Guayusa is a holly Amazonian rainforest tree that boats high antioxidant and caffeine levels, making it helpful for weight loss, improved concentration and focus, and lowering of blood sugar levels. It is safe when consumed in moderation but might lead to restlessness when taken in excess.
Guayusa, a tree whose scientific name is Ilex guayusa, is an Amazonian rainforest holly tree. It has caffeine and antioxidants and has many health benefits related to these two compounds. As such, it may aid with weight loss, boost concentration and focus, and supply the body with antioxidants. Its extract or powder can be added to tea or steeped in boiling water for a few minutes to make tea. When taken in moderation, guayusa is safe, but it may have health effects similar to excess caffeine, including restlessness, insomnia, and dizziness when taken in excess. Here is all you need to know about guayusa’s uses, benefits, and side effects, so keep reading for this.
What is guayusa?
First things first, let’s explore what guayusa is before looking at other details such as the uses and benefits it has. Simply put, it is a holly tree growing in the Amazon rainforest. Although it’s abundant in this region, this tree is also widely grown in Ecuador. Its leaves are categorically green due to the rainforest climate that favors them and are also large and oblong. Besides, this tree can be as short as 6m and as long as 30m, depending on the prevailing conditions. Traditionally, guayusa leaves would be picked and dried to prepare tea, and it also has modern applications. For example, the tree is used to make an extract or powder added to commercial tea and energy drinks or steeped in boiling water for about 7 minutes to prepare guayusa tea, the most popularized guayusa product.
Health benefits of guayusa tree
Guayusa tree has high antioxidant and caffeine content, and most of its health benefits result from this. In fact, its caffeine levels compare to coffee, and guayusa tea can be enjoyed like coffee. Here are the health benefits of the guayusa tree explained.
- It boasts high antioxidant levels
Modern medicine appreciates the high antioxidant levels guayusa tree boasts and finds related health benefits with these. The tree specifically packs many polyphenols, primarily catechins, which are linked to many health benefits, including lower risks of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Besides, antioxidants neutralize free radicals by donating the missing electrons to stabilize the unstable molecules. If left unattended, the free radicals accumulate in the cells, result in oxidative stress, and promote chronic inflammation, exacerbating health problems.
2. It may help increase focus and concentration
Guayusa tree is also packed with caffeine and compares with coffee in this. As such, you can enjoy guayusa tea the same way you enjoy coffee. What’s more, taking guayusa tea comes with many health benefits related to caffeine, including improved brain function, concentration, and focus. In fact, one study gave its participants guayusa tea or a placebo and sent them for a test. In the end, those taking guayusa tea performed better than the placebo group and also recorded improved memory and focus, clearly showing that guayusa tea can promote brain activity. Besides, the tree also has theobromine, which, alongside caffeine, further improves brain activity.
3. It may help lower blood sugar studies
No clinical studies can explain how guayusa improves blood sugar control, but many studies confirm that this role is true. As such, guayusa tea may make a good tea or replacement for diabetic patients. For instance, one study lasted 28 days and gave mice guayusa supplements every. In the end, it was observed that the mice’s weight had decreased, blood sugar levels became lower, and appetite was significantly suppressed. Of course, this is just but one study, and it also involves animals. As such, we cannot say with certainty that the results would be translated 100% to human cells. Still, it does not hurt to take guayusa tea for its other health benefits.
4. It may aid with weight loss
Some studies suggest taking guayusa tea or supplement to aid your weight loss quest. Guayusa supplements have been used in animals, and they have demonstrated wonderful appetite suppression ability, which would potentially result in weight loss in man. Besides, guayusa tea is high in caffeine, which boosts metabolism, increasing the number of calories the body can burn at a time. Unfortunately, most studies used for this purpose involved animals, calling for further research before recommending guayusa for weight loss. Besides, the studies used high caffeine concentrations, which would not typically be found in a cup of guayusa tea.
Side effects of guayusa
You might wonder whether there are any potential side effects linked to supplementing with guayusa or taking guayusa tea. Thankfully, guayusa is generally safe, especially when you take its tea or supplements in moderation. However, you might experience the negative but less critical effects related to caffeine when you take excessive amounts of guayusa. As such, you might feel dizzy, sluggish, and exhausted while struggling with sleep at the same time. Therefore, you need to keep your portion sizes low and still enjoy guayusa tea.
How can I prepare guayusa tea?
Do you want to enjoy a cup of guayusa tea? Worry not; it is one of the easiest teas to make. What’s more, it’s versatile and can be enjoyed chilled over ice or warm. Start by buying guayusa tea bags or the leaf-loose forms of the tea online or in a specialty the follow the steps below to prepare the tea;
- Measure 2 g (a teaspoon) of leaf-loose guayusa, and add it to a strainer in a mug or directly into a mug
- Add 240 ml (or 8 ounces) of boiling water to the mug
- Allow the tea 5-7 minutes to steep
- When you have the desired results, remove the strainer or strain the tea and enjoy it
If you don’t like guayusa tea, you can find the powdered guayusa supplements or extract and take them to explore the tree’s health benefits. You can add the extract to yogurt bowls, oatmeal, or smoothies.
Guayusa is a holly Amazonian with green oblong leave, and it grows to 6- 30 m long. The tree packs antioxidants and caffeine, leading to its many health benefits. Whether you take it as tea or add its extract to food, you can improve your concentration and focus, and improve your weight loss success rate. It should be safe if you take the tea in moderation, but increasing its intake may lead to excess caffeine-related side effects, including insomnia, dizziness, exhaustion, and sluggishness.