Catuaba is a collective name for several varieties of trees in the Amazon whose barks are gathered and used mainly as a libido enhancer and to treat sexual dysfunction. Probably the most common among the trees in this group is the Erythroxylum Vacciniifolioum. Its bark is also one of the most potent. The rest of the trees include Trichilia Catigua, Eriotherca Candolleana, the Juniperus Brasiliensis, and Anemopaegma Mirandum.
Traditional Folkloric Benefits
The natural herbal bark supplement is perhaps best known all over the world for its effects on the male sex organ. It has been used as an aphrodisiac and as a tonic to enhance the central nervous system in traditional Brazilian medicine. An infusion of the bark’s chemical composition can elevate libido and sexual desire in men, improve performance in bed, and treat impotence and erectile dysfunction (ED). Although there is no sufficient scientific evidence to support this belief, a lot of people claim it’s true and much anecdotal evidence exists to make it a potentially very interesting aphrodisiac.
Health Benefits of Catuaba Bark
- Protection for Skin Cells – A published study in 2004 (Toxicology in Vitro) showed that Catuaba extract can help safeguard skin cells from hydroperoxide- induced cytotoxic activity. This is because of the bark’s active ingredients: the cinchonains lla and llb that prevent squalene monohydroperoxide from doing toxic damage to the cells. Tests were performed in rats. A 2012 study similarly found many antioxidant properties in catuaba bark extract.
- Anti-Inflammatory Properties – According to Psychotherapy Research 2004, the bark’s extract has anti-inflammatory qualities. It explained how the inflammation process was inhibited completely when test subjects were given 120 mic/ml. This proves that the bark extract has great potentials as a natural remedy for inflammatory disorders.
- Treatment for Parkinson’s Disease: In 2008, the Journal of Brain Research published an article that proved the herbal medicine has positive cytoprotective effects apoptosis in human neuroblastomes cells that are rotenone-induced. In layman’s terms, the study’s results showed that commercial extracts from the tree Anemopaegma Mirandum have a great potential as a treatment for Parkinson’s disease.
- Antidepressant Properties: The Journal of Psychopharmacology published a study in 2005 that showed some solid evidence of the bark extract’s dopamine-aided effect as an antidepressant when tested in mice. In vitro and in vivo strategies were utilized. The study further proved that the standard extract of Trichilias or its purified components hold promise as an effective cure for various depressive disorders. Similarly, another 2005 study concluded that catuaba bark extract inhibited the uptake and increased the release of serotonin, and especially of dopamine.
- Anti-Microbial and HIV Protective Activity: In 1992, The Int’l. Journal of Experimental & Pathophysiology and Drug Research have demonstrated that pre-treatment of rats with alkaline extracts from the bark and hot water effectively protected the test subject from the lethal infection of Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli. The extract considerably inhibited both the HIV-induced cytopathic effects as well as the expression of HIV antigens making it a potentially very important anti-viral medicine.
Warnings and Side Effects
There are currently insufficient studies and research that can prove the existence of major side effects in adults. Nursing and pregnant women, on the other hand, are advised against taking the supplement because of potential harmful effects both on the baby and the mother.
The supplement is available online at amazon and in various health stores throughout the country. The commercially-available products come in tincture or dried extract powder capsule forms. If you have access to the raw bark you can make a tea or medicinal infusion.