Catuaba bark supplement benefit and side effects, use for sexual and erectile enhancement, by Ray Sahelian, M.D., author of Natural Sex Boosters, a comprehensive guide to natural supplements that enhance male and female performance and pleasure. Does it enhance sexuality? Can this herb be combined with other aphrodisiac herbs such as muira puama, maca, and others?
Catuaba is a medium-sized tree
the Amazon forest in the northern part of Brazil. In Brazilian herbal medicine,
catuaba bark is considered a
central nervous system stimulant with aphrodisiac properties and a bark decoction is used
for nervousness, poor memory, and sexual weakness. Apparently the Topi Indians
have known about the sex-enhancing properties for many centuries,
perhaps combining it with muira puama and other herbal aphrodisiacs.
The scientific name is Erythroxylum catuaba), while other common names are Chuchuhuasha, Tatuaba, Pau de Reposta, and Caramuru. I have also found catuaba research studies done with Erythroxylum vacciniifolium and Anemopaegma mirandum. I am not certain whether they are referring to the same plant.
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Suggested Use: As a dietary supplement, take one capsule a few days a week or as recommended by a health care provider. As with most herbs, I recommend taking breaks from use, for instance one or two weeks on, one or two weeks off.
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What the research says about catuaba bark
Back in 1992, researchers in Japan found catuaba bark extract (species Erythroxylum catuaba) to have potential antibacterial and anti-HIV activity. The herb, when given to mice, protected them from E. Coli and staph infections. It was also able to prevent the HIV virus from attaching to cells. In addition, catuaba prevented the death of white blood cells exposed to the HIV virus. Of course, more studies are needed before catuaba bark can be recommended for use by patients infected with the HIV virus.
As of 2013, I could not find human research regarding the benefit of catuaba bark for male or female sexual dysfunction.
Inhibition of platelet phospholipase A2 activity by catuaba extract suggests antiinflammatory properties.
Phytother Res. 2004.
Our present data are part of a wide explorative investigation on the effects of Trichilia catigua, which found that phospholipase A2 activity was totally inhibited by catuaba, suggesting that this natural substance may have antiinflammatory properties.
Effects of catuaba extracts on microbial and HIV infection.
Horiuchi Itaro & Co., Tokyo, Japan. In Vivo. 1992.
Pretreatment of mice with hot water and alkaline extracts of Catuaba casca (Erythroxylum catuaba) effectively protected them from lethal infection of Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus. Catuaba significantly inhibited both the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-induced cytopathic effect and the expression of HIV antigen in HIV-1HTLV-IIIB or HIV-2ROD infected human lymphotropic virus type I (HTLV-1) positive MT-4 cells.
What's in catuaba bark?
Substances found in this plant include alkaloids (catuabine A, B, and C), tannins, aromatic oils and fatty resins, phytosterols, cyclolignans, and cinchonains.
How does catuaba bark work?
The mechanism of action regarding the bark's aphrodisiac properties is currently not well understood.
Catuaba herb has been traditionally used by natives in the Amazon in combination with muira puama for sexual enhancement and erection enhancement.
Which of the two Amazonian sex herbs do you like more, catuaba or muira puama?
I like them both for different reasons. Muira puama has a nice mood-lifting effect along with increased libido which are quite pleasant, and catuaba has a more direct effect on erectile function. I actually like the combination.
Catuaba side effects,
safety, danger, risk
There are no known side effects with catuaba reported in the medical literature as of 2010. However the use of catuaba supplements in North America is relatively new since for centuries it has been used predominantly by Amazon natives. Little is known about the safety of catuaba supplement use when taken daily for weeks or months.
I have not come across research that clarifies the effects of catuaba bark extract on the fetus in humans nor rodents, therefore it would be best that if you are pregnant you not take catuaba supplements until studies are done.
What about interactions?
So little is known about this plant product that it is difficult to say how catuaba interacts with other herbs. However, we do know that it is often used safely with muira puama by natives in northern Brazil.
Does catuaba bark supplement interfere with medications?
This is a difficult question to answer since there are thousands of medicines and each one is unique in its action. As a general rule, catuaba bark, at least in low doses, should not have a major effect when combined with medicines, but I wish to emphasize that this is a general statement.
Reports from patients
About half of patients to whom I have recommended catuaba report a positive response. Most of the positive responses mention a slightly enhanced ability to maintain erections. Dennis, 47, says, “I do find catuaba helps me have better erections after several days of use, and a friend told me to combine it with muira puama. The combination seems to be more effective. I had previously noticed that muira puama enhanced my libido, and since the catuaba helps with my erections, it seems logical to combine them.”
Catuaba dosage and availability
This herb has been historically consumed by Amazonian natives as a tea made from the bark. Indigenous Brazilians claim that after drinking one to three cups of catuaba tea steadily over a period of a few days or weeks, the first effects that occur are usually erotic dreams, and then increased sexual desire. Claims have been made that an alcohol tincture extract of catuaba bark contains more of the active ingredients and provides better results, although I have not come across such research.
Catuaba capsules are sold consisting of a range from 500 to 1,000 mg. The recommended dose would be 0.5 to 1.5 grams per day. One full dropper of the alcohol tincture can be taken twice a day with breakfast and lunch. Catuaba is commonly found in two-ounce liquid bottles; one milliliter provides about 500 mg. There are also different extract potencies such as a 4:1 extract. A Google search reveals that it is available in many formulas, often combined with other herbs. There are probably hundreds of libido products marketed over the counter that contain catuaba, and it is quite likely that many of them are effective while others provide disappointing results. We have no indication that this herb has addictive potential.
The well-documented historical use of catuaba bark, and my personal experience with patients, lead me to believe that it does have aphrodisiac properties. With its popularity gradually becoming more prominent, it would help us all if more attention and research focused on the potential benefits of this interesting plant.
Can catuaba be combined with other herbs such as yohimbe or tribulus?
I can only speak from my personal and professional experience. Thus far I have combined it with a dozen other herbs and have not found any problems with the combinations when low dosages are used.
Which is better to take, catuaba powder, liquid, or extract?
I still have not been able to find the answer to this question. I need to experiment some more to determine which form is best. catuaba bark capsules seem to work well since I have experience taking them. Much also depends on the manufacturer, the quality of the herb, and how the extract, liquid, or tincture is prepared.
Do muira pauma and catuaba need to be dissolved in
an alcohol tincture in order to work? Won't the powdered form just pass through
the body unused? is it better to make a catuaba tincture from the catuaba
Actually both are potent as a powder in capsules. All one has to do is to take muira puama and cautaba in capsule form and one will realize how potent they are after a few days.
Which aspect of the sexual performance does catuaba
help the most?
It appears that erectile function is the aspect of sexual health that is most influenced by catuaba bark supplements.
Can I expect any side effects from taking the
combination of catuaba and muira puama, one pill each a day? Would you take one
week on one week off or how would you suggest?
When combing supplements female or male enhancement herbs, it is a good idea to learn how each one works by itself and to use lower dosages. Each person is different and therefore no specific dosages or schedules can be recommended.
Sometimes misspelled as catauba or catawba