Catuaba is the common name for a group of plants in the Amazon rainforest, the main two, Erythroxylum catuaba and Trichilia catigua are the most common.
Big catuaba, (Trichilia catigua), is both the most commonly used species, and the most relevant for the actions catuaba is traditionally used for, which is why The Sunlight Experiment considers this species the official catuaba species.
Trichilia catigua is a tall tree with dark, aromatic bark. This bark is used to treat age-related cognitive decline, depression, anxiety, and male sexual dysfunction.
Main Herbal Actions:
The main uses for catuaba include treating male sexual dysfunctions like erectile dysfunction or poor libido, age-related cognitive decline, depression, nerve pain, fatigue, and anxiety.
South America (Amazon Rainforest)
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Constituents of Interest
- Big Catuaba
- Pau de Reposta
Trichilia catigua is a member of the meliaceae family (Mohogany family). This family contains about 600 species, separated into 53 genera, all spread out across the tropics. Other members of this family include neem, Carapa, Spanish-Cedar, and Toona.
Quality Of Research:
Clinical Applications Of Catuaba:
Catuaba is useful for treating depression, and is a good option when other, more mainstream treatments fail. Catuaba works off the dopamine system rather than serotonin which is the most common mechanism of action for most antidepressants. In several studies, catuaba has been shown to provide a similar level of efficacy to fluoxetine and St johns Wort towards depression.
Catuaba is also highly useful for treating male sexual dysfunctions of all kinds, likely relating to the dopaminergic action as well. Additionally, though Catuaba is not considered a cognitive enhancer it has been shown to improve age-related memory loss, or cognitive decline, which was in fact one of its main traditional uses.
No known interactions, however, due to its dopaminergic action, it is wise to avoid combining catuaba with other dopaminergic medications. Medical advice recommended if currently taking antidepressants before using catuaba.
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For a list of references for this work, visit the full catuaba monograph.