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Tree Description: Paullinia cupana is an evergreen Climber growing to 10 m (32ft) by 1 m (3ft 3in) at a medium rate. Guarana is a tropical climbing fruiting vine native to the Amazon basin that produces vibrant red berries. These berries are popularly cultivated for the energy boosting seeds. Primarily used to reduce physical and mental fatigue.
Scientific Name: Paullinia cupana
Common Name: Brazilian cocoa Guaraná paste, guaraná gum, chengrapi, macota.
Relatives: Lychee, ackee, rambutan, spanish lime,
Origin: South America
Distribution/History: Guaraná was domesticated in the interfluvial forests between the lower Tapajós and lower Madeira in the Brazilian Amazon. It is unclear which indigenous group domesticated guaraná, but the Sateré-Maué who live along the Maués River and its affluents cultivate guaraná extensively and have incorporated the plant in their mythology.
Importance: The seeds of the Guaraná shrub have the highest caffeine content (up to 6% in the seeds) among plants that contain methylxanthine compounds (Schimpl et al.,2014, 2013). The seeds or berries contain three to five times more caffeine than coffee. A paste is made from the seeds and consumed by some indigenous groups in the Amazon to reduce fatigue, as a diuretic, to reduce heat stress, and to treat diarrhea.