Try guayusa for energy and focus

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I didn't like tea growing up, but now it is a passion. I often want a caffeinated drink that isn't coffee. I used to drink a lot of yerba mate tea, because it increases my mental focus and energy. I've discovered guayusa now.

Guayusa, from the Amazon rainforest, has been enjoyed for centuries in other parts of the world. Guayusa isn't technically a tea, but rather an herb that comes from the holly tree (Ilex guayusa).

Drink guayusa early in the day because it gives you a lift, similar to coffee but with less jolt and fewer jitters. But make sure it's right for you, especially if you have hypertension, heart disease or kidney stones.

Guayusa contains natural antioxidants and polyphenols, ingredients known to improve metabolism and blood sugar and to protect your cells from oxidation (cellular rusting). And it's less "grassy" than yerba mate and sweeter, so I don't need to add too much honey, which is nice for my insulin and glucose levels. It tastes more like green tea than anything else, if I have to make a comparison.

You can drink guayusa hot or cold. You can also add other herbals while brewing it, like a leaf of peppermint, or some ginger or cinnamon. If you're too busy to brew your own, just buy commercially prepared drinks. Look in the refrigerator section because some health food stores sell this bottled and chilled. You can buy prepared tea bags. I've tried the Runa brand and appreciate all the flavors (and the fact that it's non-GMO).

If you're on a budget, you'll love guayusa because you can re-steep — 1 tablespoon can be re-steeped six times. After that, the flavor (and healing goodies) are all gone. The amount of focus and energy you get will also start to wane the more frequently you steep the same herb.

My hope is that some of you addicted to caffeine and coffee might be able to break your addiction little by little by adding guayusa (or yerba mate). The potential for allergies exists, just like it does with any herb or drug.

This is not intended to treat, cure or diagnose your condition. Go to

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