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Guarana - the fruity friend of yerba mate

Guarana - the fruity friend of yerba mate

They are beautiful, tasty, legendary, give a powerful kick and are native to South America. Guarana and yerba mate are two wonderful plants. And the love affair between the holly and the fruit produces a flavour even more beautiful and an even stronger boost. Many yerba mate brands offer compositions with guarana. Because of its effects, it is being raved about and is becoming increasingly popular. So let's get to know the holly companion in more detail.


  1. What is guarana?
  2. Guarana. A fruit with an intriguing look
  3. The legend of guarana's origins
  4. Energy boost. Stimulating effects of guarana
  5. Guarana – health benefits of the mystery fruit
  6. What is the taste of guarana and where to buy it?
  7. Guarana - does it have side effects?
  8. The best yerba mate with guarana

What is guarana?

And her name was... Paullinia!!! Or rather Paullinia guarana or Paullinia cupana. Unsurprisingly, the most common-sounding name is guarana. The plant occurs naturally in Brazil, in the Amazon and Rio Pará basins. Its properties were discovered by the Sateré-Maué Indians living in the area hundreds of years ago. They called it warana, which literally meant “fruit like the eyes of the people” or “eyes of the gods” in their language. The fruit of the plant does indeed look like human eyes. Later, the Guarani Indian tribe made a bitter-sour and highly stimulating drink from the seeds of guarana grated to a fine powder. Guarani Indians called warana with their own word, "guara-ná". This is the name we know to this day for the drink made from the seeds, as well as the entire plant. That's right! Guarana is another gift of the Guarani Indians, just like yerba mate and stevia. Guarana gave the Indians strength and health. It is extremely valuable!

Guarana. A fruit with an intriguing look

And what does it look like? Paullinia guarana is tall, or rather long – reaching up to 10 metres. It does not climb upwards, it rather wraps itself around trees and other plants or lies on the ground. It has long, oval leaves with serrated edges. Its white, densely clustered flowers are tiny and intensely fragrant, but the most beautiful, magnificent and valuable are its fruits. They are the size of grapes and, like them, grow in clusters. Fruits of guarana are bright orange or red in colour and they open, revealing a white interior and a dark brown seed. When looking at the guarana fruit, you can feel like you are being watched by a dozen dark eyes with red eyelids. And what are the effects of guarana? That's what we'll talk about further...

Guarana fruit

The legend of guarana's origins

...but first a bit of fantasy. Many important events and discoveries were attributed by the indigenous peoples of South America to mystical forces and supernatural, divine powers. In tribal culture, guarana was considered a magical plant. It was used as a stimulant or cure for many ailments. It was referred to as a “gift of the god” or “elixir of youth”. The open fruits, which looked like eyes watching people from the bushes, also sparked the imagination of the Indians. According to legend, guarana grew from the body of a young boy, strangled by a snake in which an evil god had incarnated. The young man was adored by all the villagers. He had a good heart, was very helpful and the strongest of all the Indians. Some versions of the legend even state that the boy had magical abilities – he could talk to animals and had the power to heal others. One day, in the forest, far from the village, the young man was attacked by the evil demon Jurupari, who took the form of a snake. The boy died, much to everyone's distress. As the tribe's inhabitants mourned and grieved the boy's death, the good god Tupã appeared among them. The Indians, at his instigation, buried the dead boy's eyes deep in the ground. The next day, a plant grew there and its fruit resembled human eyes. Guarana gave the Indians strength, energy and accompanied them for centuries.

Energy boost. Stimulating effects of guarana

To this day, experts still argue about what guarana really stimulates us. But it does give us a real kick. What effect does guarana have and where does it come from? Some say that its strength and energy is due to the fact that it contains three times as much caffeine as regular coffee. Some believe it is four times the dose. Others believe that there is guaranine in guarana, theine in tea and mateine in yerba mate and each of these substances has a completely different chemical structure, so they should be considered as a separate ingredient and should not be equated with caffeine. The truth is that “mateine”, “theine” or “guaranine” are terms invented for marketing purposes and coffee, tea, mate as well as guarana contain exactly the same caffeine. In addition to caffeine the guarana fruit contains an abundance of the enhancing substances: adenine and choline and more – catechins, polyphenols, hypoxanthine, saponins, theophylline, theobromine, starch and essential oils. The seeds, on the other hand, contain approximately 11% fat, fibre and protein. Guarana is a nutrient-rich superfood.

