Yerba Maté and Guayusa are two powerful substances of herbal origin originating from South America. They are valued for their revitalising and health-promoting properties. Although these herbal infusions share their geographical origin, they are characterised by a different taste, chemical composition and cultural significance. In this article, we will look at the differences between Yerba Maté and Guayusa and we will explain their unique properties and potential effects on health.
The history of Guayusa - It was and is still considered a sacred plant in many indigenous cultures, especially among the Shuar and Kichwa tribes. This plant has been used not only to obtain energy and stimulation but also in various rituals and ceremonies. Guayusa was often considered a bridge between the physical and spiritual worlds and was associated with significant aspects of tribal life.
Guayusa also has great symbolic significance in Ecuadorian culture and has become an important symbol of the Ecuadorian politician and national hero Manuel J. Calle, who was known for his efforts to conserve and sustainably use natural resources, including Guayusa.(4)
Julio Sánchez, an Ecuadorian expert on herbs, emphasises that “Guayusa is of paramount importance in our culture. It is a drink that gives us energy and promotes mental clarity.”
The history of Yerba Maté - It dates back to indigenous tribes in South America, where it was considered a sacred herb. The history of drinking maté dates back to the times of the Guaraní Indian tribe. Already the indigenous people there knew that the infusion of Paraguayan holly not only cleanses the body but also dispels hunger and gives the body energy. Therefore, they rightly nicknamed it “Drink of the Gods”.
For centuries, Yerba Maté has been a central element of social gatherings and is often shared by friends and family through a widely used straw-shaped tool called bombilla. Known for its invigorating effects, it has a similar status in some cultures to coffee in Western societies.(4)
Johannes Löwenberg, German anthropologist, says: “Yerba Maté is a fundamental part of culture in South America. This drink not only stimulates, it also brings peace of mind.”
Guayusa is an evergreen shrub that produces dried leaves used to prepare a beverage. Guayusa comes from the Amazon rainforest, growing in Ecuador, Peru and some parts of Colombia. It is produced by boiling the leaves of the plant Ilex guayusa, which is closely related to Yerba Maté. It contains natural caffeine, which provides energy without nervous tension. Guayusa also offers a rich array of antioxidants that can help protect the body from damage and thus keep your organs and body healthy.
Yerba Maté is made from the leaves of Ilex paraguariensis. Yerba Maté has a strong earthy taste with a delicate bitterness, often compared to green tea, but with a more complex and invigorating profile. It contains caffeine, theobromine (which is also found in chocolate) and a unique blend of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.(1),(2)
Professor of herbal medicine Alejandro Gómez reminds us: “Yerba maté has a pronounced effect on energy, but at the same time, it supports digestion and the immune system.”
Both Guayusa and Yerba Maté have several health benefits. Studies show that these beverages can improve attention, reduce fatigue and promote overall vitality. Their high content of antioxidants also contributes to the protection of the body from free radicals and can reduce the risk of various diseases.
The caffeine content in both plants promotes alertness, clarity of mind and better concentration.
Yerba Maté has been associated with improved digestion, while Guayusa has traditionally been used to relieve stomach and intestinal problems.
Yerba Maté and Guayusa share a common geographical origin and stimulating effects, but they are distinguished by their different taste, chemical composition and cultural significance. The choice between them ultimately depends on individual preferences, the desired taste profile and sensitivity to caffeine. Incorporating any of these herbal infusions into your daily routine can be a unique and healthy alternative to conventional stimulants, such as coffee.(3),(1)
Guayusa is usually prepared with boiling water and it is drunk hot. Yerba Maté is traditionally prepared in a gourd (circular dish) and drunk with a bamboo straw, known as a “bombilla”, as mentioned above. Both beverages can be flavoured with honey, lemon or other ingredients to reduce their bitterness.
Quotes from experts and scientists underline the importance and effects of Guayusa and Yerba Maté.
Professor of herbal medicine Carlos Rodriguez emphasizes: “These beverages have a long history of use and contribute to both physical and mental health.”
To learn more, you can watch this video from Dr. Andrew Huberman PhD. His videos are concise and verified.
[Dr. Andrew Huberman PhD, born on 26 September 1975, an associate professor of neurobiology at Stanford University School of Medicine and partner of Momentous, sports and nutrition company]
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Your Kratom World
(1) General and Genetic Toxicology of Guayusa Concentrate (Ilex guayusa) - PubMed. (20. Oktober 2023). PubMed. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26811391/
(2) Guayusa (Ilex guayusa L.) new tea: phenolic and carotenoid composition and antioxidant capacity - PubMed. (26. Oktober 2023). PubMed. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28188617/
(3) The effects of caffeine intake on weight loss: a systematic review and dos-response meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials - PubMed. (23. Oktober 2023). PubMed. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30335479/
(4) Guayusa Vs Yerba Mate - Ayusa Tea | Ayusa Tea. (26. Oktober 2023.). Ayusa Tea. https://ayusa.com.au/guayusa-vs-yerba-mate/