||Guarana (pronounced gwa-ra-naa) is a berry
that grows in Venezuela and the northern parts of Brazil. The name 'Guarana' comes from
the Guarani tribe that lives in Brazil. Guarana plays a very important role in their
culture, as this herb is believed to be magical, a cure for bowel complaints and a way to
regain strength. They also tell the myth of a 'Devine Child', that
was killed by a serpent and whos eyes gave birth to this plant. Guarana's biological name,
Paullinia Cupana, was taken from the German medical botanist C.F. Paullini, who discovered
the tribe and the plant in the 18th century. The taste of Guarana is distinctive and
unique, and the main reason for its success in Brazil as a soft drink. The main ingredient
of guarana is guaranine, which is chemically identical to caffeine. This is the reason for
the energy boost people get after taking guarana.|
Guarana-based drinks are common in Brazil, but hard to find in most other countries. There
are many rumors and stories about the effects of guarana on the human body. Some of them
are true, but most of them are not. Don't expect medical miracles from taking guarana in
any form. Guarana isn't a medicine, although - in some cases - the effects might be
beneficial for a limited number of medical conditions. The most widespread rumor is that
guarana does miracles for people who want to lose weight. It is true that guarana can help
a little bit, but miracles? The truth about the combination guarana & weight loss can
be found on our Weight Loss page.
The success in Brazil was reason enough for the Pepsi and Coca Cola to start the
production of their own guarana soda varieties. Pepsi tried to market 'Josta' in the US
(and failed); Coca Cola still sells 'Kuat' in Brazil (with some success). In most cases,
imitation brands still can't compete with the original Brazilian brands - the genuine
flavor of guarana is sometimes absent and apparently replaced by an overdose of sugar.
Quite a few guarana-lovers (mainly Brazilians, and you can take our word for it that they
are experts in the field) even doubt if there was any guarana extract used at all.
Whatever the opinion of Brazilians may be, guarana-based products are getting more and
more popular all over the world. A few more years and guarana could be a more important
Brazilian export product than soccer players! We now see fancy names like 'Rock
Star', 'Cult', 'Dark Dog' and 'Hype' popping up everywhere. Pepsi's 'Josta', which
eventually was pulled from the market, had its own webring on the Internet, guarana drinks
are getting popular in de dance/rave scene, replacing the dangerous amphetamines that were
common there. Apparently guarana keeps them on their feet all night long, without the need
to take additional (and potentially lethal) drugs.
Guarana chocolate bars
Guarana is available in many forms, such as chocolate bars, capsules,
powder, chewing gum, and syrup. Many of these products can only be found in Brazil, but
you might spot some of them in health shops or Brazilian shops.
A negative side effect of its popularity is the mystification of guarana. Some companies
market their Guarana-based products as a drug doing miracles for headaches, overweight,
neurological disorders like ADHD, and numerous other diseases. We are quite skeptical about many
of these stories, but feel free to share your experiences with these products in our Guarana forum.