Catuaba, an Aphrodisiac

catuaba aphrodisiac

Family: Erythroxylaceae
Genus: Erythroxylum
Species: Catuaba
Synonyms: None
Other Species: Erythroxylum vacciniifolium, Trichilia catigua, Juniperus brasiliensis, Eriotheca candolleana, Anemopaegma mirandum
Common Names: Catuaba, cataguá, chuchuhuasha, tatuaba, pau de reposta, caramuru, piratançara, angelim-rosa, catiguá
Part Used: Bark, root

Erythroxylum catuaba is a vigorous-growing, small tree that produces yellow and orange flowers and small, dark yellow, oval-shaped, inedible fruit. It grows in the northern part of Brazil in Amazonas, Para, Pernambuco, Bahia, Maranhao, and Alagoas. This catuaba tree belongs to the family Erythroxylaceae, whose principal genus, Erythroxylum, contains several species that are sources of cocaine. Catuaba, however, contains none of the active cocaine alkaloids.

Catuaba has a long history of use in herbal medicine as an aphrodisiac. The Tupi Indians in Brazil first discovered the aphrodisiac qualities of the plant and over the last few centuries they have composed many songs praising its wonders and abilities. Indigenous and local peoples have used catuaba for generations. It is the most famous of all Brazilian aphrodisiac plants. In the Brazilian state of Minas there is a saying, "Until a father reaches 60, the son is his; after that, the son is catuaba's!"

Initially they found the herb helped to enhance libido, then they noticed its other numerous beneficial qualities: relieving pain and fatigue, controlling nervousness, improving memory, helping with depression, among others.

In Brazilian herbal medicine today, catuaba is considered a central nervous system stimulant with aphrodisiac properties. A bark decoction is commonly used for sexual impotency, agitation, nervousness, nerve pain and weakness, poor memory or forgetfulness, and sexual weakness.

Catuaba functions as a stimulant of the nervous system, above all when one deals with functional impotence of the male genital organs. It is an innocent aphrodisiac, used without any ill effects at all. In Brazil it is regarded as an aphrodisiac with "proven efficacy" and, in addition to treating impotence, it is employed for many types of nervous conditions including insomnia, hypochondria, and pain related to the central nervous system (such as sciatica and neuralgia).

In European herbal medicine catuaba is considered an aphrodisiac and a brain and nerve stimulant. A bark tea is used for sexual weakness, impotence, nervous debility, and exhaustion. Herbalists and health practitioners in the United States use catuaba in much the same way: as a tonic for genital function, as a central nervous system stimulant, for sexual impotence, general exhaustion and fatigue, insomnia related to hypertension, agitation, and poor memory.

According to Michael van Straten, noted British author and researcher of medicinal plants, catuaba is beneficial to men and women as an aphrodisiac, but "it is in the area of male impotence that the most striking results have been reported" and "there is no evidence of side effects, even after long-term use."

Clinical studies on catuaba also have shown results related to its antibacterial and antiviral properties. A 1992 study indicated that an extract of catuaba (Erythoxlyum catuaba) was effective in protecting mice from lethal infections of Escherichia coli and Staphlococcus aureus, in addition to inhibiting HIV significantly. The study found that the pathway of catuaba's anti-HIV activity stemmed (at least partially) from the inhibition of HIV absorption into cells, and suggested that catuaba had potential against opportunistic infections in HIV patients. A U.S. patent was granted (in 2002) to a group of Brazilian researchers for a catuaba bark extract (Trichilia catigua). Its patent refers to animal studies it conducted that reported that it relieved pain and relaxed and dilated blood vessels in rats, rabbits and guinea pigs.

To date, no toxicity studies have been done on catuaba - but its long history of use in Brazil has reported no toxicity or ill effects. In fact, according to Dr. Meira Penna, the only side-effects are beneficial - erotic dreams and increased sexual desire! While no clinical research has validated the traditional use of catuaba as an aphrodisiac, it continues to be used widely for its ability to enhance sexual drive and increase libido in both men and women.


  1. Wow so it can prevent hiv and impotence. Sign me up for this stuff. Does one have to go all the way to Brazil to get this? I have Impotence issues and use to take Levitra but went all natural last year. The closest I have found are these Catuaba bark pills but they did not work well for me, last week I read on edguider that their is a similar formula that combines catuaba with other powerful herbs like Tongat ali and horny goat weed, but am not sure it works either. That stuff in the photo above looks like it works though...

    1. I would not count on it. The pills are made of catuaba which means having more of what did not have an effect for you won't do anything. http://www.mylionshome.com/

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    from aphrodisiac.