muira puama

What Is It?
Health Benefits
Dosage Information
Guidelines For Use
General Interaction

Evidence Based Rating Scale

What Is It?

Popularly referred to as potency wood, muira puama is an old Brazilian folk aphrodisiac and cure for sexual impotence. Salves, tinctures, and other formulations are made from the trunk or roots of two key shrubs (Ptychopetalum olacoides and Ptychopetalum unicatum).

Muira puama is typically found in "Men's Health" products along with other herbs touted for sexual potency. Despite a lack of evidence that it actually works, men continue to take muira puama to prevent impotence and enhance sexual desire. There is also little evidence to support its use for rheumatism, for which it is also often used.

Health Benefits

Specifically muira puama may help to:

·  Reduce measures of sexual dysfunction in men. Muira puama is a popular constituent of many men’s supplement claiming to enhance sexual performance. More studies are needed to verify the quantitative effects of muira puama on measures of erectile dysfunction (1).

·  Increase libido in women. A French study involving 202 healthy women complaining of reduced sexual desire, reported 65% improvement after receiving treatment with a supplement containing muira puama and ginkgo biloba (2).

·  Facilitate improved memory in animal models. Preliminary research results in mice show that Ptychopetalum olacoides may help retrieve stored memory in young and older mice (3, 4). More research is necessary to demonstrate the mechanism of action behind these results, and see if they are as effective in humans as animal models.

·  Aid in protection of brain cells. Researchers are now addressing whether the constituent ingredients of muira puama may contain neuroprotective compounds (5). If these claims hold true, future studies could investigate the use of muira puama in stroke rehabilitation and other brain disorders.

·  Convey anti-cancer benefits. Muira puama is one of many traditional herbal remedies being investigated to determine if it may help prevent various forms of cancer (6).


·  tincture/ tea

·  capsule

·  tablet

Dosage Information

Muira puama should be administered once daily in tea form, or in one dose daily in the form of a multi-herbal supplement.

Guidelienes For Use

There have been very few studies of muira puama by itself. Most studies have concentrated on muira puama as a constituent of multi-herbal formulas for sexual dysfunction. You should ask your doctor before beginning any new supplement regimen to avoid unanticipated drug-herb interactions.

General Interaction

There are no known drug or nutrient interactions associated with muira puama.  


·  There are no known health risks associated with muira puama.


  1. Rowland DL, Tai W. A review of plant-derived and herbal approaches to the treatment of sexual dysfunctions. J Sex Marital Ther. 2003 May-Jun;29(3):185-205.
  2. Waynberg J, Brewer S. Effects of Herbal vX on libido and sexual activity in premenopausal and postmenopausal women. Adv Ther. 2000 Sep-Oct;17(5):255-62.
  3. da Silva AL, Piato AL, Bardini S, Netto CA, Nunes DS, Elisabetsky E. Memory retrieval improvement by Ptychopetalum olacoides in young and aging mice. J Ethnopharmacol. 2004 Dec;95(2-3):199-203.
  4. Siqueira IR, Fochesatto C, da Silva AL, Nunes DS, Battastini AM, Netto CA, Elisabetsky E. Ptychopetalum olacoides, a traditional Amazonian "nerve tonic", possesses anticholinesterase activity. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2003 Jun;75(3):645-50.
  5. Siqueira IR, Cimarosti H, Fochesatto C, Nunes DS, Salbego C, Elisabetsky E, Netto CA. Neuroprotective effects of Ptychopetalum olacoides Bentham (Olacaceae) on oxygen and glucose deprivation induced damage in rat hippocampal slices. Life Sci. 2004 Aug 27;75(15):1897-906.
  6. Kapadia GJ, Azuine MA, Tokuda H, Hang E, Mukainaka T, Nishino H, Sridhar R. Inhibitory effect of herbal remedies on 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate-promoted Epstein-Barr virus early antigen activation. Pharmacol Res. 2002 Mar;45(3):213-20.

Evidence Based Rating Scale 

The Evidence Based Rating Scale is a tool that helps consumers translate the findings of medical research studies with what our clinical advisors have found to be efficacious in their personal practice. This tool is meant to simplify which supplements and therapies demonstrate promise in the treatment of certain conditions. This scale does not take into account any possible interactions with any medication/ condition/ or therapy which you may be currently undertaking. It is therefore advisable to ask your doctor before starting any new treatment regimen.


















Research is underway to determine potential efficacy in preventing various forms of cancer.







Erectile dysfunction








Anecdotal evidence indicates some efficacy, but more research is needed to confirm or refute this evidence.








Memory impairment/loss








Date Published: 04/19/2005
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