What is Yaupon?
What is Yaupon?
Yaupon is a holistic caffeinated and antioxidant rich evergreen herbal plant in the genus Ilex.
It is North America’s only native caffeine source and for centuries, native inhabitants of the coastal plains of the southeastern United States have consumed tea made by infusing the leaves in hot water
Yaupon is just as diverse as the tea plant in flavor and complexity.
Profiles can range from vegetal green to having light honey notes and floral aromas, similar to that of a white tea. Processed in the right manner, yaupon can even have a creamy and slightly fruit-like flavor with a medium body like an oolong . Oxidized and fire smoked yaupon can have tastes that resemble a fine genmaicha or a smoky lapsang souchong!
Yaupon is closely related to Yerba Mate, the popular caffeinated drink of choice in many South American countries including Uruguay, Argentina, Paraguay and Chile
Guayusa grown in the foothills of the central Andean mountain range in Ecuador and parts of Colombia is also in this family of caffeinated Ilex plants and share similar health benefits
Yaupon, like the related plants yerba mate and guayusa, contains a variety of compounds including xanthines, like the potent antioxidant theophylline, as well as theobromine, caffeine, among other phenolic compounds which have been shown to help reduce blood pressure and cortisol levels, reducing inflammation, lowering the risk of cancers, heart disease and diabetes.
Additionally, these compounds have been shown to heighten mental acuity, elevate mood and improve skin complexion. Yaupon is also a chemopreventive, meaning it has the ability to inhibit cancer cells!
Yaupon also has a positive effect on muscle recovery post workout. A study on Yerba Mate (Ilex paraguisis) that has similar compounds , concluded that participants who consumed ilex teas recovered at a rate 8% faster than those who did not drink the tea.
Conscious caffeine source:
Yaupon is a sustainable and healthy herbal tea that does not require conventional farming applications like herbicides or pesticides. Yaupon grows in the woods of the southeastern United States and does not need chemical additives to grow prosperously.
This puts yaupon in a rare group of specialty food products that have been produced through agroforestry, making it sustainable and beneficial for the environment.
Managing, protecting and promoting the growth of wild grown yaupon is key to preserving the native forests of the southeastern US.
This herbal shrub plays an important role in mantaining the health of regional forests and ecosystems by preventing the spread of invasive plants that impact the health of native plant and animals.
Yaupon produces small white flowers that attract bees and other important pollinators and bright red cherries that act as a nutritious food source for endemic birds, small mammals and even deer! Sustainably harvested yaupon is a native North American tea that makes a healthy and local alternative to other caffeinated products on the market. Yaupon saves water as it requires no irrigation and is drought resistant. Making the change to yaupon tea is good for both you and the environment!