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What is Raw Guarana?

By Jacob Queen
Updated May 17, 2024
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Raw guarana is a term given to the powder or syrup made from the seed of the guarana plant. The guarana plant is grown in South American, primarily Brazil. Raw guarana is believed to increase energy levels and is found in a wide variety of energy drinks and teas. Its use dates back many centuries to ancient South American Indians who used it as a remedy for a variety of conditions.

In the mid 1600s, a missionary named J. Felipe Bettendorf discovered guarana in the Amazon. He found that it was used not only as a stimulant, but also as a way prevent malaria. Though documentation is limited, it is thought that raw guarana was being used in Europe as a stimulant as early as the late 1700s.

By the early 1900s, Brazilians began making carbonated drinks that contained raw guarana. No longer just a herb of the mountain Indians, guarana had found its way into the mainstream of Brazilian society. The impact was huge, and by the 1940s, carbonated guarana had become the national beverage. In the early 2000s, both Pepsi and Coca-Cola marketed their own version of carbonated guarana, though initially the products were released only in South American markets.

Raw guarana is now a favorite in the health food industry and is sold in health foods stores around the world. It is particularly popular in Europe and North America. It comes in both powder and pill form and can be taken orally or mixed in fruit beverages or tea. It is also available as an additive in many energy drinks, usually mixed with ginseng and B multivitamins. These drinks are said to enhance mental stamina and energy.

Studies show that the effects of raw guarana may be greater than those of many other natural stimulants. The concentration of caffeine in the seeds is known to be significantly greater than what is normally found in coffee. Research does seem to indicate that it may improve energy and alertness. It is also believed to be a metabolic booster that may aid in weight loss.

Side effects of raw guarana can be dangerous, especially if too much is consumed. People with health conditions relating to the heart or circulatory system, as well as women who are pregnant, should consult a physician before using it. Raw guarana can cause elevated blood pressure, tremors, trouble sleeping, and rapid heartbeat.

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Discussion Comments
By ysmina — On Jun 07, 2014

I love guarana energy products. Not only is guarana all natural, but it has so many benefits. It doesn't just give energy, it also improves my memory and focus.

I have chronic fatigue and it's very difficult for me to do things on some days. Unfortunately caffeinated drinks make things worse because there is that energy crash a few hours later. I have not experienced this with guarana. It gives me energy that lasts for a long time without the jitters or the downfall. I feel more alert and have better concentration as well. I wish discovered guarana earlier.

By turquoise — On Jun 06, 2014

@ZipLine-- That's interesting. I started taking raw guarana tablets recently and they don't seem to be doing anything. I guess the effects depend on both individual tolerance and also the product.

Raw guarana energy drinks mention the guarana as an ingredient but they don't all specify how much guarana the drink contains. Sometimes this is true for powder and capsule supplements too.

I'm going to try my guarana tablets for another week. If they still don't work in that time frame, I will switch to another brand. I should probably read customer reviews to make sure that the next product actually works.

By ZipLine — On Jun 06, 2014

Guarana is a very strong stimulant. I usually have a cup of coffee every day but the stimulant effect of guarana drinks are much greater as the article said. I experienced some anxiety and heart palpitations after a guarana energy drink. So those who are not used to stimulants ought to take it easy and try very small amounts of guarana initially. The effects can be too much for most people.

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