Muira puama (marapuama) is a medicinal plant found in the Amazon rainforest. Muira puama helps with sexual dysfunction, improves cognitive function, and may reduce stress, anxiety, and fatigue. Read this post to see how you could benefit from muira puama.

What is Muira Puama?

Muira puama or potency wood (Ptychopetalum olacoides) is a species of small trees native to the Amazon rainforest of Brazil, French Guiana, Guyana, and Suriname [R].

Constituents of Muira Puama

The root and bark of muira puama are rich in fatty acids, fatty acid esters, essential oils, plant sterols, and triterpenes. Eight diterpenoids in muira puama’s bark have been described [R]:

  • 7-oxo-kolavelool
  • 7alpha-hydroxykolavelool
  • 6alpha,7alpha-dihydroxykolavenol
  • 12-oxo-hardwickiic acid
  • ptycholid I
  • ptycholide II
  • ptycholide III
  • ptycholide IV

Diterpenoids are natural compounds with antibacterial, anticancer and anti-inflammatory properties [R].

Health Benefits of Muira Puama

Muira Puama promotes brain development and healing, decreases stress, body fat percentage, cholesterol and aids in sexual performance.

1) Muira Puama Is an Aphrodisiac

Muira puama increased sexual desire in 60% of men with initial low libido and improved erectile function in 50% of men with a poor erection. Muira puama also improved sexual desire, sexual fantasies, and the ability to reach orgasm in 65% of women with sexual dysfunctions [R].

Moreover, muira puama increases libido. Muira puama combined with ginkgo biloba (Herbal vX, 175 mg muira puama and 16 mg of gingko) increased sex drive in 65% of 202 women who reported low sex drive [R].

Muira puama supplements of (1000 – 1500 mg daily) for 2 weeks increased libido in 60% of 262 men with low libido [R].

2) Muira Puama Can Stop the Progression of Alzheimer’s Disease

Muira puama is considered a “brain tonic” and protects the brain in Alzheimer’s [R].

In mice models of Alzheimer’s, muira puama extract helped with [R, R]:

  • Preventing cognitive impairment
  • Decreasing brain amyloid plaque deposits
  • Decreasing hippocampal (brain memory center) loss caused by amyloid plaques
  • Inhibiting enzymes that break down acetylcholine in the brain (hippocampus and striatum), similar to how Alzheimer’s treatments work

3) Muira Puama Can Enhance Memory

Muira puama improved memory retrieval without interfering with acquisition or consolidation in mice. Old mice given muira puama exhibited more memory improvement than young mice without muira puama [R].

Muira puama also restored memory in mice with brain damage [R].

Moreover, muira puama + a 5-HT2A blocker is as effective as two blockers, which is the treatment used to enhance memory consolidation [R].

4) Muira Puama Promotes the Growth of Neurons Which Can Help with Memory and Learning Processes

In cell-based studies, some constituents of muira puama (ptychonal hemiacetal and ptychonal) promoted the growth of neurons by increasing NGF [R].

5) Muira Puama May Benefit the Brain by Decreasing Damage to Neurons

In mice, antioxidants from muira puama were able to cross the blood brain barrier and reduce damaging oxidative stress [R].

In cell-based studies, muira puama extract protected neurons from oxidative stress induced by lack of glucose and oxygen [R].

6) Muira Puama Helps with Stress-Induced Depression

Chronic stress can lead to HPA-axis dysfunction, which is often found in depression. In mice, muira Puama extract treated stress-induced depression as effectively as an antidepressant (imipramine) [R].

7) Muira Puama Helps with Stress and Anxiety

Stress increases cortisol and blood sugar. Muira puama prevents a stress-induced increase in cortisol and blood glucose in mice [R].

Muira puama reduced anxiety behaviors that mice exhibit after exposure to stress [R].

8) Muira Puama Helps with Fatigue

Muira puama is effective in treating weakness after an illness or a general lack of energy. It helps with mental or physical fatigue, irritability, and headaches [R].

9) Muira Puama May Reduce Cholesterol and Body Fat

In rats, muira puama reduces fat deposits, total cholesterol, and increases lean body mass [R].

A case report of a 45-year-old man taking 50-100mg of muira puama resin twice a day for three months included [R]:

  • Gaining 15 pounds of muscle mass
  • Decreasing body fat percentage from 18 to 13%
  • Dropping bad cholesterol (LDL)
  • Increasing good cholesterol (HDL)

Dosage

In studies, doses range from 100-1500 mg daily. Some websites selling the supplement recommend a maximum dose of 2,850 mg.

Muira puama is not recommended for children or women who are pregnant or are breastfeeding.

The standard forms are tablets, tinctures, and decoctions.

Side Effects

Muira puama has minimal side effects including sour stomach and headaches [R].

Muira puama can cause short-lived hypotension since it may direct blood flow away from the heart [R, R].

You should ask your doctor before taking muira puama. While there are no clinical studies yet, muira puama might interact with nitrates (in a similar way as Viagra) causing a severe drop in blood pressure.

Drug Interactions

Given the effect of muira puama, it could interact with the following drugs; however, no scientific studies have confirmed this.

  • Nitrates (ex. nitroglycerin)
  • Blood pressure medications
  • Heart medications
  • Erectile dysfunction medications
  • Hormone medications
  • Steroids
  • Alzheimer’s medications

Reviews

“Well it is not the reason we began taking the product, never the less, both my wife and I have been losing weight since we started taking this product. Additionally, my wife is no longer constipated. We highly recommend this product.” [R].

“I usually am skeptical about supplements which enhance mood, libido, etc. But when I saw Life Extension review this herb [and use it in one of their supplement formulations], I paid closer attention. I’m a guy, and for 2 weeks I conducted a personal experiment with this brand of muira puama. Every other day, I took 3 capsules in the morning. After the 2 week period, it was clear to me that it increased libido and arousal. The effects can be somewhat subtle at first, as I noticed that the full effects may take several hours after taking the herb, and usually subside by evening. And, no side effects at all.”

“I had purchased these on suggestion, for low testosterone levels, along with TestoJack 300. I’m sorry to report that, after taking it almost a month, not only did this product NOT work at all, but my levels actually got worse and went through the floor. Now I’m being seen about other medical ideas on building the level back up.”

“My husband and I take this supplement mostly for the results we get for joint relief. We are in our 40’s and are starting to feel the effects of getting older. Our joints sometimes get a little sore, but we have noticed that when we take this supplement it really makes a difference. It helps you not to feel so sore. In fact, we noticed how well it was working when we ran out of them and didn’t order any right away. We have been taking these about a year now and have found this to be the one great quality about these.”

“I tried this with very little to no effect. But it did cause me to break out in rashes under my arms. Maybe others would be immune, but be careful!”

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FDA Compliance

The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body. We do not aim to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. Information is shared for educational purposes only. You must consult your doctor before acting on any content on this website, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition.

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