A shot of energy straight from the tropical forest. Guarana powder – effects and properties
The most popular source of caffeine is coffee. The black, roasted beans, ground into a powder and brewed with boiling water, provide a solid boost of energy, stimulating in the morning and throughout the day. Many people cannot imagine a morning without it, while others replace it with a serving of yerba mate, which stimulates just as much, but in a slightly different way. Few people know that there is a plant that contains even more caffeine than coffee and yerba mate. Guarana. It grows in the tropical jungle and is usually consumed in powdered form. Today we will take a closer look at it.
- Guarana – the plant with a thousand eyes
- Caffeine content in guarana powder
- Stimulation is not everything. How else does guarana work?
- Guarana powder – how to consume it most effectively?
- Guarana powder – how to drink it?
- Guarana powder – which shop to buy from?
Guarana – the plant with a thousand eyes
Guarana or actually Paullinia cupana, is an exotic plant that is only found in South America, more specifically in the Brazilian part of the Amazon basin. It takes the form of a vine – wrapping itself around trees or lying on the ground, spreading up to 10 metres. Most distinctive in its appearance are the fruits. They are bright red in colour and, when ripe, open to reveal the black and white seeds hidden inside. The open fruits resemble eyes that observe the surrounding jungle from all sides. Guarana was discovered hundreds of years ago by the Indians who lived in the area. They noticed that it had a stimulating effect and improved concentration, which was very helpful during long, exhausting hunts. Various parts of the plant were valuable – leaves, stems, fruit and stalks, but the seeds proved to be the most valuable. The Indians extracted the seeds from the plucked fruit, washed and dried them, and then crushed them with a wooden mortar, grinding into a fine powder. Combining pure guarana powder with water, they formed a paste from which they made guarana sticks or balls. They dried the formed paste in the sun and smoked it – in this form, the guarana retained its properties much longer than in powdered form. Dissolved in water, guarana powder or dried paste found its way into a traditionally prepared, stimulating drink, which was often sweetened with sugar or honey. The Indians appreciated this mystical plant so much that they began to call it “a gift from God”. The Guarani Indian tribe took its name from the plant, and there are also reports that guarana fruit was used as a means of payment in the Amazon basin.
Caffeine content in guarana powder
Hundreds of years ago, the South American Indians appreciated guarana primarily for its stimulating properties. Today, the plant is gaining popularity worldwide for its caffeine content. Although caffeine is present in varying degrees in virtually every part of the plant, it is found most in the seeds. For this reason, it is the guarana powder (from the ground seeds) that has the highest caffeine content. According to scientific sources, guarana contains between 2.5% and 6% caffeine – that is 2 to even 5 times more than in coffee beans! In addition, depending on the processing method used, there can be up to 9-11% caffeine in guarana seed extract. Guarana is therefore one of the richest sources of valuable caffeine. How caffeine works is probably known to everyone, but let us briefly remind you. It is a psychoactive substance, classified as a stimulant – it stimulates the nervous system, muscles and heart. Caffeine stimulates the production of adrenaline, supports brain function, improves concentration, removes the feeling of fatigue and gives energy. Its effects are particularly sought after by people who need a strong kick to action, focus and arousal.
Stimulation is not everything. How else does guarana work?
In addition to caffeine, guarana – in powder and in any other form – contains many ingredients that show valuable properties. Guarana contains the purine alkaloids: theobromine and theophylline, the catechins, flavonoids, tannins and saponins. It also contains nutrients such as protein, sugars, fibre and starch. In addition to its stimulating effect, it shows strong antioxidant properties, influences lipid metabolism and can be a great support for weight loss. Among the Brazilian population, guarana was considered a medicinal plant, being a cure for kidney, heart and muscle diseases. It was believed to have a rejuvenating effect, reduce cholesterol levels, support the digestive system, help control appetite, treat impotence, migraine and menstrual complaints. Most of these actions have not been confirmed by any studies to date.
Guarana powder or tablets? How do you consume it most effectively?
