Guarana is the fruit of Paullinia cupana. A climbing plant native to the Amazon rainforest of Brazil. Its name comes from the doctor and also botanist Simón Paulli.
When this plant reaches its maturity, it springs from it some red fruits, which release seeds with a shape similar to an eye when they open. These seeds contain high concentrations of caffeine. Hence, the guarana is known for being a powerful stimulant.
Its common name comes from the word wara’ná that means “the fruit like the eyes of the people”. And it is consumed as a traditional drink and remedy by the Indians of the Amazon.
Its seeds are rich in vitamins, proteins and caffeine, sometimes called, in this case, guaranine.
Caffeine represents between 2 and 5% of the weight of this seed in dry. We are talking about a higher dose of caffeine than coffee, cocoa and mate.
Its history since the 17th century
In the seventeenth century, the missionary João Felipe Betendorf, knew the guarana through the natives, and found that they took it to go hunting and endure all day without feeling fatigued. In addition, he observed that its consumption was indigenous medicine, taking it as a remedy for headaches and as an antipyretic. The natives gave this seed as much importance as the Europeans did to gold. Guarana was for the indigenous the seed of survival.
For three years, from 1817 to 1820, the naturalist Carl Von Martius, traveled through the interior of Brazil, from Sao Paulo to the Amazon, conducting a study on the plants of the area. On his trip he discovered the trade of guarana in the territory.