Photo_of_Ilex_Guayusa_treeGuayusa is a leaf that is related to Holly that grows almost exclusively in the Amazon in Ecuador.  In fact, over 98% of the Guayusa leaf produced in the world comes from Ecuador, making this leaf a chief export in this day and age.

While Guayusa is still catching on in many parts of the world, it has faced explosive growth as an export.  There are companies that, as recently as 2008, were not importing Guayusa leaf, many of which are now importing hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of Guayusa leaf each year.  This rapid growth is likely due to the combination of taste, health benefits, and caffeine content.

The Benefits of Guayusa

Guayusa looks an awful lot like Yerba Mate that has not been roasted, so confusing the two is quite easy to do.  However, this confusion will quickly evaporate when this particular tea is tasted.

Unlike Mate, which can actually be quite bitter due to the fact that it is incredibly easy to oversteep, the Amazonian Holly Leaf is fruity, considered very sweet, and is nearly impossible to oversteep.  In addition, unlike Mate, Guayusa is very good as an iced tea and contains even more caffeine than Mate, and in some cases more than coffee.  However, unlike coffee, there are specific catechins, polyphenols, and other chemical compounds that offer additional benefits that are present in Guayusa that increase its appeal.  The presence of catechins also causes the caffeine to release in the body more slowly, preventing the jolt or crash associated with caffeine while offering a steady stream of increased energy throughout the day.

How long does this energy last?

In Ecuador, the farmers often begin their day between 3 and 4 A.M.  At this hour, the family will brew a large pot of Guayusa.  After it is consumed, they go on about their day, often without needing to have another cup until lunch time, and then not needing anymore throughout their day.

Most people know that green tea has exceptional health benefits, including polyphenols and the presence of theobromine and theophylline, both healthful compounds, and both almost exclusively present only in green tea.

Notice, this is “almost” exclusively…

Guayusa is loaded with theobromine and theophylline, and it also contains almost twice the polyphenols as green tea.  When you add in the fact that the caffeine levels are equal to that of coffee, and that it contains other healthy alkaloids that are not present in any other beverage.

More Good News…

While it is clear that Guayusa leaf is very healthy and offers excellent health benefits, there is yet more good news for those of us who are concerned about the issues of sustainability and global concerns.

Guayusa, as a holly leaf, is very resilient, and will grow back rather quickly.  However, as the need for Guayusa increases, the farmers need to plant more trees that produce this miracle leaf, resulting in the reforestation of parts of the Amazon Rainforest that have been logged into exhaustion, which may turn around the Amazon.

In addition, if people are concerned about the exploitation of workers, this should not be a concern.  If a company purchases one million pounds of Guayusa, after all of the taxes, fees, and tariffs are assessed, the farmers that sell the Guayusa will net approximately $400,000, increasing the economy in an impoverished nation.

Overall, it is clear that drinking Guayusa is not just good for you; it’s good for the environment as a whole and it is good for the Ecuadorian economy.  With that being the case, why wouldn’t you want to start drinking Guayusa?

If you have not already, you owe it to yourself to try a cup of Guayusa.  With its light taste, health benefits, and strong energy kick, we believe you will be delighted with this purchase.

image