According to the Rain Tree Tropical Plant Database, catuaba bark comes from a small tree that grows in the northern portions of Brazil. The bark is famous for being used as an aphrodisiac. However, catuaba bark has also been prescribed to relieve pain, calm nerves, reduce anxiety, strengthen the nervous system and relax blood vessels. It is commonly used to treat insomnia, skin cancer, poor memory, dementia and Alzheimer's.
Rain Tree explains that commercial catuaba bark is divided into two species: the "small catuaba" and the "large catuaba". The small catuaba tree grows 2 to 4 meters tall and has orange or yellow flowers, whereas the larger catuaba can grow up to 10 meters tall and has cream colored flowers.
That being said, bark from either species can be used for medicinal purposes as well. The bark is normally prepared as an infused tea and taken one to three times daily. It can also be used as a 2 to 3 milliliter alcohol tincture that is taken twice daily.
Clinical studies conducted in 1992, highlighted how catuaba-bark extract may have been responsible for anti-HIV activity in the cells of mice, while also significantly reducing lethal bacterial infections. The name catuaba is a word stemming from the indigenous Guarani language found in South America. Roughly translated, catuaba means "what gives strength to the Indian."