Guarana can be found in a variety of forms. It is added to drinks, yoghurts or shakes, it is produced in tablet form as a highly concentrated dose, or you can purchase dried fruit or guarana in pure, powdered form. Guarana tablets and guarana powder seem to be the most effective in terms of their effects. Does it show side effects? Does the consumption of guarana powder and in any other form have any contraindications? Due to its high caffeine content, guarana and products containing it should not be consumed in the late afternoon and evening unless you do not intend to sleep at night. Guarana powder and other forms of guarana should be consumed with caution. An overdose of caffeine can lead to insomnia, excessive excitability, increased blood pressure or palpitations. People sensitive to caffeine, those suffering from heart disease, as well as pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid products with guarana powder and in any other form. What is its correct dosage? Guarana powder – how many times a day can it be consumed? Read more. Guaranę można spotkać pod rozmaitymi postaciami. Dodawana jest do napojów, jogurtów czy shake’ów, produkowana jest w formie tabletek, stanowiących mocno skoncentrowaną dawkę, można też zakupić suszone owoce lub guaranę w czystej, sproszkowanej formie. Najbardziej efektywne pod względem działania wydają się tabletki z guaraną i guarana w proszku. Czy wykazuje skutki uboczne? Czy spożywanie guarany w proszku i w jakiejkolwiek innej formie ma jakieś przeciwwskazania? Ze względu na dużą zawartość kofeiny, guarany i produktów z jej dodatkiem nie powinno się spożywać późnym popołudniem i wieczorową porą, chyba że nie zamierzamy spać w nocy. Guaranę w proszku i inne jej formy należy spożywać z ostrożnością. Przedawkowanie kofeiny może prowadzić do bezsenności, nadmiernej pobudliwości, wzrostu ciśnienia czy kołatania serca. Osoby wrażliwe na działanie kofeiny, cierpiące z powodu chorób serca, a także kobiety w ciąży i karmiące piersią powinny unikać produktów z dodatkiem guarany w proszku oraz w każdej innej formie. Jakie jest jej właściwe dawkowanie? Guarana w proszku - ile razy dziennie można ją spożywać? Czytajcie dalej.
Guarana powder – how to drink it?
Ground guarana powder can be prepared and consumed in many ways. Its preparation is simple. The easiest way is to prepare the drink – as the South American Indians traditionally drank it. Simply mix one teaspoon of guarana powder with 250 ml of water. What to drink it with to make it taste better? The guarana Indians mixed the power drink with a little sugar or honey to slightly soften the characteristic taste of the plant. Guarana powder has a bitter, astringent, slightly acidic taste, which takes some getting used to. However, if its taste is not to your liking at all, a good way is to add a little guarana powder to yoghurt or a healthy shake. What else can you drink it with? The powdered form of guarana can be added to coffee, tea, yerba mate or other drinks to enhance its stimulating effect. It will also perfectly complement the composition of a pre-workout cocktail. There are many ready-made products on the market with guarana powder, such as Verde Mate Green Energia Guarana, available in our shop. How to use it so as not to overdo it? As we have already mentioned, an overdose of caffeine is associated with many unpleasant side effects. When adding guarana powder to drinks and foods, it is important to remember to dose it carefully. It is estimated that the maximum daily intake is around 50-75 mg.
Guarana powder – where to buy?
Although it is becoming increasingly popular and is added to many products to increase the caffeine content and thus the stimulating effect, pure guarana, without any additives, is unlikely to be bought in a normal shop. Occasionally, it is available in stationary herbal shops and health food shops, but the prices at such outlets are not the most favourable. The most cost-effective option for buying guarana is to choose an online shop, and you will find the best guarana powder in our shop – MateMundo.co.uk. Vivarini's ground guarana powder, available in 1kg, 500g, 250g, 100g and 20g, is a guarantee of a good product from a reliable supplier. We recommend it to anyone looking for a solid and, above all, fully healthy dose of energy straight from the Amazon jungle!
Source of information:
- F. C. Schimpl and others, Guarana: Revisiting a highly caffeinated plant from the Amazon, Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 2013.
- E. Torres and others, Effects of the consumption of guarana on human health: A narrative review, Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety, 2021.