Known as the Viagra of the Amazon, muira puama is another staple ingredient in several brands of male enhancement supplements.
Its potency lies in its active compounds, thus, its use as an energy tonic, remedy for sexual dysfunction including impotence, and general health improver in traditional Chinese medicine and, increasingly, in modern medicine.
It is also becoming a preferred ingredient than yohimbe (more about it here) because of its similar potency but with lesser side effects.
Muira puama is the indigenous name for the Ptychopetalum genus, which consists of two species of flowering plants found mostly in the Amazon rainforest; muira puama means “potency wood” in the native language.
Both species are small trees (i.e., shrubs) that can grow up to 14 feet and characterized by short-petioled leaves with light green upper surface and dark brown lower surface.
The flowers consist of short axillary racemes. The roots are tough, fibrous, and with a faint odor as well as a thin bark; when tasted, it has an acrid and slightly saline taste.
All parts of muira puama can be used for medicinal purposes. It is, however, the bark and root that have been traditionally harvested and used for herbal products including male enhancement supplements.
It has been used by peoples in South America particularly in Rio Negro for its aphrodisiac qualities.
The bark and root contains the beneficial substances necessary for medicinal purposes. These substances include:
- long-chain fatty acids
- and muirapuamine, an alkaloid
While muira puama has been used as a traditional aphrodisiac by Amazon peoples, modern scientists are still discovering the full extent of its impact on male sexual desire, performance and satisfaction.
The benefits of its inclusion in male enhancement supplements include:
- Increased blood flow into the pelvic area
This contributes to the improvement of the quality of erections in men and in the quality of orgasms in women. It must be emphasized that in penile erections, the greater the blood flowing into and pooling in the penile chambers specifically the corpora cavernosa, the firmer, larger and longer-lasting the erection can be.
- Improved production of testosterone in men
Testosterone is the so-called male hormone because it is essential in building muscle, boosting the size of the penis and testes, and deepening the voice as well as increasing body hair, among other male physical characteristics. When natural testosterone production drops, the affected male will usually experience symptoms such as a decrease in sex drive, a decrease in erectile function, and even an increase in genital numbness.
- Enhanced stress management
The active compounds in muira puama appear to contribute to better nervous system stimulation, immune system resistance, and general health. These aspects of physical and mental health are crucial for sexual health in that high levels of physical and mental stress adversely affect sexual desire and performance.
The Bottom Line
When incorporated into male enhancement supplements in the right ratio, muira puama increases sexual function in general and erections in particular.
But it must also be emphasized that the adoption of a healthy diet, moderate exercise, and sensible lifestyle habits, such as getting sufficient hours of sleep, avoiding smoking, and limiting alcohol, is a must for muira puama-infused male enhancement supplements to work.
Muira puama is also used for other medicinal purposes including rheumatism, ataxia, menstrual cramps, and dysentery.
It is, in fact, still listed as an effective herb in the British Herbal Pharmacopoeia, a compilation of herbal medicines used by healthcare practitioners and herbalists; the list is compiled by the British Herbal Medicine Association.
Like many herbal extracts, muira puama should be used under the guidance of a trained herbalist.
While it is generally safe to use for healthy adults, it has side effects especially with improper use (i.e., overdose) and it should not be used by people with certain underlying medical conditions and with certain medications.
Safety is always more important than effectiveness especially when muira puama is used for male enhancement purposes.