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The indigenous people of the Amazon rain forest used crushed guaraná seed as a beverage and a medicine. Guaraná was said to treat diarrhea, decrease fatigue, reduce hunger, and to help arthritis. It also has a history of use in treating hangovers from alcohol abuse and headaches related to menstruation.
Guarana comes from the seeds of a South American shrub – most of which originates in Brazil. Traditional uses of guarana by natives of the Amazonian rain forest include crushed seeds added to foods and beverages to increase alertness and reduce fatigue. As a dietary supplement, it’s no wonder that guarana is an effective energy booster – as it contains about twice the caffeine found in coffee beans (about 3-4% caffeine in guarana seeds compared to 1-2% for coffee beans). Concentrated guarana extracts, however, can contain caffeine at levels of as much as 40-50%, with popular supplements delivering 50-200mg of caffeine per day (about the same amount found in 1-2 cups of strong coffee). As with any caffeine-containing substance, too much can lead to nervousness, tension and headaches.
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