5 Science-Backed Benefits of Guayusa Tea

Guayusa is a unique Amazonian tea packed with antioxidants, offering a range of health benefits. It not only enhances cognitive function but also has the potential to regulate blood sugar and aid in weight loss.
Guayusa Tea Benefits Brain Tea

Key Takeaways

Guayusa Benefits

1. Cognitive Function

Guayusa tea boosts focus and mood with its caffeine and theobromine content.

2. Antioxidant Content

Guayusa is rich in antioxidants, including catechins, that fight free radicals and may reduce the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

3. Anti-inflammatory Agent

Guayusa may reduce inflammation by slowing down the production of nitric oxide, a molecule that widens blood vessels.

4. Blood Sugar Regulation

Guayusa may reduce inflammation by slowing down the production of nitric oxide, a molecule that widens blood vessels.

5. Weight Loss Control

Guayusa contains caffeine, which can boost metabolism and reduce hunger, potentially aiding in weight loss. 

What is Guayusa

Guayusa, a tree known scientifically as Ilex guayusa, is native to the Amazon rainforest, and it's a close botanical cousin to Yerba Mate. It thrives in a unique spot between the Amazon Rainforest and the majestic Andes Mountains in Ecuador, where nature's diversity is truly remarkable.

For ages, people have been plucking the leaves of this tree for good reason. They've recognized its potential health perks, like being packed with antioxidants that help fend off harm and its knack for taming inflammation. [1]

In today's world, Guayusa is gaining popularity as a beverage, often enjoyed as tea. These Guayusa trees are no small shrubs; they can reach heights anywhere from 6 to 30 meters, and their leaves are vibrant green and shaped like oblongs.

Guayusa is present throughout the Amazon, but Ecuador takes the crown for being its primary cultivation hub. [2]

The traditional way to make use of its leaves involves picking them, gently drying them, and then brewing a delightful herbal tea.

But modern times have seen Guayusa take on different forms. It's now available in powdered and extracted versions, making its way into various products like energy drinks and commercial teas.

What sets Guayusa apart is its caffeine punch, delivering a boost, along with a treasure trove of antioxidants and other beneficial plant goodies.

Guayusa Benefits Tea

Guayusa vs Yerba Mate

Guayusa and Yerba Mate are both South American drinks, but they have their unique qualities when it comes to flavor, caffeine, and health perks.


Guayusa tea brings a gentle and slightly sweet flavor to the table, while Yerba Mate boasts a robust and earthy taste with a slight bitterness in the aftertaste.

Caffeine Content

Generally, Guayusa tea tends to have a little less caffeine than Yerba Mate, but this can vary depending on how you prepare it and other factors.

Health Benefits

When it comes to health benefits, both of these teas are like a double shot of goodness. They're rich in antioxidants, which are like bodyguards, protecting you from oxidative stress, inflammation, and chronic diseases. Plus, they both have caffeine, theobromine, and theophylline, all of which can give your mind a boost in focus and alertness.

Yerba Mate takes the lead in boosting metabolism and delivering B vitamins, phosphorus, magnesium, and calcium.

On the other hand, Guayusa has its strengths, offering up vitamins C and D, calcium, zinc, and chromium.

So, who is the winner in this face-off?

That's for you to decide. But whether you go for Guayusa or Yerba Mate, you're in for a treat – a nourishing, energizing, and flavorful brew awaits you.

Guayusa Health Benefits

1. Cognitive Function

Memory and Focus

Guayusa brings quite the caffeine kick, and you might be surprised to learn that it's right up there with regular coffee in caffeine content. [3]

But that's not all – it also contains theobromine, an alkaloid like caffeine's cousin. You can find theobromine in delicious treats like chocolate and cocoa powder.

Now, when caffeine and theobromine join forces, magic happens. They team up to supercharge your alertness and concentration. 