Guarana – health benefits of the mystery fruit

Is guarana healthy? Of course! It is most appreciated for its energising effect – it stimulates for a long time and is not addictive. Scientific studies have indicated that guarana can stimulate the nervous system, influence cognitive abilities and improve mood. It can also reduce fatigue, support concentration and memory, and boost immunity. It has been attributed with antioxidant, anticoagulant, diuretic and even aphrodisiac properties, although not all of these effects have been scientifically proven. Some believe that guarana, thanks to its positive influence on the metabolism, can aid the fat burning process and thus help in weight loss. Studies indicate that it is a potential alternative for combating physical and emotional fatigue in cancer patients.

What is the taste of guarana and where to buy it?

Guarana fruit is bitter and sour in taste. The interesting and refreshing taste invites us to try it. Guarana can usually be purchased in pharmacies or herbal shops, in powdered form. It can be made into an energising infusion by pouring water over the powder. It can also be added to some herbal brew, yerba mate, tea or to yoghurt. In this way, it will enhance their stimulating effect. Guarana is also widely used in the production of energy drinks. It can be purchased in tablet form – as a dietary supplement. It is also used as a flavouring in various dishes, weight loss preparations or sports nutrition supplements. Even guarana beer is produced with the addition of this fruit. It is not only used in foodstuffs, but also in cosmetics. What’s more, guarana fruit extract has a firming effect, so it is used in cosmetics designed to combat cellulite and slim the body shape. The anti-wrinkle and antibacterial properties of guarana are also appreciated. It is a true miracle plant!

Guarana - does it have side effects?

Since guarana is so wonderful, are there any contraindications to its use? Due to the caffeine and stimulating effects it contains, pregnant women, nursing mothers and children should not use it. Guarana should also not be consumed before bedtime. Excessive caffeine consumption can cause irritability, headaches and contribute to insomnia and stomach problems. The maximum daily dose of guarana is approximately 50-75 milligrams. Does guarana raise blood pressure? Yes, just like coffee or yerba mate. It is a very mild effect and if guarana, like other caffeine sources, is taken with caution, its use does not lead to hypertension. However, people who are struggling with heart disease should first consult their doctor about the use of guarana.

The best yerba mate with guarana

Due to its herbal character, Ilex paraguariensis combines perfectly with additives such as herbs, fruit or flavours. The most successful are strongly contrasting combinations. Yerba mate combines perfectly with the sour-bitter guarana! And what properties does this combination have? Yerba mate stimulates on its own, but with the addition of guarana this effect is even stronger. Manufacturers of yerba mate often create flavoured compositions with added guarana, dedicating them to people who are looking for a particularly strong boost. IT specialists, drivers and students – people who need to exert their minds and be fully concentrated for long periods of time. Yerba mate compositions with guarana are also available in our shop. For beginner mate drinkers, we recommend the Brazilian green yerba mate from Verde Mate Green – Energia Guarana. Those who are a little more initiated into the world of yerba mate will appreciate Yaguar Energia Guarana. For connoisseurs of intense, smoky yerba mate, we recommend products of Paraguayan brand – Guarani Energia con Guarana or Guarani Energia Caffeine+, with a double dose of guarana. For the most daring and demanding, we recommend one of the strongest stimulating yerba mates on the market, the Paraguayan El Fuego Energia Guarana. We strongly encourage you to test the stimulating yerba mate compositions with added guarana!

Source of information:

  1. Wikipedia: Guarana, Yerba mate.
  2. F.C. Schimpl et al, Guarana: Revisiting a highly caffeinated plant from the Amazon, Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 2013.


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