About Muira Puama
Muira puama is a tree of the Ptychopetalum species that grows in the Amazon rainforest, reaching up to 50 feet tall. In Brazil it is known as “potency wood" for its role as a traditional aphrodisiac and remedy for low libido and erectile dysfunction. It also has a reputation as a stimulant and tonic for the nervous system.
The bark, root and wood of the tree are used. Muira puama is used most often as an alcohol extract, but it can also be used as a tincture or powder or made into tea. In some cases it is combined with other rainforest herbs such as catuaba or iporuru. Some experts feel that only muira puama extract using alcohol should be used, as the active compounds are only soluble in alcohol rendering powders and water-based tinctures ineffective.
Muira puama contains compounds such as alkaloids, esters, sterols, free fatty acids and phytosterols. It is mentioned as early as 1908 in the Proceedings of the American Pharmaceutical Association.
Benefits of Muira Puama
Sexual Function & Desire
Muira puama’s benefits are varied, but by far the most popular use of muira puama is for increasing sexual drive and dealing with challenges such as impotence and erectile dysfunction.
It increases blood flow to the pelvic area, thus aiding in erections for men as well as in improved sensation and orgasm for women. It enhances production of sex hormones in both males and females. It is considered to be most effective when used daily.
In combination with damiana, it can increase the frequency of intercourse and improve the number and stability of erections. Some people use it as a replacement for yohimbe, or even in combination.
A study conducted at the Institute of Sexology in Paris found that 51%-62% of men with erectile dysfunction or low sex drive had improvements from taking muira puama alone.
One practitioner uses it for patients as a short-term remedy, but also seeks to uncover the root cause of a patient’s problem to determine long-term treatment options. Dr. James Duke, renowned ethnobotanist, recommends trying it before resorting to Viagra, as it may work just as well and is cheaper than the prescription drug.
Muira puama is used by women for menstrual problems such as cramps and PMS, and for relieving the symptoms of menopause.
Some formulas for male pattern baldness include muira puama for its ability to assist with increasing hair growth.
It is also used for exhaustion and as an energy tonic, as a central nervous system stimulant, and for combatting stress and trauma. Some experts recommend muira puama for use in dealing with rheumatism, dysentery, and low appetite.
Muira puama is considered safe and has low chance of side effects. According to one source it may slightly raise blood pressure, but according to another it can be used to lower blood pressure. So individuals with high blood pressure should mention this issue to their health care provider before deciding if muira puama is an option for them.
Because it can stimulate testosterone production or raise blood levels of testosterone, individuals with acne may want to avoid it or limit their intake.
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Sources & Resources
Amazon Rainforest Herbs A-Z: Remedies & Recipes, Osalina Berman
Prescription for Herbal Healing, Phyllis A. Balch & Robert Rister
Tyler’s Honest Herbal, Steven Foster & Varro E. Tyler
The One Earth Herbal Sourcebook, Alan Keith Tillotson & Robert Abel
The Green Pharmacy Herbal Handbook, James A. Duke
Prescription for Nutritional Healing, Phyllis A. Balch
Proceedings of the American Pharmaceutical Association (1908), American Pharmaceutical Association
The Healing Power of Rainforest Herbs, Leslie Taylor, ND