What is Guarana

Guarana is a botanical dietary supplement whose main active constituent is caffeine.

Guarana is the common name of a climbing, shrubby vine found in Venezuela and the northern parts of Brazil, Paullina Cupana.

A dried paste consisting of the ground seed kernel of the berries that grow on this plant is also referred to as guarana.

Guarana contains 3% to 8% caffeine, as well as theophylline, theobromine, tannic acid, and saponins. Methylxanthines, particularly caffeine, are the primary components of guarana that provide pharmacologic activity.

Historically, guarana has been used to relieve headaches, cramps and fevers, as an aphrodisiac, and to prevent malaria and dysentery.

The tannic acid present in guarana is an astringent and may account for its use as a digestive tonic.

Guarana is available in dietary supplements as a single entity or in combinations with other herbal ingredients, and is found in some foods and beverages as an additive.

Guarana is also the name of a popular South American soft drink, which is also made using the ground seeds of the Paullina Cupana plant.

Guarana is mainly used as a CNS stimulant to promote wakefulness and as an aid in weight loss, although controlled data supporting efficacy for weight loss are lacking.

Guarana has been used in combination with ephedra, ma huang; however this combination should be avoided, due to the potential for potentially dangerous cardiovascular side effects


  • drowsiness
  • fatigue
  • obesity

Side Effects

  1. anaphylactoid reactions
  2. anxiety
  3. diarrhea
  4. diuresis
  5. headache
  6. hyperglycemia
  7. hypoglycemia
  8. insomnia
  9. irritability
  10. nausea
  11. palpitations
  12. polyuria
  13. pruritus
  14. rash
  15. sinus tachycardia
  16. tremor
  17. vomiting
  18. withdrawal

Monitoring Parameters

  • laboratory monitoring not necessary


  • anticoagulant therapy
  • anxiety
  • breast-feeding
  • cardiac arrhythmias
  • cardiac disease
  • children
  • diabetes mellitus
  • hepatic disease
  • hypertension
  • hyperthyroidism
  • infants
  • insomnia
  • myocardial infarction
  • panic disorder
  • peptic ulcer disease
  • pregnancy
  • renal impairment
  • seizure disorder
  • surgery
  • thyroid disease
  • tobacco smoking


There are no drug interactions associated with Guarana products.