“We were told to wake up at five in the morning and gather around the communal fire pit along with other local families to drink guayusa and then have our dreams interpreted,” said Loretta Zapp, CEO of Applied Food Sciences, Inc., makers of AMATEATM guayusa extract. “It was still pitch dark and the elders had been brewing a large pot of guayusa leaves for hours. A shaman spoke as coconut shells of concentrated guayusa were passed around. Community members took turns sharing stories and the saga grew about how guayusa first taught humans how to dream...”
Guayusa – Ilex guayusa – (pronounced “gwhy-you-sa”) is a caffeinated leaf of the holly species that grows only in the upper Amazon basin of Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru1. Traditionally, tribal societies, such as the Amazonia Kichwa, would brew guayusa leaves like tea and consume as such. However, guayusa is not related tocamellia sinensis used to make green or black tea varieties. Instead, guayusa is a cousin plant to yerba mate (Ilex paraguariensis), a fellow rainforest holly leaf that grows further south in the Atlantic Rainforest region, primarily in Argentina and Brazil. Guayusa is also uniquely different than traditional tea or yerba mate in that it tastes sweet, not bitter, and has a distinctively different polyphenolic antioxidant makeup.
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