From darkness to light, a progression of evil


From darkness to light, a progression of evil

Labeled as an invention of the devil, traded by Jesuit priests, guayusa has quite some history.. 

Even though Nightwatch now gains reputation as the disruptive savior rescuing you from your high sugar, synthetic laden, diabetes inducing, old school energy drink addiction, its main ingredient guayusa did not always have this saintlike status.

A "Devil's Brew"


Jesuit Padre Juan Lorenzo Lucero wrote in 1682 that the Jivaro Indians “…put together these evil herbs [Banisteriopsis, Brugmansia and other narcotics] with guayusa and tobacco, also invented by the devil, and allow them to boil until the small remaining quantity of juice becomes the quintescence of evil, and the faith of those who drink it is rewarded by the devil with the fruit of malediction, and always to the great misfortune of many . . .”

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Off course the same Jesuits, as reported by Padre Andres de Zarate in 1739, did not refrain from monetizing this “brew of the devil” once they found out it wasn’t all that bad. When rumors came to ear about guayusa being a cure for venereal disease the celibate priests were immediately interested and set up a business selling 5 guayusa leaves cultivated on their inland missions for half a real on the markets in Quito. When in 1766 the Jesuits were expelled from Ecuador this Sexually Transmitted Disease business fell apart.

Richard Spruce Ethnobotanist


Being aware of and valuing the true benefits of guayusa, the native Jivaro, Kanela and Quichua tribes in the Napo and Pastaza region continued to cultivate it. 

In 1857 English plant explorer Richard Spruce encountered guayusa being extensively cultivated by these same tribes. His journey led him to a 5000 feet above sea level ancient plantation where a group of Ilex guayusa trees supposedly dating from before the Conquest of latin America with shining leaves well over 300 years old were still standing proud and healthy. These are most likely the mother trees to all current guayusa in cultivation.

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Nowadays guayusa is being cultivated for its many health benefits and exquisite flavor. It is used as a healthy dispenser of energy and serves as a base for many beverages world wide. Nightwatch is happy to be the avant-garde of this new generation of energy drinks. The devilish reputation once bestowed by Jesuit priests has been wel eradicated over the last few centuries and Nightwatch shines its disruptive light. A true case of nature overcoming synthetics.

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