Table of Contents > Herbs & Supplements > Muira puama (Ptychopetalum olacoides) Print

Muira puama (Ptychopetalum olacoides)


Also listed as: Ptychopetalum olacoides
Related terms

Related Terms
  • Herbal vY®, jarrow, lignum, marapama, marapuama, maripuama, muira-puama, muira puama wood, muirapuam, Muirae puama, muirapuamine, Olacaceae (family), olacoides, potency bark, potency wood, potenzholz, Ptychopetali lignum, ptychopetalum, Ptychopetalum guyanna, Ptychopetalum olacoides Bentham, Ptychopetalum unicatum, Ptychopetalum uncinatum Anselmino, Ptychopetalum unicatum Anselmino, Ptychopetalum spp., raiz del macho, Testor-plus®.
  • Note: Not to be confused with Acanthea virilis or Liriosma ovata (also called muira puama).

  • Historically, all parts of the plant have been used medicinally, but the bark and roots are most highly utilized. Indigenous tribes in Brazil use the tea for treating neuromuscular problems, rheumatism, influenza, cardiac and gastrointestinal asthenia and to prevent baldness. In Europe, muira puama has a long history in herbal medicine as an anti-rheumatic, aphrodisiac, a tonic for the nervous system, and for the treatment of gastrointestinal disorders.
  • Muira puama is included in combination products as a remedy for sexual impotence. Recent studies show promising evidence that it may increase sexual vitality and treat erectile dysfunction in males. Muira puama has also been used by bodybuilders and weight lifters to improve physical performance. This is due to proposed testosterone-like effects of muira puama.
  • If buying preparations of muira puama, do so with caution, as Liriosma ovata and Acanthea virilis are commonly incorrectly sold as muira puama.

Evidence Table

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. GRADE *

Muira puama has long been used by Brazilian indigenous people as a treatment for impotence, and preliminary study has investigated muira puama's use for erectile dysfunction. Additional human study is needed before a firm recommendation can be made.


Muira puama has historically been recommended for enhancement of libido. However, there are no well-conducted human clinical trials available of monotherapy muira puama for this indication. Additional study is needed in this area.

* Key to grades

A: Strong scientific evidence for this use
B: Good scientific evidence for this use
C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use
D: Fair scientific evidence for this use (it may not work)
F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likley does not work)

Tradition / Theory

The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.

  • Aging, alopecia (hair loss), Alzheimer's disease, analgesic (pain reliever), anxiety, aphrodisiac, appetite stimulation, ataxia (loss of coordination), atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), athletic performance enhancer, baldness, beriberi (vitamin deficiency), cancer, cardiac conditions (asthenia), CNS stimulant, depression, diarrhea, dysentery (severe diarrhea), dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation), dyspepsia (upset stomach), energy, fatigue, gastric ulcers, gastrointestinal conditions (asthenia), hookworm, hypercalcemia (high calcium level), impotence, infertility, influenza, libido, memory improvement, menstrual cramps, menstrual irregularities, mental performance, nervous exhaustion, neuralgia (nerve pain), neurasthenia (nerve exhaustion), neuromuscular disorders, pain, paralysis, poliomyelitis (viral disease), premenstrual syndrome (PMS), rheumatism, stimulant, strength enhancement, stress, stroke, tonic, trauma.


Adults (18 years and older)

  • There is no proven effective dose for muira puama. However, for erectile dysfunction, up to 2,580 milligrams of Herbal vY® daily for two weeks has been used with minimal side effects.

Children (younger than 18 years)

  • There is no proven effective dose for muira puama in children.


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.


  • Avoid in individuals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to muira puama (Ptychopetalum olacoides), any of its constituents, or any related members of the Olacaceae family.

Side Effects and Warnings

  • Muira puama is generally considered by experts to be a safe herb, and no serious adverse effects have been reported in the available scientific literature.
  • Muira puama may raise blood pressure and CNS (central nervous system) stimulation, which may alter blood pressure, heart functions, and CNS effects on heart tissue. Muira puama may also have proposed testosterone-like proprieties, which may cause anabolic side effects, such as increases in energy, aggression, or appetite, changes in voice, or enlargement of genitalia.
  • Use cautiously in patients taking steroidal drug therapy or in patients with hormone-sensitive conditions (e.g., breast cancer, endometriosis, ovarian cancer, prostate cancer).
  • Use cautiously in patients with hypertension (high blood pressure) or cardiac disease, as muira puama may exacerbate these conditions.
  • Use cautiously in patients taking CNS-acting medications, as muira puama may stimulate the CNS.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

  • Avoid use during pregnancy due to reported idiosyncratic motor/sacral stimulant properties. Muira puama is not recommended in breastfeeding women due to a lack of available scientific data.

  • This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (

Copyright © 2011 Natural Standard (

The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.

Search Site

Garden Of Life
Natural Factors