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MARAPUAMA (Ptychopetalum olacoides) Bark 250g

MARAPUAMA (Ptychopetalum olacoides) Bark 250g

MARAPUAMA (Ptychopetalum olacoides) Bark 250g

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MARAPUAMA (Ptychopetalum olacoides) Bark 250g

MARAPUAMA (Ptychopetalum olacoides) Bark 250g MARAPUAMA (Ptychopetalum olacoides) Bark 250g

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(Ptychopetalum olacoides)

Bark 250g


Family: Olacaceae
Genus: Ptychopetalum
Species: olacoides
Synonyms: None
Common Names: Muira puama, potency wood, marapuama, marapama, muiratã, muiratam, pau-homen, potenzholz
Part Used: Bark and root

From The Healing Power of Rainforest Herbs:

Main Actions Other Actions Standard Dosage
  • increase libido
  • is a male tonic
Root, bark
  • promotes sexual function
  • relieves pain
Tincture: 2-4 ml twice daily
  • calms nerves
  • reduces fatigue
Decoction: 1 cup daily
  • relieves depression
  • lowers blood pressure
  • enhances memory
  • prevents ulcers
  • protects brain cells


Muira puama, also called "potency wood," is a small tree that grows to 5 m high and is native to the Brazilian Amazon and other parts of the Amazon rainforest. The small, white flowers have a pungent fragrance similar to jasmine's. The Ptychopetalum genus is a small one - only two species of small trees grow in tropical South America and five in tropical Africa. The two South American varieties, P. olacoides (found in Brazil, French Guiana, Guyana, and Suriname) and P. uncinatum (found only in Brazil), are used interchangeably in South American herbal medicine systems. The olacoides variety is usually preferred, as it has a higher content of lupeol (one of the plant's active phytochemicals). A completely different species of Brazilian tree, Liriosma ovata, also goes by the common name of muira puama (and is often sold in commerce as such); however, it is a completely different tree with a different phytochemical makeup.


Historically, all parts of muira puama have been used medicinally, but the bark and roots are the most-utilized parts of the plant. It has long been used in the Amazon by indigenous peoples for a number of purposes. Native peoples along the Brazilian Amazon's Rio Negro river use the stems and roots from young plants as a tonic to treat neuromuscular problems; a root decoction is used in baths and massages for treating paralysis and beri-beri; and a root-and-bark tea is taken to treat sexual debility, rheumatism, grippe, and cardiac and gastrointestinal weakness. It's also valued there as a preventive for baldness. In Brazilian herbal medicine, muira puama still is a highly-regarded sexual stimulant with a reputation as a powerful aphrodisiac. It has been in the Brazilian Pharmacopoeia since the 1950s. It is used as a neuromuscular tonic for weakness and paralysis, dyspepsia, menstrual disturbances, chronic rheumatism (applied topically), sexual impotency, grippe, and central nervous system disorders.

Muira puama is employed around the world today in herbal medicine. Early European explorers noted the indigenous uses and the aphrodisiac qualities of muira puama and brought it back to Europe, where it has become part of herbal medicine in England. It is still listed in the British Herbal Pharmacopoeia (a noted herbal medicine source from the British Herbal Medicine Association); it is recommended there for the treatment of dysentery and impotence. It is also used in Europe to treat impotence, infertility, nerve pain, menstrual disturbances, and dysentery. In Germany, muira puama is employed as a central nervous system tonic, for hookworms, menstrual disturbances, and rheumatism. Muira puama has been gaining in popularity in the United States, where herbalists and health care practitioners are using it for impotence, depression, menstrual cramps and PMS, nerve pain, and central nervous system disorders.


