The healing power of potency wood

In the past, it was customary to name trees according to their medicinal properties. Potency wood is a medicine against sexual fatigue used for centuries that naturally occurred in the Amazon region of South America. When a man has an erection problem due to stress, fatigue, or a psychosomatic problem, potency wood can offer a solution. In addition to its libido-enhancing effect, the root of this tree can strengthen memory, inhibit rheumatic inflammation and help with a number of menstrual and menopausal complaints.
NB! This article is written from the personal view of the author and may contain information that is not scientifically substantiated and/or in line with the general view.


  • Naming potential wood
  • History of potency wood
  • Active substances
  • Potency wood, good for the libido
  • Potency wood, good for the nerves
  • Other medicinal effects of potency wood
  • Consult a herbal therapist


Naming potential wood

Scientists use the official Latin plant names when they talk about a plant. They do this to avoid misconceptions. The Latin name of potency wood is Acanthea Virilis . Sometimes the synonym Ptychopetalum Olacoides is used. Acanthea comes from the Greek word ‘Acanthos’ which means thorn. Virilis is Latin for ‘male’. The latter is a reference to the libido-enhancing capacity of potency wood. Alternative names in Dutch are: Muira-puama, potency wood and marapuama. In German it is called Potenzholz and in English Potency wood. Muira-puama is a used alternative in all languages.

History of potency wood

In Brazil and Suriname, potency wood has been successfully used as a nervous system-strengthening herb by the local Indian population for centuries. It also stimulates digestion and increases libido. The root, leaf stems or bark of the tree potency wood is simply chewed. In French Guiana, which borders Suriname, potency wood has been successfully used against sexual fatigue. From 1930 muira-puama was used in Europe. Although the effect of potency wood has been amply demonstrated by empirical research, very little double-clinical scientific research has been conducted into the medicinal effect of this tree.

Potency wood powder / Source: Maša Sinreih, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA-3.0)

Active substances

The root bark and to a lesser extent the bark are used for potential wood. Potency wood contains the following substances: alkaloids such as muirapuamine, long-chain fatty acids including arachidonic acid, lignocderic acid, heptacosanoic acid and behenic acid. The phytosterols in this tree include: betasitosterol, compesterol, ergosterol and lupeol. It also contains steroid saponins, the resins alpha and betaresic acid, at least six types of essential oils, falbafene and tannins.

Potency wood, good for the libido

Potency wood is an aphrodisiac. It increases sex drive or libido and it increases potency. It is a neurosexual tonic because it supports the sexual experience. Steroid saponins, phytosterols and long-chain fatty acids promote hormone production. Muirapimine promotes the sensitivity of the sexual organs and the skin, which increases sexual feelings. For these medicinal effects, potency wood is used for the following indications:

  • Non-organic causes of reduced sexual desire,
  • Sexual dysfunctions such as frigidity, impotence, decreased libido,
  • Erectile dysfunction,
  • Infertility.


Potency wood, good for the nerves

Potency wood is a nerve tonic. It protects nerve cells. Partly because of this it is a spiritually stimulating substance. It is in fact a total tonic; a tonic for the entire body. In medical circles it is known as an adaptogen; that means adaptability-enhancing. Because of these medicinal properties, potency wood is prescribed by herbalists for:

Jar of potency wood powder / Source: Maša Sinreih in Valentina Vivod, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA-3.0)

  • Neurasthenia or weak nerves,
  • Reduced stress resistance,
  • Negative attitude, depression,
  • Memory weakness, concentration disorders,
  • Fatigue, exhaustion,
  • In athletes to increase physical performance,
  • Coordination disorders,
  • Nerve pains,
  • Paralysis symptoms.


Other medicinal effects of potency wood

  • Because potency wood has an anti-inflammatory effect, it is used for chronic rheumatic symptoms.
  • Potency wood regulates the female hormone system and is a natural painkiller. It is therefore used for PMS, painful menstruation and menopausal complaints.
  • Potency wood promotes appetite, strengthens the stomach, stimulates digestion and inhibits inflammation in the intestine. It is prescribed for indigestion, prevention of peptic ulcer, dysentery and hookworm.
  • An ointment or genital rinse bath is made from potency wood to promote sexual experience; this is the only external use of the root bark.


Consult a herbal therapist

Anyone who wants to use potency wood as a medicinal product is recommended to consult a herbal therapist. Potency wood extracts and medicines in the form of mother tincture, powder, dried herb, liquid extract and decoction should only be used on the prescription of authorized persons. A herbal therapist can tell you more about this, as well as about possible side effects and interactions with other medicines or herbs. There are also beneficial combinations with herbs. Some herbs can enhance each other’s effects; that’s called synergy. All medicinal effects of this medicinal herb mentioned in this article are based on scientific research and come from Geert Verhelst’s Large Handbook of Medicinal Plants, a standard work in the field of healing plants. The book is used in phytotherapy.

Scroll to Top