phytochemicals Phytochemicals

More plants with phytochemicals



Paullinia cupana

What is guarana?

Guarana is a climbing shrub native to the Amazons. The guarana plant has large divided compound leaves and clusters of yellow flowers. The guarana plants are well known for its black seeds which are contained in small pear sized orange to red colored fruits.

Parts used

Only the ripe guarana seeds are used. They are dried and grounded to a powder, which is used to make caffeine-rich beverages.


These are typical phytochemicals found in guarana: theophylline, theobromine, tannins, saponins, caffeine.

Benefits of guarana

Guarana is traditional used as stimulant but it also to treat chronic diarrhea, headache, depression, fatigue, and chronic diarrhea.

Guarana is a stimulant of the central nervous system, blood circulation and respiration. Studies suggest that guarana improves the cognitive function and helps to reduce weight.

A study by Otobone et al indicates that extracts form the guarana seeds may produced an anti-depressant effect after long-term administration. This study was carried out on rats and it is not know if guarana extract has similar effects on humans.

Cognitive improvements
Studies on humans showed that guarana improved alertness and memory performance. These cognitive improvements cannot only be attributed to high caffeine content and other phytochemicals may be involved.

Fat burning effect
The fat burning effect of guarana is well known among athletes. Studies show that guarana has some effect on fat metabolism (higher muscle glycogen levels and lower lactate levels). This effect is associated with the methylxanthine content of guarana.

Guarana reduces platelet aggregation thereby reducing the risk of stroke and heart attack. Several studies show that guarana extract decreases platelet thromboxane synthesis and inhibits platelet aggregation.

Antioxidant and anti-cancer action
Besides caffeine, guarana contains many phytochemicals with antioxidant activity, which helps to protect our cells. These phytochemicals have anti-cancer effect, reduce the toxicity of some chemicals such as alcohol and carcinogens and help to protect our DNA.

Traditional use

Guarana is traditional used as stimulant but it also to treat chronic diarrhea, headache, depression, fatigue, and chronic diarrhea.

Other facts

The guarana plant is native to the Amazons. It plays an important role in the culture of Brazilian natives. They prepare the guarana by pounding the seeds in a fine powder which is kneaded into bread shaped cylinders. This guarana bread is grated and immersed in hot water. Guarana is now used worldwide in beverages, mainly energy drinks. But it can also be found as ingredient of supplements, chewing gum, chocolate bars and syrups. The caffeine in guarana is also called guarinine.

Other names

Guarana bread, Brazilian cocoa

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