Health & Wellness Muira puama [Ptychopetalum, Marapuama, Potency Wood] Testosterone Boost

Muira Puama may enhance sexual and cognitive performance

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Muira puama (or Ptychopetalum, Marapuama, Potency Wood) is used by amazonian people as a “nerve tonic” and to treat various age-related conditions [1]. This shrub is native to Brazil and has long been used as a powerful aphrodisiac and nerve stimulant in South American folk medicine. This herb is currently included in many dietary supplements available all around the world that are claimed to enhance sexual, physical and cognitive performance.

Aphrodisiac Effects of Muira puama

One study conducted in 202 healthy women complaining about low sex drive assessed the efficacy of herbal mixture of 175 mg Muira puama extract and 16 mg Ginkgo biloba [2]. After 1 month of treatment significantly improved scores on a self-assessment of their sex drive and other aspects of sexual function and behavior were noted in two-thirds of participants.

A clinical study conducted at the Institute of Sexology in Paris, France under the supervision of Dr. Jacques Waynberg (not accessible online) [2,3], in 262 men with erectile dysfunction problems and complaining of lack of sexual desire, demonstrated Muira puama extract (Ptychopetalum olacoides) to reverse low libido and/or erectile dysfunction problems in men within a two-week period.

Nootropic Effects

A study in animals suggests that a single administration (by intraperitoneal injection) of Muira puama (Ptychopetalum olacoides) ethanol extract facilitates memory retrieval [4]. It has been noted by Adriana L. da Silva and associates [5] that Muira puama (Ptychopetalum olacoides) ethanol extract significantly improved step-down inhibitory avoidance long-term and short-term memory in adult and reversed memory deficits in aging mice. Improved memory processes may be attributed to acetylcholinesterase inhibitory properties of Muira puama [4,5].

Inhibition of acetylcholinesterase is considered as a promising strategy for the treatment of neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, senile dementia, ataxia and myasthenia gravis [7]. The goal of acetylcholinesterase inhibitors is improved cholinergic transmission (enhancing cholinergic function by stimulation of cholinergic receptors) [8,9]. Muira puama has also significantly inhibited acetylcholinesterase activity in vitro in a dose- and time-dependent manner in rat frontal cortex, hippocampus and striatum [10].

Interactions with various neurotransmitters (including noradrenaline, serotonin and dopamine) have also been suggested [6,14].

Effects on Stress and Anxiety

Muira puama extracts are consumed in the Amazon for the treatment of central nervous system related conditions or during highly stressful periods.
Siqueira et al. [6]. reported that Muira puama roots possess various central nervous system activities including mild anxiogenic effect. Anxiogenic effects were also reported by da Silva and colleagues [11].

Ptychopetalum olacoides (Marapuama) might also possess adaptogen-like properties as researchers from Brazil reported its counteraction with some of the effects of chronic stress [12].

Antioxidant properties of Muira puama could be (at least to some degree) related to some of the therapeutic properties claimed to be associated with its use [12,13]. It is not completely known which active compound or by which mechanism Muira puama exerts its antioxidant activities. However, beta-sistosterol and lupeol, both present in Muira puama (Ptychopetalum olacoides), have been shown to possess antioxidant properties [12].

Possible Antidepressant

Results of animal study by Piato et al. [14] indicated that Muira puama (Ptychopetalum olacoides) possesses antidepressant-like effects. In these antidepressant-like effects involvement of dopamine, noradrenaline and serotonin was examined. Researchers suggested that this effects is mediated by beta-adrenergic and D1 dopamine receptors.

Muira puama Side Effects and Safety

Clinical toxicology study in healthy volunteers reported no severe adverse reactions or hematological and biochemical changes also there were not adverse actions on the subjects [15].

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  1. da Silva, Adriana L., et al. “Promnesic effects of Ptychopetalum olacoides in aversive and non-aversive learning paradigms.” Journal of ethnopharmacology 109.3 (2007): 449-457.
  2. Waynberg, Jacques, and Sarah Brewer. “Effects of Herbal vX on libido and sexual activity in premenopausal and postmenopausal women.” Advances in therapy 17.5 (2000): 255-262.
  3. Shamloul, Rany. “Natural aphrodisiacs.” The journal of sexual medicine 7.1pt1 (2010): 39-49.
  4. da Silva, Adriana L., et al. “Memory retrieval improvement by Ptychopetalum olacoides in young and aging mice.” Journal of ethnopharmacology 95.2 (2004): 199-203.
  5. da Silva, Adriana L., et al. “Promnesic effects of Ptychopetalum olacoides in aversive and non-aversive learning paradigms.” Journal of ethnopharmacology 109.3 (2007): 449-457.
  6. Siqueira, I. R., et al. “Psychopharmacological properties of Ptychopetalum olacoides bentham (Olacaceae).” Pharmaceutical Biology 36.5 (1998): 327-334.
  7. Mukherjee, Pulok K., et al. “Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors from plants.” Phytomedicine 14.4 (2007): 289-300.
  8. Figueiró, M., et al. “Acetylcholinesterase inhibition in cognition-relevant brain areas of mice treated with a nootropic Amazonian herbal (Marapuama).” Phytomedicine 17.12 (2010): 956-962.
  9. Adewusi, E. A., N. Moodley, and Vanessa Steenkamp. “Medicinal plants with cholinesterase inhibitory activity: A Review.” (2010).
  10. Siqueira, Ionara Rodrigues, et al. “Ptychopetalum olacoides, a traditional Amazonian “nerve tonic”, possesses anticholinesterase activity.” Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior 75.3 (2003): 645-650.
  11. da Silva, A. L., et al. “Anxiogenic properties of Ptychopetalum olacoides Benth.(marapuama).” Phytotherapy Research 16.3 (2002): 223-226.
  12. Siqueira, I. R., et al. “Antioxidant activities of Ptychopetalum olacoides (muirapuama) in mice brain.” Phytomedicine 14.11 (2007): 763-769.
  13. Siqueira, I. R., et al. “Antioxidant action of an ethanol extract of Ptychopetalum olacoides.” Pharmaceutical biology 40.5 (2002): 374-379.
  14. Piato, Ângelo L., et al. “Antidepressant profile of Ptychopetalum olacoides Bentham (Marapuama) in mice.” Phytotherapy research 23.4 (2009): 519-524.
  15. Oliveira, Celso H., et al. “Clinical toxicology study of an herbal medicinal extract of Paullinia cupana, Trichilia catigua, Ptychopetalum olacoides and Zingiber officinale (Catuama®) in healthy volunteers.” Phytotherapy Research 19.1 (2005): 54-57.