Scientists began searching for the source of muira puama's efficacy in the 1920s. Early researchers discovered that the root and bark were rich in fatty acids and fatty acid esters (the main one being behenic acid), essential oils (including beta-caryophyllene and alpha-humulene), plant sterols, triterpenes (including lupeol), and a new alkaloid-which they named muirapuamine. Scientists resumed researching the plant's constituents and pharmacological properties in the late 1960s and continued into the late 1980s. These studies indicated that the active constituents also included free long-chain fatty acids, sesquiterpenes, monoterpenes, and novel alkaloids.

The main plant chemicals found in muira puama include: alpha-copaene, alpha-elemene, alpha-guaiene, alpha-humulene, alpha-muurolene, alpha-pinene, alpha-resinic acid, alpha-terpinene, arachidic acid, allo-aromadendren, behenic acid, beta-bisabolene, beta-caryophyllene, beta-pinene, beta-resinic acid, beta-sitosterol, beta-transfarnesene, borneol, campesterols, camphene, camphor, car-3-ene, caryophyllene, cerotic acid, chromium, coumarin, cubebene, delta-cadinene, dotriacontanoic acid, elixene, ergosterols, eugenol, essential oils, gamma-muurolene, hentriacontanoic acid, heptacosanoic acid, lignoceric acid, limonene, linalool, lupeol, melissic acid, montanic acid, muirapuamine, myrcene, nonacosanoic acid, para-cymene, pentacosanoic acid, phlobaphene, stigmasterols, trichosanic acid, and uncosanic acid.


In one of the early studies, researchers indicated that muira puama was effective in treating disorders of the nervous system and sexual impotence, and that "permanent effect is produced in locomotor ataxia, neuralgias of long standing, chronic rheumatism, and partial paralysis." In 1930, Meiro Penna wrote about muira puama in his book Notas Sobre Plantas Brasilerias. He cited physiological and therapeutic experiments conducted in France by Dr. Rebourgeon that confirmed the efficacy of the plant for "gastrointestinal and circulatory asthenia and impotency of the genital organs."

The benefits of treating impotence with muira puama have been studied in two human trials in France, which reported that muira puama was effective in improving libido and treating erectile dysfunction. In one French study among 262 male patients who experienced lack of sexual desire and the inability to attain or maintain an erection, 62% of the patients with loss of libido reported that the extract of muira puama "had a dynamic effect," and 51% of patients with erectile dysfunction felt that muira puama was beneficial. The second study evaluated positive psychological benefits of muira puama in 100 men with male sexual weakness. The therapeutic dosage was 1.5 g of a muira puama extract daily. In their final report, researchers indicated muira puama could "enhance libido [in 85% of test group], increase the frequency of intercourse [in 100%] and improve the ability to maintain an erection [in 90%]."

In other recent clinical research, muira puama extracts have been reported to have adaptogenic, antifatigue, antistress, and beneficial effects on the central nervous system. A specially-prepared extract from the root of muira puama has been patented for its ability to "relieve physical and mental fatigue" and for "ameliorating a weakened constitution." Researchers in Brazil documented a definite central nervous system effect of the bark in studies with mice. The bark of muira puama also has demonstrated a mild, short-lived, hypotensive effect. The root was found to inhibit stress-induced ulcers, while the leaf demonstrated an analgesic effect. Another U.S. patent has been filed on muira puama, citing that it can "reduce body fat percentage, increase lean muscle mass and lower cholesterol" in humans and animals with long-term use (and with no toxicity noted). The newest research confirms muira puama's traditional use for memory and nervous disorders. Brazilian researchers reported in 2003 that an alcohol extract of muira puama facilitated memory retrieval in both young and aged mice and noted it may be beneficial for Alzheimer's patients. Their next study published in 2004 reported that an alcohol extract of muira puama protected and increased the viability of brain cells in mice (partly through an antioxidant effect) which may be beneficial for stroke victims. Toxicity studies with mice published in 1983 indicates no toxic effects.


