Guarana is a Brazilian plant native to the Amazon basin. Also known as Paullinia cupana, it’s a climbing plant prized for its fruit. A mature guarana fruit is about the size of a coffee berry. It resembles the human eye, with a red shell encasing a black seed covered by a white aril.
Amazonian tribes have used guarana for centuries for its therapeutic properties.
It contains an impressive range of stimulants, such as caffeine, theophylline and theobromine. Guarana also boasts antioxidants, such as tannins, saponins and catechins.
Today, 70% of guarana produced is used by the beverage industry in soft and energy drinks, while the remaining 30% is turned into powder.
Guarana contains caffeine. Caffeine works by stimulating the central nervous system, heart, and muscles. Guarana also contains theophylline and theobromine, which are chemicals similar to caffeine.
People take guarana by mouth for obesity, athletic performance, mental performance, to increase energy, and for many other reasons, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses. Guarana can also be unsafe when taken long-term in large amounts.