GUAYUSA: A NEW KIND OF CAFFEINE
Caffeine is the most consumed drug in the world, being drank in some form by the majority of the world population on a daily basis. We may not often think of it as a drug, but caffeine can have a significant effect on our mood, energy levels, and ability to focus. For many of us, it fuels our day.
What’s interesting to note, though, is that not all caffeine is created equal. Take the caffeine from coffee. We can all agree that coffee tastes great, and gives us that much needed perk. However, it can also cause many of us to feel jittery and even downright anxious, followed by a crash.
Why? This up and down effect happens because the caffeine in coffee is released into our blood-stream relatively quickly. This quick change in our biochemistry causes our body to react with a spike in adrenaline levels. Adrenaline is our “fight-or-flight” hormone, and can often make us feel on edge or “jittery”. When that adrenaline suddenly leaves our system, we suffer a crash in our energy levels – the dreaded 3pm slump.
At the same time, coffee’s acidity means our stomachs can often feel more than a little uneasy after the day’s first cup. Add in coffee breath and stained teeth and you can see why, despite its great taste and many benefits, there is a growing awareness of coffee’s less desirable effects.
That has made many assume that caffeine is the problem, but that isn’t necessarily so. The truth is, caffeine from different plants has different effects.
For example, matcha tea is caffeinated and thanks to its balance of caffeine and L-theanine, it promotes a feeling of alertness but without those unwanted shakes. However, many people don’t enjoy the bitter and somewhat grassy taste of matcha, as well as the effect it can have on our stomachs and the amount of sugar that often comes with it (a matcha latte from Starbucks contains 32g of sugar!).
Green tea is also unlikely to give you that jittery feeling, but it also has a somewhat bitter taste and can also cause an upset stomach for many people. At the same time, the relatively low caffeine levels in both green and black tea mean they don’t provide the same lift as you get from a coffee.
But what if we told you there was something that could provide the uplifting effects of caffeine without any jitters, crash, stained teeth or upset stomach, and which didn’t require sugar to make it taste good? Well, it turns out there is! And while it’s something that you may not have heard of yet, we suspect you will be hearing a lot more about it in the months and years to come.
Guayusa (pronounced “why-you-sa”) is the caffeinated leaf of a holly tree native to the Amazon rainforests of Ecuador. Indigenous communities in the region have been brewing this leaf as a tea for centuries, but it’s only in the last decade that it has started to become available internationally.
It has since become a well known product in the US, with celebrities such as Channing Tatum, Leonardo DiCaprio and Olivia Wilde even becoming investors and collaborators in the industry. After passing European health and safety tests in January 2018, guayusa is now making its way to the other side of the Atlantic, where it is becoming an increasingly popular alternative to coffee, green/black tea, and even energy drinks.
Below are just a few reasons why:
- It provides a focused and sustained energy with no jitters and no crash. This is thanks to its slower-release caffeine, which doesn’t spike your adrenaline levels in the same way coffee or synthetic sources of caffeine can. This means you get caffeine’s upsides (improved mood and energy) without the downsides (the jitters or crash).
- It has a deliciously smooth taste which doesn’t require any sugar or milk
- Unlike green/black tea, it has virtually no tannins and so doesn’t stain teeth, prevent iron absorption, or cause an upset stomach
- Due to its low acidity level and the fact that it is taken without sugar or milk, guayusa doesn’t cause bad breath. In fact, indigenous communities in Ecuador even use it as a mouthwash – although we don’t recommend throwing out the Listerine just yet!
- It contains more antioxidants than many superfoods, including green tea, and is particularly rich in an antioxidant known as chlorogenic acid, which imparts numerous benefits such as improved cardiovascular health, and lowered blood pressure.
These are just some of the reasons for which guayusa is becoming an increasingly popular choice for office workers, busy parents, eco-conscious consumers and even athletes on both sides of the Atlantic. It offers a new kind of caffeine, and one that we think suits modern needs better than any other.
So, have you tried guayusa yet? Got any thoughts or questions? Post them in the comment section below!
Interested in trying it? Head to our Shop page today!