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Muira puama Powder Ptychopetalum olacoides, 4 oz
Muira puama (Ptychopetalum olacoides), also called 'potency wood,' is a bush or small tree up to 5 meters in height and is native to the Brazilian Amazon and other parts of northern Brazil. The small white flowers have a pungent fragrance similar to jasmine. Historically, all parts of the plants have been used medicinally, but the bark and roots are the primary parts of the plant utilized. It has long been used in the Amazon by indigenous peoples for a number of purposes and found its way into herbal medicine in South America and Europe in the 1920's.Dosage1 tsp. 2 to 3 times a day depending on condition.
Muira puama has a long history in herbal medicine as an aphrodisiac, a tonic for the nervous system an antirheumatic and for gastrointestinal disorders. In 1925, a pharamacological study was published on muira puama which indicated it effectiveness in treating disorders of the nervous system and sexual impotency which indicated that 'permanent effect is produced in locomotor ataxia, neuralgias of long standing, chronic rheumatism, and partial paralysis.'
Consumers must be aware however that to achieve the beneficial effects of the plant, proper preparation methods must be employed. The active constituents found in the natural bark thought to be responsible for Muira Puama's effect are not water soluble nor are they broken down in the digestive process. Therefore taking a ground bark or root powder in a capsule or tablet will not be very effective. High heat for at least 20 minutes or longer in alcohol is necessary to dissolve and extract the volatile and essential oils, terpenes, gums and resins found in the bark and root that have been linked to Muira Puama's beneficial effects.
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 the herbal medicine of England. Because of the long history of use of Muira puama in England, it is still listed in the British Herbal Pharmacopoeia, a noted source on herbal medicine from the British Herbal Medicine Association, where it is recommended for the treatment of dysentery and impotence. It has been in the Brazilian Pharmacopeia since the 1950's.
Scientists began searching for the active components in the root and bark of Muira puama to determine the reasons for it efficacy in the 1920's. Early research discovered that the root and bark were rich in free fatty acids, essential oil, plant sterols, and a new alkaloid which they named 'muirapuamine.'
Since it continued to be used throughout the world as an aphrodisiac and treatment for impotency as well as for hookworms, dysentery, rheumatism and central nervous system disorders with success, scientists began researching the plant's constituents and pharmacological properties again in the late 1960's, continuing on until the late 1980's. These studies indicated that the active constituents are free long-chain fatty acids, sterols, coumarin, alkaloids and essential oils. Chemically, Muira puama contains .05% muirapuamine, .4% fat, .5% alkaloids, .6% pholbaphene, .6% alpha-resinic acid, .7% beta resinic acid, .5% of a mixture of esters including behenic acid, lupeol and beta-sitosterol, as well as tannin, volatile oils and fatty acids.
Muira puama is still employed around the world today in herbal medicine. In Brazil and South American herbal medicine, it is used a neuromuscular tonic, for asthenia, paralysis, chronic rheumatism, sexual impotency, grippe, ataxia, and central nervous system disorders In Europe, it is used to treat impotency, infertility, neurasthenia, menstrual disturbances and dysentery.
It has been gaining in popularity in the United States where herbalists and health care practitioners are using muira puama for impotency, menstrual cramps and PMS, neurasthenia and central nervous system disorders.
The benefits in treating impotency with muira puama has recently been studied in two human trials which showed that Muira puama was proven to be effective in improving libido and treating erectile dysfunction. In a study conducted in Paris, France, of 262 male patients experiencing 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 dysfunctions felt that muira puama was beneficial. The second study conducted by Waynberg in France evaluated the positive psychological benefits of Muira puama in 100 men with male sexual asthenia.
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