Muira Puama: The Most Understudied Herb

Muira Puama: The Most Understudied Herb

Fair warning, in this article you will find an unfortunate lack of scientific study.  I scoured the internets for hours looking for studies and basically found nothing.  This post is kind of an aggregation of the general consensus about Muira Puama, so take all the claims here with a grain of salt.  I will try it myself and report back my findings.  I published this post because I spent hours researching and writing that I did not want to go to complete waste.  Moving on…


What is Muira Puama

Muira Puama is the indigenous name representing the Ptychopetalum genus of flowering plants from the Olacacea family that is native in the Amazon rainforest.  Sometimes referred to as potency wood, the primary parts that are utilized are the bark and root, which can be used for sexual debility therapy, combat fatigue, to address neuromuscular problems, and alleviate the effects of rheumatism.  The taste is a bit saline and acrid while the odor is faint.

Other common applications are geared towards improvement of both physical and psychological areas of sexual and libido functions.  It can also be used for menstrual cramps, neurasthenia, PMS, strengthening the nervous system, and relieving mild exhaustion.  It has likewise been noted to improve reproductive and gastrointestinal health along with positive impacts on trauma and stress.

That’s all good and well but what we are really concerned with is whether muira puama will increase testosterone or at the very least simulate the effects of a healthy testosterone level.  Let’s just say Muira Puama, has been referred to as the “Viagra of the Amazon”, making it the new Yohimbe, but with comparatively fewer side effects.


How Muira Puama Works

In medicinal history, every part of the plant was used. However, the most potent parts are still the bark and root. This is the reason for their wide usage in herbal supplementation and traditional medicinal products.  With a second nearly identical specie, manufacturers have an alternative source for supplementation products.  There is however a noticeably lower concentration of lupeol with this alternative source.  Unfortunately, all I could really find on lupeol was that it is a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant that seems to perform favorably in certain lab settings against enlargement of the prostate and certain types of cancers.

The uniqueness of the product is based on its traditional usage with the indigenous people at the Rio Negro portion of South America.  This makes this one of the most active botanicals that boasts an extensive history of usage as a general energy tonic for improvement of overall health and sexual potency.  To benefit from its tonic effect, you simply need to simmer a teaspoon of the root with a cup of water for 15 minutes, essentially making a Muira Puama tea. If you want increased potency, include the bark.


Does Muira Puama Work?

It depends on for what.  The history of usage has made the effects of this plant folkloric in nature.  However, with the study undertaken by the UCLA School of Medicine on its roots, it established significant results in addressing sexual desire and erectile function.  Try Googling this study…I’ll wait.  That’s right, this study never actually happened, or if it did was never published, or the researcher vowed to destroy every reprint/publication of it.  Regardless of what happened, it cannot be found.  Yet, the echo chamber of the internet continues alluding to this study.

The claims continue.  The reactions to Muira Puama include erections in men and heightened orgasm in women.  When taken for the long-term, there are noticeable increases in the production of sex hormones for both sexes, with relatively few side effects compared with other similar sexual stimulants (No source, but seems to be the consensus).  The smoother blood flow also makes is ideal in aiding stress management and proper stimulation of the nervous system for increased health.

There are claims of its role in increasing testosterone levels, though not fully backed by clinical trials yet.  There is some reason to believe in this possibility: Muira Puama contains sterols which are the building blocks of testosterone.  One clinical study though that involved 262 patients with low sexual desire and decreased erectile function has revealed increased efficacy after being subjected to the plant for 2 weeks.  About 62% of the patients in the clinical study initiated by the Institute of Sexology in Paris immediately felt the beneficial effects of Muira Puama, which enhanced their sexual function.  Pause.  You think you can find this study?  If you can you’ve one-upped me because I can’t.  Yet another ghost study constantly referred to but never confirmed.

Another study made by the institute in 2000 involved 202 healthy women with low sex drive.  They were given a formulation of this plant with ginkgo biloba, which showed statistical improvement in terms of sexual desire and increase in sexual intercourse occurrences.  They also reported more satisfying sex lives overall with greater intensity of orgasm.  Pause.  Once again this study is nowhere to be found.  Apparently these 2 French studies are credited to Dr. Jacques Waynberg, who really is a respected French sexologist.  There is reason to believe these studies did actually happen, but they are unpublished in English.  If you speak French and want to confirm or deny the existence of these studies, please be my guest and post below.

