Catuaba is a Gurani word meaning “that which gives strength to the Indian”. It is actually a flowering tree native to the Amazon forests in Brazil. Infusions prepared from the bark of this tree are found to have medicinal properties. Catuaba is very popular for its aphrodisiac effects and is used widely all over the world in many medications and formulas. In addition to being an effective aphrodisiac, catuaba is also beneficial in treating depression, anxiety, insomnia, pain and bacterial infections. Catuaba is also known by various other names such as Caramuru, Chuchuhuasha, Erythroxylum catuaba, Golden Trumpet, Pau De Reposta, Piratancara and Tatuaba. Catuaba contains active ingredients that possess antioxidant, immuno-stimulative, vasodilating, and antimicrobial features. All these properties work together and make it a natural and safe remedy for various ailments.
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Health benefits of Catuaba
Boosting sexual libido is not the only use of catauba. There is in fact a long list of benefits this tree can offer to improve your general health and well being. Here you can read about a few of the many health benefits provided by catauba:
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Catuaba is a mood booster
Catuaba bark is found to be an effective mood enhancer and helping with nervous disorders like depression and anxiety. The use of this herb is considered to invoke feelings of euphoria that is said be the reason for boosting the mood. Since this herb produces only mild effects, it may not be beneficial for treating severe conditions. Studies indicate that catigua extract or its purified constituents may have the potential to treat various kinds of depressive disorders.
Catuaba bark enhances sexual health
Catuaba bark has been used by both men and women all over the world to increase their libido and sexual activities. According to Brazilian herbal medicine, catuaba is considered a natural stimulant. The ability of catuaba bark to improve sexual libido can be attributed to the presence of certain alkaloids. Research on animals indicate that catuaba bark dilates the blood vessels and improves blood circulation, thus improving sexual functions. Catuaba was originally used to prepare tea, but nowadays it is available in the capsule form at health food stores and pharmacies. Though not scientifically proven, it is considered to increase libido by stimulating the nervous system and helping with genital function.
Catuaba is good for the brain
The free radicals formed in your body as a result of metabolic activities and environmental exposure can cause damage to the brain cells. Studies have found that the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of Catuaba extract is effective in protecting the brain against oxidation damage and also in protecting against brain related disorders. According to a study from Brazil that examined the effect of this herb on mood, it was found that catuaba was highly effective in promoting mental acuity, improving memory and in supporting overall well being.
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Catuaba possesses anti-microbial properties
Clinical studies have found that catuaba has antibacterial and antiviral properties. According to a 1992 study, the extract obtained from this tree is effective in protecting against infections caused by bacteria such as Escherichia coli and Staphlococcus aureus. Its antiviral properties have been found to be effective in inhibiting HIV. The study revealed that the anti-HIV activity of catuaba is due to the slowing down of HIV absorption into cells. This result suggested that catuaba can be used as a remedy to prevent opportunistic infections in people suffering from HIV.
Catuaba has anti-inflammatory effects
A study published in the 2004 issue of Phytotherapy Research suggests that catuaba extract shows anti-inflammatory properties. The study has shown that when Catuaba extract of 120microg/mL was given to test participants, phospholipase A2 (PLA2) catalyses was completely inhibited during the inflammation process. The results suggests that the extract of catauba has the potential to be used as a natural anti-inflammatory agent.
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Catuaba for Parkinson’s disease
Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease characterized by a selective and progressive degeneration of dopaminergic neurons, which might ultimately lead to programmed cell death. Studies indicate that Catuaba extracts offer cytoprotective effects on Rotenone-induced apoptosis in human neuroblastomas SH-SY5Y cells. According to the results of this study, the commercial extracts obtained from the Catuaba tree may offer protective effects against Parkinson’s disease.
Catuaba offers cardioprotective effects
Catuaba is used as a cardiotonic, as it is considered to strengthen and tone the heart. It has both a vasodilating and vasorelaxing properties, which helps in widening the blood vessels, thus increasing blood circulation by allowing more blood to flow through the blood vessels. Increased blood circulation helps to lower the high blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for conditions like heart attack and stroke.
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The bark of the catuaba has been used traditionally as a tincture. The most effective method of taking this tincture is to first dilute the catuaba in a small amount of water, and then add a few drops of lemon juice to it. The acid present in the lemon juice helps in releasing the active ingredients in catauba such as tannins and alkaloids, thereby making its effects stronger. You can get the tincture from Brazilian medicinal importers, health stores, online stores, or you can even make it at home.
Preparing catauba tea is another way to making effective use of this herb. This tea relaxes the nerves and also provides many medicinal effects. To make this tea, add a teaspoon of dried or fresh Catuaba leaves to a cup of boiling water and steep for some time. Strain the tea and drink it hot or cold. You may also add honey to improve the taste. Make sure not to drink more than 3 cups of Catuaba tea a day, as too much of it may cause health complications.
Catuaba has been cultivated for a long time by the Tupi Indians of Brazil because it is one of the leading medicinal plants widely used in their culture. An old saying in Brazil goes “Until a father reaches 60, the son is his; after that, the son is Catuaba’s”.The bark of this tree has been used widely as an aphrodisiac and also as a remedy for treating conditions like depression and HIV infection.