Muira Puama is one of the most active botanicals with a long history of traditional use as an energy tonic, general health improver and remedy for impotence & sexual insufficiency. It is known in some circles as "the Viagra of the Amazon" and in fact, many people now consider it the new Yohimbe but with considerably less possible side effects.
The roots of this Amazonian tree were the subject of a study conducted by the UCLA School of Medicine.
The study showed a significant improvement in both erectile function and sexual desire. The Amazon natives have known this for centuries, as this herb has been widely used as an aphrodisiac by both men and women, and is commonly known as "potent wood".
The short term effects of Muira Puama include increasing blood flow to the pelvic area, aiding erections in men as well as sensation and orgasm in women. Longer term use enhances the production of sex hormones in both sexes. It has no noted side effects though, as with many sexual stimulants, it can slightly raise blood pressure.
Muira Puama has also been used for stress management, nervous system stimulation and for general overall health. Two French studies showed that muira Puama seemed to improve libido and sexual function. Scientists also believe that this herb increases testosterone levels, though this has not yet been clinically proven.
It has been used to tonify the nervous system and to treat cases of mild exhaustion. It can also help with gastrointestinal and reproductive disorders, while it's anti-rheumatic properties have been used for treating stress and trauma.
A clinical study with 262 patients complaining of lack of sexual desire and the inability to attain or maintain an erection demonstrated Muira Puama extract to be effective in many cases. Within 2 weeks, at a daily dose of 1 to 1.5 grams of the extract, 62% of patients with loss of libido claimed that the treatment had dynamic effect while 51 percent of patients with "erection failures" felt that muira Puama was of benefit. Primary chemical constituents of muira Puama include alkaloids (specifically muirapuamine), esters, plant sterols, free fatty acids and phytosterols. Presently, the exact mechanism of action of this herb is still under investigation. From the preliminary information, it appears that it works on enhancing both psychological and physical aspects of sexual function.
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 has used to treat impotency, infertility, neurasthenia, menstrual disturbances and dysentery. 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 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.
While so-called "aphrodisiacs" have come and gone in history, Muira Puama has risen above this class of products and may well provide the most effective natural therapeutic approach for loss of libido in both sexes.