The Benefits of Muira Puama

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Muira puama is a type of tree whose roots and stems are used medicinally. With a long history of use in Brazilian folk medicine, it's often said to act as a natural aphrodisiac. Muira puama is also thought to treat sexual dysfunction in both men and women.


Muira puama is said to act as a natural remedy for the following health issues: depression, erectile dysfunction, joint pain, loss of appetite, menstrual complaintspremenstrual syndrome, and upset stomach.

Muira puama is also used as an adaptogen (i.e., a substance thought to increase the body's resistance to the negative effects of chronic stress).

In addition, muira puama is purported to treat the loss of libido. It's said to protect against aging-related memory problems as well.

The Benefits

While there's currently a lack of clinical trials testing the health effects of muira puama, some preliminary studies indicate that this herb may offer certain benefits. Here's a look at several key findings from these studies.

1)  Brain Health

Several preliminary studies have demonstrated that muira puama shows promise in the treatment of aging-related declines in brain function. In a mouse-based study published in Phytomedicine in 2007, for instance, scientists discovered that compounds found in muira puama may help shield brain health by reducing damage induced by oxidative stress (a destructive process linked to aging-associated cognitive decline). There's also some evidence that muira puama may help enhance memory.

2)  Erectile Dysfunction

In a rat-based study published in the journal Andrology in 2015, researchers found that treatment with a combination of muira puama, ginger, L-citrulline (an amino acid), and guarana may help protect against aging-related erectile dysfunction.

3)  Libido

Taking a combination of muira puama and ginkgo biloba may help treat sexual dysfunction in healthy women, suggests a study published in Advances in Therapy in 2000.

For the study, 202 healthy women complaining of low sex drive were treated with an herbal formulation containing muira puama and ginkgo biloba for one month. At the end of the treatment period, questionnaires completed by the participants showed that the herbal formulation led to improvements in factors such as frequency of sexual desires and satisfaction with sex life.

4)  Depression

Muira puama extract may have antidepressant-like effects, according to a mouse-based study published in Phytotherapy Research in 2009.

5)  Stress

A preliminary study published in Phytomedicine in 2010 shows that muira puama may counteract the harmful effects of prolonged stress. In tests on mice, the study's authors observed that muira puama might possess adaptogen-like properties.

Side Effects and Safety Concerns

Due to a lack of research, little is known about the safety of long-term use of muira puama. However, there's some concern that use of muira puama may trigger sleep problems such as insomnia.

There's also some concern that use of muira puama may inhibit the activity of an enzyme called cholinesterase and, in turn, increase your risk of loss of muscle coordination.

It should also be noted that self-treating any chronic condition with muira puama and avoiding or delaying standard care may have serious consequences. Learn more about using herbal supplements.

Where to Find It

You can purchase dietary supplements containing muira puama in many natural-foods stores and other stores specializing in herbal products. Muira puama supplements are also widely available for purchase online.

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