Guarana (pronounced /ˌɡwɑrəˈnɑː/, from the Portuguese guaraná, Paullinia cupana (syn. P. crysan, P. sorbilis) is a climbing plant in the maple family, Sapindaceae, native to the Amazon basin and especially common in Brazil. Guarana features large leaves and clusters of flowers, and is best known for its fruit, which is about the size of a coffee bean. As a dietary supplement, guarana is an effective energy booster: it contains about twice the caffeine found in coffee beans (about 2–4.5% caffeine in guarana seeds compared to 1–2% for coffee beans).
The guarana fruit's color ranges from brown to red and contains black seeds which are partly covered by white arils. The color contrast when the fruit has been split open has been likened to eyeballs; this has formed the basis of a myth.
Guarana plays an important role in Tupi and Guaraní Brazilian culture. According to a myth attributed to the Sateré-Maué tribe, guarana's domestication originated with a deity killing a beloved village child. In order to console the villagers, a more benevolent god plucked the left eye from the child and planted it in the forest, resulting in the wild variety of guarana. The god then plucked the right eye from the child and planted it in the village, giving rise to domesticated guarana.
The Guaranís would make a tea by shelling and washing the seeds, followed by pounding them into a fine powder. The powder is kneaded into a dough and then shaped into cylinders. This product is known as guarana bread or Brazilia coke, which would be grated and then immersed into hot water along with sugar.
|Chemical||Parts per million|
According to the Biological Magnetic Resonance Data Bank, guaranine is defined as only the caffeine chemical in guarana, it is identical to the caffeine chemical derived from other sources, for example coffee, tea, and maté. Guaranine, theine, and mateine are all synonyms for caffeine when the definitions of those words include none of the properties and chemicals of their host plants except the chemical caffeine. Natural sources of caffeine contain widely varying mixtures of xanthine alkaloids other than caffeine, including the cardiac stimulants theophylline and theobromine and other substances such as polyphenols which can form insoluble complexes with caffeine.
Guarana is used in sweetened or carbonated soft drinks and energy shots, an ingredient of herbal tea, Perky Jerky, or contained in capsules. Generally, South America obtains most of its caffeine from guarana.
Brazil, which is the third-largest consumer of soft drinks in the world, produces several soft drink brands from guarana extract. Exceeding Brazilian sales of cola drinks, guarana-containing beverages may cause jitters associated with drinking coffee.
A 2007 human pilot study assessed acute behavioral effects to four doses (37.5 mg, 75 mg, 150 mg and 300 mg) of guarana extract. Memory, alertness and mood were increased by the two lower doses, confirming previous results of cognitive improvement following 75 mg guarana.
Preliminary research has shown guarana may affect how quickly the body perceives itself to be full. One study showed an average 11.2 pound (5.1 kilogram) weight loss in a group taking a mixture of yerba mate, guarana, and damiana, compared to an average one pound loss in a placebo group after 45 days. Although inconclusive about specific effects due only to guarana, this study differs from another showing no effect on body weight of a formula containing guarana.
Guarana extract reduced aggregation of rabbit platelets by up to 37 percent below control values and decreased platelet thromboxane formation from arachidonic acid by 78 percent below control values. It is not known if such platelet action has any effect on the risk of heart attack or ischemic stroke.
Some popular beverages containing guarana are:
GUARANA (so called from the Guaranis, an aboriginal American tribe), the plant Paullinia Cupana (or P. sorbilis) of the natural order Sapindaceae, indigenous to the north and west of Brazil. It has a smooth erect stem; large pinnate alternate leaves, composed of 5 oblong-oval leaflets; narrow panicles of short-stalked flowers; and ovoid or pyriform fruit about as large as a grape, and containing usually one seed only, which is shaped like a minute horse-chestnut. What is commonly known as guarana, guarana bread or Brazilian cocoa, is prepared from the seeds as follows. In October and November, at which time they become ripe, the seeds are removed from their capsules and sun-dried, so as to admit of the ready removal by hand of the white aril; they are next ground in a stone mortar or deep dish of hard sandstone; the powder, moistened by the addition of a small quantity of water, or by exposure to the dews, is then made into a paste with a certain proportion of whole or broken seeds, and worked up sometimes into balls, but usually into rolls not unlike German sausages, 5 to 8 in. in length, and 1 2 to 16 oz. in weight. After drying by artificial or solar heat, the guarana is packed between broad leaves in sacks or baskets. Thus prepared, it is of extreme hardness, and has a brown hue, a bitter astringent taste, and an odour faintly resembling that of roasted coffee. An inferior kind, softer and of a lighter colour, is manufactured by admixture of cocoa or cassava. Rasped or grated into sugar and water, guarana forms a beverage largely consumed in S. America. Its manufacture, originally confined to the Mauhes Indians, has spread into various parts of Brazil.
