Guayusa (Ilex guayusa Loes.) is grown in the Amazonian territories of southern Colombia, northern Peru, and Ecuador.
The main compounds present in the guayusa extracts were caffeine, squalene and -amyrin.
Some extracts obtained from guayusa leaves showed antifungal activity.
Disease / Symptom Treatment
Study Type: Review
Title: A critical review of the composition and history of safe use of guayusa: a stimulant and antioxidant novel food
Author(s): Graham Wise & Adam Negrin
Institution(s): Center for Global Health Equity, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Department of Biological Sciences, Lehman College, Bronx, New York, USA
Publication: Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition
Date: Aug 2019
Abstract: Due to rapid international market development, there is a strong and urgent need to assess the safety of the novel food, Ilex guayusa. Guayusa has been consumed for centuries in the western Amazon as an herbal tea, and novel food regulation provide a detailed framework for safety assessment of novel foods with such a history of use. This study reviews guayusa’s taxonomy, chemical composition, toxicology, ethnobotany, and history of safe use as key elements of a robust novel food safety assessment. Guayusa is a product of traditional agricultural systems with a continuous history of consumption in Ecuador. Its known chemical composition appears to present no greater risk to human health than existing teas such as green tea or yerba mate, although our understanding of guayusa’s chemical profile is still nascent, requiring further investigation. Broad consumption of guayusa is not associated with a history of adverse effects or product safety notifications. Biochemical and phytochemical studies have profiled its nutritional content, metabolite composition, and bioactivity, validating guayusa’s antioxidant and stimulant properties. In conclusion, guayusa leaves have a well-documented chemical composition and history of safe use, which are key considerations for authorization as a novel food in the EU.
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