Journal of
Medicinal Plants Research

  • Abbreviation: J. Med. Plants Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0875
  • DOI: 10.5897/JMPR
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 3834


Paullinia cupana Kunth (Sapindaceae): A review of its ethnopharmacology, phytochemistry and pharmacology

Lidilhone Hamerski 1, Genise Vieira Somner2 and Neusa Tamaio3*
1Núcleo de Pesquisas de Produtos Naturais, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. 2Departamento de Botânica, Universidade Federal Rural do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. 3Diretoria de Pesquisa Científica, Instituto de Pesquisas Jardim Botânico do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 25 July 2013
  •  Published: 10 August 2013


In Western markets, the extract from the seeds of Paullinia cupana Kunth, Sapindaceae, popularly known as Guaraná, is most commonly used in high-energy foods and drinks and dietary supplements. However, a broad spectrum of medicinal activities is reported for P.cupana, ranging from stimulation of the central nervous system, in cases of physical or mental stress, to appetite suppression. It can also be used as an aphrodisiac and a treatment for impotence, as well as a medication to reduce fever, stimulate metabolism, induce antiplatelet, antioxidant and antibacterial activites. In addtition, P. cupana has been used in cosmetic preparations, and it has become a popular soft drink in Brazil. In the last two decades, Guaraná has emerged as a key ingredient in various sports and high-energy drinks. Methylxanthines, including caffeine, cathechins, theophylline and theobromine, and tannins are compounds which are reported for this plant. This article reviews the most up-to-date information on the botanical, chemical and pharmacological aspects of P. cupanaextract, as well as its miscellaneous uses.


Key words: Ethnopharmacology, Guaraná extract, Paullinia cupana, caffeine, pharmacology, morphology.