Caffeine (Guarana): Your Daily Dose of Energy

The latest herbal drink to hit the market is Guarana. Named after the Guarani tribe in the Amazon who ground the seeds of the plant to brew a drink with caffeine-like properties, users swear by its energy boosting qualities and the kick it gives them after a hard day’s work. Guarana is loosely translated to mean 'fruits like the eyes of people'.

The Guaranis made an herbal concoction with the seeds of the plant by washing, shelling and drying them and finally grinding them into a fine powder.

What is Guarana?

Guarana is a dried paste formed by crushing the seeds of P. Cupana or P. Sorbilis, a shrub native to Brazil and the surrounding regions. The seeds are ground with cassava and sundried in the shape of elongated sticks.

Guarana was first introduced to the European colonizers in the 16th century and by 1958, it was commercially available.

It has a long history of over 3000 years among the Indians of the Amazonian rain forests who employed the sacred plant for its medicinal properties, particularly its energizing and appetite suppressant effects.

The Indian tribes of the Amazon use Guarana to this day often surviving on it alone for several days. In ancient times, they used Guarana during famines to suppress the appetite and to preserve their energy for vital functions.

What Is It Used For?

Guarana has a wide range of uses:

  • For weight loss
  • Enhances athletic performance
  • Stimulant to rejuvenate the body
  • Relieve mental and physical fatigue
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Prevention of malaria and dysentery
  • Aphrodisiac and to boost sexual functions in men and women
  • Increases urine flow and other problems of the urinary tract
  • Checks diarrhea
  • Treats arthritis, joint pains, and headache

Guarana is also used as a flavouring agent in candies and beverages.

How Does It Work?

Guarana contains caffeine also found in coffee and smaller amounts in tea. Caffeine is known as a stimulant and is mainly used to raise energy levels as it contains twice the amount of caffeine contained in coffee.

Numerous studies show that Guarana contains caffeine which when combined with ephedrine leads to an increase in the body's metabolism and greater expenditure of energy besides being a fat buster. It also improves immunity helping the body to fight viruses and bacteria.

How Is It Packaged?

Guarana can be obtained in soft drinks and in the form of capsules, tablets and in powder form. When you buy Geniux, you will see it guarana is listed as an ingredient. It can also be taken in its pure form as an herbal supplement.

Dosage and Times

Guarana is most effective when it is taken in the morning or at midday due to its stimulating effects. However, it may also be taken at night, particularly during driving for its ability to raise alertness, especially in the short term.

For best results, 2-4 grams of Guarana should be taken per day.

Benefits

Guarana has a number of benefits. Clinical studies have proved that it stimulates memory and is a mood enhancer. A small dosage of 75 mg is sufficient to achieve this positive effect.

It is also known to help in weight loss due to its appetite-suppressing qualities. In a study conducted over 45 weeks, people who were administered 75 mg of Guarana lost 11 pounds.

Generally, the effects of Guarana do not last for more than a couple of hours, and it is easily passed through the body.

Side Effects

Except reports of jitters from some users, there do not seem to be any significant side effects. In fact, Guarana is considered safe for most people.

Downsides

That said, there have been indications of the following negative effects:

  • Congenital defects and early births
  • Nervousness, insomnia, and reactions in people with low tolerance of caffeine
  • Overdoses may result in cancer of the orophyarnx
  • People with heart disease

Heart patients or those with a history of palpitations should steer clear of the brew. There have been incidents of seizures which makes it important to avoid drinks with caffeine.

Guarana is sold as an herbal supplement, but there are no regulated manufacturing standards for many of these herbal remedies. Also, some herbal medicines have known to contain toxic substances and even contaminated with metals.

Some Advice

That said if you wish to take Guarana make sure that you read the labels and instructions on the packets very carefully. Do not take more than the recommended dose registered on the packet.

Use only one form of Guarana, whether it is in tablet, capsule or powder form. Taking a mixture could lead to an overdose.

Tell your health care provider your condition, allergies, etc. before you decide to buy Guarana.

You should also make sure that it is safe to take Guarana in the following circumstances:

  • anxiety disorders;
  • bleeding;
  • cardiac disease;
  • low sugar tolerance;
  • high blood pressure;
  • glaucoma;
  • irritable bowel syndrome;
  • osteoporosis; or
  • diarrhea

Guarana can also be taken in small amounts during pregnancy or be administered to children in small doses.

It is important to call your doctor if the condition you were taking Guarana for does not improve or gets worse.

If you need a heart stress test, stop the intake of Guarana at least 24 hours prior to the test.

Avoid making a cocktail of Guarana with other herbal supplements as this can affect the clotting of blood.

Popularity and Scope of Guarana

Owing to the abundance of the seeds in that part of the world, Guarana is widely consumed in Brazil and throughout South America.

Guarana is less known outside the borders of South America, but it is really only a matter of time. The brew is a healthy alternative to coffee and other caffeinated beverages and it won’t be long before the rest of the world catches up with the new trend.

Today, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) in America has recognized Guarana as being safe for consumption but not for medicinal use. It should certainly not be used as a substitute for medication prescribed by doctors.