Unveiling the Safety of Yaupon Holly Tea: Dispelling Myths and Embracing Tradition

yaupon growing in palm fronds

Welcome to the Rise Yaupon blog, your trusted source for all things Yaupon holly tea! Today, we're addressing a common question that many newcomers to Yaupon holly tea may have: Is Yaupon holly tea safe to drink? ABSOLUTELY.  Our team has collectively served over 15 million cups of Yaupon tea and we’re here to provide you with the facts about the safety and health benefits this tea has to offer.

The Safety of Yaupon Holly Tea: Separating Fact from Fiction

Yaupon holly has an unappealing botanical name, which leads to the misconception of Yaupon tea.  In reality, Yaupon has been consumed for centuries by indigenous peoples of North America, even pre-dating teas from China.  The Timucua revered Yaupon as a gift from the god Yahola, and was the center of their civilization - medicine, commerce and religion.  Check out our blog on the Timucuan people and how interwoven Yaupon tea was to their everyday lives.

When Yaupon began hitting the European market in the mid 1700’s, it posed a threat to the well-established tea monopoly held by the East India Trading Company.  The botanical name for Yaupon was changed from Ilex cassine to Ilex vomitoria by the British Royal Gardener, William Aiton, despite the fact that Yaupon had been growing at Kew Gardens for over 90 years.  Learn more about the scandal that rocked the Yaupon market from our blog, here.

Debunking the Myth of Toxicity

One of the most common misconceptions about Yaupon holly tea is that it is toxic or unsafe to drink. While it's true that certain species of holly contain toxic compounds, Yaupon holly is not among them. The National Institute of Health did a study of Yaupon and found NO EMETIC PROPERTIES. In fact, Yaupon holly has been extensively studied and found to be safe for human consumption.  The FDA has even certified Yaupon Holly tea as GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe).

It is important to note that Yaupon tea is made from the LEAVES of the Yaupon plant.  Female Yaupon trees do produce berries, which can be mildly irritating to humans.  If you are doing DIY Yaupon tea, we advise you to stay away from berries (just use the leaves).  Berries are a tremendous food source for migratory birds.  At Rise Yaupon, our farms have male trees (no berries) and our wild harvested leaves go through a separation process to remove any stray berries that might be in a harvest.  We take great care to ensure that your tea is the highest quality of strictly leaves.

The Importance of Proper Preparation

Like any botanical beverage, the safety of Yaupon holly tea depends on proper preparation and sourcing. At Rise Yaupon, we adhere to strict quality control standards, starting with the growing conditions of our tea leaves.  We are proud that we grow Yaupon with no herbicides, no pesticides, and no aquifer impact.  We sanitize leaves the same day they are harvested, using a chemical solution called oxine.  This removes any bacteria and grime from the leaves.  Our drying process happens inside of a greenhouse, so we control the environment.  The heat of the greenhouse is another kill-stage for any residual bacteria that may remain after the oxine treatment.


Our final stage of sterilization happens at home with our customers - using boiling water to prepare your tea is the last and final step in having a delicious, harm-free product.

Health Benefits of Yaupon Holly Tea

In addition to being safe to drink, Yaupon holly tea offers a range of potential health benefits, including:

Antioxidant properties: Yaupon holly tea is rich in antioxidants, which help combat oxidative stress and protect against chronic diseases.

Natural energy boost: With a moderate caffeine content, Yaupon holly tea provides a gentle and sustained energy lift without the jitters or crash associated with other caffeinated beverages.

Digestive support: Yaupon is a prebiotic, and supports the good bacteria in your gut, helping with microbiome balance. 

Read more about theobromine, polyphenols, and anti-inflammatories in our blog on all the health benefits of Yaupon

Rise Yaupon: Your Trusted Source for Quality and Safety

When you choose Rise Yaupon, you can rest assured that you're getting a safe and high-quality beverage that's been carefully crafted from our own sustainably grown Yaupon trees. With Rise Yaupon, you can sip with confidence, knowing that every cup is packed with the pure flavor and tremendous health benefits of Yaupon holly tea.

As we've explored, Yaupon holly tea is not only safe to drink but also offers a range of potential health benefits when enjoyed as part of a balanced lifestyle. At Rise Yaupon, we're proud to honor the tradition of Yaupon holly tea and provide you with the highest quality product possible. So go ahead, brew yourself a cup of Rise Yaupon tea and experience the safety, flavor, and tradition of this ancient beverage for yourself. Happy Steeping!

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