The properties of guarana as a nervous stimulant and restorative are due to the presence of what was originally described as a new principle and termed guaranine, but is now known to be identical with caffeine or theine. Besides this substance, which is stated to exist in it in the form of tannate, guarana yields on analysis the glucoside saponin, with tannin, starch, gum, three volatile oils, and an acrid green fixed oil (Fournier, Journ. de Pharm. vol. xxxix., 1861, p. 291).
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| Paullinia cupana|
Guarana or Guaraná (IPA: [gu̯a.ra.'na], [gu̯a.ɾa.'na] or [gu̯a.ɹa.'na]), Paullinia cupana (syn. P. crysan, P. sorbilis), is a shrub or small tree in the Sapindaceae family. It is native to Venezuela and northern Brazil. The seed of the Guaraná fruit is a stimulant with thermogenic and diuretic properties.
The guaraná fruit's color ranges from orange to red and contain black seeds which are partly covered by white arils. The color contrast when the fruit has been split open has been likened to eyeballs; this has formed the basis of a myth (see below).
Guaraná plays an important role in Tupi and Guaraní Brazilian culture. The name 'guaraná' is derived from the Tupi-Guarani word wara'ná. These tribes believed, it was magical, a cure for bowel complaints and a way to regain strength. They also tell the myth of a 'Divine Child' that was killed by a serpent and whose eyes gave birth to this plant.
Guaraná is mainly used as an ingredient in soft drinks and energy drinks. It is also used as a dietary supplement, generally to promote weight loss. In addition, it may be an ingredient in other foods.
In addition to other chemicals, the guaraná plant contains caffeine (sometimes called "guaranine"), theophylline, and theobromine. Water extracts of the guarana plant are central nervous system stimulants due to the content of these alkaloids. Energy drink manufacturers typically add synthetic caffeine or caffeine derived from coffee decaffeination, though many advertise "natural" caffeine from the seeds of guaraná.
are very popular in Brazil.]]
Brazil produces several brands of soft drink from guaraná extract that contain no added caffeine. Each differs greatly in flavour; some have only a slight guaraná fruit taste. In Brazil, sales of guaraná drinks are even greater than that of cola drinks.[needs proof] They are typically fizzy and sweet, with a very fruity aftertaste. Most guaraná drinks are produced in Brazil and consumed locally or in nearby countries, such as Paraguay. Major brands include Guaraná Antarctica, Guaraná Schin from Schincariol and Guaraná Brahma from AmBev, Kuat, and Guaraná Jesus, a local Brazilian brand named for the druggist that formulated it. Many local producers also create drinks not for export.
Studies involving guaraná show benefits to cognitive function.  They have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or any similar government agencies. In the United States, guaraná holds a GRAS-status, i.e. generally regarded as safe and must be labeled as not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
The Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics published a study in June 2001. This study shows an average 11.2 pound weight loss in a group taking a mixture of yerba mate, guaraná and damiana, compared to an average 1 pound loss in a placebo group after 45 days.
A university study in Brazil of guaraná extract showed a platelet aggregation decrease of up to 37% of control values and a decrease of platelet thromboxane formation from arachidonic acid of up to 78% of control values.  This study may be significant to stroke and heart attack risk reduction because when excess thromboxane formation occurs, an arterial blood clot can develop, resulting in a heart attack or ischemic stroke.
A separate 1997 study of guaraná's effects on the physical activity of rats showed increased memory retention and physical endurance when compared with a placebo.
Although side-effects of guaraná are rare, drugs.com recommends, "When considering the use of herbal supplements, consultation with a primary health care professional is advisable. Additionally, consultation with a practitioner trained in the uses of herbal/health supplements may be beneficial, and coordination of treatment among all health care providers involved may be advantageous". Drugs.com also advises not to mix guaraná with ephedrine.
Guaraná seeds consist of mostly reddish vegetable fiber and resin with a small amount of oil and water. Guarana contains different amounts of caffeine, theobromine, theophylline and other alkaloids, compared to coffee, tea, mate, or cocoa.
|Caffeine||seed||9,100 - 76,000|
|Starch||seed||50,000 - 60,000|
|Tannin||seed||50,000 - 120,000|
|Theobromine||seed||200 - 400|
|Theophylline||seed||0 - 2500|
Duke1992a: Duke, James A. 1992. Handbook of phytochemical constituents of GRAS herbs and other economic plants. Boca Raton, FL. CRC Press.