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Capsule fruit with high caffeine content

Guaraná grows as a shrub or a vine and can reach up to 12 metres in height. The fruit turns orange when ripe, partially opens and contains between one and three seeds. Split open, the fruit with the seed inside looks like an eye. The bitter tasting fruit has a high caffeine content (4 to 8 percent of dry matter).

Use in South American folk medicine

Guaraná has been used by Amazonian Indians for centuries and today it is grown in plantations in Brazil, Venezuela and Paraguay. Similar to cocoa or chocolate, the Indians use a Guaraná paste. It is also used in folk medicine as it is believed to reduce fever and physical weakness. Its stimulating effect is said to strengthen endurance as well as diminish hunger and thirst.

Guaraná extract in many foods and beverages

The peeled and dried seeds are ground into a light brown powder and partially mixed with cassava flour to make "pasta guaraná”. This is then stirred into hot or cold water and drunk, sweetened with honey. The paste has a caffeine content of three to six per cent and a tannin content of two to three percent; this gives it an extremely bitter taste. For this reason it is not usually consumed pure, but is added to various foods. There is the lemonade-like soft drink which is also called Guaraná, for example. As well as this, it is added to chocolate, chewing gum and herbal and fruit teas which are advertised as stimulants and energisers.

 

Source: Dr. Jörg Häseler, www.aid.de