Guayusa Ritual shaman michelle martin
Guayusa is a plant native to the Ecuadorian Amazon, whose leaves are used mainly in the preparation of tea due to its stimulating and healing properties.
It has been consumed as an infusion for more than a thousand years by the indigenous communities of Ecuador, who consider it a sacred plant, and to this day it remains highly popular among the population, since it is usually consumed as a substitute for tea and coffee.
It is an endemic crop of Ecuador, which does not grow naturally anywhere else on the planet, which is why it is highly significant for the cultural identity of the peoples of the Amazon region and ceremonies are run by an experienced Shamanic and spiritual healer
The importance of Guayusa in the Kichwa culture
Guayusa is particularly important in the Kichwa culture and is always present in its rituals and ceremonies. Sometimes it is consumed in the form of tea by the assistants. On other occasions, it can also be used as decoration or ornament, in necklaces of leaves and headbands. This plant has a very important role in all spiritual events and in traditional festivities, as it is considered a sacred plant by the Kichwa Anangu community.
The ancient sages claimed that it had healing properties that made the sick better, raised the spirits, gave energy and caused happiness.
Indeed, Guayusa leaves are rich in caffeine, a substance that accelerates metabolism and has energising effects on the human body, causing a sense of well-being as experienced by many who consume it regularly. Its leaves have the power to cleanse and detoxify the body, so it is also consumed by those who perform dietas for purifying purposes.
Another effect attributed to the Guayusa is to enhance the fertility of women. It is also said to help increase the libido and sexual energy of people.
Some wise people maintain to this day – say that the Guayusa also contains magical powers. According to the legend, anyyone who consumes this plant is destined to return again to its place of origin, the Ecuadorian Amazon, as has the power to attract them, no matter where they are...
Guayusa ritual with Kurikindi, an Kichwa Ecudorian Shaman
Guayusa and the interpretation of dreams
Guayusa rituals are started very early in the morning. Men, women and children of the Kichwa community get up in the dark and gather around large clay pots to boil the leaves with which they will prepare the infusion. This also has another important meaning within the community, and the families, since as during this time they participate in a ritual of great ancestral value: the ceremony of interpretation of dreams.
As the leaves of the Guayusa boil and the smell of the plant begins to spread through the environment, the attendees of the ceremony gather around the preparation to discuss their dreams, which will later be interpreted by the wisest of the community.
Before the sun rises, one by one they begin to relate what they dreamed the night before, hoping that after the interpretation, they will be given personal valuable advice and observations on a practical and spiritual level for each of them.
During the ceremony traditional Kichwa songs are shared until the Guayusa is finally consumed. Once the ceremony is concluded, the community is ready to start their day.
This ceremony, which used to be held periodically in the homes of the indigenous communities, is now also being incorporated into the tourism activities carried out in the area.
For many years, this plant has attracted the attention of the international scientific community thanks to its varied healing properties. In addition to being a natural energiser for the body, studies show that it would serve as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, which explains the use that was formerly given to combat rheumatism.
The truth is that every day there are more properties beneficial to health that are attributed to the Guayusa, which has driven up the demand for it. This trade has had positive effects directly on the Kichwa community, since it is they who, for the most part, plant and sell the Guayusa, preserving its medicinal use and spreading the tradition of its consumption beyond their region.
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