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Muira puama (Ptychopetalum olacoides)

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Also listed as: Ptychopetalum olacoides
Related terms
Background
Evidencetable
Tradition
Dosing
Safety
Interactions
Attribution
Bibliography

Related Terms
  • Herbal vY®, jarrow, lignum, marapama, marapuama, maripuama, muira-puama, muira puama wood, muirapuam, Muirae puama, muirapuamine, Olacaceae (family), olacoides, potency bark, potency wood, potenzholz, Ptychopetali lignum, ptychopetalum, Ptychopetalum guyanna, Ptychopetalum olacoides Bentham, Ptychopetalum unicatum, Ptychopetalum uncinatum Anselmino, Ptychopetalum unicatum Anselmino, Ptychopetalum spp., raiz del macho, Testor-plus®.
  • Note: Not to be confused with Acanthea virilis or Liriosma ovata (also called muira puama).

Background
  • Historically, all parts of the plant have been used medicinally, but the bark and roots are most highly utilized. Indigenous tribes in Brazil use the tea for treating neuromuscular problems, rheumatism, influenza, cardiac and gastrointestinal asthenia and to prevent baldness. In Europe, muira puama has a long history in herbal medicine as an anti-rheumatic, aphrodisiac, a tonic for the nervous system, and for the treatment of gastrointestinal disorders.
  • Muira puama is included in combination products as a remedy for sexual impotence. Recent studies show promising evidence that it may increase sexual vitality and treat erectile dysfunction in males. Muira puama has also been used by bodybuilders and weight lifters to improve physical performance. This is due to proposed testosterone-like effects of muira puama.
  • If buying preparations of muira puama, do so with caution, as Liriosma ovata and Acanthea virilis are commonly incorrectly sold as muira puama.

Evidence Table

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. GRADE *


Muira puama has long been used by Brazilian indigenous people as a treatment for impotence, and preliminary study has investigated muira puama's use for erectile dysfunction. Additional human study is needed before a firm recommendation can be made.

C


Muira puama has historically been recommended for enhancement of libido. However, there are no well-conducted human clinical trials available of monotherapy muira puama for this indication. Additional study is needed in this area.

C
* Key to grades

A: Strong scientific evidence for this use
B: Good scientific evidence for this use
C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use
D: Fair scientific evidence for this use (it may not work)
F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likley does not work)


Tradition / Theory

The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.

  • Aging, alopecia (hair loss), Alzheimer's disease, analgesic (pain reliever), anxiety, aphrodisiac, appetite stimulation, ataxia (loss of coordination), atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), athletic performance enhancer, baldness, beriberi (vitamin deficiency), cancer, cardiac conditions (asthenia), CNS stimulant, depression, diarrhea, dysentery (severe diarrhea), dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation), dyspepsia (upset stomach), energy, fatigue, gastric ulcers, gastrointestinal conditions (asthenia), hookworm, hypercalcemia (high calcium level), impotence, infertility, influenza, libido, memory improvement, menstrual cramps, menstrual irregularities, mental performance, nervous exhaustion, neuralgia (nerve pain), neurasthenia (nerve exhaustion), neuromuscular disorders, pain, paralysis, poliomyelitis (viral disease), premenstrual syndrome (PMS), rheumatism, stimulant, strength enhancement, stress, stroke, tonic, trauma.

Dosing

Adults (18 years and older)

  • There is no proven effective dose for muira puama. However, for erectile dysfunction, up to 2,580 milligrams of Herbal vY® daily for two weeks has been used with minimal side effects.

Children (younger than 18 years)

  • There is no proven effective dose for muira puama in children.

Safety

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.

Allergies

  • Avoid in individuals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to muira puama (Ptychopetalum olacoides), any of its constituents, or any related members of the Olacaceae family.

Side Effects and Warnings

  • Muira puama is generally considered by experts to be a safe herb, and no serious adverse effects have been reported in the available scientific literature.
  • Muira puama may raise blood pressure and CNS (central nervous system) stimulation, which may alter blood pressure, heart functions, and CNS effects on heart tissue. Muira puama may also have proposed testosterone-like proprieties, which may cause anabolic side effects, such as increases in energy, aggression, or appetite, changes in voice, or enlargement of genitalia.
  • Use cautiously in patients taking steroidal drug therapy or in patients with hormone-sensitive conditions (e.g., breast cancer, endometriosis, ovarian cancer, prostate cancer).
  • Use cautiously in patients with hypertension (high blood pressure) or cardiac disease, as muira puama may exacerbate these conditions.
  • Use cautiously in patients taking CNS-acting medications, as muira puama may stimulate the CNS.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

  • Avoid use during pregnancy due to reported idiosyncratic motor/sacral stimulant properties. Muira puama is not recommended in breastfeeding women due to a lack of available scientific data.

