Guayusa (why-you-sa) is a caffeinated tea that has been consumed in South America for thousands of years. It’s cherished among the Kichwa people of Ecuador, who drink it daily for its health-giving properties.
The Guayusa leaves grow in forest gardens within the Amazon Rainforest, having a positive impact on the biodiversity of the region, the Indigenous Kichwa people, and those that drink it around the world.
Whether you’re an avid Guayusa drinker, you’ve sampled a cup whilst travelling or you’re looking for a smooth caffeine alternative – these 9 impressive health benefits of Guayusa will leave you reaching for the kettle.
9 Impressive Health Benefits of Guayusa
Focus and concentration
Guayusa is most renowned for its energy hit, believed to keep the Kichwa people sharp and attentive as they begin their day and hunt for food. But Guayusa works differently from the caffeine in coffee, as it’s a slower and more gentle release of energy. This is due to the amino acid L-theanine, which also contributes to attention, alertness and arousal. Another compound, theobromine, has mildly stimulating effects whilst also relaxing the body.
Theobromine isn’t just beneficial for focus and concentration. Research shows that when consumed in conjunction with caffeine, theobromine can have mood boosting and calming effects.
Stomach and digestion
The Kichwa tribal people have long used Guayusa as a stomach tonic. It contains compounds that may reduce inflammation, which in turn can prevent bloating and stomach cramps.
Stabilise blood sugar
High blood sugar is when your body doesn’t produce enough insulin, and it’s unable to effectively transport sugar to your cells. Eating too much processed food can cause blood sugar to rise (and in the worst case scenario, it can lead to type 2 diabetes).
One study fed Guayusa supplements to diabetic mice, and found that their blood sugar levels significantly decreased. Although more research needs to be done, it shows the potential for Guayusa to be used as an antidiabetic.
Aid weight loss
Did you know that caffeine may help to promote weight loss and BMI reduction? Not only that, theobromine and chlorogenic acid may affect metabolism and slow the absorption of carbs.
While there’s a wide body of research on the effects of caffeine on weight loss – there are still mixed viewpoints. So drink up, but always pair it with a healthy diet and exercise.
To treat menopause, infertility and pregnancy discomfort
In ancient tradition, the Kichwa people used Guayusa to relieve symptoms of menopause and pregnancy discomfort. Studies in this area have been limited, although one study in rats concluded that Guayusa and alfalfa extracts can increase estrogenic activity (the female hormone responsible for reproduction).
Avoid snake and insect bites
Living in Australia, don’t we all need natural remedies to keep snakes and insects away? In Ecuador, the Kichwa people rub small amounts of Guayusa on their legs and arms to act as a repellent. NB: There have been no studies to test this belief.
Protect against disease
Guayusa contains an abundance of health-giving vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. And did you know that Guayusa has more antioxidants than a cup of green tea? Antioxidants work by neutralising free radicals in the body, which are unstable atoms that can damage cells and cause disease. And so, Guayusa may act as a sidekick for your immune system.
The Kichwa people claim that Guayusa helps them to dream vividly. Each morning when they gather around a cauldron of Guayusa, an elder interprets their dreams, and they use these to guide their actions for the day. There is limited research in this area, but given that both Guayusa and dreaming are so integral to Kichwa culture – perhaps the two are closely connected?
So there you have it. The Guayusa leaves of the Ecuadorian Amazon are more than a relaxing cup of tea. Guayusa is revered by the Kichwa people for its astonishing health benefits, so it’s no surprise these power-packed leaves are growing in popularity throughout Australia.
Ready to discover the incredible health benefits of Guayusa for yourself? Shop our range today. At Ayusa Tea, we donate $1 from every single tea canister sold to the Ecuadorian Foundation Conciencia Amazonica – so they can continue sharing Guayusa with the world.