Rise Yaupon

The Health Benefits of Yaupon Tea: What You Need to Know

The Health Benefits of Yaupon Tea: What You Need to Know

Written by: Mary Steele

Yaupon Tea is unique in various ways. Firstly, it is made from the indigenous plant, Yaupon Holly. Yaupon grows in the southeastern region of the United States and has been used as a tea by Native Americans for over 8 thousand years. Secondly, it has significant beneficial molecules, including antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, caffeine, and theobromine. Above all, because it does not contain tannins, it tastes great!

The Yaupon Holly plant contains many health benefits that may improve focus, decrease inflammation, prevent disease, and improve brain function while increasing energy levels.

The Natural Composition of Yaupon Tea

Yaupon Tea is naturally caffeinated! The caffeine is found in the leaves, which act as the plant’s defense system - a natural deterrent to bugs and animals. The caffeine levels can vary with different nitrogen levels in the soil, but generally, there are 40 mg of caffeine per 8-ounce cup. This is roughly equivalent to the caffeine levels in a cup of green tea and about a third of the amount found in coffee.

Yaupon Tea is an antioxidant superfood. Antioxidants help protect cells from oxidative stress and free radicals, which can cause cell damage. Yaupon also contains polyphenols, an antioxidant that can help reduce inflammation. This may help with chronic conditions such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.

Tannin – what is it? Tannins are an antioxidant that produces bitterness, may affect iron absorption, and can cause nausea. Tannins are found in other teas, red wine, and other foods. Guess what? Yaupon Holly does not have tannin. The benefit of Yaupon Holly tea is that it can not be oversteeped in time or temperature. It will never go bitter and tastes great without sugar!

Yaupon Tea also has theobromine, a stimulant that may improve focus and brain function. It is also the chemical in dark chocolate that makes you feel good. So, what's not to like?

Yaupon Tea and Improved Digestion

Yaupon tea can be a digestive aid because of its anti-inflammatory properties and polyphenols. Chronic inflammation can have a negative impact on gut health, such as bloating and indigestion. If the inflammation is reduced, it benefits overall gut health.

Polyphenols can also help improve gut health by supporting the growth of beneficial gut bacteria. Also, Yaupon tea contains dietary fiber that also feeds beneficial microorganisms. Increasing these gut flora improves gastrointestinal health.

Drinking Yaupon Tea also improves overall hydration, which is essential to overall gut well-being. The caffeine may also have a mild laxative effect on some.

Yaupon Tea is a Natural Anti-Inflammatory

When you are sick or injured, your body activates your immune system by sending out inflammatory cells that attack infecting bacteria or start the restoration of damaged tissues. However, if you are not sick or injured and this process is activated, it may result in chronic inflammation, which can manifest itself in such symptoms as abdominal or chest pain, fatigue, or joint pain. These symptoms can result in conditions such as Alzheimer's disease, asthma, cancer, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, or type 2 diabetes.

Yaupon Tea contains compounds such as ursolic acid that can naturally decrease inflammation. This, in turn, can help provide relief from diseases associated with inflammation.

Yaupon Tea's Role in Boosting Metabolism

Yaupon Holly contains two different stimulants: caffeine and theobromine.

Caffeine is known to boost metabolism by stimulating the central nervous system. This can increase energy, alertness, and focus. It is often used to combat fatigue. Caffeine can temporarily increase the heart rate, which can improve exercise performance. It also has a mild diuretic effect and can suppress appetite. At higher levels, caffeine has the potential to cause restlessness and jitters. Yaupon Holly contains approximately 40mg of caffeine in the first brewed cup, which is similar to the caffeine level in other green teas.

Theobromine is a milder stimulant that can boost energy and alertness. It can relax and dilate the blood vessels, which can reduce blood pressure and decrease the heart rate. It can also relax the smooth muscles of the airway, helping asthma attacks. Because the stimulant level differs from caffeine, it is less likely to impact sleep. Theobromine is the alkaloid found in chocolate, also known as the “feel good” chemical.

