If there is a fruit that can be considered representative of Brazil, it is guaraná. Although it is also found in Venezuela, it was in the Brazilian Amazon that it proliferated to the point of becoming a cultural reference.
Discovered by Europeans as early as the 17th century, the Guaraná presents itself in curls and draws attention for its reddish color. The therapeutic qualities of the fruit began to be observed since the arrival of the first explorers, who already noticed that the little red fruit increased energy and still helped to fight cramps and fevers.
Nowadays science knows that guaraná has an average caffeine content of 3%, twice the amount found in coffee, for example. Hence its energetic and invigorating effects. But they are not alone, as guaraná also offers cardiovascular tonic action, has a diuretic effect and helps relieve cramps and migraines.
The fruit fell in the taste of Brazilians and foreigners and today is transformed into syrup, powder, and is present in other compositions, especially in the food and beverage industry. There are also cosmetics and some medicines that use the active ingredients of the fruit.
Despite the Amazonian origin, currently the largest guaraná producer in Brazil is the city of Taperoá, Bahia. In Amazonian territory, the productive highlight is the city of Maués, in the state of Amazonas. In this area there are also indigenous tribes who, since time immemorial, consider the fruit sacred to the point of claiming to be children of guaraná.
This attribution of magical powers to the fruit and the fact that it is treated as a true deity by the oldest inhabitants of the Amazon demonstrates its importance in the region, which goes beyond flavor or any scientifically proven therapeutic effect. Probably such a respectful relationship with guaraná has somehow led the fruit to become part of the Brazilian identity even for those who live in big cities, far from the forest – and even for those who have never faced a cluster of bright red guaranás.