Guayusa (ilex guayusa) is a plant native to the rainforest in Ecuador, traditionally cultivated and harvested by the Kichwa and Jivaro tribes, who dry the leaves and brew them into an energy drink.

Guayusa is now becoming popular world wide as a caffeinated herbal tea with a reputation for inducing lucid dreams.

Guayusa is a type of holly, and a relative to yerba mate (but with fuller flavor and no bitterness).



Caffeine - One heaping teaspoon of loose guayusa tea contains about 70-90 mg of caffeine, putting guayusa between black tea and coffee in caffeine content.

Theobromine (found in chocolate) is a heart stimulant, and lowers blood pressure by dilating your blood vessels.

L-Theanine (found in green tea) moderates the effects of caffeine, letting you have the energy and focus but without the spikes and jitters.


(One important ingredient of tea and yerba mate that is not found in guayusa is theophylline, a stimulant that raises your blood pressure, the opposite effect of theobromine.)


Here is a summary of products and ingredients:


 Guayusa  Tea  CoffeeChocolateYerba Mate
Caffeine XXXXX
Theobromine X XX
Theophylline X XX
L-Theanine XX


Calm Energy (and Lucid Dreams)

It's the combination of caffeine and L-theanine that lets guayusa give you alertness without the shakes - relaxed focus, calm energy.

This same quality is behind guayusa's reputation as an inducer of lucid dreams. You can watch a growing tribe of YouTubers describing guayusa's dream powers.



Guayusa is available at some retailers; see this locator for Runa in particular.

Guayusa is also available online:

  LooseTea BagsBottles
David's Tea X  
Freddie's Tea XX 
Guayusa Tea House X  
Harney & Sons X  
Lucid Dreaming Tea XX 
Runa XXX
Stash Tea XX 
Viecua  X 


More Info

(Also see Guayusa vs. Yerba Mate and Lucid Dreaming.)

This National Geographic article gives the basics of guayusa, and shows the link between guayusa and dreaming in Kichwa mythology.

This Daily Beast article describes the traditional cultivation and use of guayusa by the Kichwa.

These articles from Triathlon Magazine and Lululemon recommend guayusa for athletes.

Some tea experts review Guayusa at Teaviews.

For the effects of L-theanine combined with caffeine, see this study on focus, a Beginner's Guide to Nootropics, and an article from Tea With Gary. (There is also a supplement with L-theanine and caffeine.)

For more general information, see this video, these articles from Green Tea Health News, Vital Living, Hyperspace Traveller, Shana Tea, and this FAQ sheet from Runa.



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Updated: 19 Mar 2015