|Botanical: Erythroxylum catuaba
Family: Erythroxylaceae (catuaba)
Other common names: Golden Trumpet, Catagua, Catigua, Tatuaba, Caramuru
Catuaba has been primarily used for centuries as an aphrodisiac and libido stimulant for both males and females, as well as a tonic to fortify the nervous system. It is said to calm the nerves, relieve insomnia, ease anxiety, restlessness, depression and emotional stress. The herb is also used to increase blood circulation to the brain (helping poor memory), to the reproductive organs (helping the libido) and to the heart (helping cardiac health).
The information presented herein by Herbal Extracts Plus is intended for educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
Catuaba is a vigorous-growing, small tree that is native to the forests of northern Brazil and has been used medicinally for thousands of years as an overall body tonic and an aphrodisiac. The tree grows to about twelve feet in height and produces yellow and orange flowers and small, dark yellow, inedible fruit. The historic traditional use of this herbal tonic is legendary, and many say it is the most famous of all the Brazilian aphrodisiac plants. The Tupi Indians in Brazil first discovered the aphrodisiac qualities of the plant centuries ago, and many of the other local peoples in Brazil have also been using it for generations. There is even a saying in Brazil that "Until a father reaches sixty, the son is his; after that, the son is Catuaba's." It has been exported to the United States and Canada, where herbalists include it in their treatments for a variety of ailments. There has been much confusion surrounding the actual species of tree that is sold around the world as Catuaba. The Catuaba tree (Erythroxylum catuaba) belongs to the Erythroxylaceae family, which contains several species that are sources of cocaine. This Catuaba, however, contains none of the active cocaine alkaloids. There are many other species sold as Catuaba, but two species of the Erythroxylaceae family: small Catuaba (Erythroxylum catuaba) and big Catuaba (Trichilia catigua) are the preferred Brazilian herbal medicinal species with the longest documented history of use as "big and little" Catuaba. Both types are used interchangeably in Brazilian herbal medicine systems for the same conditions, and it is the bark and root that are used in herbal medicine. Some of the constituents in Catuaba include alkaloids, tannins, aromatic oils, fatty resins, phytosterols, cyclolignans, sequiterpenes and flavonoids.
Catuaba has an almost legendary reputation as an aphrodisiac and is said to enhance sexual drive and increase libido in both women and men. According to Dr. Michael van Straten, noted British herbalist and naturopath, Catuaba is beneficial to both men and women as an aphrodisiac (treating frigidity and low sex drive in women), but it is in the area of male impotence and Erectile Dysfunction (ED) that the men achieve striking results. The herb appears to stimulate the central nervous system and increase libido and circulation in the male reproduction organ. It is often called an "innocent" aphrodisiac, meaning that it enhances libido without any side effects. Even after long-term use, there have been no reported ill side effects. As a matter of fact, Dr. Meira Penna claims that the only side effects reported have been erotic dreams and increased sexual desire. Its actions as a nervous system stimulant act directly on the genital organs as a tonic for genital function.
Catuaba is considered a "nervine" or agent that strengthens and balances the function of the nervous system and may be both stimulating and sedating. As a nervous system tonic, it is believed to restore and nourish the system and has been used to relieve agitation, nervousness and anxiety (often accompanied by apprehension of danger, restlessness, tension, increased heart rate and shortness of breath). Considered an herbal tranquilizer, the herb is also used to relieve insomnia, particularly when related to nervous debility, and it also thought to alleviate depression, emotional stress and hypochondria. Catuaba is believed to calm overactive neurotransmitters.
Catuaba is thought to be a reliable analgesic and is said to relieve pain, particularly nerve pain and pain related to the central nervous system, such as sciatica and neuralgia.
As a cardiotonic, Catuaba is believed to tone and strengthen the heart. The herb is considered both a vasodilator and vasorelaxant. These actions expand blood vessels, allowing more blood to flow through them and increase blood circulation. It also helps to lower the high blood pressure that increases the risk of heart attack, stroke and kidney failure, because hypertension adds to the workload of the heart, causing it to overwork and weaken. In 2002, a group of Brazilian researchers were granted a patent for Catuaba extract in a substance that relaxed and dilated blood vessels in animals.
Because Catuaba improves overall blood circulation, it is also believed to increase circulation to the brain, stimulating it and enhancing brain function. It is thought to be beneficial in cases of poor memory, Alzheimer's disease, forgetfulness and dementia.
Catuaba is thought to be a fine general tonic that tones, nourishes and strengthens overall bodily functions and individual organs. It is known for its capability of increasing strength and relieving general exhaustion, fatigue, weakness and overall debility.
Catuaba is believed to have effective antibacterial and antiviral properties. Laboratory studies conducted in 1992 indicated that the herb provided protection against lethal infections of E. coli and Staphlococcus aureus. Moreover, it also inhibited HIV significantly. The pathway of the herb's anti-HIV activity appeared to stem from the inhibition of HIV absorption into cells.
Currently, there are no known warnings or contraindications with the use of Catuaba Herbal Supplement.