Guayusa: benefits and contraindications

The guayusa, whose scientific name is Ilex Guayusa, It is a tree that grows between 6 and 30 meters in height throughout the Amazon jungle. and, above all, in Ecuador. Its leaves, elongated and bright green, are used in natural medicine as adjuvants to improve health.

according to publication in Journal of Food and Agriculture Science, these leaves contain about 14 phenolic compounds with pharmacological potential. In addition, it has other bioactive compounds that give it energizing and antioxidant effects. Keep reading!

Property of Guayusa

Guayusa leaves are harvested and dried to prepare herbal teas. This drink is quite popular in South America, as it has energizing properties. In fact, it is available in the form of powders and extracts to add to other drinks for an “energy boost”.

The reason for this effect is its caffeine concentration, which is compared to that contained in coffee. It also has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds that give it other benefits. Second information collected in the journal Nutrients, The plant is composed as follows:

  • 3% caffeine.
  • Vitamins C and D.
  • Minerals such as magnesium, calcium, zinc and potassium.
  • Chlorogenic acids.
  • Amino acids.
  • alkaloids.

Due to this composition, other properties are attributed to the plant, in addition to its energetic effect. In particular, it has antidiabetic, anticancer, antibacterial and hypolipidemic activity. Moreover, its extracts act as prebiotics and promote intestinal health.

Benefits Guayusa

For now, the evidence on guayusa’s benefits remains limited. Because of this, it is not considered a first choice treatment for health problems. Yet there is some studies with promising discoveries about its properties. We see.

Helps improve mood and concentration

Concentration during the study with the consumption of guayusa.
Consuming guayusa could improve concentration, in the same way it does with coffee and its caffeine content.

Undoubtedly, one of the main benefits of guayusa is its stimulating power. Data Posted in International Journal of Toxicology detail that its amount of caffeine is similar to that of coffee. Added to this, it also contains an alkaloid called theobrominewhose structure is similar to caffeine.

A research disclosed in Physiology and behavior exposes it caffeine and theobromine increase mental alertness and concentration. Likewise, they seem to affect a better state of mind. Also, contribute to improve brain function in the short term.

The best of everything? It doesn’t seem to cause the negative effects of other drinks. with caffeine, such as nervousness. In a small shared studio a Clinical and translational science, Guayusa leaf extract has been shown to be less stimulating the release of epinephrine (adrenaline) than green coffee extract and synthetic caffeine.

Helps stabilize blood sugar levels

Anecdotal data suggests that the consumption of guayusa tea It is useful for reducing high blood sugar levels. However, the evidence relating to this effect is insufficient.

In a study done on mice non-diabetics, guayusa supplementation lowered glucose after 28 days. Appetite and body weight also decreased.

Studies to support the same effects in humans are lacking. For this reason, it should not be considered a remedy for diabetic patients. Nor should it be used if you are taking medication to control your diabetes.

Fights oxidative stress

The concentration of antioxidants in this plant helps to mitigate the negative effects of oxidative stress by counteracting free radicals. Consequentially, It is also useful for reducing the risk of chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular, inflammatory and metabolic.

Guayusa is rich in polyphenols known as catechins, which are positively associated with the control of high cholesterol levels. However, more research is needed to confirm these effects on human health.

Contraindications and possible side effects

a recent article review published in Critical reviews in food science and nutrition states that guayusa is safe for most people. As long as its consumption is moderate, it does not appear to cause any adverse effects.

However, in excessive doses it is related to the following:

  • Worry.
  • Anxiety.
  • Insomnia.
  • Heachache.
  • Heart rhythm disturbances.

On the other hand, its consumption is contraindicated For pregnant and lactating women, thanks to its caffeine content. Also its use should be limited or avoided in cases of iron deficiency, from tannins to interfere in mineral assimilation.

How to prepare guayusa tea?

Guayusa leaves can be purchased in herbal shops or in some pharmacies. You can also find plant-derived supplements and beverages.

In any case, the most common form of consumption is through tea. Its preparation is simple and can be eaten cold or warm.

Iced guayusa tea.
It is possible to consume guayusa tea cold, after a simple but not complicated preparation.


  • 1 teaspoon of dissolved guayusa leaves (2 grams).
  • 1 cup of water (250 milliliters).


  1. Add the guayusa leaves to a cup of boiling water.
  2. Leaves rest for 5-10 minutes and filter the drink.
  3. Consume one cup a daypreferably in the morning.
  4. Avoid consuming it before going to bed.

What should you remember about guayusa?

Guayusa is a very popular medicinal plant in the cities of South America. It is appreciated for its energetic power, since stimulates brain function and alertness, thanks to its caffeine content. Despite this, the evidence on its benefits is limited.

Like other herbal remedies, it should be used sparingly. Evidence on its safety and effectiveness is limited. In no case should it replace medical care. If in doubt, consult the professional.

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