MUIRA PUAMA (Ptychopetalum species)

Latin: Ptychopetalum species
Spanish: Muira puama
English: Potency bark

WHAT IT DOES: Muira puama is sweet in taste and warming in action.  It increases sex drive and stimulates nervous system energy.

RATING: yellow, due to limited mode of action

SAFETY ISSUES: none known

• 1:4 tincture: 20-40 drops two to four times per day, up to 60 drops for a single dose

Muira puama must be used in tincture or extracted form.

Muira puama is a Brazilian rain forest herb traditionally used as an aphrodisiac, as is obvious from the English translation of its name.  It is used to treat male impotence, low sex drive and female frigidity.  Researchers in Europe and Japan have studied the balsam, an aromatic oily extract of the herb, since 1969 (Auterhoff and Momberger, 1971; Iwasa and Kimura, 1969).  According to Italian research reports in the popular press, muira puama produces an androgenic effect similar to yohimbe bark (an alkaloid of which is now a prescription medicine), but without its side effects.  It is reputed to exert an awakening effect on sexual desire in both sexes, as well as an increase in the production of sperm in men. 

At our clinic, we find muira puama quite effective as a quick-acting short-term remedy. The exact mechanism of action is currently unknown. It does not strongly work against erectile dysfunction (only mild effects), but works more on immediate desire, sometimes described at “dynamic.”. Some women report an increase in vaginal fluids immediately after use.

However, good holistic medicine dictates the additional need to identify underlying causes of the problem that should be treated long-term, such as poor diet, age-related decline in hormones etc.  Fortunately, the quick results this herb produces in many cases give the patients confidence to pursue further treatment.

Research Highlights

• The Institute of Sexology in Paris, France did a clinical study of muira puama with male patients complaining of low sex drive and the inability to maintain an erection.  In many cases, the herb proved effective within two weeks.  At a daily dose of about 30-90 drops of the 1:4 tincture extract, 62 percent of patients with loss of libido claimed that the treatment had “a dynamic effect’, and 51 percent of patients with erection failure also reported improvement (Waynsberg, 1990).