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Guayusa ilex | Whole leaves & 30:1 extract | Wayusa, Aguayusa, Huayusa, Why-sa


Genus: Holly

Family: Aquifoliaceae

Origin: Ecuador

Common names: Wayusa, Why-sa, Why-ees, Guayusa, Runashimi, Aguayusa, Huayusa, Guañusa



Guayusa ilex | Whole leaves & 30:1 extract | Wayusa, Aguayusa, Huayusa, Why-sa

Our Guayusa ilex whole leaves are collected by Kichwa people in the primary Amazon jungle in Ecuador. Most of the Guayusa comes from their ancestral lands. Their chakra (forest gardens) are cultivated with a diverse range of traditional and sacred plants.

Our Guayusa is grown organically. The leaves are dried slowly in order to keep as many compounds in the leaves intact. No fertilizers nor chemical products are used.

Native Use

Traditionally, families brew the leaves as a tea first thing in the early morning. This is typically before their chores. This is practiced almost daily and this tradition is called ‘guayusa upina’. It’s an intimate family moment where night’s dreams, myths, and stories are shared.

The I. guayusa has become predominately a cultivated tree, mostly in the regions of Ecuador, Peru, and Colombia. Once the leaves have been harvested, they are hung out to dry where the robust earthy flavors develop. Due to its antioxidant and caffeine content, the tea is valued for its stimulating effects, which also brings a clear focus and concentration without the typical caffeine strong kick of coffee.

Known as “The Night-Watchman”,  hunters will consume I. guayusa while hunting to maintain alertness and focus throughout the night. The tea is also drunk for stomach problems and as an aphrodisiac (Shemluck 1979, 157). The Mocoa Indians use it to treat liver pains, malaria, syphilis, and stomachaches and to regulate menstruation. In the Kichwa culture, it is said that Guayusa can foretell whether hunting expeditions would be favorable and that it offers protection against snake bites.

Surprisingly, a very well-known ethnobotanist, Richard Evan Schultes found a bundle of I. guayusa in the tomb of a medicine man high in the Bolivian Andes Mountains, far outside of its natural growing environment. The leaves were radio-carbonated dated 355 c.e. This fact implies that guayusa was traded in ancient times between the amazonian and the highlands region in South America.


Ilex guayusa is a beautiful tree that can grow up to 15 meters tall. It is native to Ecuador, northeastern Peru, southwestern Colombia, and grows between 200-2000 meters of elevation. It is an evergreen tree, with its leaves being ovate, elliptic, oblong, or lanceolate. The tree also produces small delicate white flowers that eventually produce red spherical fruit.

Scientific information.

Chemically speaking, I. guayusa contains xanthines such as caffeine, along with the two other species of the Holly genus:  Ilex paraguariensis, or Yerba Mate, and Ilex vomitaria, or Yaupon Holly. It has been suggested that I. guayusa is the cultivated version of I. paraguariensis. It also contains theobromine(found in cacao beans), Theophylline (found in green tea), glutamic acid, feluric acid, and chlorogenic acid. It also contains 15 essential amino acids and has almost twice as many antioxidants as regular green tea.

Guayusa Extract 30x Paste

Our 30x paste was made with spring water and freshly harvested Guayusa leaves. 30 kilos of fresh leaves were used to make one kilo of this paste. We slowly boil the leaves 3 times for 8 hour periods. After each boil, we filter the liquid and boil down the clear liquid together until a thick paste is left. This is the pure gold of the plant and it’s completely water-soluble. We’re sure you will love it!

Also take a look at our other teas.

Additional Information:


Rätsch, Christian. “The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Plants.”



Our products are not certified by the FDA neither Health Canada for human consumption. They are sold for incense and soap making purposes, decorative purposes and/or legitimate ethnobotanical research. Our products are not sold and intended for human consumption. The information given about the plants is for academic purposes only and not intended to be used medically. Wakingherbs.com, its suppliers, agents, employees and distributors cannot be held accountable for any misuse of the products offered.


“We always plant more than we harvest.”

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