Guarana | What's that?
The evergreen guarana plant (Paullinia cupana) originated in the Amazon region. However, it is now also grown in other South American countries. In its natural habitat, guarana can grow up to 12 m tall. Its bark is brown and covered in soft hairs when the plant is young. The white blossoms of this perennial climber develop into red capsule fruits containing up to three blackish-green seeds that are white at the base.
The powder made from this fruit – also known as the ‘eye of the forest’ – is a stimulant. It functions as a pick-me-up due to its high caffeine content. In fact, stomach-friendly guarana seeds contain five times as much caffeine as coffee beans. This little fruit thus offers an effective energy boost that increases mental and physical performance. This pleasant stimulating effect is released when taken in small doses.
The seeds of this caffeine-rich vine also contain guanine, tannins, proanthocyanidins, theophylline, theobromine, catechin, catechu, choline, saponins, mucilage, xanthine and minerals. Indigenous peoples of the Amazon Basin have been using this ‘elixir of youth’ for centuries for medicinal and body care purposes. The dried, hulled guarana seeds have a bitter taste, so the powder is traditionally mixed with water and honey. This exotic stimulant is highly popular in Europe on account of its invigorating effect.