In one study, researchers gathered 20 healthy folks, and they discovered that a mix of caffeine (19 mg) and theobromine (250 mg) could give your brain a little boost in the short term. [4]

Although they are still investigating the precise mechanisms responsible for Guayusa's cognitive benefits, they believe that the caffeine and other natural components in the tea might increase blood flow to the brain, thus promoting alertness and focus. [5]

Furthermore, Guayusa is rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, which could potentially safeguard brain cells from harm and enhance neural function. [1]


When it comes to Guayusa tea, its reputation for brightening your mood isn't just hearsay. It's all thanks to its mood-boosting compounds. Here's what makes Guayusa a mood-lifting superstar:

  1. Caffeine Content: Guayusa tea brings caffeine to the table. It works magic by ramping up your alertness and putting you in a better mood. How? By blocking the action of adenosine, a neurotransmitter that tends to make us feel relaxed and sleepy. [6]
  2. Theobromine: Guayusa also contains theobromine. Theobromine steps up the mood game by increasing dopamine production, the pleasure and reward neurotransmitter. So, you get a little boost of joy along with your cup of tea. [7]
  3. L-Theanine: Guayusa has some of this amino acid known for its calming and mood-stabilizing effects. L-Theanine can help dial down the potential jitters that caffeine might cause, ensuring a smoother ride to a better mood. [8]

So, when you sip on Guayusa tea, you're not just refreshing your taste buds; you're also giving your mood a natural lift.

2. Antioxidant Content

Guayusa is packed with antioxidants that can do wonders for your health. [9] These antioxidants are like tiny superheroes inside your body, taking on the bad guys known as free radicals, which can cause all sorts of trouble. [10]

By fighting these free radicals, Guayusa's antioxidants help reduce oxidative stress, which causes many chronic diseases. Think of it as a shield that might lower your risk of health issues.

Now, Guayusa has a unique team of antioxidants called catechins, and they're real powerhouses. They're known for their ability to protect against inflammation, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. [11]

Some studies even suggest that catechins can help lower cholesterol levels. [12]

3. Anti-inflammatory Agent

Some initial research suggests that Guayusa might have the power to fend off inflammation by decreasing the production of nitric oxide (NO).

Now, what's NO? It's a molecule that makes blood vessels open wider. [13] Sounds harmless, right? Well, here's the catch: when those blood vessels widen, they can let in troublemakers – pro-inflammatory substances that cause problems. 

But that's not all. NO, in large amounts, can team up with oxygen to create some nasty stuff called nitrogen species, like peroxynitrite. These guys act like trouble-making free radicals and can do severe damage.

Researchers decided to put Guayusa to the test in a laboratory setting. The result? Guayusa was like a superhero, swooping to scavenge NO and slow down its production. [14]

4. Blood Sugar Regulation

When your body struggles to move sugar from your blood into your cells, you might end up with high blood sugar levels. If this condition goes unchecked, it could eventually lead to type 2 diabetes.

But here's where Guayusa steps in as a potential hero. It contains inulin, which is a particular type of fiber. Inulin is like a traffic cop in your intestines, slowing down the rush of glucose into your bloodstream.

Now, exactly how Guayusa does this isn't entirely clear, but it seems to help lower blood sugar levels.

In a study that lasted 28 days, Guayusa supplements significantly lowered blood sugar levels, curbed appetite, and even helped shed some pounds. [15]

5. Weight Loss Control

Guayusa might be your secret weapon in the obesity battle, thanks to its high caffeine content. [16]

You see, caffeine is a natural energy booster that can fire up your metabolism. It's like putting your body's calorie-burning engine into high gear. [17]

Plus, caffeine has this neat trick of making you feel less hungry, which can help with weight loss.

But here's the thing: these benefits of caffeine might not last forever. It seems like your body gets used to it over time, so the effects become less noticeable. [18]

Also, most studies about these caffeine perks use super high doses – way more than you'd find in a couple of cups of Guayusa tea. So, while Guayusa might help you shed some pounds, we still need to confirm the long-term effects of sipping it in small doses.

Safety and Side Effects

In general, Guayusa is a safe choice, and as long as you enjoy it in moderation, you're unlikely to experience any adverse effects.

Now, let's talk about caffeine. When you have too much caffeine, it can lead to restlessness, anxiety, and trouble sleeping. Surprisingly, Guayusa tends to be gentler on the nerves compared to other caffeine-loaded drinks like coffee. It's less likely to make you jittery. [19]

However, like many teas, Guayusa contains tannins. These compounds might mess with your body's ability to absorb iron, and they could even trigger feelings of nausea, especially if you drink Guayusa on an empty stomach. [20]

Now, don't worry too much about tannins. The amounts you find in tea are usually too low to cause harm. But if you happen to have an iron deficiency, it might be a good idea to keep your Guayusa intake in check.

