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GUAYUSA (GWHY-YOU-SA)

Guayusa (gwhy-you-sa) is an Amazonian super-leaf naturally packed with caffeine and polyphenol antioxidants, so it provides a clean, focused energy. There are no tannins in guayusa, so it lacks the astringent, bitter taste sometimes associated with green and black teas. Instead, it tastes smooth and naturally sweet.

ENERGY

Guayusa gives you a unique kind of energy, different from what you get from coffee or traditional energy drinks. We think of it as “clean energy” – it’s how we describe what Amazonian hunters call the “mental strength and courage” they get from drinking guayusa.

The compounds in guayusa give you sustained and focused energy. There are no harsh chemicals. No feeling burned out later. Just organic, healthy energy from a leaf. Drink guayusa to get the energy you want now without sacrificing how you feel later. Not all energy is created equal – keep yours clean.

HEALTH

Guayusa contains twice the antioxidants of green tea. These compounds neutralize free radicals and may help prevent premature aging. It also contains chlorogenic acids, which have been reported to contribute to cardiovascular health, help reduce high blood pressure, and regulate body weight. In addition, guayusa contains 15 essential amino acids and has ferulic acid, which can help improve blood circulation.

GROWING

Guayusa is grown in biodiverse agroforestry plots, or chakras. To the untrained eye, these ‘forest gardens’ look like pristine natural rainforest, though, to the farmers who cultivate them, they are highly managed agricultural plots combining a diverse mix of plants. Guayusa is a shade-grown plant – meaning it needs the shade of other trees to fully develop – and flourishes in this setting.

After a long history of cultivation, guayusa no longer naturally reproduces. New trees are planted from cuttings. This process involves taking part of a branch from an existing tree and placing it in rich soil. New cuttings reach productivity approximately 3 years after planting, when they grow to a height of about 8 feet.

Runa regularly purchases fresh leaves from Kichwa farmers. We then dry and mill the leaves in our processing facility in the small town of Archidona, in the Napo Province of Ecuador. The leaves are air-dried (we do not use burning wood in the drying process).

TRADITIONAL USES

Traditionally, indigenous Kichwa families wake up before dawn and gather around a communal fire to drink gourds of guayusa. During this early-morning ritual, community members share dreams, myths, and legends. Several myths recount how the guayusa plant taught human beings how to dream, and throughout the morning shamans interpret dreams from the previous night.

Hunters also drink guayusa before nighttime hunting trips in order to heighten their senses of awareness and focus. Drinking guayusa enables them to get more in touch with the surrounding environment, allowing them to hunt safely in the jungle. For this reason guayusa is known as “The Night Watchman.”

In contrast to many indigenous communities in the Ecuadorian Amazon that grow coffee or tea (plants imported from other parts of the world), the Kichwa people grow guayusa, a native plant of immense cultural importance and mythological significance. Growing guayusa and sharing it with an international community is a powerful way for the Kichwa people to observe traditional cultural practices and recognize important values they hold in the modern world.

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