Guayusa is a very interesting herbal tea from the Amazon. When I first started drinking it, I wanted to share it with everyone. It seems to have so many advantages over coffee or tea, that it is the ideal hot morning caffeine-containing beverage of choice for practically anyone.
It is a bush in the holly family; a cousin of Yerba mate (also known by the scientific Latin binomial Ilex paraguenensis). It actually contains more caffeine than tea. Additionally, it contains an alkaloid theobromine which is notably found in Cacao theobroma, better known as Cacao or Chocolate. Even more intriguing, it contains an amino acid L-theanine which is found in Green Tea, and has been associated with a relaxed state of focused concentration.
Some traditional native shamen say that Guayusa can cause lucid dreaming. Lucid dreaming is the state where a person is dreaming but they are aware that they are experiencing a dream, and can direct the result. For this reason it is sometimes called the Watchman’s plant.
Another direct health benefit of Guayusa is that it contains no tannins, and is less acidic than coffee or tea. This pH balance is very important for promoting an alkaline state in the human body, which is of the utmost importance in influencing our health and state of being.
It does, however, contain antioxidants which can protect the body from dangerous free radicals. It has also been studied for help with blood sugar balance and fighting diabetes.
One interesting misconception about the plant has been that it is an emetic (meaning that it will make you vomit.) This was clarified in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology which stated that rituals practiced by natives in which Guayusa is consumed in large amounts and then vomited, were a ritual behavior and not due to the presence of any emetic compounds in Guayusa.
This writer does not endorse nor condemn self-induced emesis. Needless to say, it has little to do with how you may enjoy the tea!