Catuaba Bark Benefits

Catuaba Bark Benefits | HealthSoul

How Catuaba bark benefits were found?

In Brazilian territory, Catuaba bark gets special attention due to its potent medicinal properties and wide distribution. The importance of Catuaba bark is not only limited in a traditional application but also includes modern herbal medicine preparations. In Brazil, this herb is commonly used as an aphrodisiac, sexual stimulant, nervous system activator, and a health tonic for stress, memory deficits, fatigue, and digestive disorders. Catuaba belongs to different genera and families. However, most of the Catuaba species are popularly used in therapeutic purposes.

In 1906. A.J. da Silva had first studied the Catuaba bark. In the First Edition of the Brazilian Pharmacopoeia had included Catuaba species. Raw Catuaba bark is available in herbal stores. but it is necessary to mention, there is some confusion present in the identification of Catuaba. [1]

Apart from Brazil, Catuaba bark is also widely used in South American folk medicinal practice for the same therapeutic purposes along with treatment for impotence. The adaptogen property of this herb is discovered and the main reason for stress relief and alleviation of fatigue condition. It is effective for both healthy and ill health personnel. One of the most popular Catuaba bark folk medicinal preparation is “garrafada”, which is prepared by macerating the barks in 38–48% alcoholic drink. Some of the commercial preparation of Catuaba bark is also available in the market. [2]

What are the phytochemicals present in Catuaba bark?

Terpenes, terpenoids, sesquiterpenes, triterpenes and tetranortriterpenes group of primary phytochemicals present in Catuaba bark. However, many secondary metabolites of these phytochemicals are also derived from Catuaba bark. Flavonoids, steroids, tannins, coumarins, alkaloids, saponins, limonoids, pregnans, lactones, lignans, alkenoics and ω-phenyl alkanoic acids are also present in this herb. [1,2]

Phytochemical Present in Catuaba Bark | HealthSoul

What is the Mode of action of Catuaba bark health benefits?

Phenolic and flavonoid compounds present Catuaba bark have potent antioxidant property, [4] which is effective to provide neuroprotective effects. [5] Researchers have found that cinchonains and procyanidins are two phytochemicals present in Catuaba bark have potent antioxidant property. [2]

Catuaba bark exerts a dopaminergic action, which attributes antidepressant and antinociceptive effects. [2]

Catuaba bark acts as an Acetylcholinesterase inhibitor. [2]

Cinchonains Ia and Ib are two phytochemical compositions of Catuaba bark that have shown significant activity against bacteria. This herb has a bactericidal effect and more potent against Gram-positive bacteria than against Gram-negative bacteria. [1]

The dopaminergic effect of Catuaba bark can provide an antinociceptive effect, whereas some experts suggested this herb acts on the opioid system to provide the pain-relieving effect. [1]

Catuaba bark also blocks prostaglandin synthesis by interfering with an arachidonic acid pathway. [1]

What are the different forms of Catuaba bark?

In different nutritional manufacturing company prepare Catuaba bark supplement for health-promoting effect. The different available dosage forms are capsules, powders, and extracts of Catuaba. In herbal stores are also sold wildcrafted bark chips and cuttings for making herbal teas and decoctions. The capsule is the most convenient way to consume this herbal medicinal substance. There is no specific dose is recommended, but experts usually suggested 375mg to 475 mg capsules. However, every manufacturing company has mentioned the dose limit in package labels. [3]

Different Forms of Catuaba Bark | HealthSoul

Catuaba bark Uses

Catuaba bark has the following medicinal properties which are beneficial for the treatment of different diseases:

  • anti-inflammatory
  • antinociceptive
  • antidepressant
  • pro-memory
  • neuroprotective against ischemia and oxidative stress. [1,2]

Neuroprotective effect

Oxidative stress accumulation in brain tissue is one of the primary causes of neurological disorder. Oxidative stress build-up in Hippocampal tissue leads to low oxygen supply and the gradually ischemic condition appears in the brain. The antioxidant property of Catuaba bark helps to protect neuropathological changes and effective to increase the survival rate of ischemia, reperfusion and free radical accumulation in the brain tissue. A preclinical trial result showed that Catuaba bark intake helps to mitigate the oxidative stress in brain tissue by attenuating the toxic effects of pro-oxidants. It increases neuronal cellular viability. Thus, this herbal remedy is useful to prevent cellular damage trigger by acute and chronic neuropathological situation induced oxidative stress. [5]

