Guarana seed extract is taken from the seeds of the climbing guarana plant found in the Amazon basin of Brazil and other regions of South America. It contains a stimulant, referred to as guaranine, which is similar to caffeine. The content of this stimulant is almost twice as much as the amount of caffeine found in coffee beans. Guarana is often used as an energy booster, a dietary supplement, and a flavoring agent. It is thought to improve cognition, ease aching muscles, boost energy levels, and suppress the appetite.
The indigenous people of the Amazon rain forest, the Guaraní, used the plant for a number of medicinal purposes. The seeds of the guarana plant were used to help ease the pain of arthritis, treat diarrhea, reduce fatigue, and suppress the appetite. A tea was created from the crushed seeds of the plant. This powder is much like the guarana seed extract used in many beverages and supplements today.
Guarana seed extract is sometimes added to certain foods as a flavoring agent. It can be found in chewing gum, ice cream, sodas, and chocolate. This ingredient is often added to sodas, juices, and energy drinks to help reduce fatigue and boost energy levels. It is also thought to increase cognitive memory and enhance mental alertness. Some cereal and power bars may also contain guarana seed extract as both a flavoring agent and an energy booster.
In addition to its role as an energy enhancer, guarana is also used in a number of dietary supplements and weight loss plans. The plant’s natural appetite suppressing properties, combined with its ability to increase stamina, make guarana a popular ingredient in many diet pills, supplements, and other weight loss products. Guarana seed extract helps promote weight loss by controlling the appetite and increasing metabolism so that more calories can be burned at a faster rate.
Much like caffeine, guaranine can be beneficial in helping to treat various ailments. Some of its medicinal properties include treating headaches, relieving aches associated with arthritis, and inhibiting some allergies. Guarana can also be used to reduce intestinal gas and promote digestion.
Some caution should be used when consuming any product with guarana seed extract. Side effects can include insomnia, anxiety, irritability, nausea, hyperactivity, and an increased need to urinate. Guarana seed extract also contains blood thinning properties. Extra caution should be taken by pregnant women and individuals prone to blood clots. When used in combination with aspirin or blood thinning medications, guarana seed extract can be extremely dangerous.