Ingredient of the month: Catuaba
What is it?
Catuaba is the common name given to several varieties (big and small) of the tree known as Trichilia catigua or Erythroxylum catuaba, respectively.
When was it discovered?
Catuaba has been used for centuries in indigenous Brazilian culture. Since the 1990s, however, research and interest has increased significantly.
Where does it come from?
Catuaba grows in the northern part of Brazil in Amazonas, Para, Pernambuco, Bahia, Maranhao and Alagoas.
How is it beneficial?
A stimulant to the central nervous system, catuaba bark is legendary among Amazonian tribes for its aphrodisiac properties, especially for men. However, researchers have also found it beneficial in many kinds of nervous conditions, including sciatica and neuralgia, insomnia and forgetfulness.
What can be done with it?
Catuaba is being marketed in Europe and the US most commonly as an aphrodisiac, taken in the form of capsules, tea or tincture, often in combination with other herbs. However, clinical studies also have shown it to possess antibacterial and antiviral properties.
A 1992 study indicated that an extract of Erythoxlyum catuaba was effective in protecting mice from lethal infections of Escherichia coli and Staphlococcus aureus, in addition to significantly inhibiting HIV.