Alzheimer’s disease 

There is no definite treatment regimen is yet now discovered to treat Alzheimer’s disease. However, acetylcholinesterase inhibitor is prescribed in Alzheimer’s disease treatment for improving management. [6] In Alzheimer’s disease, cholinergic functions have enhanced due to the enhancement of acetylcholine in cholinergic synapses. Catuaba bark has acetylcholinesterase inhibiting property. [2,4] This may a positive benefit against Alzheimer’s disease. [6]


The social progression is a continual process and human has to cope with this change. But some failure or trauma can cause depression. Catuaba bark is effective to alleviate depression by inhibiting dopamine and serotonin uptake and increasing these neurotransmitters’ release and potentiating dopamine activity. An animal research study also reported 200 and 400 mg/ kg of body weight of Catuaba bark dosing is effective to control depression. [2,7]

Cognitive Health Improvement

Catuaba bark is a rich source of Proanthocyanidins. This phytochemical has shown ameliorative effects on learning and memory impairment against amnesia by increasing the acetylcholine concentration. Experts recommended that Catuaba bark preparation for older aged people to avoid learning and memory deficit conditions. [2]

Anti-Fatigue and Stress-Relieving Effect

Catuaba bark has adaptogen quality. An animal trial reported that Catuaba bark treatment for 21 days to 49 days can improve spontaneous locomotor activity, decrease the recovery time after an exhaustive workout. Thus this herbal remedy helpful for fatigue and physically stressed condition. [2,4]

Infection Control

Cellulite Treatment

Catuaba bark is a combination of Ptychopetalum olacoides and Pfaffia sp. which is available as Slimbuster H® topical dosage form effective to treat Cellulite. Rich rutin (flavonoid) composition can provide a lipolytic effect. [1]

UV Radiation Protection

External application of Catuaba bark containing formulation can act as a sunscreen and provide UV radiation protection. [1]


Experimental research results reported aphrodisiac property of Catuaba bark can achieve by maintaining the production of testosterone. This herb treatment can regulate body masses, testicular and vesicular glands, and the gonadosomatic index. [1]

Cardiac Health

Catuaba bark can invalidate ventricular fibrillation and intraventricular conduction prolongation. Both of these mechanisms can control arrhythmic conditions in the heart, which showed this herbal treatment induces an antiarrhythmic effect. [1]

Neuropathic Pain

The origin and reason for neuropathic pain can differ, but the symptoms like a feeling of throbbing, burning, shooting, stabbing pain are almost the same for every case. The anti-inflammatory and antinociceptive effects of Catuaba bark are effective to control neuropathic pain symptoms. [1]

Catuaba Bark Uses | Healthsoul

Catuaba Bark Side Effects

There is a lack of quality research data to support the safety profile of this herb. Some of the reported side effects of Catuaba bark are dizziness, headaches, and excessive sweating. [3]

Catuaba Bark Side Effects | HealthSoul

What is the Precautionary Measure for Catuaba Bark?

Male members may be benefited from the aphrodisiac property of Catuaba bark. However, animal research reported this herbal treatment can impair female fertility. Therefore, female individuals should avoid intaking this herbal preparation at their fertility age. [8]


  1. Trichilia catigua: therapeutic and cosmetic values
  2. Antioxidant, anticholinesterase and antifatigue effects of Trichilia catigua (catuaba).
  3. The Health Benefits of Catuaba.
  4. Antioxidant, anticholinesterase and antifatigue effects of Trichilia catigua (catuaba). 
  5. Trichilia catigua (Catuaba) bark extract exerts neuroprotection against oxidative stress induced by different neurotoxic agents in rat hippocampal slices. 
  6. The economic benefits of acetylcholinesterase inhibitors for patients with Alzheimer disease and associated dementias.
  7. Antidepressant-like effects of Trichilia catigua (Catuaba) extract: evidence for dopaminergic-mediated mechanisms. 
  8. The exposure to Trichilia catigua (catuaba) crude extract impairs fertility of adult female rats but does not cause reproductive damage to male offspring.