, who have long used the plant’s seeds to make guarana. Guarana plays an important role in their culture, where the plant is believed to have magical attributes. The tribe used guarana as a cure for various ailments and as an energy-boosting stimulant. The Guarani also have a mythical explanation for the unique, eyeball-like appearance of the guarana berries. Legend says that the plant did not come from a seed, but from the eyes of a divine child who was killed by a snake.

It is believed that natives of the Amazonian region in South America have used the guarana plant long before Brazil was “discovered” and colonised. They cultivated the plant, dried and roasted the seeds, and mixed them with water to make a paste. The guarana paste was then used to make beverages and foods. One common use for guarana was (and still is) as a natural energy drink for more strength and stamina.

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Historically, the curious effects of guarana were largely known by native tribes as well as by a handful of explorers and settlers in the new continent. It was only in the mid-20th century that European researchers in Germany and France started to study the plant. While its uses had only been anecdotal up to that point, the researchers were able to confirm its stimulating benefits.

In recent times, guarana has become popular as a natural stimulant that can increase mental alertness, as well as fight fatigue and tiredness. It is very popular especially in Brazil, where guarana is widely enjoyed as a drink that helps people overcome heat fatigue.

In numerous South America countries, and recently also in Europe and the US, guarana can be found in various beauty products such as oils and creams for treating cellulite and toning the skin. As an ingredient in shampoos, it helps with oily hair and promotes healthy hair growth thanks to its astringent properties.

Disclaimer:
We are not making medical claims. This article has been written for informational purposes only, and is based on research published by other externals sources.

External Resources:
  1. Error - Cookies Turned Off - https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1046/j.1365-277X.2001.00290.x
  2. Guarana Provides Additional Stimulation over Caffeine Alone in the Planarian Model - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4399916/
  3. - https://www.researchgate.net
  4. - https://ods.od.nih.gov