Mamajuana – What is it?

Mamajuana, a Dominican aphrodisiac with reputed healing powers, has become synonymous with the Dominican Republic. This elixir has captured the intrigue of locals and travelers, and its history as a traditional Taino drink, has added to its cultural mystique. What is it, exactly? 

Mamajuana is prepared in a variety of ways and can include many ingredients, including tree bark, twigs, roots, red wine, rum, honey, cinnamon, and even mints. Some recipes might include a “miembro de carey,” (sea turtle’s penis), the “claw of a parakeet,” “the nail of a cat,” or Bejuco, which supposedly helps with pregnancy or impotence. Dominicans say mamajuana can even cure the seasonal flu, colds or headaches. Those looking to discover this traditional drink can purchase a pre-cured bottle and or a basic bottle that has the basic ingredients, allowing you to make up your own concoction.

Mamajuana is generally taken as a shot, especially during many Punta Cana excursions (typically catamaran cruises where alcohol is plentiful!). While everyone has a shot glass full of mamajuana in their hand, the words said aloud (and in unison) are: “pa’rriba pa’bajo, pa’l centro, pa’dentro!”…[shot glass] up, down, to the middle, inside! And everyone takes their shot. You’ll also find that mamajuana is readily available at Dominican restaurants and is normally enjoyed as a post meal liqueur. 

Mamajuana is, arguably, the most local concoction you can drink during your visit to Punta Cana. Dominican swear by its healing powers, especially for the common cold, but above else for its aphrodisiac properties. It’s not called liquid viagra for nothing! 

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