For various health reasons, I have times where I need to give up my morning cup of organic, freshly ground coffee. However, I still want a little caffeine in the morning to wake me up but not too much to overstimulate me and because of the tannins, I can’t drink black tea and green tea does not agree with me at all. Welcome to an overly sensitive digestion, folks! Recently, I listened to a digestive health blog where the featured guest—a naturopathic doctor—recommended guayusa (pronounced “gwy-you-sa.”) She shared how this tea has become her coffee replacement and about its many health benefits. Well, I’d never heard of it before. Intrigued, I located a box from Runa and proceeded to brew myself a cup. And, I’m hooked. I’d like to tell you a little bit about guayusa and maybe you’ll try it too!
1) Guayusa is not technically a tea. It’s brewed like tea from the dried leaves of the caffeinated Amazonian holly tree (ilex guayusa). The leaves are dried and steeped in hot water. It tastes smooth & clean but has a sweet finish.
2) It is indigenous to the Kichwa people of Ecuador who live along the Amazon River. In fact, 98% of this tea is found in Ecuador and the non-profit company Runa has been helping the native population of the area grow, harvest and market this product which in turn provides income for the local people.
3) It contains an amino acid called L-Theanine which produces dopamine. L-Theanine calms the mind but also provides a sense of alertness.
4) It’s not bitter at all and it contains no tannins.
5) One cup of guayusa has about the same caffeine levels as a cup of coffee with none of the side effects of coffee like the “jitters.”
6) And, it’s filled with polyphenols – phyto-chemicals which are believed to reduce inflammation and stimulate the immune system.
For more information on guayasa, please check out these websites: