A: No. “Tea” refers to a single species of plant, Camellia sinensis, native to Southeast Asia. Green, black, and white teas all come from this plant. Guayusa (Ilex guayusa) is a different species of plant native to the Amazon rainforest. While the leaves are brewed in a similar fashion as tealeaves in order to make the hot beverages we know and love, guayusa is not tea.
Q: Is guayusa like yerba maté?
A: Guayusa (Ilex guayusa) is the Upper Amazonian cousin of yerba maté (Ilex paraguariensis), which is from the Atlantic Rainforest. Both are caffeinated rainforest holly trees. Guayusa and yerba mate both contain healthy polyphenols and caffeine to offer sustained energy for consumers.
Q: What does “RUNA” mean?
A: RUNA means “fully alive” or “fully living human being” in Kichwa. It is a term of immense cultural pride for the Kichwa people, and represents RUNA’s commitment to sharing the Kichwa’s rich cultural heritage with the global community.
Q: Is RUNA certified organic?
A: Yes. 100% of the guayusa we produce is certified organic. We receive audits and inspections every year to ensure the farmers we work with follow organic cultivation practices. All of our final products are certified organic.
Q: Is RUNA Fair Trade certified?
A: Yes. RUNA earned Fair Trade certification from Fair Trade USA in February 2012.
Q: Is guayusa kosher?
Q: Is there a risk of PAH (Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons) in the processing of guayusa?
A: No. After being picked and washed, our guayusa leaves are dried using a high heat, natural gas-fired oven. They are not roasted or smoked – the roasting and smoking processes are what can lead to the presence of PAH in substances such as yerba maté.
Q: Where does guayusa grow?
A: Guayusa is grown almost exclusively in the upper Amazon region of Ecuador. It grows where the Andes Mountains meet the Amazon rainforest, one of the most biodiverse regions in the world. The farmers RUNA works with are primarily located in the Napo Province of Ecuador.