Guayusa—Ilex guayusa—is a caffeinated leaf of the holly species that grows only in the upper Amazon region. Guayusa is not related to camellia sinensis used to make green or black tea varieties. Instead, guayusa is a cousin plant to yerba mate. However, guayusa is uniquely different in that it tastes sweet, not bitter, and has a distinctively different polyphenolic antioxidant makeup.
In combination with this patent release, Applied Food Sciences is launching its newest branded ingredient offering, AMATEA guayusa extract, a highly water-soluble ingredient for the application of focused energy intended in beverages and nutritional supplements. AMATEA has a unique fingerprint standardized at 20% caffeine, 30% chlorogenic acids, 5% catechins, and contains other beneficial compounds. Because it is low in tannins, AMATEA is not bitter, dry, or chalky tasting like many other more astringent tea extracts, the company said. Instead, AMATEA is naturally sweet to complement a variety of flavors. It is also clear in solution, as well as non-GMO, GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe), and organically grown.
"Customers are calling our guayusa 'focused energy' because the caffeine helps stimulate the mind while the polyphenol antioxidants balance that effect in the body," said Brian Zapp, director of marketing at AFS. "AMATEA™, therefore, is usually experienced as a bright and clear energy. We see this offering meeting the growing demand of functional energy and cognitive health products that are geared toward modern working consumers seeking a calmer nervous system and less agitation to go with alert mental or physical energy."
"AFS immediately started generating science to help researchers understand the synergies with caffeine among other naturally occurring compounds and how they impact physiological and hormonal biomarkers in the human body," said Chris Fields, AFS' vice president of scientific affairs. "Initial clinical research utilizing AMATEA, when compared to synthetic sources of caffeine, demonstrated guayusa's ability to help regulate epinephrine upon caffeine ingestion. This is significant because providing a conventional energy ingredient that typically works through stimulation of the central nervous system, like caffeine, with one that may help regulate neurotransmitter functions within the body, could be a critical benefit to the cognitive energy category."