Person holds a globe with the continent of South America facing the camera.

Love from South of the Equator: Our Best South American Herbs and Ethnobotanicals

Share this post: twitterfacebookpinterest

South America is one of the most biodiverse continents on the planet, with an abundance of rich plant and animal life and sustainable cultures that date back centuries. From the Andes mountains and the Amazon rainforest to the plains of Patagonia and the stunning glaciers of Tierra del Fuego, South American herbs include plants suited to every climate that each have a long and rich history of medicinal and practical use.

South American Herbal Remedies from the Amazon: Muira Puama

The superstar of our collection of South American herbs is Muira Puama. Muira Puama, or Ptychopetalum olacoides, is a tropical Brazilian tree that is traditionally used as an energy-booster, aphrodisiac, and remedy for sexual dysfunction. Traditionally, the bark is soaked overnight with catuaba bark and, in some cases, local communities rub the bark directly on the genitals for topical stimulation.

In our collection, we sell a 4:1 Muira Puama extract in which 4 units are concentrated down into 1 unit. While the potency might not be exactly four times as strong, the extract is still stronger than the plain bark material.

From Central America: Blue Lotus

Higher up in Central America, we can find the ruins of the Mayan civilization, where the blue lotus (or Nymphaea caerulea) was used by the higher castes in religious ceremonies.

While the blue lotus is mainly found in Egypt and across Asia today, and no longer figures among South American herbs, we know that its reach previously extended to the Americas because the plant was featured in erotic Mayan art.

At Kratora, we sell blue lotus is a variety of forms including whole blue lotus flowers, powder, and 50x blue lotus extract.

South American jungle where South American herbs are found.

Other South American Herbs from the Amazon

Currently, Muira Puama and blue lotus are the only two South American herbal remedies in our collection. However, this southern continent has many more ethnobotanicals to offer that are prized for their stimulating qualities. Let’s take a look at some of them here:

Guaraná

Guaraná, or Paullinia cupana, is a climbing plant that grows in the Amazon rainforest and produces black seeds that are protected by white arils (fleshy seed-covering). This makes the seeds look like eyes!

Popular among South American herbs and used widely in energy drinks, guaraná has a high caffeine content that acts as a stimulant as well as offering other benefits. The benefits of guaraná that are supported by research include enhanced memory and alertness, digestive regularity due to its caffeine content, a decreased risk of blood clots, and anti-aging benefits for the skin.

Suma

The “suma,” or Pfaffia paniculata, root from Brazil has been marketed to the U.S. as “Brazilian ginseng”—although it is not actually related to ginseng. According to data on rain-tree.com about South American herbs, the roots of this plant are traditionally prepared by Amazonian natives as an infusion or decoction which is taken as a tonic, anti-inflammatory, energizer, hormone balancer, and an aphrodisiac. The leaves and roots can also be applied externally and have traditionally been used to support toned and youthful skin.

Research shows that this Brazilian root has potential as an anti-inflammatory and immune booster. It is currently being investigated for its anticancer potential.

View of the Andes Mountains covered in snow.

South American Herbal Remedies from the Andes: Maca and Coca

The Andes mountain range extends down the western coast of South America from Colombia in the north to Chile in the south. This mountain range has everything from highlands above 10,000 feet to lowlands between 1,600 feet and 10,000 feet. The highlands provide a unique context for growing South American herbs such as maca without pesticides—as it is too cold for flies and other insects to thrive there. Many of the interior lowlands face onto warm, humid rainforest areas that are perfect for the cultivation of the coca leaf.

Maca

Maca, or Lepidium meyenii, is known as the “viagra of the Andes” and has become well known among South American herbal remedies worldwide as a natural aphrodisiac. This plant is a root-like vegetable that looks somewhat similar to a parsnip and is considered by local communities to be a “superfood.”

Traditional uses for maca among South American herbs include utilizing the powder for energy, hormonal balancing (as an adaptogen), and libido support. Maca is also used informally to prevent and treat anemia in children and adults. Studies support its adaptogen and anxiolytic qualities, effects on sexual dysfunction, and helpfulness for offsetting some of the symptoms of early menopause.

Coca

No catalog of South American herbs would be complete without mentioning the coca leaf or Erythroxylum coca. This legendary leaf grows in the humid tropical lowlands east of the Andes and has become famous for its inclusion in the original “Coca-Cola” formula and its role in the manufacturing of cocaine. However, the fresh leaf in its natural form is quite harmless!

Traditional Uses

In traditional use, inhabitants of the mountainous areas of Peru, Ecuador, and Bolivia (and selected parts of Chile and Argentina) carry around small bags of dried coca leaves as a South American herbal remedy for dealing with the high-altitude. The leaf is thought to help with altitude sickness and is said to calm hunger, thirst, and help to provide stamina throughout the working day.

Current Legal Status

Unfortunately, coca’s ability to be processed into cocaine means that it is illegal to sell or possess this herb outside of its region of origin.

Enjoy Organic South American Herbs from Kratora

The South American continent—as well as Central America—has many more traditional herbs than those we’ve had the space to list here. Explore our expansive collection of all-natural, ethically-sourced kratom alternatives and South American ethnobotanicals and receive same-day shipping on orders submitted before 3 PM EST Monday through Friday and 1 PM EST on Saturdays (excluding holidays).

Please note that none of the products sold on our website are intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or medical condition.

Please note that the US FDA has not approved these products to be sold for human consumption, sold for external use only. None of the products sold on our website are intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or medical condition.