Interactions

Interactions with Drugs

  • Although not well studied in humans, cross-tolerance with opioids may occur. Caution is advised when taking muira puama with other pain relieving (analgesic) agents.
  • Due to coumarin constituents of muira puama, actions of warfarin, other anticoagulant and anti-platelet drugs may be potentiated. Caution is advised in patients with bleeding disorders or taking drugs that may increase the risk of bleeding. Dosing adjustments may be necessary.
  • Muira puama may increase blood pressure and central nervous system (CNS) stimulation, which may alter blood pressure, cardiac functions and CNS effects on cardiac tissue.
  • The combined use of muira puama with monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) may potentiate the potential risk for hypertensive crisis.
  • Due to serotonergic effects of muira puama, actions of antidepressants, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), may be altered.
  • Due to proposed testosterone-like effects as well as positive or negative estrogenic effects, use of muira puama with testosterone or estrogen may result in additive or diminished effects.
  • Combination use with sympathomimetics may lead to potentiation of sympathomimetic effects.

Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

  • Although not well studied in humans, cross-tolerance with opioids may occur. Caution is advised when taking muira puama with other pain relieving (analgesic) herbs or supplements.
  • Due to coumarin constituents of muira puama, actions of anticoagulants and anti-platelets may be altered. Caution is advised in patients with bleeding disorders or taking herbs or supplements that may increase the risk of bleeding. Dosing adjustments may be necessary.
  • Due to proposed serotonergic effects of muira puama, actions of antidepressant herbs may be altered.
  • Muira puama may increase blood pressure and central nervous system (CNS) stimulation, which may alter blood pressure, cardiac functions and CNS effects on cardiac tissue.
  • The combined use of muira puama with monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) may potentiate the potential risk for hypertensive crisis.
  • Due to proposed testosterone-like effects of muira puama as well as positive or negative estrogenic effects, use of muira puama with testosterone or estrogen-like herbs may result in additive or diminished effects.
  • Combination of muira puama with stimulant herbs may lead to potentiation of sympathomimetic effects.
  • Hydroalcoholic extract of muira puama may potentiate yohimbine-induced toxicity

Attribution
  • This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).

Bibliography
  1. Antunes E, Gordo WM, de Oliveira JF, et al. The relaxation of isolated rabbit corpus cavernosum by the herbal medicine Catuama and its constituents. Phytother Res 2001;15(5):416-421.
  2. Auterhoff H, Momberger B. [Lipophilic constituent of Muira puama]. Arch Pharm Ber Dtsch Pharm Ges 1971;304(3):223-228.
  3. Auterhoff H, Pankow E. [Contents of Muira puama]. Arch Pharm Ber Dtsch Pharm Ges 1968;301(7):481-489.
  4. Bucci LR. Selected herbals and human exercise performance. Am J Clin Nutr 2000;72(2 Suppl):624S-636S.
  5. da Silva AL, Piato AL, Bardini S, et al. Memory retrieval improvement by Ptychopetalum olacoides in young and aging mice. J Ethnopharmacol 2004;95(2-3):199-203.
  6. Pankow E, Auterhoff H. [Contents of Muira puama. 2]. Arch Pharm Ber Dtsch Pharm Ges 1969;302(3):209-212.
  7. Siqueira IR, Lara DR, Silva D, et al. Psychopharmacological properties of Ptychopetalum olacoides bentham (Olacaceae). Pharmaceutical Biology 1998;36(5):327-334.
  8. Siqueira IR, Cimarosti H, Fochesatto C, et al. Neuroprotective effects of Ptychopetalum olacoides Bentham (Olacaceae) on oxygen and glucose deprivation induced damage in rat hippocampal slices. Life Sci 8-27-2004;75(15):1897-1906.
  9. Siqueira IR, Fochesatto C, da Silva AL, et al. Ptychopetalum olacoides, a traditional Amazonian "nerve tonic", possesses anticholinesterase activity. Pharmacol Biochem Behav 2003;75(3):645-650.
  10. Vaz ZR, Mata LV, Calixto JB. Analgesic effect of the herbal medicine catuama in thermal and chemical models of nociception in mice. Phytotherapy Research 1997;11:101-106.
  11. Waynberg J, Brewer S. Effects of Herbal vX on libido and sexual activity in premenopausal and postmenopausal women. Adv Ther 2000;17(5):255-262.

Copyright © 2011 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)


The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.

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