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A review of the scientific literature reveals that guarana itself has only recently been the subject of clinical studies. As such, studies pertaining to caffeine are sometimes used to explain the herb's action, an approach that presupposes the other constituents are either inactive or of such weak effect they need not be recognised. Although this approach is convenient and provides us with some understanding of the herb's pharmacological effects, the results of three recent clinical studies suggest that guarana's effects on cognitive function are due to more than its caffeine content. CNS STIMULANT

Although guarana has not been clinically investigated for its effects on the CNS there is a great deal of evidence to show that caffeine is an antagonist of the adenosine receptor, which produces a net increase in CNS activity because the inhibitory action © 2007 Elsevier Australia

of adenosine is blocked (Smith 2002). This results in the release of a variety of neurotransmitters (e.g. noradrenaline, acetylcholine, dopamine, and the GAB/ybenzodiazepine system).

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