Family: Aquafoliaceae | Place of Origin: Paraguay, Argentina, and Brazil
Origins and history:
Originally used by native people of Paraguay and the region as a stimulant, became economically important and traded around the world as colonizers came and went.
- Dioecious shrub that matures into a tree
- Can grow to 16 meters tall, with some reporting up to 35 meters tall
- Simple evergreen leaves – 7 to 110 mm long. Leaves are oblong shape with wide serrated margins, arranged alternately.
- Flowers are small, greenish-white, with 4 petals
- Fruit is a red drupe that is 4 to 6 mm in diameter
Uses and preparation
Dried leaves and twigs are placed into a dry, hollow gourd and topped off with boiling water, then drank with a filtered straw