Antioxidants in Yaupon tea and their benefits

In the normal course of cell function and in reaction to external stresses (chemicals, UV light, air pollution, etc.), waste molecules (called free radicals) are formed in your body that are missing electrons. Some are useful to cell function, but often, they go throughout your body, scavenging electrons from functioning cells. Bad things can happen when cells lose electrons to these free radicals; imagine your DNA being tampered with.

Cancer is only one of many potentially bad outcomes. The best way to overcome this problem is to eat or drink foods rich in antioxidants; they supply electrons to free radicals, thus preventing them from finding electrons in your cells. Free radicals are neutralized and eventually get flushed from your system. Damage is prevented. Fortunately, Yaupon is rich in the antioxidants listed below:


Not only do these compounds neutralize free radicals, they are an important food source for the bacteria that promote gut health. Yaupon also provides dietary fiber that is consumed by these bacteria.


These chemicals are a specific type of polyphenol that have antioxidant characteristics as well as anti-inflammatory properties. Also, USDA studies show that flavonoids slow the progression of dementia, improve cognitive function, and delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

Ursolic Acid

Ursolic acid is an organic antioxidant molecule that is also an anti-inflammatory. Research suggests that ursolic acid inhibits the growth of cancer cells and hastens their death. It also preserves muscle mass and regulates blood sugar.

A quick side note regarding health benefits and cancer. There is a study from Texas A&M scientists that shows how Yaupon prevents the growth of polyps that eventually become colon cancer. A researcher at Stetson University is killing Leukemia cells in her lab using Yaupon extract. The problem is that human studies have not been undertaken to prove these promising results, and in some cases, the chemicals have not been isolated. Hopefully, more research will follow as the world rediscovers Yaupon Holly tea.

Yaupon Tea vs. Other Caffeinated Beverages

The caffeine level of Yaupon Tea can vary slightly based on the nitrogen level of the soil surrounding the Yaupon Holly plant. However, the caffeine level averages 40 milligrams per 8-ounce cup. This is similar to other teas but is significantly lower than a cup of coffee, which weighs in at 96 milligrams per cup. An 8-ounce cup of cola has 22 milligrams of caffeine, and eight ounces of an energy drink has almost 80 milligrams. The actual caffeine level of tea and coffee can also vary depending on the processing and brewing times.

Yaupon Tea not only has caffeine but also exhibits theobromine, which is the same stimulant that is found in dark chocolate. Theobromine exhibits a smoother energy boost and a gentler ramp down than caffeine.

It is considered to be safe for adults to consume up to 400 milligrams of caffeine per day. However, individuals vary in terms of caffeine sensitivity. Consulting with your doctor about caffeine intake is recommended.

Yaupon Tea can be combined with other beverages, including other caffeinated drinks. In doing so, the benefits would be amplified.

Individual Sensitivity to Caffeine

Several factors can affect an individual's sensitivity to caffeine, including genetics, tolerance, age, body weight and composition, medications, sleep patterns, diet, and stress. Genetics influences how a person's body metabolizes caffeine. If an individual regularly consumes caffeine, it may increase tolerance, leading to increased caffeine to achieve the same stimulating results.

Children are the most sensitive to caffeine; as individuals age, their sensitivity may decrease. People with a higher body fat percentage may exhibit lower sensitivity because caffeine is distributed throughout the body. Medications may also affect a person's sensitivity to caffeine. If sleep patterns are irregular or if a person is sleep deprived, it may lead to higher caffeine sensitivity. What an individual has eaten or if they have eaten can change the absorption rate of caffeine. A stressed or anxious individual may be more sensitive to caffeine.

An individual's ideal caffeine intake is subjective and depends on the desired effect. Some factors that should be considered include assessing your personal sensitivity to caffeine, what the goal is, your personal health, and your daily routine. Once those factors are considered, start with a moderate intake, then gradually adjust to achieve your optimal caffeine intake.