Guayusa Tea Recipes

1. Traditional Guayusa Tea


  • One Guayusa tea bag or 1-2 teaspoons of loose Guayusa leaves.
  • Hot water.


  1. Boil water and let it cool slightly.
  2. Place the Guayusa tea bag or loose leaves in a cup.
  3. Pour the hot water over the Guayusa.
  4. Steep for 5-7 minutes for a mild flavor or longer for a stronger brew.
  5. Remove the tea bag or strain out the leaves.
  6. Enjoy your hot cup of traditional Guayusa tea.

2. Guayusa and Citrus Iced Tea


  • 2 Guayusa tea bags or 2-3 teaspoons of loose Guayusa leaves.
  • Four cups of hot water.
  • One lemon, sliced.
  • One lime, sliced.
  • Honey or sweetener (optional).


  1. Brew the Guayusa tea with hot water and let it steep for 10-15 minutes.
  2. Allow the tea to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until cold.
  3. Fill a glass with ice cubes.
  4. Pour the chilled Guayusa tea over the ice.
  5. Add lemon and lime slices for a refreshing citrus twist.
  6. Sweeten with honey or your preferred sweetener if desired.
  7. Stir and enjoy your Guayusa citrus iced tea.


In the world of teas, Guayusa stands out as a fascinating and versatile option. This Amazonian gem not only delights your taste buds but also offers a range of potential health benefits.

From its mild and slightly sweet flavor to its caffeine content, Guayusa has earned its place in the spotlight.

Guayusa, with its unique blend of caffeine, theobromine, and theophylline, may help enhance mental focus and alertness without the jittery side effects often associated with caffeine.

Its rich antioxidant content can protect against oxidative stress and inflammation, potentially benefiting your long-term well-being.

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[1]Health Benefits of Bioactive Compounds from the Genus Ilex, a Source of Traditional Caffeinated Beverages - PMC (nih.gov)

[2]Guayusa (Ilex guayusa L.) new tea: phenolic and carotenoid composition and antioxidant capacity - PubMed (nih.gov)

[3]General and Genetic Toxicology of Guayusa Concentrate (Ilex guayusa) - PubMed (nih.gov)

[4]Methylxanthines are the psycho-pharmacologically active constituents of chocolate - PubMed (nih.gov)

[5]Association between Dietary Theobromine and Cognitive Function in a Representative American Population: A Cross-Sectional Study | SpringerLink

[6]Caffeine consumption and self-assessed stress, anxiety, and depression in secondary school children - PMC (nih.gov)

[7]Differential contributions of theobromine and caffeine on mood, psychomotor performance and blood pressure - PubMed (nih.gov)

[8]L-Theanine reduces psychological and physiological stress responses - PubMed (nih.gov)

[9]Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of Ilex guayusa tea preparations: a comparison to Camellia sinensis teas - PubMed (nih.gov)

[10]Oxidative stress, aging, and diseases - PMC (nih.gov)

[11]Changes in phytochemical composition, bioactivity and in vitro digestibility of guayusa leaves (Ilex guayusa Loes.) in different ripening stages - PubMed (nih.gov)

[12]General and Genetic Toxicology of Guayusa Concentrate (Ilex guayusa) - PubMed (nih.gov)

[13]Nutrients | Free Full-Text | Health Benefits of Bioactive Compounds from the Genus Ilex, a Source of Traditional Caffeinated Beverages (mdpi.com)

[14]Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of Ilex guayusa tea preparations: a comparison to Camellia sinensis teas - Food & Function (RSC Publishing)

[15]Glycaemic effects of traditional European plant treatments for diabetes. Studies in normal and streptozotocin diabetic mice - PubMed (nih.gov)

[16]The effects of caffeine intake on weight loss: a systematic review and dos-response meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials - PubMed (nih.gov)

[17]Caffeine and coffee: their influence on metabolic rate and substrate utilization in normal weight and obese individuals - PubMed (nih.gov)

[18]Biochemical mechanism of caffeine tolerance - PubMed (nih.gov)

[19]The Safety, Pharmacokinetics, and Nervous System Effects of Two Natural Sources of Caffeine in Healthy Adult Males - PMC (nih.gov)

[20]The Impact of Tannin Consumption on Iron Bioavailability and Status: A Narrative Review - PubMed (nih.gov)

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