Compilation of herbal plants (description, geographical distribution, taxonomy, line drawings), biodiversity and herbarium.

Read More
Research & Publication

Description of herbal and T&CM research, searchable publication and process from medicinal plant discovery to clinical trial in producing a high-quality registered herbal drug.

Read More
Traditional & Complementary Medicine (T&CM)


Definition and description of therapies, policy, training and education, research in the practise of (T&CM) and integrated medicine system.           

Read More


News Update

Announcement & Advertisement

Forthcoming Events

International Conference on Traditional Medicine and Phytochemistry 2021

From Mon, 12. July 2021 Until Wed, 14. July 2021

Asian Symposium on Medicinal Plants and Spices XVII (2020)

From Tue, 17. August 2021 Until Thu, 19. August 2021

Ptychopetalum olacoides


Ptychopetalum olacoides


No documentation.

Vernacular Name

Muiratã, Potency wood, Marapuama, Marapama, Muiratã, Muiratam, Ppau-homen, Potenzholz


Reaching a height of 15m, Ptychopetalum olacoides is covered in a dark-grey bark, which, when scarred, has a pink interior.  The leaves are ovate, glabrous and range from dark-green to almost brown in colour.  The small, fragrant flowers give off an odour comparable to jasmine.  They are small, white or off-white in colour, and grow directly on the leafstalk.  P. olacoides is almost morphologically identical to the other species in its genus, Ptychopetalum uncinatum, the only noticeable difference being a lower concentration of the chemical lupeol in the latter.

Origin / Habitat

P. olacoides is a medium-sized, evergreen tree native to the Amazonian rainforest and Orinoco River in South America.  The tropical tree is most densely populated throughout Brazil, though exists throughout tropical South America.  P. olacoides is a relatively nondescript tree, which has caused botanists to be unsure of its biological origins.  Reaching a height of 15m, P. olacoides is covered in a dark-grey bark, which, when scarred, has a pink interior.  The leaves are ovate, glabrous and range from dark-green to almost brown in colour.  The small, fragrant flowers give off an odour comparable to jasmine.  They are small, white or off-white in colour, and grow directly on the leafstalk.  P. olacoides is almost morphologically identical to the other species in its genus, Ptychopetalum uncinatum, the only noticeable difference being a lower concentration of the chemical lupeol in the latter.

Chemical Constituents

Alpha-copaene, alpha-elemene, alpha-guaiene, alpha-humulene, alpha-muurolene, alpha-pinene, alpha-resinic acid, alpha-terpinene, arachidic acid, allo-aromadendren, behenic acid, beta-bisabolene, beta-caryophyllene, beta-pinene, beta-resinic acid, beta-sitosterol, beta-transfarnesene, borneol, campesterols, camphene, camphor, car-3-ene, caryophyllene, cerotic acid, chromium, coumarin, cubebene, delta-cadinene, dotriacontanoic acid, elixene, ergosterols, eugenol, essential oils, gamma-muurolene, hentriacontanoic acid, heptacosanoic acid, lignoceric acid, limonene, linalool, lupeol, melissic acid, montanic acid, muirapuamine, myrcene, nonacosanoic acid, para-cymene, pentacosanoic acid, phlobaphene, stigmasterols, trichosanic acid, and uncosanic acid [1].

Plant Part Used

Bark, root [2].

Traditional Use

P. olacoides is known throughout Brazil, primarily for its effects on the human reproductive system.  Either used singularly or in a compound, the roots and bark of this tree have been thought to increase the sex drive of both men and women [2].  Typically, a powder, infusion or decoction is administered orally in a majority of cases of sexual dysfunction [3]. P. olacoides is thought to be effective in treating male impotence.  In some native tribes of Brazil, affected individuals would immerse their genital area into a highly concentrated decoction to achieve the same effect with the belief that it would enhance their sexual ability [2]. Additionally, P. olacoides has been used in cases of infrequent menstruation in women [4].

