Guayusa [leaves (3) finely shredded]
Usage / Preparation
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Aguayusa, Huayusa, Guañusa, Guayyusa, Wayusa.
Guayusa is used by people of the Amazon basin to make an energizing tea and as a herbal medicine. It also has the interesting effect of inducing lucid dreaming. For this reason, it is known as the "watchman's plant", as even when sleeping you are aware of your external surroundings. For those interested in shamanic dreaming this is certainly the plant to explore. It is used along with Ayahuasca to help ease bitterness, to stay awake during Ayahuasca ceremonies, and to help prevent hangover effects (2).
The first account of the use of Guayusa is from a letter by Lucero from 1683, describing the activities of medicine men of the Jívaro Indians in drinking certain beverages during the performance of their medico-magical rites: "They put together these evil herbs (Datura, Banisteriopsis, and other narcotic plants], with Guañusa and Tobacco, also invented by the devil, and allow them to boil until the small remaining quantity of juice becomes the quintessence of evil, and the faith of those who drink it is rewarded by the devil with the fruit of malediction, and always to the great misfortune of many..."
The Jívaro Indians were, according to Lucero, well disposed people of good physical appearance. "To maintain themselves at their best, they were accustomed to drink a decoction of an herb called Guayusa, similar to Laurel, several times daily. They were thus able to stay awake without losing consciousness for many nights, when they feared invasion by enemies". The Jívaro Indians also attribute to Guayusa a narcotic or hypnotic effect for inducing Pequeños sueños ("Little dreams"), and for knowing in advance whether a hunting expedition will be successful.
Guayusa was known not only in the Ecuadorian-Peruvian sector of the east Andean foothills, but in the Putumayo-Caquetá belt of Colombia too. From observations made during the decade 1756-1767, the Majorcan missionary Juan Serra notes "Guayusa has the color of dark honey, and five leaves are enough to make a Chocolate-pot full of its juice. Its taste is like tea but finer and more pleasant. When I drank it, I began to sweat and expectorate so much that I was obliged to change my habit, and within half an hour coughed enough phlegm to fill a large cup. These effects seemed to me to be very good." (1)
Ilex guayusa is a Holly species, in a family of over 450, which are widely distributed in both hemispheres. Most grow in tropical Central and South America. Ilex is among the largest of holly trees, cultivated for their caffeine content (2).
(1) Guayusa, a neglected stimulant from the eastern andean foothills, Victor Manual Patino
(2) The healing forest, medicinal and toxic plants of the northwest Amazonia, Schultes and Raffauf
Any information provided about products on this website, including any links to external websites, is purely intended for historical, scientific and educational purposes and should never be interpreted as a recommendation for a specific use of the products.
Very finely shredded leaves of Guayusa (Ilex guayusa) from Archidona, Napo Provence, Equador. Certified organic, earth kosher, GMO-free, FDA/USDA Dietary Supplement Compliant. This leaf is shade-grown in agroforestry systems and harvested exclusively by indigenous farming families in the Amazon rainforest. Top quality.
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