Ilex guayusaIlex guayusa is indigenous to the upper Amazonian regions of Ecuador, Peru and southern Colombia, where it grows in evergreen parts of the rainforest. Today, guayusa is only rarely collected in the wild. It is almost exclusively grown and know as a cultivated plant. As a species, it is part of the Holly genus and one of the four holly trees containing caffeine.

Close to 98 percent of the world’s guayusa grows in Ecuador. It is native to a thin stretch of the upper Amazon that hugs the Andes Mountains.

Guayusa has been part of Amazonian culture for over 2,000 years and is a botanical cousin to Yerba Mate (Ilex paraguariensis ) which has gained amazing popularity throughout the world in recent years for its health benefits and energizing effect.


Guayusa cultivation is done in what’s basically a forest garden. The Kichwa tribe call this natural type of farmland a Chacra. In these environments no chemicals, fertilizers or any unnatural elements are used. A Chacra allows the nutrients to flow between species in a natural sustainable way, the same way as the rainforest maintains itself without any human intervention. This type of cultivation 's very low input, and essentially replicates the structure of the natural rainforest, meaning there is no negative ecological impact on the indigenous environment.

Because Yu Care

Since 2005, the Ishpingo foundation has set up a sustainable development model whereby farmers mainly reforest their land. Local populations are capable to yourself consume fruit, wood and herbal medicine. Their living conditions are noticeably improving because farmers can now sell their production to a fair trade cooperatives. Ishpingo believes that positive and long-term results in reforestation projects can only be achieved if the local population is educated and really involved. Their commitment and their awareness of the impact of climate change are key to ensuring the sustainability and reproducibility of the actions Ishpingo takes.