Guarana, better known as Paullinia cupana, is a climbing plant that is primarily native to the northwest and central Amazon regions of Brazil. Guarana belongs to the soap tree family and has large leather-like petals and flower clusters. However, the main characteristic of the plant is its fruits, which are about the size of a coffee bean. The orange-colored fruit contains 1 to 3 seeds.
The peoples of the Amazon have valued guarana as a medicinal plant for centuries. They also know Guarana by other names such as Uabano, Panela Supana or Uranazeiro.
The plant first became known in Europe in the late 17th century, after the Jesuit missionary Joao Felipe Bettendorf reported about it. He observed that the Satere Mawe, an indigenous tribe from the Brazilian Amazon region, used guarana mainly as a medicinal plant, among other things, to relieve headaches and lower fever.
About GuaranaOnly the seeds of the plant are used as food additives, remedies and care products. In addition to caffeine, these contain some effective ingredients:
Caffeine – Guarana seeds are considered to be the most powerful natural source of caffeine.
- With up to 8%, the caffeine content of guarana seeds is around three times that of coffee beans.
- The caffeine from guarana is bound to tannins and fibrous substances and is therefore only slowly released into the body over a period of 4-6 hours.
- Saponins (soapsuds)
- Proanthocyanidins (antioxidants)
- Catechins (antioxidants)
The climbing plant - which can grow up to 10 m high - has been commercially cultivated approximately two decades, especially in the Brazilian Amazon basin (Maues area). The hazelnut-sized capsule fruits can be harvested twice a year. The annual production is around 4000 tons of roasted seeds, 70% of which is obtained from the beverage industry, the remaining 30% is used in the pharmaceutical and cosmetics industry.
the rest of the processing is done shortly after the harvest. First, the seeds are freed from the white seed coat in a water tub. To prevent these from spoiling, they are dried. After soaking and washing the fruits, the seeds are mashed into a thick paste while adding a little water. The resulting dough is shaped into a small, hard bar. The bars are then smoked over special woods. The finished product is dark brown and resembles a hard salami. The dried fruits are mechanically processed into a fine powder for non-indigenous consumption.
Many Brazilian beverage manufacturers use the guarana extract to make a soft drink similar to lemonade, which is typical for Brazil. Since guarana is becoming more and more popular, guarana-based products in various forms (chocolate, teas, chewing gum, other beverages and energy drinks) are increasingly being exported to western industrialized countries.