from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Guarana - Paullinia cupana.jpg

Guaraná ( Paullinia cupana )

Eurosiden II
Order : Sapindales (Sapindales)
Family : Soap tree family (Sapindaceae)
Subfamily : Sapindoideae
Genre : Paullinia
Type : Guarana
Scientific name
Paullinia cupana

Guarana ( Paullinia cupana ) is a species within the family of the soap tree plants (Sapindaceae). It is native to the Amazon basin . The name Guaraná refers to the South American indigenous people of the Guaraní . It has a long ethnobotanical tradition and its caffeine-containing seeds are often used as dietary supplements and additives in beverages.


Illustration from Koehler's Medicinal Plants , 1897 by Guaraná ( Paullinia cupana ): “ A branch of the plant with flowers and unripe fruits. B Panicle with ripe fruits. 1 male flower; 2 the same after one-sided removal of the flower envelope; 3 hermaphrodite; 4 the same after partial removal of the inflorescence, seen from the side; 5 upper petal with scales seen from the axis; 6 lateral petals with scales, a) viewed from the axis, b) from the back; 7 stamen of female flower; 8 stamen of the hermaphrodite, belly and back views; 9 male flower pestle; 10 the same as the hermaphrodite; 11 two-seeded fruit, a) cross-section, b) longitudinal section; 12 solitary fruit, a) cross section, b) longitudinal section; 13 seeds with aril; 13a seeds in longitudinal section. - A 2/3 natural size. B natural size. 1 to 10 enlarged. 11a to 13a natural size. "
Ripe capsule fruits

Appearance and bark

Guaraná is a woody plant; it grows as a climbing shrub or liana , which can reach heights of up to 12 meters in natural tropical locations. The bark is initially brownish, soft and hairy and soon becomes bald. Only in Paullinia cupana var. Sorbilis are tendrils present, they are located in the leaf axils.


The alternately arranged leaves are 20 to 35 centimeters long and divided into petiole and leaf blade. The petiole and rhachis leaf are trough-shaped, convex and slightly striped in between. The leathery, bald, unpinnate leaf blade contains five 10 to 20 cm long and 4.5 to 9 cm wide leaf sections. The upper leaf sections are oblong and the lower egg-shaped. The terminal leaflet has a pointed or almost wedge-shaped base and the lateral leaflets are rounded to more or less stalk-shaped. The leaf margin is more or less clearly to hardly recognizable serrated. The stipules are 2 to 3 millimeters long.

Inflorescence and flower

Guaraná is single sexed ( monoecious ). A few flowers are grouped together in laterally, terminally or at the tendrils initiated, racemose inflorescences . There may be an inflorescence stem. The inflorescence axis (Rhachis) has a diameter of about 2 mm. The bracts are awl-shaped with a length of 1 to 1.5 mm. The 4 to 5 mm long flower stalks are divided below their middle.

The relatively small, unisexual flowers are zygomorphic and five-fold with a double flower envelope . The five free sepals are almost membranous and about 3 mm long. The five white petals are oblong with a length of about 5 mm. The eight stamens consist of a soft hairy stamen and bare anthers. There is a kind of nectar disc at the base of the ovary. The bald ovary is three-chambered.

Fruit and seeds

The stalked, septicidal , 2 to 3.5 cm long, deeply incised, triple capsule fruit , which is 6 to 8 mm long when the fruit is ripe , turns orange-red when ripe, opens partially and contains only one to three seeds. The approximately 12 mm long, bare, black to greenish seeds have a white sarcotesta at their base . The cracked fruit with its seed in it works like an eye, and legends of the indigenous peoples are linked to it.


There is cross- pollination (allogamy) and pollination is carried out by bees of the genera Melipona and Apis .

The seeds are naturally spread by large birds. The seeds usually lose their ability to germinate after just three days and do not survive dehydration or frost. The germination time can be over 100 days.

Systematics and distribution

The first description of Paullinia cupana was in 1821 by Karl Sigismund Kunth in Alexander von Humboldt , Aimé Bonpland and Karl Sigismund Kunth: Nova Genera et Species Plantarum , 4th edition, volume 5, pp. 117-118. The type material collected by Humboldt and Bonpland bears the inscription: “ Crescit in ripa obumbrata fluminis Orinoci, prope S. Fernando de Atabàpo. Floret Majo ”.

There are two varieties of Paullinia cupana Kunth :

  • Paullinia cupana Kunth var. Cupana : It occurs in Venezuela, Brazil (especially in Manaus and Parintins ) and Peru.
  • Paullinia cupana var. Sorbilis (Mart.) Ducke ( Syn .: Paullinia sorbilis Mart. ): It occurs only in Peru.

Paullinia cupana var. Cupana has unlike Paullinia cupana var. Sorbilis no tendrils, the leaves are more lobed and the flowers and fruits are larger.


Freshly ground guarana powder

Guaraná has been known to the Indians in the Amazon for centuries. Guaraná paste was used in a similar way to cocoa / chocolate. It has been widely used in folk medicine.

Guaraná is grown as a climbing plant in plantations in Brazil, Venezuela and Paraguay. Growing from seeds is difficult.

