Ilex guayusa | ‘Wais’ | Dried leaves | 3.5g
Check out these high quality Ilex guayusa leaves from Ecuador! Informally known by many names, including ‘Aguayusa’, ‘Guañusa’, ‘Guayusa’, ‘Huayusa’, ‘The Night-Watchman’, ‘Runashimi’, ‘Wais’, ‘Wayus’, ‘Wayusa’, ‘Why-ees’ and ‘Why-sa’, the species is a member of the Aquifoliaceae family which is also cultivated in Colombia and Peru. It is also one of only three known holly trees which produce caffeine (the other two are Ilex paraguariensis and Ilex vomitaria). Interestingly, it also contains theobromine (a major component of the cacao bean), L-theanine (present in green tea), over three hundred antioxidants and fifteen essential amino acids!
Ilex guayusa is a fantastic Amazonian rainforest tree, growing at an altitude of between two hundred and two thousand metres in its natural habitat. An evergreen reaching up to thirty metres tall once mature, it produces beautifully coloured oval-shaped leaves (roughly up to twenty-two centimetres long by seven centimetres wide), small white flowers and tiny, spherical red-coloured fruit. ‘Wais’ is generally cultivated in sandy-loamy soils with a pH level of between 4.34 and 5.01 grows wild in lowland and premontane neotropical jungle, where it starts off as an understory shrub before eventually becoming a tree.
These dried guayusa leaves were traded on a fair trade basis with Ecuadorian Quechua, who organically wild-craft then shade dry them. Once the harvest has been dried (which helps to develop the strong flavours of the plant), the leaves are boiled in water, with the resultant tea being drunk socially or as an accompaniment to the Quechua’s morning dream talking circles. As with coffee, ‘Wais’ is also often used for its stimulant effects, especially by Quechua hunters looking to stay alert throughout the long night. The Jivaro of Ecuador and Peru also drink ‘Wais’, using it to induce ritual vomiting for purification purposes. Reportedly, the species has been used by humans for approximately one and a half thousand years.
All our botanicals were freshly and ethically sourced this year