It is generally considered to be safe for an adult to consume 400mg of caffeine per day. However, with the factors listed above, this may vary greatly. It is important to consult your physician if you have medical issues, are taking prescription medications, or are planning to become or are pregnant.

Combining Yaupon Tea With a Healthy Lifestyle

Without a doubt, modern medicine saves and improves lives. Still, heart disease, cancer, dementia, and other maladies remain serious threats to our well-being. Scientists have noticed several populations much less susceptible to these threats, where people lead much longer (and much healthier) lives. In these so-called “Blue Zones,” diet and lifestyle have been studied, and there are several common themes among healthy populations around the world, such as:

  • Plant-based diets
  • Almost no fatty meats
  • Fresh rather than processed foods
  • Much less (or no) sugar
  • Regular exercise
  • Supportive social structure
  • Much less anxiety and stress

We at Rise Yaupon think that our tea is the perfect drink for the world of healthy lifestyles, starting with something that’s missing from Yaupon; Tannin. Tannin is actually an antioxidant (good) found in traditional tea that emerges while steeping. Unfortunately, it tastes extremely bitter and can cause nausea (bad). Historically, tea drinkers have added sugar and milk to kill the astringent taste (ugly). Milk degrades the innate antioxidants of tea, and added sugar is definitely something to avoid. Why not go with a naturally delicious tea without milk or sugar? With the ongoing surge in obesity and diabetes in our modern world, we think the answer is obvious.

Deeper Dive into Health and Wellness

We mentioned that anxiety and stress reduction are important for health, and we run into lots of people who are looking to reduce the intensity and anxiety associated with coffee. Yaupon has roughly 30% of the caffeine load of coffee, but there is more to it than that. Our relatively high levels of the stimulant called theobromine (the “pleasure” alkaloid found in dark chocolate) make Yaupon tea drinkers more alert without the jitters. Also, Yaupon’s natural flavonoids that delay or prevent dementia can help ensure a long, healthy, and rewarding life.

Eating healthy food is important, but so is taking care of your own biochemistry. Yaupon is an antioxidant tea that reduces oxidative stress, and feeding our gut bacteria is a great bonus. Additionally, a plant-based diet is rich in polyphenols and ursolic acids (the key ingredients found in Yaupon). It all adds up to a greatly reduced risk of debilitating (and sometimes deadly) disease(s). While not a guarantee of perfect health, lifestyle changes give us the chance to shape the trajectory of our own lives. Yaupon fits perfectly with this concept of taking control. We find it amazing that the world’s best tea has been overlooked for centuries while we import over 250,000 tons of tea from overseas each year. Our next blog will talk about the reasons for that, but nevertheless, Yaupon is on the Rise; Whole Foods Market named Yaupon the number 1 food trend for 2023. There are many reasons for the revival in Yaupon tea.  Yaupon is:

  • A natural anti-inflammatory
  • An antioxidant super-food
  • A source of chemo-preventive compounds
  • An American source of caffeine and theobromine
  • Without tannins (does not need sugar to taste great)
  • Carbon negative (not shipped across oceans)
  • Grown without pesticides or chemicals
  • A sustainable crop for our farmers

Start a Healthier Lifestyle Today with Yaupon Tea

You can see from the description above that Yaupon tea meets the important concerns of modern consumers. The exciting part is that Yaupon is just getting started. Here are a few ideas for the future of lifestyle enhancement:

  1. How about a natural energy drink that is good for you rather than a chemical-rich caffeine overboost.
  2. When Yaupon powder is ingested, the antioxidant level is astronomical. How about an array of naturally caffeinated baked goods that wake you up and help keep you healthy?
  3. Who knows what will come from real cancer-fighting research?

In summary, Yaupon is the perfect choice for those interested in taking control of their own health.

Rise. Drink (Yaupon) Tea. Be Healthy. Do Good.

Reading next

Yaupon Tea Taste Profile: What To Expect From Your First Cup
Mastering the Art of Brewing Yaupon Tea: Expert Tips and Techniques

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