P. olacoides has been used traditionally in Brazil in order to treat some gastrointestinal disorders.  In cases of dyspepsia [4], indigestion, loss of appetite [5], and has been viewed as a stomach tonic [6].



In a laboratory study, administration of P. olacoides extract to laboratory animals reduced free-radical production in the hypothalamus, lead to significant decrease in lipid peroxidation in the cerebral cortex, striatum and hypothalamus, as well as in the carbonyl content in cerebellum and striatum, suggesting that P. olacoides contains compounds able to improve the cellular antioxidant network efficacy in the brain, ultimately reducing the damage caused by oxidative stress [14]. Another laboratory study also found that P. olacoides extract may help decrease destruction of brain cells after stroke through antioxidant support [15].

The neuroprotective uses of P. olacoides also may help in depression and mood disorders. Consistent with traditional use in depression, a laboratory animal study found that an extract of P. olacoides possessed antidepressant-like effects, possibly mediated by activity at beta-adrenergic and D(1) dopamine receptors [16]. Another laboratory study found that extracts of P. olacoides also alter serotonin levels, acting as an agonist at 5HT(2A) serotonin receptors [17].

Laboratory studies have found that P. olacoides extracts have antistress properties, termed adaptogenic [9] [10]. An adaptogen is a substance that helps the body “adapt” to various stressors, including physical, mental and emotional. P. olacoides has been reported in a laboratory study to prevent stress-induced hypothalamic pituitary axis (HPA) hyperactivity [11]. The HPA axis is a complex set of interactions between the hypothalamus and pituitary gland in the brain and the adrenal glands at the top of each kidney. The HPA axis helps regulate things such as your temperature, digestion, immune system, mood, sexuality and energy usage, and is a major part of the system that controls your reaction to stress, trauma and injury. Chronic imbalances in the HPA axis can lead to many health problems such as insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, heart disease, chronic inflammatory conditions, autoimmune conditions, depression and mood disorders, sleep problems and immune imbalances like cancer.

Laboratory studies have reported that extracts of miura puama have neuroprotective activity. The proposed mechanisms of neuroprotection includes inhibition of acetylcholinesterase (AChE) activity which may help lead to improved memory and cognition [12] [13]. Another laboratory study found the neuroprotective qualities of P. olacoides may be related to an increase in nerve growth factor (NGF), leading to an increased survival of nerve cells during stressful situations [1].


Presently, the mechanism of action of P. olacoides on sexual health is unknown. A combination of P. olacoides (4:1w/v) and ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) was administered to 202 healthy women complaining of low sex drive [7]. The subjects were asked about various aspects of their sex life and were rated before and after 1 month of treatment. Responses to the self-assessment questionnaires reported significantly higher average total scores of sexual health from baseline in 65% of the sample after taking the P. olacoides /ginkgo extract. Improvement in frequency of sexual desires, sexual intercourse, and sexual fantasies, as well as in satisfaction with sex life, intensity of sexual desires, excitement of fantasies, ability to reach orgasm, and intensity of orgasm was reported. One proposed mechanism of P. olacoides ’s enhancement of sexuality includes alpha-adrenoceptor agonist activity [8].

Interaction and Depletions

Interaction with other Herbs

No documentation.

Interaction with Drugs

Use cautiously in patients taking steroidal drug therapy or in patients with hormone-sensitive conditions (such as breast cancer or prostate cancer) [7].

Precautions and Contraindications

Side effects

P. olacoides has been reported safe in recommended doses. 

Discontinue if allergy occurs.

Use with caution in individuals with risk factors for heart conditions such as high blood pressure [8] .



Do not use in pregnancy or breastfeeding.

