Guayusa: The Cousin of Yerba Mate
Yerba mate seems to get all the popularity and guayusa, if it is even known, seems to be an afterthought. However, both yerba mate and guayusa come from the holly family of trees, Aquifoliaceae. Yerba mate is the l. paraguariensis species and guayusa the l. guayusa species. While yerba mate is cultivated mainly in Paraguay, Argentina, and Brazil, the guayusa species is more widely cultivated in Ecuador. It has been long used for the same stimulating and health-beneficial purposes as yerba mate.
A Brief History
The leaves of this special species of holly were said to be found in the tomb of a medicine man somewhere in the Andean Mountains of Bolivia. The guayusa leaves they found in the tomb were roughly 1500 years old. It was the indigenous Jivaroan people of Peru at the headwaters of the Marañón River that were first reported to have consumed guayusa on the daily. In 1857, Richard Spruce, the great Victorian botanist who spent more than a decade exploring the Amazon, found a grove of guayusa in Ecuador that had been cultivated from before the European colonization of the Americas.
Today, guayusa is still cultivated and harvested for the same beneficial reasons of ancient times. Once picked the leaves are dried and then brewed to make a healthy herbal drink. However, guayusa can now be sold today in powdered and extract forms which can create a concentrated compound of caffeine and antioxidants for which it is already high in. Obviously, we prefer the healthy natural brewed method of our tea as opposed to the processed concentrates found in store-bought energy drinks.
Why you might consider drinking it
If you have not considered guayusa as a beverage option in the past, well, here are a few reasons you might give it a go.
- This stuff is good. With the healthy, delicious variety of guayusa options available, why not?
- It is packed with antioxidants. In particular, guayusa is high in a polyphenol antioxidant known as catechin. These catechins are known to fight against heart disease, cancer, inflammation, and type 2 diabetes.
- It can help boost your mood. Stimulants such as caffeine and theobromine when combined in one have shown to boost your concentration level and keep you alert. Guayusa has both.
Here is a list of guayusa options we offer in our yerba mate category. They range to fit whatever fits your palate.