The Amazon Forest is home to countless medicinal herbs and plants. More specifically, it is home to a relatively small but fast-growing tree called Catuaba, known mainly for its aphrodisiac abilities. The tree itself produces yellow flowers and inedible fruits. Its bark, however, is harvested for its healing properties which then get enhanced.
What is Catuaba Bark?
Catuaba or Anemopaegma mirandum comes from a tree known scientifically as Erythroxylum vaciniifolium, which belongs to a larger family of trees. The bark of the Catuaba tree is sometimes called trichilia catigua.
The main historical use of Catuaba has been as an aphrodisiac. This alleged aphrodisiac quality was first discovered by the Brazilian Tupi Indians several centuries ago.
For all reasons, they were so impressed with the sexual abilities they received by taking Catuaba bark that they created numerous songs of gratitude.
Generations of native Brazilians have continued to use the Catuaba Bark over the years. It remains one of the most famous aphrodisiacs in the Amazon river regions.
The Science of Catuaba Bark
The composition of Catuaba Bark includes tannins, alkaloids, aromatic oils, resins, flavonoids, phytosterols, sesquiterpenes, minerals and more.
In clinical studies published in 2007, it was found that it contains epicatechin, which are potent antioxidants with antibacterial and anticancer properties.
Benefits of Catuaba Bark
Although Western scientists still doubt the functions of Catuaba as an aphrodisiac, it enjoys increasing popularity in the Brazilian market. It is still used mainly for this purpose in Brazil.
It has recently started to appear as an ingredient in aphrodisiac supplements in the United States as well. Unfortunately, studies show that the quality and content of these supplements vary a lot, so make sure you buy it from a reputable provider. Simply said, supplement manufacturers are not being monitored strictly enough.
In addition to being historically used for sexual purposes, Brazilians have long used Catuaba root extract to treat conditions related to the nervous system. Although I personally couldn’t find concrete proof of its efficiency, nowadays, it is often recommended by herbalists to treat neuralgia, sciatica, etc.
Stress and Depression
Herbal remedies are often used for these particular purposes, effective or not. For instance, Catuaba is used for its ability to cope with a variety of emotional disorders associated with stress.
How effective it is, remains open to discussion. However, it is often recommended for anxiety disorders, nervousness, and insomnia.
The most commonly prescribed treatments for depression are often accompanied by unwanted and often very bad side effects. Also, they are highly ineffective.
There have been some studies that suggest that Catuaba may be a potential remedy for symptoms of depression.
Focus and Memory
Catuaba is sometimes used as a common tonic to balance and enhance the overall functions of the body. People believe it to enhance memory and improve focus.
An old study on Catuaba showed that it completely inhibited PLA2 activity. PLA2 is involved in the inflammatory response. High levels of sPLA2 are present in people with Alzheimer’s disease. By taking Catuaba, you may experience an anti-inflammatory effect.
Oxidative Stress and Brain Injury
In a recent study, Catuaba was tested on rats deprived of oxygen and glucose. The study found that Trichilia catigua can be effective as a preventative agent for brain damage.
The alkaloids of Erythroxylum Catuaba have a strong protective effect. This was found in an old study on mice in the 90s.
According to this study, the Catuaba extract reduced the spread of HIV in cells and prevented infection. This lead them to believe that it may have unknown properties that may be beneficial for HIV patients.
Appearance and Smell of Catuaba extract
If you make the extract only from Catuaba, it will have a deep orange color. If you add milk, it will have pink shades. The drink has a specific aroma of juniper and black pepper because of the aromatic resins in the peel.
Dosages, Side Effects & Homemade Catuaba Extract
To make an effective homemade extract from Catuaba boil enough water for one tea, pour 1-2 teaspoons of raw material into it, and cook for 5 minutes. Allow cooling for 15 minutes and strain.
Apples, honey, cream and more can be added. Before bedtime, it is good to drink KATUABA with milk and honey. This has a calming and relaxing effect, relieves stress, and helps to sort out thoughts and feelings.
Assuming you cannot find raw Catuaba in your region, it is now available as a supplement in America and Europe. Although it is quite rare yet, you can order it online. More and more manufacturers try to make a supplement out of it. The problem is that the contents are different and are not often listed.
If you decide to order Catuaba Bark, make sure you do it from reputable online stores such as Amazon. After all, you want to get something genuine.
There have been no reported side effects of Catuaba Bark. It has shown no particular negative effect on anyone, even those who have used it for a longer period. Therefore, you should not have any worries. Make sure you follow the latest news about it to know whether there are any scientific discoveries.
Like the majority of supplements, it is not recommended for pregnant and breastfeeding women. Although there is no evidence that it might cause health issues, it is only normal to be careful with everything if you are expecting a child. Therefore, you should avoid taking any sort of supplement that has not received enough scientific research and approval.
As for the dosages, once again, we do not have a perfect dosage that we can work with. There is not enough scientific research behind it and with known side effects, a safe dosage cannot be established.
What you should do is follow the dosage given on the package and not increase it unless you receive medical approval. It may sound like a safe supplement but you do not want to be the first one experiencing sudden side effects.