I’ve always been a dreamer. Dreams allow us to transcend the confines of our present position and give us space to journey. We are able to visualize the future, revisit the past, resolve a problem, or just keep ourselves entertained. Whether awake (as in aspirations) or asleep, dreaming is a state of complete vulnerability. To me, dreams are the one place where true self triumphs and where social pressures and responsibilities take a back seat. In fact, during sleep, the brain to some degree becomes isolated from the outside world. Our focus is almost completely inward and self-reflecting. Scientifically, dreams are not fully understood and many speculate on their purpose. However, I have no doubt that dreams are not mere pictures, but the artistry of our spirited subconscious.
Lately, I’ve experienced some pretty vivid dreams. I didn’t really think too much of them (except for the odd somewhat premonition ones) until a couple from Colombia came into the tea bar. “Well it looks like Guayusa finally made its way to the states,” the man uttered to his lady companion. Ding, ding, ding!!! My ears were perked. I was first introduced to Guayusa – a caffeinated herbal beverage derived from the brewed leaves of the Guayusa plant and native to the South American Amazon – during my rounds at the World Tea Expo last June. Subtly sweet, it has a smoother taste without the bite or bitterness of its Yerba Mate cousin. “So how do you know about Guayusa?” The gentleman asked. I told him about my trip to the Tea Expo and how since that first encounter with the drug…I mean tea…I’ve been hooked. The couple proceeded to tell me about Guayusa and how it is known to enhance dreams. In fact, the people in Ecuador drink Guayusa before they sleep to dream and connect with their ancestors. There is even a place of natural medicine called The School of Guayusa. “The School of Guayusa?!?!” I asked stunned. Yes, The School of Guayusa.
Shuar/Quichua healer and leader of the Amazanga people, Flavio Santi of Puyo, Ecuador, collaborated with Google Earth Outreach to save 300 acres of ancestral land taken from the Amazanga people. Donations not only helped save all 300 acres of jungle where the Amazanga people reside, butalso aided in the ongoing construction of their school of natural medicine – or The School of Guayusa. AMAZING!!! The couple told me how in Ecuador and specifically at the Amazanga School of Guayusa, healers drink guayusa tea before they perform house cleansings or medicinal healings. They then go to sleep and begin to dream. Upon rising, the healers treat illness or cleanse spirits based on what their dreams revealed. To the Amazanga people and others native to the region, dreamwork is a spiritual method of healing physical, emotional, and spiritual illnesses. Guayusa tea is a dream maker – brewed before sleep and then again at 3 AM to intensify the dream experience. As stated on the website schoolofguayusa.org, “Born from the earth’s dreaming, the School of Guayusa has always existed. It is the ancient school of natural wisdom and ecological balance.” Now it all makes sense! My vivid dreams were the result of my recent guayusa kick! I immediately checked to make sure the stuff was indeed legal…it is, in case you’re wondering (and mighty good for you too).
After my educational convo with the Colombian couple, I started drinking it around 7 or 8 at night, a couple hours before bed. I notice a difference in the clarity of my dreams. I can remember more detailed nuances than usual and they’ve had more emotional impact. Not only does Guayusa amplify my dreams, but when I drink the delicious brew, my mood is immediately uplifted and I feel renewed. The increased energy is subtle, but lasting. Guayusa is a fascinating tea stock full of nutrients, flavors, and mystifying properties. For the Amazonian people, drinking guayusa around a communal fire and sharing dreams, music and myths is an ancient tradition – a tradition that unites communities in spiritual and natural mindfulness.