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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Catuaba (Trichilia catigua) Mechanism of Action / How it Works (Aphrodisia)

Catuaba - is a popular Brazilian aphrodisiac plant which is recently sold in a multitude of sexual enhancement / male enhancement supplements in both America and China - as well as many other countries where the concept of sexual enhancement reigns on top of the health industry links.

However, the mechanism of action and Efficacy of Catuaba are in question - especially since many studies have shown Catuaba's effectiveness only in the context of being used as a 'stack' or solution containing multiple aphrodisiac herbs. All for all, herbs like Muira Puama have more evidence and more impressive track records than Catuaba. 

However,  Catuaba seems to have a very profound mood boosting effect and some swear by it. Even where other herbs have failed to meet expectations.

Here, we will go over studies and publications proving Catuaba's mechanism of action in the nervous system and reproductive organs.

First, it's important to know that Catuaba's benefits typically relate to 'arousal' and erection aspects of sexual function rather than desire(!)

  • Catuaba appears to be a DSRI (a dopamine-serotonin-reuptake inhibitor) (1)

  1. This means it increases dopamine and serotonin activity in the brain and body. More so in the brain's synapses, though. 
  2. Dopamine plays a role in penile erection (2) as does serotonin - however, they can be considered opposite roles (dopamine facilitating arousal, serotonin inhibiting) (3) , depending on the receptors activated or proportion of dopamine to serotonin.

  • Catuaba has anti-platelet-aggregation effects and thus, in theory may improve blood flow by preventing platelets from sticking together and forming clots (4) (5).

  1. Catuaba thus is sort of more a 'medical' tonic acting on more familiarized pathways. It can be used as a tonic in healthy or mostly healthy individuals. That means the benefits increase with continuous use and can be used to prevent health issues such as blood clots. 
  2. Catuaba should under NO CIRCUMSTANCES be used with blood-thinning drugs such as COUMADIN/Warfarin.


  • Not much medical evidence, really hardly any at all.
  • Catuaba's effects on serotonin may distort the benefits on dopamine systems - in other words, the effects may not be super significant as the herb does not seem to discriminate between dopamine / serotonin transporters.
  • If any improvement in sexual ability is noticed with Catuaba - it may be short-lived and the half-life of the active constitutes of the herb are between 1.5 and 4 hours - which is not impressive.
  • CATUABA will NOT treat Delayed Ejaculation (6) - it may worsen may help Premature Ejaculation , however. (7)


  •  it must be noted that those on SSRI's (Prozac, Luvox etc)  should totally avoid the herb. It may increase the risk of serotonin syndrome and should also not be stacked with 5-HTP or other serotonergics.
  • Catuaba is an herbal  blood thinner & should under NO CIRCUMSTANCES be used with blood-thinning drugs such as COUMADIN/Warfarin.

My recommended CATUABA Product is below. 



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