Ptychopetalum is a genus of two species of flowering plants in the family Olacaceae (not to be confused with the Oleaceae or olive family), native to the Amazon rainforest. The indigenous name for the genus is Muira Puama, “potency wood”.
Historically all parts of Muira Puama have been used medicinally, but typically it is the bark and root of Ptychopetalum olacoides which is harvested and used both traditionally and in herbal products. It contains long-chain fatty acids, plant sterols, coumarin, lupeol, and the alkaloid muirapuamine. A root decoction is used externally in massages and baths for paralysis and beriberi. Oral use of tea made from the roots for sexual impotence, rheumatism, and GI problems has been noted.
It is used as a tonic and aphrodisiac. It is a valuable remedy for impotency. Reported to be anti-diarrhea and helps in dysentery. Muira puama is used for preventing sexual disorders and to increase interest in sexual activity (as an aphrodisiac). It is also used for upset stomach, menstrual disorders, joint pain (rheumatism), and paralysis caused by poliomyelitis; and as a general tonic and an appetite stimulant.
In combination with other herbs, Muira Puama is used as a remedy for male sexual performance problems erectile dysfunction. Muira Puama is known in some circles as “the Viagra of the Amazon” and in fact, many people now consider it the new Yohimbe but with considerably less side effects.
Muira Puama is one of the most active botanicals with a long history of traditional use as an energy tonic, general health improver and remedy for impotence and sexual insufficiency. Some studies have showed a significant improvement in both erectile function and sexual desire and is known as “Potent Wood”. The short term effects of Muira Puama include increasing blood flow to the pelvic area, aiding erections in men as well as sensation and orgasm in women. Longer term use enhances the production of sex hormones in both sexes.
Muira Puama has also been used for stress management, nervous system stimulation and for general overall health. It has been used to tonify the nervous system and to treat cases of mild exhaustion. It can also help with gastrointestinal and reproductive disorders, while its anti-rheumatic properties have been used for treating stress and trauma.