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The Tupi Indians, an indigenous tribe of Brazil, were the first to notice the incredible properties of catuaba bark. Initially they found the herb helped to enhance libido, then they noticed its numerous other beneficial qualities: relieving pain and fatigue, controlling nervousness, improving memory, helping with depression, among others. The Tupi Indians were so impressed with catuaba they spread the knowledge of its benefits to other Brazilian tribes, and even sang songs in praise of the herb. Catuaba bark has now been used for centuries, with no known side effects or toxicity.
The catuaba tree grows in the forests of northern Brazil (its scientific name is Erythroxylum catuaba). It is a small, fast-growing tree with orange and yellow flowers and oval-shaped fruit that is not edible. The herb belongs to the same genus as other plants used for sources of cocaine, although catuaba contains none of the active alkaloids in that drug. Catuaba was traditionally drank as a bark decoction (boiling it in water to make tea), but now it is widely available in capsule form.
A few more of catuaba’s “healing” properties are: fighting dementia, preventing agitation, helping with the insomnia induced by hypertension, stopping forgetfulness, relaxing of the blood vessels to relieve nerve pain, and acting as an overall tonic to the body. Some users have claimed its relaxing effects help with their public speaking, and others say the herb motivates them to exercise more.
Researchers in Japan discovered that catuaba is a powerful antiviral and antibacterial compound. Experiments were done in which mice were given both catuaba and lethal doses of E. Coli and Staph infection. In both cases, the herb prevented the bacteria from killing the mice. More amazingly, catuaba has been shown to fight the HIV virus. Researchers gave mice catuaba and HIV, and the herb prevented the animal’s white blood cells from absorbing the virus. More research is still required before catuaba will be used to treat HIV patients.
Catuaba’s libido enhancing properties were well known to the people of Brazil, and today it is considered to be a natural aphrodisiac. Acting as a nervous system stimulant, and also nourishing the reproductive systems of males, it helps genitals function so effectively that a common saying among tribes in the Brazilian rainforest is, “Until a father is 60, the son is his. After that, the son is catuaba's.” No one is quite sure exactly how the herb functions as an aphrodisiac.
Catuaba is also known by the names Tatuaba, Chuchuhuasha, Caramuru, and Pau de Reposta.
If you try catuaba bark, you just might end up composing a few songs in praise of it yourself.
Article by Jason Earls.
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