To the indigenous Kichwa people guayusa leaves have immense cultural importance and they have been using them to brew tea for thousands of years. Traditionally Kichwa families wake up before dawn and gather around a communal fire to drink guayusa. During this early-morning ritual, community members share dreams, myths, and legends. Hunters also drink guayusa before nighttime hunting trips in order to heighten their senses of awareness and focus.
They describe the effects of guayusa as making them feel “RUNA” which translates to “fully alive.”