In the Kichwa community of Ecuador's Amazonian Regions, there is a morning ritual that spans over two thousand years. Every morning, before the sun comes out, the members of the Kichwa tribe would take a bundle of dried Guayusa leaves and boil them in a big pot of water, with people gathered around an open fire.
It's not surprising that the villagers start their day with Guayusa tea, given the health benefits it provides to drinkers. This Amazonian tea is treasured not only for its unique taste and flavors, but also for its fantastic balance of vitamins, antioxidants, amino acids, and caffeine. Science-backed studies have encouraged many tea drinkers to switch to Guayusa simply because of its health benefits.
However, for the Kichwa people, Guayusa is more than just a caffeinated drink. It is an integral part of their culture and rituals. Every time they sit around the village fire, drinking their daily dose of Guayusa, the elderly members of the tribe take advantage of the opportunity to educate the youth about the long history of Kichwa. The lessons include social values, hunting techniques, ancestral myths, and other essential learnings.
While Guayusa trees are native to the Ecuadorian Amazon, the Kichwa people have learned to cultivate this amazing plant over time. The villagers grow Guayusa on chakras–thanks to the fertile soil of the vast Amazon rainforest. The leaves are carefully hand-picked by local farmers and dried naturally, eventually leading to storing them for daily consumption.
Why Is Guayusa A Life-changing Plant for the Kichwa People?
Guayusa is notable for several health benefits, and of course, for its bold, earthy taste with a natural sweetness. But for the members of the Kichwa community, Guayusa is also a source of living. Aside from the income it generates, its growth and cultivation also help indigenous people preserve the Amazon rainforest.
Notably, Guayusa trees are grown organically in the shade. The Kichwa farmers use a cultivating method known as Agroforestry. They plant Guayusa in the forest next to brushes and natural plants of the Amazon rainforest.
Almost 98% of Guayusa trees in the world can be found and grown in Ecuador. The leaves are brewed like tea but bear no correlation to black or green tea. Notably, brewed Guayusa leaves contain a healthy amount of caffeine, which is higher than Yerba Mate. It is also rich in polyphenols or more popularly known as antioxidants. Furthermore, it has abundant chlorogenic acids, which improve heart health and aid in weight loss.
Today, there are many companies with sustainable missions that help the Kichwa people. If you choose Guayusa, you are not only taking care of yourself but as well as the indigenous tribes that are working to bring this sacred plant to every corner of the globe.