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Guarana harvesting - Stock Image

Stock Photo: 17996073
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Description

Hands holding the guarana fruit and the pulp of the guarana.

Guarana , from the Portuguese guaraná, Paullinia cupana (syn. P. crysan, P. sorbilis) is a climbing plant in the maple family, Sapindaceae, native to the Amazon basin and especially common in Brazil. Guarana features large leaves and clusters of flowers, and is best known for its fruit, which is about the size of a coffee bean. As a dietary supplement, guarana is an effective energy booster: it contains about twice the caffeine found in coffee beans (about 2–4.5% caffeine in guarana seeds compared to 1–2% for coffee beans).

As with other plants producing caffeine, the high concentration of caffeine is a defensive toxin that repels pathogens from the berry and its seeds.

The guarana fruit's color ranges from brown to red and contains black seeds which are partly covered by white arils. The color contrast when the fruit has been split open has been likened to eyeballs; this has formed the basis of a myth.
Guarana is used in sweetened or carbonated soft drinks and energy shots, an ingredient of herbal tea or contained in capsules. Generally, South America obtains most of its caffeine from guarana.
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