The ultimate guide to Bois Bandé (Muira Puama)
Reading time: 20 minutes
Muira puama (marapuama), also called bois bandé, is a medicinal plant found in the Amazon rainforest. Muira puama appears to help with sexual dysfunction, and preliminary research suggests it may improve cognitive function and reduce stress, anxiety, and fatigue.
What is Bois Bandé / Muira Puama ?
The muira puama or bois bandé (Ptychopetalum olacoides) is a species of small tree native to the Amazon rainforest of Brazil, French Guiana, Guyana and Suriname.
What is Bois Bandé or Muira Puama made of?
The root and bark of muira puama are rich in alkaloids , phenolic compounds, fatty acids, fatty acid esters, essential oils, plant sterols, and triterpenes. Its main components are:
- Alkaloids: menisperine, magnoflorine, moschamine.
- Flavonoids: luteolin and derivatives.
- Phenolic acids: caffeic, ferulic, vanillic, syringic.
Eight diterpenoids present in muira puama bark have been described:
- 12-oxo-hardwickiic acid
- ptycholide I
- ptycholid II
- ptycholide III
- ptycholide IV
Diterpenoids are natural compounds with potential antibacterial, anticancer, and anti-inflammatory properties.
The benefits of Bois Bandé or Muira Puama
Muira puama is marketed as supplements for libido and several other uses, many of which remain unproven. Due to the lack of solid clinical research, muira puama is not approved by the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) for medical use. The regulations set manufacturing standards for these products, but do not guarantee that they are safe or effective. We recommend discussing this with your doctor before taking muira puama supplements, although these are safe for the vast majority of people.
Bois Bandé can be effective as :
In two studies, muira puama increased sexual desire in 60% of men with low initial libido and improved erectile function in 50% of men with poor erection. Muira puama also improved sexual desire, sexual fantasies, and the ability to achieve orgasm in 65% of women with sexual dysfunctions.
In another study, muira puama combined with ginkgo biloba (Herbal vX, 175 mg muira puama and 16 mg gingko) increased libido in 65% of 202 women who reported low libido.
Muira puama supplements (1000-1500mg daily) for 2 weeks increased libido in 60% of 262 men with low libido.
Although limited, evidence suggests that muira puama may work as an aphrodisiac. You can try it to improve your libido.
In a clinical trial of 54 middle-aged men, a commercial herbal remedy containing muira puama, ginger root, guarana and citrulline (Revactin) improved erectile function and was well tolerated.
The same herbal mixture increases blood flow in the muscles of the penis and prevents cell death in rats and cells.
However, a small clinical trial, a rat study, and a cell study cannot be considered medically sufficient evidence that muira puama helps with erectile dysfunction. Further clinical research is needed.
Dark circles (peri-orbital hyperchromia)
Periorbital hyperchromia is the darkening of the upper and lower eyelids, often due to slow blood circulation around the eyes. In a small trial of 21 people with the condition, a skincare product made with muira puama, Brazilian ginseng, and Madonna lily improved the appearance of dark circles . In human skin cells, this product reduced inflammation and oxidative damage .
The results of this small trial also do not allow a medical conclusion to be drawn that muira puama improves dark circles. Larger and more robust clinical trials are needed.
Currently ongoing animal and cell research (lack of evidence)
No clinical evidence supports the use of muira puama for any of the conditions listed in this section. Below is a summary of existing animal and cell research, which should guide future research efforts. However, the studies listed should not be construed as an endorsement of any health benefit.
Prevention of Alzheimer's disease and brain damage
Muira puama is considered a "brain tonic" which protects the brain in the event of Alzheimer's disease .
In mouse models of Alzheimer's disease, muira puama extract helped:
Prevent cognitive impairment
Decrease amyloid plaque deposits in the brain
Decrease the loss of the hippocampus (memory center of the brain) caused by amyloid plaques.
Inhibition of enzymes that degrade acetylcholine in the brain (hippocampus and striatum), similar to how treatments for Alzheimer's disease work.
In mice, antioxidants in muira puama were able to cross the blood-brain barrier and reduce damaging oxidative stress.
In isolated rat brain slices, muira puama extract protected brain cells from oxidative stress induced by lack of glucose and oxygen.
Muira puama improves memory retrieval without interfering with acquisition or consolidation in mice. Old mice given muira puama showed greater memory improvement than young mice without muira puama.
Muira puama also restored memory in mice with drug-induced brain damage (scopolamine and MK801).
Additionally, muira puama + a 5-HT2A blocker is as effective as two blockers, which is the treatment used to improve memory consolidation.
In cellular studies, certain constituents of muira puama (hemiacetal ptychonal and ptychonal) promoted neuron growth by increasing NGF.
Stress, anxiety and depression
Chronic stress can lead to HPA axis dysfunction, which is often found in depression. In mice, an extract of muira puama treated stress-induced depression as effectively as an antidepressant (imipramine).
Stress increases cortisol and blood sugar. Muira puama prevented the stress-induced rise in cortisol and blood sugar in mice.
Muira puama reduced anxiety behaviors that mice exhibit after exposure to stress.
Reduction of cholesterol and body fat
In rats, muira puama reduced fat deposition and total cholesterol, and increased lean body mass.
A case report of a 45-year-old man taking 50–100 mg of muira puama resin twice daily for three months reported that the man:
- Gained 5 kg of muscle mass
- Decreased body fat percentage from 18 to 13%.
- Lowering bad cholesterol (LDL)
- Increase in good cholesterol (HDL)
Healing of bone fractures
In rats with bone fractures, a herbal supplement containing muira puama, guarana, ginger and citrulline promoted fracture healing by stimulating cells that repair bone tissue (osteoblasts).
In postmenopausal rats, the same herbal mixture helped prevent fractures by reducing bone loss.
How to use Bois Bandé or Muira Puama?
Since muira puama is not approved by the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) for any condition, there is no official dose. Users and supplement manufacturers have established unofficial doses based on trial and error.
In studies, doses range from 100 to 1,500 mg per day. Some websites selling the supplement recommend a maximum dose of 2850 mg. At Labophyto, we offer capsules each containing 350mg of muira puama with a recommendation of 2 capsules per day.
Due to a lack of research on its safety, muira puama is not recommended for children and pregnant or breastfeeding women.
Standard forms are tablets, tinctures and decoctions.
The side effects of Muira Puama or Bois Bandé
Keep in mind that the safety profile of muira puama is relatively unknown given the lack of well-designed clinical studies. The list of side effects below is not exhaustive and we advise you to consult your doctor about other potential side effects depending on your medical condition and possible interactions with medications or supplements although its use is without any risk for the majority of people.
Muira puama has very few reported side effects. The most common effects are mild and include upset stomach and headache.
Similarly, a herbal mixture containing muira puama, guarana, ginger, and other herbal extracts caused no adverse effects in healthy volunteers when given twice daily for 28 days. .
Muira puama can cause short-lived hypotension because it can divert blood flow from the heart.
Our advice on taking Muira Puama or Bois Bandé:
When to take Bois Bandé?
Our Bois Bandé capsules contain 350mg of Muira Puama powder (bark), we recommend that you take 2 a day in the morning for a minimum of 1 month to maximize its benefits on your health.
How to consume Muira Puama?
In the form of capsules, you just need to take them with a glass of water with your meal to facilitate their digestion.
Why take Bois Bandé?
The Bois Bandé food supplement helps with physical and mental resistance. Indeed, Bois Bandé has been used for several centuries as an aphrodisiac for men and women. It thus helps to maintain good sexual relations by contributing in particular to hormonal balance.