Muira Puama extracts – popularly known as Potency Wood and marapuama – are derived from a small tree (Ptychopetalum olacoides) that grows in the Brazilian rain forest. Muira puama root, bark and wood extracts are a traditional herbal medicine used to enhance sexual desire in both men and women and to treat male erectile dysfunction (impotence). Muira puama is also used as a general tonic, and is increasingly used as a nootropic to improve cognition – the ability to think straight. Interestingly, a local healer with whom I twice travelled up the Amazon claimed that Muira puama also helps to prevent male pattern baldness.
How does Muira puama work?
Muira puama is widely thought to deserve its reputation as a powerful, prosexual supplement which quickly improves libido. When the Brazilian government researched 120 local remedies used as an aphrodisiac, Muira Puama was one of only three selected for further study, along with Damiana and Catuaba.
Muira puama extracts contain resins, lupeol, campestrol and beta-sitosterol. These are believed to stimulate sexual desire in both men and women through a direct action on brain chemicals (dopamine, noradrenaline and serotonin), by stimulating nerve sensations, and by enhancing the effects of sex hormones, especially testosterone which helps to regulate libido.
Muira puama for women
Muira Puama is a traditional herbal remedy used to treat exhaustion, neuralgia, anxiety, depression, premenstrual syndrome and menstrual cramps as well as low sex drive in women. Despite its long history of traditional use, Muira puama has not been widely investigated. My own published research, carried out with Professor Jacques Waynberg of the Institute of Sexology, Paris, looked at the effects of a combination of Muira puama plus Ginkgo biloba in 202 women with low sex drive. After taking the Muira puama extract for just one month, we found statistically significant improvements in the frequency of sexual desire, sexual intercourse and sexual fantasies, as well as improvements in satisfaction, arousal, ability to reach orgasm and intensity of orgasm.
Muira puama for men
Another clinical trial by Professor Waynberg involved 262 males with low sex drive and erectile dysfunction. This showed that muira puama was more effective than yohimbine – an alkaloid extracted from the bark of the Yohimbe tree, which has been used pharmaceutically to treat erectile dysfunction. In this study, 62% of men who complained of lack of sexual desire stated that muira puama had a dynamic effect on their sex lives, and 51% with erectile dysfunction found it was of benefit. The researchers suggested that Muira Puama is one of the best herbs for treating erectile dysfunction and lack of libido.
Muira puama is also used as a general tonic for the nervous system, and is used to help treat exhaustion, neuralgia, anxiety, depression, pre-menstrual syndrome and menstrual cramps. Interestingly, it is also used to treat some types of baldness.
Muira puama dose
Capsules: 1g to per day for two weeks (or 500mg up to three times daily for two weeks).
Tea: one cup on an occasional basis when needed.
Tincture: 5ml on an occasional basis when needed.
Muira Puama is often combined with other pro-sexual herbs such as ginseng, sarsaparilla and Damiana. It is said to have a synergistic action with Catuaba.
Have you tried Muira puama or potency wood? Please share your experiences via the comments below.
Muira puama side effects
No serious side effects have been reported at therapeutic doses.