The plant is still part of the British Herbal Pharmacopoeia, which is a respected resource for herbal medication in England.  This means that it is also recommended by the British Herbal Medicine Association, especially for impotence and dysentery.  Healthcare practitioners and herbalists in the United States are beginning to take notice of the positive effects of this product.


Side Effects of Muira Puama

Because it is a known stimulant, using the product in high doses would normally result in insomnia or restlessness.  This is why it is recommended to limit its intake to a capsule every other day.  Muira Puama may have mood enhancing effects, but your balloon may be popped when the doctor tells you that you have hypertension.  That’s right, Muira Puama can lead to high blood pressure when taken excessively.

Many users take 500 mg of the plant for two days and take a day off afterwards.  In just one week, there is already recognizable difference in the quality of erections (To be personally confirmed by me later). This emphasizes the fact that it is not necessary to take it daily to have the desired results.  By using the product correctly, unnecessary side effects, which are generally no more than nuisances in nature, can be avoided.


Muira Puama Supplements

The majority of the products in the market make use of similar or the same base ingredients.  Essentially, they all have the primary chemical constituents that are found in the plant, which include:

  • Alkaloids like muirapuamine
  • Plant sterols
  • Esters
  • Phytosterols
  • Free fatty acids


Muira Puama: Yay or Nay

There are a number of aphrodisiac products that have been introduced into the market and have also faded into oblivion.  Unlike those products, Muira Puama has continued to rise in popularity around the world.  I guess repeat buyers are a great sign for the product, regardless of the lack of science.  This means that Muira Puama is probably worthwhile for those who suffer from sexual deficiencies.


ADD Version of the Post

  • No confirmed scientific studies: Everything above is basically speculative
  • Amazonian herb
  • Cure-all claims
  • Reported Aphrodisiac Properties
  • Stimulant like caffeine


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  1. Hey Michael,
    Just a warning. This will be a long comment. Anyway, I have recently started having libido problems. But first I need to tell you of my vitamin and supplement use and why it started. When I was a senior in high school (I’m 21 now), I began losing my hair. As you can imagine, this completely deteriorated my confidence not only with women, but with people in general. The reality of being bald was terrifying, especially as an 18 year old. So at the start of the 2011 year, rather than try to deny it, I took action. I basically shaved my head to a 1 all the way around. At first, this made my baldness blatantly obvious. But the reason I did this was because I decided I would begin using rogaine foam 5%. As I began doing so, I started taking vitamins (Biotin, Vitamin C, E, etc) that would encourage hair growth. This worked very very slowly. I started trying other things as well like saw palmetto. However, that killed my libido and after only 10 days i was forced to stop. But I adopted other methods that have really helped my regain hair. I actually don’t look that bald at all anymore. My problem area was the entire top of my head. Through my regimen, I have almost all my hair back now. Long story short, I started taking beta sitosterol, in addition to other vitamins that i had bee taking from the start of 2011, about 5 months ago and it has really been my game changer in my hair regrowth goal, in addition to my daily scalp massages, dht blocking shampoos and daily application of rogaine (2x). Beta sitosterol had no real effects on my libido. But at the same time, I had been using pot the entire time I started using Beta Sitosterol. When I was stoned, my libido would be at a crazy high. About a month ago however, I stopped my marijuana use, cold turkey. I have no desire to go back and frankly I couldn’t anyway because my parents won’t allow it. But I’ve noticed that my erection have been softer and won’t last nearly as long as when I was using marijuana. So I’ve been looking for alternatives to help maintain harder erections again. I recently started using ginkgo biloba about a week ago, and haven’t had any noticeable erectile benefits yet. Now I’m wondering if maybe marijuana was masking the effect of the beta sitosterol all along? And if that’s not that case, I was wondering if this is just a withdrawal symptom of marijuana? I have read that loss of libido can be an effect of detoxing but isn’t a month kind of a long time? Anyway, I don’t know if you know any of that. But what I would like to ask you is if muira puama would be safe to use with ginkgo biloba and bet sitosterol. And if it is, how long can one take muira puama without it being risky in the long run? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

    • Hi Daniel,
      First I would just like to make sure that you understand that I am not a doctor or a medical professional of any kind so anything I say is no more than my personal opinion.