While so-called aphrodisiacs have come and gone in history, muira puama has retained its stature and may well provide one of the more effective natural therapeutic approaches for erectile function and libido enhancement. Before trying to self-treat, however, men should always seek the advice of a health practitioner if suffering from erectile dysfunction or impotency; this often can be an early warning sign of vascular insufficiency and/or underlying heart problems.

To achieve the libido and potency effects of this particular plant, proper preparation methods must be employed. The active constituents thought to be responsible for muira puama's potency and libido effect are not soluble in water - taking bark or root powder in capsules or tablets will not be effective because these chemical cannot be digested or absorbed. High heat for at least 20 minutes with alcohol is necessary to free the volatile and essential oils, terpenes, gums, and resins found in the bark and root which have been linked to muira puama's beneficial effects.


Main Preparation Method:tincture

Main Actions (in order):
aphrodisiac, tonic (tones, balances, strengthens overall body functions), neurasthenic (reduces nerve pain), antidepressant, central nervous system tonic (tones, balances, strengthens the central nervous system)

Main Uses:

  1. for erectile dysfunction and impotency
  2. as a male aphrodisiac and libido promoter
  3. as a tonic (tones, balances, strengthens) for males
  4. for hair loss and balding.
  5. central nervous system tonic (tones, balances, strengthens) and antidepressant
Properties/Actions Documented by Research:
adaptogen, analgesic (pain-reliever), anti-fatigue, anti-oxidant, antiulcerous, aphrodisiac, central nervous system tonic (tones, balances, strengthens), hypotensive (lowers blood pressure), memory-enhancer, nervine (balances/calms nerves), neurasthenic (reduces nerve pain), neuroprotective (protects brain cells)

Other Properties/Actions Documented by Traditional Use:
antidepressant, anti-rheumatic, anti-stress, astringent, cardiotonic (tones, balances, strengthens the heart), digestive stimulant, gastrototonic (tones, balances, strengthens the gastric tract), hypocholesterolemic (lowers cholesterol), stimulant, tonic (tones, balances, strengthens overall body functions)

Cautions: none

Traditional Preparation: Since many of the most active principals are not water soluble it is best to prepared this plant as a tincture, using 2-4 ml of a 4:1 tincture twice daily. Boiling the tincture for 20 minutes will help facilitate extraction of the non-water-soluble chemicals. For its tonic effect, one of the traditional remedies is to gently simmer 1 teaspoon of root and/or bark in one cup of water for 15 minutes and take 1/2 to 1 cup daily.

Contraindications: None reported.

Drug Interactions: None reported.





Amazonia as an aphrodisiac and for baldness, beri-beri, cardiac weakness, central nervous system problems, diarrhea, flu, gastrointestinal problems, impotence, low libido, neuromuscular problems, paralysis, rheumatism, sexual debility, weakness
Brazil as an aphrodisiac and appetite stimulant, and for ataxia, baldness, beri-beri, central nervous system disorders, debility, depression, digestive problems, dysentery, dyspepsia, frigidity, gastrointestinal disorders, heart problems, hookworm, impotence, low libido, menstrual cramps, menopause, neuralgia, nerve problems, neuromuscular problems, nervous exhaustion, ovarian function, paralysis, PMS, poliomyelitis, rheumatism, stress, trauma, weakness (muscle)
Germany as a central nervous system tonic, and for hookworms, menstrual disturbances, rheumatism
Guiana as an aphrodisiac, stimulant and tonic, and for impotency
Europe as an aphrodisiac and nerve tonic, and for dysentery, impotence, infertility, menstrual disturbances, neurasthenia
United States as an aphrodisiac and tonic, and for depression, central nervous system disorders, impotence, menstrual problems, nerve pain, PMS
Elsewhere as an aphrodisiac and central nervous system stimulant, and for baldness, dyspepsia, exhaustion, gastrointestinal weakness, impotency, infertility, low libido, menstrual irregularities, muscle paralysis, nerve pain, neuromuscular problems, paralysis, reproductive disorders, rheumatism, stress, trauma



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