The peeled and dried seeds are ground to a light brown powder, suspended in water and drunk sweetened with honey. Similar to coffee, the drink has a stimulating effect and suppresses feelings of hunger .

Many Brazilian beverage manufacturers (including Antarctica, Brahma, Kicos, Kuat) use guarana extracts to produce a lemonade-like soft drink typical of Brazil , which is homonymously referred to as guarana .

Dissemination can also find chocolate , herbal and fruit teas , chewing gum , energy drinks and lubes with guarana. The substance is also available separately as a dietary supplement . The proportion of tannins is around 25 percent, which delays and prolongs the effect of the caffeine it contains. The products are advertised as “stimulants” and “energizers”. In addition, Guaraná products are considered performance-enhancing in fitness circles and by bodybuilders .

Guaraná has an extremely tart to very bitter taste, which is why it is usually not consumed pure, but added to various foods such as those mentioned above.

The seeds of Paullinia cupana var. Sorbilis are pulverized and mixed with cassava flour ( Manihot esculenta Crantz). This is used to make the so-called “pasta guarana”, which can be dissolved in hot or cold water as desired. The caffeine content of the “pasta guarana” is 3 to 6%, the tannin content 2 to 3%. The drink is astringent .

Some ingredients in 1 g of guarana seeds.
ingredient amount
fat 30.0 mg
ash 14.2 mg
Caffeine 9.1 to 76.0 mg
Catechutannic acid
D- catechin
protein <98.6 mg
resin <70.0 mg
Strength 50.0 to 60.0 mg
Tannins 50.0 to 120.0 mg
Theobromine 200 to 400 ppm
Theophylline 0 to 2500 ppm


Their red fruits with the bitter- tasting kernels are characterized by their high caffeine content (4–8% in dry matter ).

Guaraná has the stimulating effect of caffeine. The stimulating substance is often wrongly referred to as "guaranine"; however, there is no such substance. The guarana extract contains: tannins (over 12%) of which approx. 10% proanthocyanidins , caffeine (4–6%), theophylline (0–0.25%), theobromine (0.02–0.04%), (+ ) - catechin (6%), (-) - epicatechin (3%), saponins , starch , minerals (3–4%) and water (6–8%).


Guaraná is said to have a slight fever lowering effect and to strengthen stamina in the case of physical weakness . Similar to coffee , guarana has a stimulating effect on the cardiovascular system. It also reduces feelings of hunger and thirst , which increases the risk of dehydration in athletes.

Side effects and risks

You may experience the same side effects as excessive consumption of caffeine from other sources, such as increased irritability, difficulty sleeping , tachycardia , headache , tremors, or muscle pain . When discontinuing the products after long-term consumption, physical withdrawal symptoms can occur. Guaraná products are unsuitable for people with high blood pressure and chronic headaches, as well as for pregnant women and those who are breastfeeding.

An overdose of caffeine is usually seven to ten cups of coffee within a short period of time, or 20 grams of pure guarana powder. Doctors recommend drinking a large amount of water as an immediate measure in this case.

See also


Web links

Commons : Guaraná ( Paullinia cupana )  - album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d e Guaraná (Paullinia cupana) - data sheet at Raintree - Tropical Plant Database . (English).
  2. a b c d e f Neglected Crops: 1492 from a Different Perspective. 1994. JE Hernándo Bermejo & J. León (editors): Plant Production and Protection , Series No. 26. FAO, Rome, Italy. Pp. 223-228. E. Lleras: Species of Paullinia with economic potential : online at Purdue Newcrop. (English).
  3. a b c d e JF Macbride: Sapindaceae . 13 (3A / 2): 291-391, In: JF Macbride (Ed.): Flora of Peru , 1956. Publ. Field Mus. Nat. Hist., Bot. Ser. Field Museum, Chicago. Paullinia cupana , pp. 334–335 scanned at (English).
  4. ^ Klaus Kubitzki : The Families and Genera of Vascular Plants. Vol. X, Springer, 2011, ISBN 978-3-642-14396-0 , p. 368.
  5. Thomas W. Baumann, Brigitte H. Schulthess & Karin Hänni: Guaraná (Paullinia cupana) rewards seed dispersers without intoxicating them by caffeine. In: Phytochemistry . Volume 39, Issue 5, 1995, pp. 1063-1070, doi : 10.1016 / 0031-9422 (94) 00141-F .
  6. First publication scanned at (English).
  7. Paullinia cupana at Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, accessed August 18, 2013. (English).
  8. Paullinia cupana in the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), USDA , ARS , National Genetic Resources Program. National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland. Retrieved August 18, 2013. (English).
  9. data sheet from Dr. Duke's Phytochemical and Ethnobotanical Databases ( Memento of the original dated November 19, 2004 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (English).  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  10. Hansel, Sticher: Pharmacognosie, Phytopharmazie. 8th edition, Springer-Verlag, 2007, ISBN 978-3-540-26508-5 , p. 1455.
  11. Arznei-Telegram 08/1993 and MedUNIQA : Nutrition & Culinary Guarana - Pick-me-up and strength-giving ( Memento from October 22, 2010 in the Internet Archive ).