Where does exactly Ilex guayusa comes from?

What the Chakra Amazon system is all about

Marcelo Cedeño S. for Wará Guayusa

12/19/2021 6 min read

Where exactly Ilex guayusa comes from?

From the very moment you enter the Amazon Rainforest, you unconsciously feel the vibrating energy and all the distinct impressions and sensations that being in one of the few but wildest places that the world could offer. During millennia, amongst this place, hundreds of thousands of different animal and plant species, flora and fauna have coexisted and strengthened throughout many generations. They have learnt to adapt to this variable yet unrefined atmosphere full of powerful humidity, forceful sun, and extraordinary wonders offered.

In terms of colors, green is usually the first and most distinguishable that emerges in all the diverse shapes of the landscapes. Likewise, the unimaginable amount of palette color tones that materializes in flower and dissimilar silhouettes makes it a distinctive experience that everyone needs to live it at least once.

Despite the intervention of agriculture and animal production, which have been the major activities that have had undesirable effects within this picturesque region. It’s good to state that the indigenous Amazon communities have created a pure inbound interaction between their surroundings with their basic needs. With this said, they have been promoting the preservation of their homeland intact simply by having real life symbiotic communion among each other. In this sense, by maintaining mother nature unharmed, she has been providing them with organic and healthy food, unprocessed natural medicine, and fully natural astounding wisdom.

Modernization brought to the Amazon region

When food was not as accessible as it is today, there weren’t big infrastructures and roads that kept the urban areas connected to the rest of the rural areas. People believed that within the tropical Amazonian Rainforest nothing could be cropped nor transported, as seen in the following statement:

In the late 1940´s and 1950´s the absence of civilizations in the upper Amazon basin was attributed to limitations of the Tropical Rainforest environment. It was argued that poor soil and limited sources of protein did not permit the production of surpluses necessary to support large socially stratified populations. (Linda Newson, 1996)


With conditions as the previously described, maybe an immense part of what was tropical rainforest at the time hadn’t been destroyed during all these years. Indeed, considering all the new invasive species among the Tropical Rainforest, the soils were poor, and the sources of protein were scarce. What they knew as “progress”, consolidated the destruction of primary forest to create large-scale farms to provide the increasingly demanding population of the areas where urbanization was taking place, different sources of protein. The “poor soils” were used for agriculture; using non-conventional or non-native crops poorly adapted to the region, that after depleting them from the essential nutrients regarding few years, it made transgressing the “agricultural barrier” much more conceivable. For instance, this same pattern repeated for over decades had not a promissory horizon for one of the most biodiverse ecosystems on the entire planet.

Maybe in the late 1940´s and 1950´s the absence of civilizations in the upper Amazon basin was attributed to them not needing to get in contact with the new revolution that was taking place in the world. - The well-known “Green Revolution”. This affair came with an increased use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides and extensive cereal monocultures became very manifest among the newly established agricultural borders.

 Nowadays, some of the old proverbs previously described are getting very outdated. What they did not satisfactorily perceive during and after the “Green Revolution”, like the term sustainability, now makes sense back again.


agriculture in the Ecuadorian Andes

The Chakra Agroforestry system

One of the relevant facts that got lost after the appearance of the Green Revolution was, as Wendell Berry stated: “A sustainable agriculture is one which depletes neither the people nor the land”. This same concept emphasized in the traditional Indigenous knowledge, which has based its principles on the diversity propagation of plants and animals that cohabit in one same place.

With this been said, to describe what a Chakra Agroforestry system is worthy reviewing the next definition:

Chakras are described as agrarian systems in Ecuadorian Amazonia that are characterized by a market-oriented crop for the generation of monetary income and livestock for family farm consumption. A Chakra is an outstanding example of agroforestry production in which ecological, social, and economic elements co-evolve from a set of close and strong connections. – (Coq-Huelva, et al. 2017).

Unconsciously, there are two meanings in this definition. The first definition describes a more conventional agricultural system in which market-oriented goals and monetary income are taken as the main purpose. The second one personifies it as an agroforestry production with ecological, social, and economic elements.

Cacao beans in Ecuador

For us, Chakras are traditional agroforestry systems developed by Ecuadorian Amazon Indigenous communities. In which, small plots of primary and secondary humid rainforest act as permaculture, sustainable and natural ecosystem in which diverse of flora and fauna grow together in a symbiotic scheme that provides people with food sovereignty, medicinal plants, and a stable source of income.

Within this agrobiodiversity of plants such as guayusa, cocoa, bananas, plantains, chonta, cassava or yuca, lemongrass, coffee, amazon cinnamon, citric and other fruits; people have a balanced and equilibrize diet in which almost all their macro-and micronutrients are covered. They combined it with a rich and sustain source of good quality protein, like fish. This way, food sovereignty gets covered by non-impactful damage to the environment. Likewise, this symbiotic communion of species creates a unique environment in which all the plants work in conjunction for a common purpose and have special functions within this natural system. They usually sell the surplus of products gotten in local markets in which the provision of a stable income and the exchange of products that cannot be obtained in the chakras are necessary.

cacao fino de aroma theobroma chakra
pinneaple piña
Lemongrass chakra
fish chontacuros

Amazon cultures and the implication of a stable income

In this sense, is good to state that this “stable income” is never steady nor constant, provoking social and economic distortion among the people that live in the region. Similarly, it creates the need of the slash and burn and clear-cutting agricultural methods that have created the degradation of one of the most bio-diverse ecosystems in the entire planet.

To undermine these effects and increase the creation of value among the Indigenous communities, one of the expected outcomes is to increase the offer of products that come from this natural organic permaculture Chakra system and share it with individuals all over the world. One of these alternatives certainly is guayusa and different flavorful combinations with different species gathered in the same Chakra. Guayusa is a native herb that grows within the Ecuadorian Amazon region and has been used since memorial times by Indigenous communities as a spiritual energy drink. This holly leaf because of its high caffeine, theobromine, L-theanine and high antioxidants content.

guayusa chakra ilex ilex guayusa amazon ekwador

This super leaf is being called to be an alternative source of income that will protect the green and lushy Amazon rainforest from deforestations. It is native to this ecosystem and creates a substantial revenue for Kichwa communities. With the help of all, they are called to be the guardians that protect the biodiversity and the native species. Likewise, it is an honor to share with worldwide consumers a cup of energizing and always refreshing Guayusa as if it would be drinking in the pure heart of the always stunning Amazon region of Ecuador.


Warsaw, Poland



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