If you want to reduce your caffeine intake and need a stimulating alternative to coffee, consult Guaiusa.
Like many teas, Guaiusa tea naturally contains some caffeine, but less than brewed coffee. It also contains protective substances, including some antioxidants – such as polyphenolic catechins, theobromine, B vitamins and many others.
What is Guayusa?
Guayusa (pronounced gwhy-YOU-sa) is an anti-inflammatory drink (also called herbal tea) made from the leaves of an oak tree (Ilex guayus). It’s from the Amazon rainforest in Ecuador.
The consumption of this drink, which is technically not tea but is often called tea, goes back more than 2000 years in some Amazon cultures.
Although few studies have looked at gaius compared to other teas, they have traditionally attributed digestive and diuretic benefits, as well as support for fertility and vitality.
Is the guayusa the same as the yerba mate?
Although guayusa is similar to yerba mate, the popular energy drink that grows in South America is made from the leaves of another plant. Guayusa (Ilex guayusa) is considered a cousin of a partner (Ilex paraguariensis).
They have a lot in common, including the fact that they naturally contain caffeine, both come from the jungle and contain other beneficial substances.
A striking difference between the two drinks is the taste. Yerba mate is described as having a more pronounced bitter taste, while guayusa has a sweeter and more subtle taste.
1. Can increase your energy
Although it contains caffeine, guajusa also contains other nutrients that can help alleviate the side effects of caffeine while invigorating. Many describe its stimulating effects as milder and less nerve-racking than other sources of caffeine, such as coffee.
It can still be used to prevent fatigue, but its chemical composition makes it different from a strong coffee. Guaiusa contains methyl stimulating xanthine alkaloids, theophylline (found in green tea) and theobromine, which can give you a natural but not overwhelming energy boost.
What’s the caffeine content of Guaius’ tea? The caffeine content of this drink is estimated at 66 milligrams per eight-year portion.
By comparison: An eight-pound portion of black tea contains about 42 milligrams and coffee about 160 milligrams.
2. Full of antioxidants
Gaius leaves are a rich source of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory substances that can help combat oxidative stress and free radicals. It is even thought to contain the same amount of antioxidants as green tea (some sources say even more), which is considered one of the best drinks to prolong life.
Studies have shown that antioxidants in leaves contain large amounts of polyphenols/catechins, alkaloids, theobromine and other dimethylxanthines – as do gallic acid, guanidine, isobutyric acid, ascorbic acid, L-theanine and some B vitamins.
Consumption of some of these compounds has been associated with increased protection against inflammation and related diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and neurological problems.
One study identified 14 phenolic compounds in the leaves of guaius, including chlorogenic acid and quercetin, and high levels of five carotenoids. The investigation is complete: Overall, the bleached guaiusa retained levels of phenolic compounds and some carotenoids, and an antioxidant capacity similar to that of untreated green leaves.
3. Can help improve focus and purposefulness
Being a source of caffeine and other health-promoting substances, including antioxidants, guajusa can promote cognitive health and mental performance. As a result, your attention, concentration and ability to learn may be improved without the same number of accidents as when drinking coffee.
4. Can help you control your appetite and mood
Although it depends on the individual, caffeinated drinks can help reduce hunger and desire and have a stimulating and motivating effect on the mood.
There is also evidence that supplementation with guaiusa extract can help support metabolic health and maintain normal blood sugar levels. In addition, caffeinated drinks can help suppress appetite and promote fat loss, which can protect against obesity and related diseases such as insulin resistance.
5. Sustainable development and economic benefits
Nowadays guayusa is cultivated almost exclusively in the Ecuadorian upper Amazon, where the Andes meet the Amazon rainforest. Because the tree grows best under the shady canopy of the rainforest, it encourages farmers to protect the rainforest and plant more trees to benefit from the harvest.
Guayusa is mainly grown organically on small family farms. This provides income for Ecuadorians.
Many farms have been inherited for generations.
The cultivation of these trees has a positive and regenerative effect on the local ecosystem and the rainforest. According to the Stash Tea website, guayus can be grown together with other food, fruit, wood and medicinal plants to create biodiversity and ecologically sound agricultural plots that enable local farmers to thrive and create a sustainable livelihood for the community.
Growing and selling guayus is also a sustainable and ecological alternative to working in the oil or wood industry, which can contribute to the deforestation of the Amazon.
Risks and side effects
Excessive consumption of guajusa can cause the same side effects as excessive consumption of coffee, tea or caffeinated energy drinks. It contains caffeine and related compounds such as theobromine and theophylline, which can be too stimulating for some people.
If you find that you do not tolerate it well – for example, because it causes stomach pain, gives you chills or makes your heart beat faster – then you can benefit greatly from other anti-inflammatory teas such as herbal teas or green and black teas in small quantities (brewed from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant).
How to prepare guayusa tea
How does Guayusa taste? Most people think it is naturally sweet and not very bitter in taste.
This lack of bitterness is partly explained by the fact that it does not contain the tannins found in some other teas. It is also described as rich and earthy in its aroma and has a slightly sweet aftertaste, although it is sugar-free.
When buying guaius, whether on the internet or in a health food store, look for whole, dried, bright green leaves that have no stems. Check the correct species name (Ilex guaiusa) to make sure you understand it.
One of the most popular brands of dried guayus leaves is Runa, which is currently sold in places like Whole Foods and many other major supermarkets.
Here you can see how you cook guayusa:
- Boil fresh water and pour it over the leaves in a cup.
- Let it run for 4 to 7 minutes. The longer the cooking time, the more intense the colour and taste.
- Use about 2 grams of loose leaves for every 8 ounces of guajusa you want to make.
- Serve cold or hot, e.g. B. with lemon and raw or ice honey as iced tea.
Other frequently asked questions
In what other forms can gaius be used? Besides the preparation of tea from the leaves, guayusa can also be consumed in powder and extract form.
They are sometimes added to nootropic supplements, energy drinks, green powder drinks or dry tea blends.
Can you smoke guayusa? Traditionally, guayusa was smoked in some cultures with other similar leaves, but today it is no longer used in this way.
It has previously been cooked, taken as a food supplement or mixed with other drinks and foods such as smoothies, yoghurt, etc.
- What is Guayusa (Ilex Guayusa)? It is a drink/infusion made from jungle leaves that grow in the Amazon rainforest in Ecuador.
- The medicinal benefits of guajusa (which is technically not tea, but is often referred to as tea) are that it moisturizes, contains caffeine and provides you with antioxidants, vitamins and even amino acids.
- Guayusa versus Yerba, buddy, what’s the difference? Yerba mate, a popular caffeinated tea, comes from a cousin of the gaius, but the two have different tastes. (Yerba’s companion is more bitter).