Plant Ilex Guayusa


Guayusa has a special place within the culture of the Quechua tribe in Ecuador. They probably learned about its use from the Inca’s a long time ago. Every morning they start their day with a cup of tea brewed from the leaves of this uplifting plant. They say it invigorates, gives strength, focus and endurance all day long. It enhances their hunting senses, purifies the blood and gives energetic protection. Some ageing above 90 says it is thanks to Guayusa they retained their vigour and virility for so many years.

Due to the long and continuous use of Guayusa by Homo Sapiens, a special symbiosis evolved between the two species. Since so highly praised, humans started spreading cuttings from the tree for cultivation. This enlarged its habitat and did so much more efficiently than the plant was able to by means of natural propagation. After centuries of this practice, guayusa decided to simply give up on the ability to make flowers and seeds, fully relying on its partnership with humanity to propagate.

Researching the plant, we found it to contain high levels of Xanthine alkaloids. This is the family of molecules to which caffeine (coffee, tea), theobromine (cacao, tea) and theophylline (cacao, tea) belong. The xanthines in guayusa are bound in a complex way releasing their energy very slowly over time. This natural blend of molecules prevents the quick “rush” accompanied by the “restlessness” and followed by the “crash” often accredited to coffee and artificially caffeinated energy drinks. The natural xanthine blend in guayusa gives a focussed, positive flow throughout the day.

Besides it’s xanthine effect, it also has a high ORAC value (anti-oxidants), almost twice as much values than found in regular green tea. It also contains l-theanine, which is shown to relax the central nerve system, without making you drowsy. The presence of phenolic compounds and flavonoïds prevent cell damage by oxidative stress. Guanidine has hypoglycemic properties, lowering blood sugar levels and preventing a quick rise in sugar uptake. Oleanolic and ursolic acid are recognized as anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and anti-carcinogenic agents.

(And so on… we’ll spare you all the biochemical details)

Furthermore: all plants containing these stimulating molecules have traditionally been used for thousands of years and became very popular in western societies upon their discovery. In fact, 90% of people living in modernized countries (industrialized nations?) use a xanthine containing plant on a daily basis. Some examples are coffee, tea, cocoa, guarana, kola nut and maté. 

Guayusa is the latest addition to the list, but a very special one indeed. 

Plant Ilex Guayusa

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