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Muira Puama
(Potency Wood)

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While we would like to see more scientific evidence, we can recommend trying this because it is safe and has a recommendation in the British Herbal Pharmacopoeia for its use to treat impotence.

Muira puama is often combined with other herbs to treat impotence (erectile dysfunction or ED) or to increase sex drive. Such combination might include maca, damiana, ginseng, tribulus terrestris, yohimbe (containing yohimbine), arginine, gingko and/or catuaba along with a selection of vitamins and minerals.

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Table of Contents

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Evidence of Benefits

(What's this?)
Aphrodisiac / Impotence / Libido Enhancer

A research study conducted in Paris published by J. Waynberg and S. Brewer in 2000 showed that muira puama significantly increased the sexual drive in women.

The researchers concluded that there were significant improvements "in frequency of sexual desires, sexual intercourse, and sexual fantasies, as well as in satisfaction with sex life, intensity of sexual desires, excitement of fantasies, ability to reach orgasm, and intensity of orgasm."

However the authors cautioned that this is not a double-blinded placebo controlled study (the best and accepted way of setting up a research study).

For other natural remedies that are used to increase sex drive, click here.
Erectile Dysfunction

Anecdotal reports suggest that muira puama is beneficial in helping with erectile dysfunction. The only research study we could locate was a study done on rabbits. The study done in Paris in 2000 only looked at the benefits of potency wood in female subjects. Unfortunately, they did not study the effect of muira puama on male and we can only assume that it would have similar effects in males.

Click here to see a list of natural remedies that have been traditionally used to treat ED.
Depression / Stress (Adaptogen)

A study in rats by A.L. Piato et al. in July 2008 showed that in rats, potency wood acted as an antidepressant and it also helped the rats adapt to simulated stress.
Memory Loss / Alzheimer's Disease

Several studies in rats done by A.L. da Silva et al. and I.R. Siqueira et al. in 2003, 2005 and 2007 showed that potency wood enhances memory performance.

They believed it works like an acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitor similar those found in prescription drugs such as Razadyne / Reminyl, Exelon, Namenda/Ebixa and Aricept.
Breast Cancer / Cancer

A research paper showed that many Amazon rain forest plants has anti-cancer properties. These research projects were conducted in a lab setting only. Another study by G.J. Kapadia et al in 2002 also suggests that potency wood has anti-cancer like effect. It was also conducted in a lab setting.
Oxidative Stress

A study in rats suggest that muira puama has the ability to reduce damage to brain cells caused by oxidative stress.

Anecdotal reports suggest many Amazon rain forest plants have adaptogen effects (anti-stress, memory enhancement, increased physical and/or sexual performance).
Male Pattern Baldness / Hair Loss

There is no evidence that muira puama is effective in preventing or treating hair loss in males.

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Facts about Muira Puama

Muira Puama is a tree found in the Amazon rain forest. The wood, bark and root parts are collected and use as an herbal remedy to treat erectile dysfunction and male pattern baldness.

Homemade remedies with muira puama roots are used by Amazonian people for treating various age-related conditions. It is an herb used in Europe and has a listing in the British Herbal Pharmacopoeia and is recommended for use in treating impotence and dysentery.

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Suggested Benefits and Traditional Uses


Topically Cream/Gel (on the skin) and Transdermal Patch


Side Effects, Toxicity and Warnings

Safety and Side Effects - A study conducted by C.H. Oliveira in 2005 showed that there were no reported side effects or toxic effect on the volunteers who took a mixture containing potency wood for a period of 28 days.

Dosage & How to Take It

Muira puama is available as a tincture or as a powder. The typical dosage is 1 to 2 mL (to be mixed in water or juice) taken two or three times daily.

Commonly used dosage is 1 to 1.5 grams of the bark, stem or root.

A product, for example, could indicate that 1 mL contains 500 mg of potency wood. Buy products that discloses the concentration of the herb.

It is also found in multi-ingredient (combination) supplements.

Cream/Gel Formulation - It is applied to the penis prior to sexual intercourse to enhance erection. Avoid applying excessive amounts of cream as it might numb the penis.

Transdermal Patch - It is unknown whether muira puama crosses through the skin and gets into the bloodstream. There is no study done to verify this. Avoid using the patch formulation.

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Related Topics and Resources

Natural Remedies to Boost Sex Drive

Natural Remedies to Treat Erectile Dysfunction

Return to Natural Remedies List
Selected References for Muira Puama
Updated: June 20, 2010

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