Guarana is a tiny berry packed with the potent power needed to provide a variety of health benefits – yet one more example of how big things can come in small packages. Amazonian tribes have embraced the use of guarana for centuries for its health benefits, among them its properties as an astringent and stimulant that help maintain your body’s proper nutritional levels during days of fasting.
Per naturalfoodseries.com, guarana’s versatility has also been evidenced also by its being a prominent part of the Amazonian culture in preparing balms and ointments. One Amazon tribe referred to the plant’s seeds as a source of an “elixir of long life.” The seeds are extracted from guarana by drying out the plant in the sun, easing the removal of the seeds, which are then toasted and ground up for use.
What Is Guarana?
The plant is named after the Guarani tribe in the Amazon, found primarily in Brazil, per naturalfoodseries.com, and remains a key part of modern medicine. Guarana is a “climbing plant” bearing fruit that is about the size of a coffee bean. That’s an apt description considering that guarana contains a significant dose of caffeine, which plays an active part in some of the plant’s many health benefits.
An interesting characteristic of guarana seeds (which are housed in a red shell) is that they resemble human eyeballs. They are black and surrounded by white arils, which becomes apparent once the seed is split open. Guarana contains a variety of stimulants – not just caffeine – to also include theophylline and theobromine, per healthline.com. It also is the source of multiple antioxidants, to include tannins, saponins, and catechins.
There’s more. Guarana long has been used by the indigenous people of the Amazon for its diuretic, aphrodisiac, and therapeutic effects, the latter which include acting as an effective deterrent to headaches, fever, and cramps, per selfhacked.com.
8 of Guarana’s Most Notable Health Benefits
We’ve touched on some of the general areas of guarana’s health benefits. Let’s take a closer look at some of the plant’s specific health benefits:
- Healthy digestion. Guarana contains ample amounts of fiber, which contributes to the regulation of bowel movements and overall gut health. It also has been used for centuries to alleviate other digestive problems, such as chronic diarrhea and constipation. Per healthline.com, guarana’s abundance of tannins (plant-based antioxidants) has anti-diarrhea properties.
- Antibacterial. Guarana extract has been shown effective in killing E.coli and Streptococcus mutans, which are nasty bacteria that can cause severe symptoms. E. coli bacteria can produce painful problems in the gut, such as inflammation, bleeding and leaky gut, per selfhacked.com, while Streptococcus mutans bacteria can be detrimental to your teeth or gums by causing cavities and gingivitis.
- Weight loss. Guarana can aid in weight loss in two ways, per naturalfoodseries.com: through its appetite-suppressant qualities and through its provision of fiber fatty acids and protein – both of which have been associated with inducing weight loss.
- Reduces PMS symptoms. Guarana’s pain-killing properties make it a natural for battling PMS symptoms, but that’s not all. It also helps regulate the menstruation cycle well, working to prevent fluids from clotting while also aiding in their removal from the body in a proper, pain-free manner, per naturalfoodseries.com.
- Minimize fatigue; enhance focus. This is where guarana’s provision of caffeine comes into play, as its seeds contain four to six times the amount of caffeine that a coffee bean does, per healthline.com. Caffeine does this by thwarting the effects of adenosine, a compound that has a role in relaxing the brain. Along those lines, guarana, can ramp up your ability to learn and remember.
- Anti-aging with skin. Guarana’s provision of skin-enhancing caffeine and alkaloids make the plant a natural ingredient for numerous anti-aging creams, cleansing lotions and soaps, and shampoos and hair conditioners, Per self-hacked.com, a clinical trial with 43 adult male subjects using a topical formula that included guarana for a period of six weeks resulted in improved skin health. This was borne out by enhanced collagen production as well as decreased cheek sagging, crow’s feet wrinkles and, beneath-the-eyes wrinkles.
- Fight heart disease. A study cited at self-hacked.com and featuring 600 elderly people found that guarana use was linked to a reduction in high blood pressure, reduced obesity, and lessened metabolic syndrome. Also, reduced overall cholesterol and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol showed up in women test subjects.
- Hair issues. Guarana’s abundance of protein and fatty acids can help in the production of hair follicles while keeping the base of the scalp relatively free of dandruff, per naturalfoodseries.com.