Muira Puama, also called “potency wood,” is a small tree that is native to the Brazilian Amazon and other parts of the Amazon rainforest. The small, white flowers have a pungent fragrance similar to jasmine. Historically, all parts of Muira Puama have been used medicinally, but the bark and roots are the most-utilized parts of the plant.
Traditionally it has been used in the Amazon by indigenous peoples for a number of purposes. In Brazilian herbal medicine, Muira Puama has been highly-regarded as a sexual stimulant and has a reputation as a powerful aphrodisiac for both men and women. It has been in the Brazilian Pharmacopoeia since the 1950s. It has been used to tonify the nervous system and to help with cases of mild exhaustion and stress. Natives have also used it to help with gastrointestinal issues.
Early European explorers noted the indigenous uses and the aphrodisiac qualities of Muira Puama and brought it back to Europe, where it is still listed in the British Herbal Pharmacopoeia as a recommended treatment of dysentery and impotence.