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Guarana tea is a type of herbal tea made with the ground up seeds of the guarana berry. The compound guaranine, which is found in the tea, is considered almost identical to caffeine, and is sometimes found in other products such as energy drinks. Many health benefits are associated with the consumption of guarana tea, particularly improving cognitive functions and promoting healthy digestion. Negative side effects are similar to those associated with consuming too much caffeine.
The guarana plant is a shrub native to South Africa, whose berries contain a compound called guaranine. This compound is also found in the seeds of these berries, as the seeds are considered the most valuable and widely used part of the plant. The stimulative qualities in guaranine are considered very similar to those found in caffeine, if not identical. Some scientific sources actually distinguish no difference between the guaranine found in guarana tea as opposed to the caffeine found in typical black, green, oolong, or mate teas.
Unlike many herbal teas, the seeds of the guarana plant are used to brew guarana tea, rather than using any leaves, twigs, stems, or flowers from the plant. Such seeds are crushed and added to boiling water to steep for approximately ten to fifteen minutes. Milk may be added to the finished product to deliver a creamy texture, and the tea is often sweetened with either sugar or honey. A typical cup of guarana tea has slightly more guaranine in it than the amount of caffeine found in a typical cup of black tea. Guarana tea is popularly consumed in South America.
There are many other perceived advantages to drinking guarana tea aside from its stimulative qualities. It may reduce the severity of migraines, ward off depression, serve as a sexual stimulant, and promote certain digestve system benefits, despite the fact that guaranine is a diuretic. The tea may also boost energy and fight against certain cognitive impairments. Some sources state that it is also popularly consumed for fat burning and weight loss, though such claims have yet to be supported by the scientific community.
As is typical with taking in too many caffeinated beverages, drinking too much guarana tea may also have adverse side effects. Anxiety, shakiness, heart racing, and a frequent urge to urinate may occur due to over-consumption. It is recommended that pregnant women avoid consuming this tea, along with normal caffeinated teas, coffee, soft drinks, or energy drinks. Some energy drinks contain guaranine in addition to standard caffeine.