Sebastian Freidank - 26. March 20
Insight into the history of Guayusa - life and traditions of the Kichwa Indians
For more than 1,500 years, the Kichwa, the indigenous people of the Amazon, have used the Guayusa plant for various purposes. Guayusa was not only drunk, but used in a variety of ways. The Kichwa is not only concerned with the fact that Guayusa keeps you awake for a long time, but also with spiritual aspects. Below we would like to introduce the history, traditions and present day life of the Kichwa people.
The History of Guayusa
There are various stories about how the indigenous people in the Amazon discovered Guayusa. The oldest finds of dried guayusa leaves date back more than 1500 years. They were found in the tomb of a shaman in Bolivia. Today it is believed that Guayusa originally came from Ecuador.
The Kichwa Indians used the invigorating effects of guayusa before and during the hunt, which requires enormous concentration and strength. According to a legend, this plant was given to them by the gods as a source of energy.
That is why guayusa was drunk mainly in the early morning hours to be prepared for the hunt and to talk about the dreams of the previous night. The youngest daughter-in-law had to get up early in the morning to prepare the decoction of guayusa leaves and water. While drinking the guayusa brew, they shared creative thoughts, inspirational ideas and shared stories about their ancestors. A health-promoting effect was attributed to Guayusa tea, for example for stomach problems, headaches or for external use in injuries and against insects. Even after the wedding, all family members lived together in one big house. Work was only done from Monday to Wednesday.
Traditions and way of life of the Kichwa peoples
How do the Kichwa people live today?
14 years ago, Uli decided to emigrate from Germany to Ecuador. He lives with his wife, a Kichwa, in the city of Tena. This is the capital of the province of Napo, the canton of Tena and is located in the middle of the Amazon rainforest. I spoke to him about the traditions and current way of life of the Kichwa Indians.
The Kichwa people and their affiliation with the Quechua Indians
The Kichwa are the indigenous peoples of Ecuador and belong to the Quechua Indians. These are all ethnic groups, spread across Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia, Chile and Argentina, who share the mother tongue Quechua. Quechua means "valley" or "high altitude". Traditionally, they refer to themselves as “people of the high-altitude Quechua zone”.
A total of 9 to 14 million people speak Quechua, but apart from the assignment to this common language, no or hardly any common identity has so far formed. This is because the regional dialects are so large that mutual understanding is hardly possible.
Despite their great ethnic diversity and the differences in language and dialect, the Quechua Indians have some things in common, especially with regard to their way of life and economy.
Living and doing business in harmony with nature
The Quechua traditionally work mostly in agriculture and pastoralism. In the lower-lying regions, the focus is on agriculture, while in the high-altitude region of the Puna, pastoralism, animal husbandry and the cultivation of crops are mainly practiced.
Back to the Kichwa Indians, the Quechua ethnic group living in Ecuador. Their livelihood is also traditionally rooted in agriculture. Each family cultivates its own land independently - their daily rhythm and the amount of work depends on the season and the weather. Environmental education plays a major role, knowledge of the names and uses of each plant is passed on from an early age. Even the names of the months refer to when each plant can be harvested. In so-called chakras, which are forest gardens, all plants that are important for themselves and for export are cultivated in mixed cultures. These include, for example, cocoa, banana and guayusa . The cultivation of guayusa is particularly important for the Kichwa, because the plant can be harvested all year round, in contrast to the cocoa bean, which only has certain harvest times. Guayusa is accordingly an important source of income that does not require pesticides or fertilizers.
Drinking Guayusa together - the daily tradition of the Kichwa
Guayusa not only plays an important role as an export product, but also in the traditional get-together in the morning and in structuring the day.
The communal drinking of Guayusa and the close cohesion has remained to this day, even if everyone no longer necessarily lives in one house.
The Kichwa Indians are very keen to spend a lot of time together as a family, every day. Therefore, great traditions as an opportunity to spend beautiful moments tend to take a back seat. The structure of her everyday life is shaped by nature and family.
And what do we have to do with it?
This way of life is only possible as long as the Kichwa Indians can continue to farm independently in their forest gardens without the Global North undermining these structures through the settlement and land grabbing of large corporations. Mining and deforestation would otherwise deprive the Kichwa of their livelihood.
To prevent this, we are all responsible. We can act quite simply by looking very closely at where our products come from and how they are produced. A concern that is very important to us with our organic GUYA tea .
Organic Guayusa from GUYA is original Guayusa from Ecuador. You can order our Guayusa directly from our shop and have it delivered to your home.
GUYA is Europe's first and largest Guayusa brand that offers you a large selection of Guayusa products. Our versatile Guayusa blends bring variety to your everyday life, keep you awake, focused and relaxed at the same time.
Since 2016 we have been working directly with farmers from Ecuador without intermediaries and have learned a lot about the processing of guayusa.
We look forward to your Guayusa order.
Buy pure guayusa tea powder. Our Guayusa powder offers you a variety of preparations without losing the organic quality.
Our PURE Guayusa Powder is original Guayusa, but particularly finely sieved to extract the powder particles . You can use the Guayusa powder in preparation of a latte, cappuccino, espresso or for smoothies and pastries.
With the use of our Dripper , Guayusa powder can easily be used to prepare tea. The dripper's has a double-walled sieve that prevents the powder particles from getting into your tea. This way you can enjoy a delicious Guayusa tea without tea leaves in the water.
The Guayusa sets contain all our Guayusa tea flavours as well as our tea accessories.Purchasing Guayusa in Sets is a best way to save money because the Guayusa is in cheaper price in Sets than when sold as an individual product.
Our Guayusa comes from Ecuador and is organically grown there and traded fairly by us.
Each Guayusa set is put together differently and offers you a cheap alternative to expensive individual orders. Choose from sets with a teapot, tea glass, thermos flask, tea strainer and our 7 Guayusa varieties.
Our high-quality tea accessories made from stainless steel and special borosilicate glass have a long service life and can withstand all temperatures unconditionally! Find the right tea accessory for you in our online shop!
The glass products, as well as our stainless steel tea strainers, are suitable for any loose tea. All products can easily be cleaned in the dishwasher or under running water.
You can buy our products individually or in a combined package at a lower price.
Our tea accessories online shop also offers you a large selection of Guayusa tea which all together, as a set, make an excellent gift.
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