Paullinia yoco is a vigorous climbing or scrambling plant. The stems are up to 12cm in diameter, they attach themselves to other vegetation by means of tendrils that eventually become woody[
The plant is very commonly used as a stimulating drink within its native range, and also as a medicinal plant, though it is very little known outside this area. It is usually harvested from the wild, but is occasionally cultivated[
S. America - Peru, Ecuador, Colombia.
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Wild
The softer tissues of the bark, stems and wood are used to extract the white or brownish sap which has been shown to contain 2.73% caffeine. The native people in adjacent Colombia regularly used this product as a stimulating breakfast beverage[
The stem is cut into pieces 30 - 100cm long, and the epidermis, cortex, and phloem are rasped. The scrapings thus obtained are squeezed to express the caffein-bearing sap into cold water (hot or warm water is never used with yoco), the rasped tissues being then discarded. The liquid, of a cloudy milky-white or light chocolate-brown colour, is drunk cold. The beverage, which is taken early every morning, allays hunger and supplies muscular stimulation[
Lianas of Paullinia Yoco, which have a stout stem at least 8cm in diameter at the base, are utilized. Usually several trees must be felled before the liana falls to the ground. Starting at the root, the stem is then cut into pieces which may vary from 30 - 100cm in length. These pieces are stored in cool corners of Indian houses and can retain their stimulating properties for a month or even longer[
A beverage made from the stem (see edible uses), is taken medicinally as a febrifuge and as a curative for a bilious disease[
In addition to its use as a stimulant, yoco is employed, in larger dosages, as an anti-malarial febrifuge and as a medicine in the treatment of a bilious disease which is frequent in the Putumayo[
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