The aphrodisiac qualities of this plant are, without doubt, its most famous and popular use. Containing 3 specific alkaloids believed to support libido, including “yohimbe” which seems to be the most active compound that produces a stimulatory effect on the libido of both men and women. These alkaloids are thought to enhance sexual function by stimulating the nervous system.
Catuaba stimulates blood flow to the genitals, can strengthen and prolong an erection, enhances sexual excitement and is said to give more powerful orgasms.
Central Nervous System
Amongst the constituents of this plant reside a group of alkaloids known as "catuabine", with these compounds thought to be responsible for further stimulating the nervous system. Catuaba works its magic quite quickly, effectively calming anxiety and nerves in less than an hour after use. It can also be used as a sleep aid; however this may increase the chance of having erotic dreams so use at your own risk!
Studies have found that Catuaba has dopaminergic actions, meaning it has the ability to modulate the receptors in the brain related to the neurotransmitter dopamine. One particular study conducted in 2005 by Maria M Campos et al found convincing evidence of Catuaba providing a dopamine-mediated antidepressant effect in mice and rats. In addition they found no significant change in serotonin uptake after long term use of Catuaba – unlike its pharmaceutical counterpart – making this herb a powerful ally in the treatment of depression.
In another study by Jean Paul Kamdem et al, Catuaba was found to have significant neuroprotective effects. This was measured by the lowered oxidative damage found in the hippocampus of mice who had been treated with the herb. Another investigation found that the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of Catuaba protected the brains of the participants from oxidative damage and concluded that it could possibly play a role in protecting against brain related disorders. These effects are thought to be due to the high amounts of antioxidant flavonoids found within Catuaba.