Guayusa, a Pure Source of Remedial Energy
Do you find it difficult to stay alert once you hit the afternoon slump or have experienced mood issues? Are you looking forward to finding something to help you lose weight, or having difficulty regulating your blood sugar levels (Berkheiser, 2019)? These are all health issues that have proven to be relieved by a plant unique to most consumers, called guayusa. The guayusa plant or Ilex guayusa, is a tree native to the western Amazonian rainforest and is closely related to the very popular yerba mate. Guayusa has been consumed as a tea for centuries by the people indigenous to those regions due to its stimulant and health properties.
The caffeine content in guayusa increases your metabolic rate and increases fat oxidation due to its stimulant properties and helps to reduce appetite. Although, drinking guayusa tea alone will not have a major impact on weight loss, that in combination with regular exercise and the implementation of a healthy diet will promote the maintenance of a healthy weight (Gan, Zhang, Wang, & Corke, 2018) & (Berkheiser, 2019).
Blood glucose regulation and chronic disease
Studies have shown that a guayusa preparation has an anti-diabetic, hypoglycemic effect. The tea made from this traditional botanical, has in fact, been used to treat diabetes. Compounds in the plant seem to inhibit the absorption of glucose (sugar) in the intestines, further study continues to verify the mechanism of action and the efficiency. There is also indication that by virtue of the antioxidant and caffeine content in the guayusa plant, there is also a blood lipid (fat) lowering, anticancer and cardio protective effect (Gan, Zhang, Wang, & Corke, 2018) & (Schuster & Mitchell, 2018).
Alertness and mood effects
Akin to other traditional beverages such as guarana, yerba mate, and coffee; guayusa contains phytochemicals that have stimulant effects on the central nervous system. Tea steeped from the leaves of the guayusa tree, contain a class of molecules called methylxanthines, namely theobromine and caffeine which are stimulants (Schuster & Mitchell, 2018). The caffeine content is similar to a cup of coffee and differs depending on the ripeness of the leaves when harvested, as the caffeine content accumulates in the leaves throughout the plants’ lifecycle. These compounds boost mood, attentiveness, executive functioning and temporarily improve cognitive functioning and even short-term memory. The flavonoids guayusa contains, which are antioxidants, may also play a role in improving cognitive functioning. Chronic effects of perpetual use of naturally caffeinated beverages like guayusa, seems to be neuroprotective and shields the brain from oxidative damage, neuroinflammation and cognitive decline (Gan, Zhang, Wang, & Corke, 2018) & (Cappelletti, Piacentino, Sani, & Aromatario, 2015).
Like coffee or conventional black or green tea, guayusa seems to be a beneficial beverage you may want to consider incorporating occasionally in place of other caffeinated alternatives. There is substantial indication to suggest that guayusa maintains health and physiological benefits for chronic disease like diabetes, as a weight loss adjuvant, a brain stimulant and as a mood booster.
Berkheiser, K. (2019, December 19). Guayusa: Benefits, Side Effects, and More. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/guayusa#benefits
Cappelletti, S., Piacentino, D., Sani, G., & Aromatario, M. (2015, January). Caffeine: cognitive and physical performance enhancer or psychoactive drug? Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4462044/
Gan, R.-Y., Zhang, D., Wang, M., & Corke, H. (2018, November 5). Health Benefits of Bioactive Compounds from the Genus Ilex, a Source of Traditional Caffeinated Beverages. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6265843/#B23-nutrients-10-01682
Schuster, J., & Mitchell, E. S. (2018, September 10). More than just caffeine: psychopharmacology of methylxanthine interactions with plant-derived phytochemicals. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0278584618301726