Medically Reviewed on 2/9/2023

Generic Name: guarana

Brand and Other Names: Brazilian cocoa, guarana gum, guarana paste, guaranine, paullinia cupana, Uabano, Uaranzeiro, zoom

Drug Class: Herbals

What is guarana, and what is it used for?

Guarana is the South American name for Paullinia cupana, a climbing liana vine belonging to the family of soap tree plants, native to the Amazon.

Guarana seeds, dried and powdered, are used as a dietary supplement for weight loss, to enhance athletic performance, as a stimulant similar to coffee, and for many other purposes. Guarana is available over the counter (OTC) as a powder, tablet, or capsule. Guarana is an ingredient of many nutritional supplements and a component of energy drinks and bars.

Guarana is primarily used for the stimulant effect of guaranine, a chemical it contains, which is identical to caffeine. In addition, guarana also contains many other substances with therapeutic properties including theobromine, theophylline, proanthocyanidins, catechin, epicatechin, tannins, saponins, starches, and minerals. Apart from stimulant effects, the chemicals in guarana are believed to have, muscle-relaxing, antioxidant, and general health-promoting properties.

Limited studies suggest guarana may reduce the body’s fat percentage, lower cholesterol, and improve cognitive performance. Guarana also appears to have some anti-bacterial and anti-fungal effects, however, more studies are required to establish all these effects of guarana. In general, based on current studies, guarana has health-promoting properties and is considered safe to use in recommended doses.

Suggested uses of guarana include:


What are the side effects of guarana?

Common side effects of guarana include:

Call your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms or serious side effects while using this drug:

This is not a complete list of all side effects or adverse reactions that may occur from the use of this drug. Call your doctor for medical advice about serious side effects or adverse reactions. You may also report side effects or health problems to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.


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What are the dosages of guarana?

There aren’t any standard established dosages for guarana.

Suggested dosages:

Weight Loss

  • Seed extract: 200-1600 mg orally once daily; no more than 3 g/day

Cognitive Enhancement

  • Standardized dry extract: 150 mg orally once daily

Energy Enhancement

  • 200-800 mg before breakfast or lunch orally once daily, no more than 3 g/day


  • 486 mg orally once daily

Diarrhea or Dysentery

  • 1 g orally, no more than 4 times a day


  • Guarana contains caffeine, an addictive substance that can cause dependency and withdrawal symptoms such as fatigue, lethargy, restlessness, increased appetite, sleep disorders, and unpleasant dreams, upon discontinuation.
  • Guarana overdose symptoms are primarily from overdose of caffeine with similar symptoms such as headaches, tremors, nervousness, and muscle aches, although individual reactions can vary. Symptoms should resolve with discontinuation of caffeine and may be treated with symptomatic care if required.

What drugs interact with guarana?

Inform your doctor of all medications you are currently taking, who can advise you on any possible drug interactions. Never begin taking, suddenly discontinue, or change the dosage of any medication without your doctor’s recommendation.

The drug interactions listed above are not all of the possible interactions or adverse effects. For more information on drug interactions, visit the RxList Drug Interaction Checker.

It is important to always tell your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider about all prescription and over-the-counter medications you use, as well as the dosage for each, and keep a list of the information. Check with your doctor or healthcare provider if you have any questions about the medication.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

What else should I know about guarana?

  • Guarana supplements are possibly safe for most adults if used in recommended doses.
  • Use guarana exactly as per label instructions.
  • Check with your healthcare provider before taking any dietary supplement, including guarana.
  • Herbal products often contain many ingredients. Check labels for the components in the guarana product you choose.
  • Guarana is marketed as an herbal supplement and is not regulated by the FDA. Products may differ in formulations and strengths, and labels may not always match contents; exercise caution in choosing your product.
  • Store guarana safely out of reach of children.
  • In case of overdose, seek medical help or contact Poison Control.


Guarana seeds, dried and powdered, are used as a dietary supplement for weight loss, to enhance athletic performance, as a stimulant similar to coffee, and for many other purposes. Guarana is available over the counter (OTC) as a powder, tablet, or capsule. Common side effects of guarana include headache, agitation, anxiety, irritability, restlessness, nervousness, insomnia, delirium, dizziness, ringing in the ears (tinnitus), muscle spasms, convulsions, increased respiration, irregular heart rhythms (arrhythmias), rapid heart rate (tachycardia), high blood pressure (hypertension), high blood glucose levels (hyperglycemia), and others. Do not take if pregnant or breastfeeding.

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Medically Reviewed on 2/9/2023