Age limitation

No documentation

Adverse reaction

No documentation

Read More

  1)  Western Herbs


  1. Tang W, Kubo M, Harada K, Hioki H, Fukuyama Y. Novel NGF-potentiating diterpenoids from a Brazilian medicinal plant, Ptychopetalum olacoides. Bioorg Med Chem Lett. 1Feb2009;19(3):882-886.
  2. Pierce A, American Pharmaceutical Association. The American Pharmaceutical Association Practical Guide to Natural Medicines. New York, NY: Stonesong Press; 1999.
  3. Tillotson AK, Abel R. The One Earth Herbal Sourcebook. New York, NY; Kensington Press; 2001.
  4. Foster S, Tyler VE. Tyler's Honest Herbal: A Sensible Guide to the Use of Herbs and Related Remedies. Binghamton, NY: Haworth Press; 1999.
  5. Duke, James A. The Green Pharmacy Herbal Handbook. Emmaus, PA: Rodale Inc; 2000.
  6. Duke JA. Medicinal Plants of Latin America. New York: Taylor and Francis; 2009.413.
  7. Waynberg J, Brewer S. Effects of Herbal vX on libido and sexual activity in premenopausal and postmenopausal women. Adv Ther. 2000;17(5):255-262.
  8. Paiva LAF, Rao VSN, Silveiera ER. Effects of Ptychopetalum olacoides extract on mouse behaviour in forced swimming and open field tests. Phytotherapy Research. 1998;12(4):294-296.
  9. da Silva AL, Bardini S, Nunes DS, Elisabetsky E. Anxiogenic properties of Ptychopetalum olacoides Benth. (Marapuama). Phytother Res. May2002;16(3):223-226.
  10. Piato AL, Detanico BC, Linck VM, Herrmann AP, Nunes DS, Elisabetsky E. Anti-stress effects of the "tonic"Ptychopetalum olacoides (Marapuama) in mice. Phytomedicine. 12Aug2009. [Epub ahead of print]
  11. Piato AL, Detanico BC, Jesus JF, Lhullier FL, Nunes DS, Elisabetsky E.J Effects of Marapuama in the chronic mild stress model: further indication of antidepressant properties. Ethnopharmacol. 23Jul2008;118(2):300-304.
  12. Siqueira IR, Fochesatto C, da Silva AL, Nunes DS, Battastini AM, Netto CA, Elisabetsky E. Ptychopetalum olacoides, a traditional Amazonian "nerve tonic", possesses anticholinesterase activity. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. Jun2003;75(3):645-650.
  13. da Silva AL, Piato AL, Ferreira JG, Martins BS, Nunes DS, Elisabetsky E. Promnesic effects of Ptychopetalum olacoides in aversive and non-aversive learning paradigms. J Ethnopharmacol. 12Feb2007;109(3):449-457.
  14. Siqueira IR, Fochesatto C, Torres IL, da Silva AL, Nunes DS, Elisabetsky E, Netto CA. Antioxidant activities of Ptychopetalum olacoides ("muirapuama") in mice brain. Phytomedicine. Nov 2007;14(11):763-769.
  15. Siqueira IR, Cimarosti H, Fochesatto C, et al. Neuroprotective effects of Ptychopetalum olacoides Bentham (Olacaceae) on oxygen and glucose deprivation induced damage in rat hippocampal slices. Life Sci. 27Aug2004;75(15):1897-1906.
  16. 1Piato AL, Rizon LP, Martins BS, et al. Antidepressant profile of Ptychopetalum olacoides Bentham (Marapuama) in mice. Phytother Res. Apr2009;23(4):519-524.
  17. da Silva AL, Ferreira JG, da Silva Martins B, et al. Serotonin receptors contribute to the promnesic effects of P. olacoides (Marapuama). Physiol Behav. 3Sep2008;95(1-2):88-92.

Explore Further

Consumer Data

Consumer data including medicinal herbs, dietary supplement monographs, health condition monographs and interactions and depletions.                                    

Read More
Professional Data

Professional data organized into medicinal herbs, dietary supplement monographs, health condition monographs, T&CM herbs, formulas, health conditions, interactions and depletions.

Read More
International Data

We offer International linkages to provide extensive content pertaining to many facets of T&CM as well as Integrated Medicine. Please register for access.    

Read More