Originally published September 22 2011
Yaupon holly offers antioxidant benefits, caffeine
by Tara Green
(NaturalNews) A recent study at Texas A&M University verifies the anti-inflammatory benefits of the yaupon holly plant in reference to inhibiting colon cancer. A 2009 University of Florida study previously validated the plant's antioxidant benefits, revealing that, depending on the specific genotype of the plant studied, yaupon holly can offer anywhere from fifty to a hundred percent of the antioxidant benefits of green tea. However, yaupon holly tea has a less bitter taste than green tea because it contains far less tannin.
Those who enjoy the caffeine kick of green tea or coffee will appreciate that this particular antioxidant source also offers the highest caffeine content of any native North American plant. Native Americans once used the leaves and twig tips of this plant to make an energizing tea. Yaupon leaves contain between .65% and .85% caffeine by weight, compared to coffee beans 1.1% caffeine and tea leaves 3.5% caffeine.
If you live in the southeastern U.S., you may already have this source of antioxidants growing in your yard. Yaupon holly trees are a popular ornamental plant in the southeastern states, and also grow wild in this region. If you want to grow your own yaupon as an inexpensive source of antioxidant tea, nitrogen plant food boosts the leaf yield of the plant, as well as increasing the caffeine content. Be sure you are using the correct variety of plant (yaupon's Latin designation is Ilex vomitoria, Aquifoliaceae), as other varieties of holly can be harmful.
If you prefer to purchase ready-to-drink teas rather than follow the DIY route, yaupon offers an additional benefit over green tea. A study published in the May 2011 issue of The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry revealed that phytochemicals providing antioxidant benefits in green tea could become unstable if packaged in polyethylene terephthalate (PET) rather than glass bottles. The antioxidant capability of yaupon, in contrast, remained stable regardless of the type of packaging.
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