scientific name: Ptychopetalum qlacoides
other common names: Potency wood, marapuama,
marapama, potenzholz growing areas: Native to the Amazon region, particularly Brazil
physical description: It is a bush that grows up to 15 feet in height and produces a small white flower that has a jasminelike fragrance, said Leslie Taylor.
traditional uses: Based on his extensive travels and observations in South America, Richard Schultes reports that muira puama is used to treat neuromuscular problems, baldness, rheumatism, asthma, and gastrointestinal and cardiac problems. A bath of the root is used to treat paralysis. However, its major use is as an aphrodisiac tonic in the Amazon. James Duke also reports that the drug has a long history of use in Brazil as an aphrodisiac and nerve stimulant.
Commission E has noted that while muira puama is used to prevent sexual problems and as an aphrodisiac, its effectiveness has not been documented and that it is not approved for use. However, an extract of muira puama has been marketed in Europe under the names Herbal v-Y and Herbal v-X to treat impotency in men and sexual problems in women.
availability and dosage: It is available as a bark powder and as a concentrated liquid extract. Herbal formulas in tablet form were available in Europe in the late 1990s.
contraindications: Reported to be contraindicated for persons taking MAO inhibitors.
special precautions: Consult your physician before beginning any use of an ethnobotanical substance for medicinal purposes. Muira puama should not be taken during pregnancy or lactation.
medical research: Researchers in France are reported ' to have used herbal preparations from muira puama for over a decade with one hundred impotent male patients, over 60 percent of whom reported significant improvement in their sex lives after a month's use.