Brazilian Guarana Seed Export

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Guarana Seed

Guarana Seed is a berry indigenous to the Amazon rainforest, and it has been

harvested for centuries. It is a signature ingredient and flavor in Brazilian culinary

culture, and, not unlike the acaí berry, has recently been "discovered" and

misunderstood in the United States as a "miracle" substance.

More so than just a natural stimulant, guarana seed is a naturally unique flavor

with a rich history.

Guarana seed is a tropical berry indigenous to the Amazon Basin, located in
the northern parts of Brazil and Venezuela. The name derives from
the Brazilian Guarani tribe by whom the plant was first harvested for medicinal
and culinary uses. The Guarani believe the herb to have magical medicinal properties
to restore energy; whether magical or not, the "energy effect" is undoubtedly present
in the seed, as a guarana seed contains nearly twice the caffeine content of a coffee bean.

The botanical name for guarana is Paullinia cupana, named for
the German scientist C.F. Paullini who first discovered the plant along with the Guarani tribe
in the 18th century. Guarana seed is a climbing plant of the maple tree family;
it produces large flat leaves and berry or flower clusters that ripen into
the guarana seed that grows to about the size of a coffee bean. Guarana
is a highly successful plant, as the high levels of caffeine work as a toxic repellent
against harmful diseases that may attack the berries. The color of guarana berries
and seed varies between bright red and brown, while the seeds on the inside are
charcoal black and are surrounded by white padding.
Chemical Composition
As aforementioned, the caffeine content in guarana seed is nearly twice
the concentration as is found in a coffee bean, averaging at around
5.5 percent gauranine (virtually identical to caffeine). The remainder
of the seed contains nearly 50 percent vegetable fiber, 8.3 percent starch,
7.6 percent water, nearly 6 percent guarana acid, 7.5 percent pectin, malic acid,
mucilage, dextrin and salts, colorant and acids.

Cultural Role
Guarana seed is relatively unknown outside of Brazil and Venezuela,
though inside Brazil it is exceedingly popular in soft drinks and in powder forms.
 In Brazil it is not marketed for its caffeine high as it is in the United States,
but rather for its unique taste. Guarana seed is also used as a flavoring powder
that can be added to drinks or in recipes, in syrup and in chocolate bars and
chewing gum. In the United States, however, guarana seed is pedaled as
a miracle energy drug in herbal vitamin supplements and energy drinks.

Theories / Speculation
The story of guarana seed comes from the Guarani tribe, where the myth of
the "divine child" holds that a village child was killed by a serpent deity,
after which another deity planted the child's eyes in the ground and from
that guarana sprang. The connection to "eyes" stems from the visual appearance
of the contrast of the black seeds against the white surround
and red shell of the berry.

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