Muira Puama (Ptychopetalum olacoides)

What is Muira Puama?

Muira puama is a tree originating from the Amazon rainforests of Brazil. The bark is primarily used for medicinal purposes, but some reports also suggest the roots have a similar chemical profile.

The muira puama tree is primarily used for boosting libido and preventing age-related cognitive decline. It’s often combined with another local herb known as catuaba for this application.

Today, muira puama has very similar uses, with some new ones. The herb was recently been found to have potent anti-acetylcholinesterase activity — which can be used to increase the activity of acetylcholine in the brain.

Acetylcholine is one of the primary neurotransmitters associated with learning and memory — making the herb potentially useful as a cognitive enhancement supplement.

What Else is Muira Puama Known As?

  • Muira Puama
  • Uiratã, Muiratam
  • Pau-homen
  • Potenzholz
  • Boise de la Puissance
  • Bois de la puissance sexuelle
  • Potency wood
  • Marapuama

Herbal Actions/Properties of Muira Puama

  • list the herbal actions of the plant

What is Muira Puama Used For? 

  • Adaptogen
  • Antidepressant
  • Stimulant
  • Aphrodisiac
  • Nootropic
  • Male tonic
  • Nervine
  • Antiulcer

Folklore & History of Muira Puama

Muira puama is used as a sort of panacea among Amazonian indigenous cultures but is especially popular for what they referred to as nervous weakness — which referred to symptoms such as sexual debility, muscle weakness, low motivation, and fatigue.

Muira Puama Side-Effects & Safety

Some people find muira puama to be stimulating — if this is the case, simply take muira puama earlier in the day to avoid issues falling asleep at night.

Taking large doses of muira puama over long periods of time could lead to hypertension (high blood pressure). Avoid using this herb if you suffer blood pressure problems, or are taking blood pressure medications.

How Much Muira Puama Do I Use? 

There’s not much research on the best dose of muira puama to use, so the dose is often debated among herbalists.

Most herbalists use a 1:2 tincture of muira puama at a dose of 2 – 4 mL per day.

Traditionally the herb was used in generous portions — containing up to 10 grams of the dried root bark infused in water per day.

Scientific Research Involving Muira Puama

  1. [2016] Bioactive Indole Alkaloids from Croton echioides.
  2. [2015] Lupeol inhibits proliferation and induces apoptosis of human pancreatic cancer PCNA-1 cells through AKT/ERK pathways.
  3. [2014] Recent updates in the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders using natural compounds.
  4. [2014] Lupeol: an antioxidant triterpene in Ficus pseudopalma Blanco (Moraceae).
  5. [2014] Essential oil from lemon peels inhibit key enzymes linked to neurodegenerative conditions and pro-oxidant induced lipid peroxidation.
  6. [2013] The dietary terpene lupeol targets colorectal cancer cells with constitutively active Wnt/β‐catenin signaling.
  7. [2010] Anti-stress effects of the “tonic” Ptychopetalum olacoides (Marapuama) in mice.
  8. [2009] MK801-and scopolamine-induced amnesias are reversed by an Amazonian herbal locally used as a “brain tonic”.
  9. [2009] Antidepressant profile of Ptychopetalum olacoides Bentham (Marapuama) in mice.
  10. [2008] Serotonin receptors contribute to the promnesic effects of P. olacoides (Marapuama).
  11. [2007] The herbal drug Catuama reverts and prevents ventricular fibrillation in the isolated rabbit heart.
  12. [2007] Brazilian plants as possible adaptogens: an ethnopharmacological survey of books edited in Brazil.
  13. [2007] Antioxidant activities of Ptychopetalum olacoides (“muirapuama”) in mice brain.
  14. [2002] Anxiogenic properties of Ptychopetalum olacoides Benth.(marapuama).
  15. [2001] The relaxation of isolated rabbit corpus cavernosum by the herbal medicine Catuama® and its constituents.
  16. [1999] Effect of lupeol and lupeol linoleate on lysosomal enzymes and collagen in adjuvant-induced arthritis in rats.

Other Resources

  1. [2013] Antimicrobial activity of amazonian medicinal plants.
  2. [2005] The healing power of rainforest herbs: A guide to understanding and using herbal medicinals.