YAUPON: AMERICA'S ONLY CAFFEINATED PLANT
Most natural caffeine sources come from other parts of the world. The only caffeinated plant that is found in America is the yaupon holly tree, which is native to the southeastern part of North America. There are in fact different types of holly tree: yaupon, yerba maté, and guayusa. This post highlights yaupon, however if you’d like to learn more about all the different hollies, check out our post here. Not only is the yaupon holly plant known for its natural caffeine content, but it is also celebrated for its various health benefits. In addition, this evergreen plant can be made into a flavorful and robust tea.
THE HISTORY OF YAUPON
Yaupon holly is a small evergreen tree that grows along the coast of the Southern United States. The plant's name means “little tree” in the Catawban language, and it was used by Native Americans as an ingredient in many beverages. It was known for its healing and energizing properties, and was thought to also have magical qualities. It was often consumed before making any important decisions or entering into battles.
Beverages made from this plant were often consumed in beautifully adorned and embellished shells and many of these shells have been found in archaeological locations all over the United States. Native Americans traded the plant around areas all over the U.S., which is why so many shells have been located in many areas.
Eventually, this evergreen plant was shared with early European settlers. It didn't take long for the Europeans to discover the many benefits of the plant, and beverages were consumed every day by many. The popularity of this plant eventually declined, but this ancient traditional medicine has recently been experiencing newfound admiration again. As this plant is full of healing benefits, it is not hard to see why companies such as CatSpring Yaupon are pioneering the returning popularity of yaupon. A number of yaupon tea companies are popping up around the U.S., like Lost Pines Yaupon and Yaupon Brothers. The yaupon tea industry has a universally felt desire to be socially and environmentally conscious. Be sure to check out how CatSpring Yaupon, Lost Pines Yaupon, and Yaupon Brothers are helping people as well as the environment through this growing tea industry.
All Photos CatSpring Yaupon
HOW IS YAUPON MADE?
Many people ask us, how is yaupon tea made? Dried leaves from this evergreen plant are used when making the tea. The leaves are steamed in hot water to create a delicious and flavorful beverage that is very similar to green tea in taste. The flavor can be described as earthy and slightly bitter, and the aroma is pleasantly pungent. This herbal tea is richly caffeinated and should be consumed in moderation.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF YAUPON
Regularly consuming this robust and earthy tea can prevent many common ailments and may even enhance your mood. Full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, this tea has the potential to ward off illnesses such as cancer and arthritis. In addition, the natural caffeine content is an excellent energy booster and can help with concentration.
This herbal plant is considered a superfood by many because of its rich supply of important nutrients and powerful antioxidants. The anti-inflammatory properties of this plant can help prevent various forms of cancer, particularly colon cancer. It also contains the chemicals known as kaempferol 3-rutinosides and quercetin, which are both known to help prevent cancer.
This tea also contains an active ingredient known as theobromine. This chemical compound is known to lower blood pressure and strengthen the health of your cardiovascular system. Regularly drinking this tea can help prevent heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure.
The antioxidants and anti-inflammatory benefits of this plant can also reduce inflammation in the body. The overall discomfort and pain of illnesses like arthritis and gout can be greatly reduced by the healing properties of this tea. It is also a great natural pain reliever for joint pain, headaches, and muscle sprains.
The polyphenolic compounds in this herbal plant are known to stimulate and strengthen the immune system. A strong immune system is necessary to protect your body from foreign pathogens and help you fight off infections. Regularly consuming teas with these polyphenolic compounds is a great way to build immunity and keep your body healthy.
This tea also stimulates digestion and can help prevent common conditions such as constipation, bloating, and indigestion. A strong digestive system also aids in the prevention of colon cancer, hemorrhoids, and irritable bowel syndrome.
Your teeth can also benefit from the many health properties of this herbal tea. Theobromine in this evergreen tree is also known to prevent oral infections and illnesses. It can also prevent tooth decay by remineralizing and can strengthen the enamel of your teeth.
The natural caffeine in this plant is known to boost energy levels and enhance your mood. Caffeine can also provide many health benefits to your body as well. It increases memory and concentration, detoxes the liver and colon, stimulates hair growth, relieves muscle pain, and increases stamina during exercise. Caffeine can even prevent diseases such as Alzheimer's, skin cancer, depression, liver disease, kidney stones, and chronic inflammation.
CAFFEINE IN YAUPON
The natural caffeine content in this tea should be consumed in moderation, just as you would with other caffeinated beverages such as coffee, black tea, or green tea. Those with cardiovascular problems should monitor their caffeine consumption. Yaupon tea is not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women due to Dr. recommendations for maternal caffeine consumption.
To brew the perfect cup of yaupon tea, check the vendor’s package or website for instructions specific to the tea you purchased because yaupon roasts sometimes have different ideal brewing temperatures and steeping times. Here are a few general yaupon tea brewing tips to keep in mind:
HOW TO BREW YAUPON TEA
WHAT YOU'LL NEED
- Water Kettle or Pot to Heat Water
- Tea Leaves / Sachets / Bags
- Teapot with Filter / Teacup / Personal Mug and Filter
STEP ONE: HEAT THE WATER
- 205℉-212℉ // Soft boil
Pro Tip: Use filtered water for the best tasting cup!
STEP TWO: MEASURE
- Generally 1 rounded tsp/1 tea bag per 8 oz. (1 cup) of water
Pro Tip: Add tea leaves to an infuser that lets them open fully, or you can put them straight into the teapot and use a strainer when you're pouring a cup!
STEP THREE: STEEP
- 4-7 minutes
Pro Tip: Don't let your tea steep for too long! It's best to take the leaves/sachet/bag out when the time's up so you aren't left with a bitter cup. Taste your tea after the recommended steeping time and then decide if you’d like it to steep a little longer.
Pro Tip: Cover your tea while it steeps to keep all the heat and aroma in the steeping vessel.
Additions: While you may enjoy yaupon in its pure form, feel free to experiment with adding things. For example, honey, orange or lemon peel, milk, herbs, and spices may be added for a unique flavor experience!
STEP FOUR: ENJOY :)
COOKING WITH YAUPON
At Sips by, we like to share creative ways to enjoy all types of tea. Check out these recipes we've cooked up that feature yaupon tea. We would highly recommend the Yopumpcakes!
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The content of this post represents information from various individuals, organizations and studies, and should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult your healthcare provider about specific health needs.