      I’m 26 and experienced the same sort of balding scare in September. My hair started noticeably falling out. I had the same reaction as you: panic. I haven’t taken the same dramatic steps that you did but I also began using Rogaine, which didn’t seem to help me at all. I also began taking Propecia,. I took it for all of 2 weeks and experienced the exact side effects I was afraid of: loss of libido and a worsening mood. I immediately stopped. What’s the point of having a head full of hair but having no one to impress with it? Something like 5/6 men experience decreased libido on Propecia, though I know a few guys that don’t. You mention Saw Palmetto which blocks 5alpha-reductase, the enzyme responsible for converting testosterone into the more powerful dihydrotestosterone (DHT). So essentially, Saw Palmetto acts as a natural and weaker form of Propecia. It makes sense that it would reduce your libido.
      Regarding Beta Sitosterol, my quick research indicates that it behaves the same way as Saw Palmetto, reducing DHT. Muira Puama shouldn’t really affect you negatively.
      I have taken all these herbs that I talk about simultaneously and the only side effects I have witnessed are increased frequency of sexual thoughts, more energy and more motivation. You should be ok taking Muira Puama.
      I recommend Tongkat Ali, though. If you want a natural boner-maker, Tongkat Ali is the way to go. A nice dose of tribulus terrestris will help too, but it won’t help you on the hormonal level.

      Good luck to you Daniel.

  2. If I were to try Muira Puama, would you recommend the powder or the pill? Also, what dosages do you think will yield the best results, while still being safe?

    • Hi Daniel,
      To be honest, I don’t know. I took Muira pill form with a slew of other herbs. I generally took double the recommended dose of all of them and had no negative side effects whatsoever other than an emptier wallet.

      It might be worth trying a cocktail of a bunch of these herbs and seeing what sticks. The NOW brand is not expensive.

  3. Peter Ross says:

    Daniel and Michael, I take two 300mg muira puama capsules [Solary brand] every other day. The effects are unmistakable. Definite increase in libido. Life Extension uses muira puama in one of their formulations [Super Miraforte]. Life Extension conducts thorough investigations before they produce any supplement or vitamin product [see their extensive lists of references when discussing the benefits of a particular supplement]. I have tried their ‘super miraforte’ supplement that contains several other ingredients like chrysin which presumably blocks the conversion to estradiol. However, I have found that simply taking muira puama is less expensive and just as effective for me. However, my favorite supplement is tongkat ali. When taking tongkat ali, libido clearly is increased along with strength and stamina. An MD introduced me to tongkat ali years ago. I was curious about it at first since most physicians are skeptical about the effects of herbs, supplements, etc. But this MD swore by it, and I do as well.

    • Hey Peter,

      Thanks for that veteran reply.

      One reason that Chrysin might not have worked is because Chrysin is ineffective when ingested orally. It’s kind of a scam, unless you can inject it.


  4. I had to comment: I have been taking superfoods for a while, maca, etc. and feel these benefits physically… I bought some muira puama some time ago along with my maca and haven’t gotten around to using it until recently. My libido has been sporadic since having my daughter, and lately almost non-existent, so I decided to use some of my muira puama as a ‘test’ to surprise the hubby.. 😉
    I put about 1 level tablespoon in a 500ml 4-6 banana smoothie with coconut milk [how I take all my powders] and felt great and relaxed… (it also helps with anxiety) The next day I only had 2 of these smoothies, they were about 3-4 hours apart (as meal replacements for weight loss) but instead of a level tablespoon of muira puama I made it a rounded tablespoon… and let me tell you the effects were MIND BOGGLING!! I was almost attacking my husband my libido was in overdrive! For the next 48 hours or so it was affecting my thoughts, my dreams, I was NOT as shy about sex as I usually am… I felt like Jessica Rabbit ~ Trust me: make sure you have a boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife close by because if I were single at the time I don’t know what would’ve happened, LOL!!This plant is amazing!! I have a plan to make HIS & HERS muira puama aphrodisiac smoothies for our anniversary. 😉

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