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Guarana berries, from South America's Amazon River basin, form the cornerstone of a popular soft drink called guarana soda. Providing energy like caffeine, these berries also are suspected of being effective for treating several medical-related problems, from overeating and impotence to headaches and even cancer. Though this type of soda is sold throughout the world in 2011, primarily by companies like Goya® and Guarana Antarctica®, its primary market is in countries like Brazil and Argentina. In Brazil, it is not Coke® or Pepsi, rather it is "Coke® or Antarctica."
Second only to Coca-Cola in popularity in Brazil, the Guarana Antarctica® brand of guarana soda is reportedly the most visible brand at the beginning of the 21st century. According to the label of this product, a single can contains just 140 calories, mostly from simple sugars that are the second most prevalent ingredient behind carbonated water. Aside from standard soda constituents like citric acid and other preservatives, guarana extract and other "natural ingredients" add a distinctive fruity flavor to the final product.
Guarana Antarctica® by no means has a monopoly on guarana soda, though. This drink also is manufactured in countries like Portugal and as far east as Japan, producing dozens of store-bought drinks in a range of tastes. A New Zealand company has even produced a guarana-based "epop," which is a lollipop in various flavors that feature lots of caffeine, vitamin B and taurine, too.
Guarana extract or even wholesale guarana sodas are regularly used as the base for energy drinks, juices and teas sold across the globe. A typical energy drink in 2011 might contain a combination of guarana or guarana soda and other well-known stimulating ingredients like gingko biloba, acai, caffeine and ginseng. In turn, bartenders have been known to use guarana soda or guarana energy drinks to further enhance the alcoholic effects of various cocktails in an essentially natural way.
Some attribute more than just energizing effects to the guarana berry. Though urging further study, the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York city's preliminary studies at its Web site that show the berries proving successful, as of 2011, at killing cancerous tissue in vitro, quelling anxiety and stimulating brain activity. Further, the center states that studies of guarana supplementation appear to have revealed the berry's effectiveness in improving brain function and metabolism. Beyond these potentially life-saving qualities, however, lie those who believe the berry is also a powerful aphrodisiac.