Ilex Vomitoria Ait. (Yaupon): A Native North American Source of a Caffeinated and Antioxidant-Rich Tea
- 570 Downloads
Ilex Vomitoria Ait. (Yaupon): A Native North American Source of a Caffeinated and Antioxidant-Rich Tea. Yaupon holly (Ilex vomitoria Ait.) is a caffeine-containing shrub native to the southeastern United States where its leaves and twigs were traditionally used to prepare a stimulating and healthful beverage by Amerindians and more recent colonists. For a variety of mostly socioeconomic and cultural reasons, widespread consumption of yaupon tea ceased by the late 19th century, but the species is widely used in ornamental horticulture. Given the environmental damage associated with other caffeine crops, we believe that disuse of this species is unfortunate, and we report on traits that consumers may consider valuable. We found that total foliar biomass, caffeine, and antioxidant production all increased with nitrogen fertilization in one common ornamental yaupon cultivar, ‘Nana.’ Increasing light availability was associated with increased antioxidant activity but not with the decreased caffeine production predicted by the carbon/nutrient balance hypothesis for secondary metabolite production. We also found the highest caffeine concentrations in another yaupon cultivar, ‘Pendula,’ but suggest that the wide range of chemical variation offered by wild-type yaupon populations renders them more suitable as sources for the development of high caffeine-producing varieties. The results of this study suggest that yaupon is a viable caffeine alternative for North Americans living within its range on the southeastern coastal plain.
Key WordsCarbon/nutrient balance hypothesis cassina phenolics
We thank Isabel Meister for help in the field and Michelle Mack and Rick Stepp for useful comments on earlier drafts of this manuscript. We also thank Paulo Brando for help with the statistics and Youngmok Kim and Jorgé Cardona for assistance with the second round of caffeine assays. This study was funded in part by a grant from the Robert B. Ragland Environmental Foundation.
- Bracesco, N., M. Dell, A. Rocha, S. Behtash, T. Menini, A. Gugliucci, and E. Nunes. 2003. Antioxidant Activity of a Botanical Extract Preparation of Ilex paraguariensis: Prevention of DNA Double-Strand Breaks in Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Human Low-Density Lipoprotein Oxidation. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 9:379–387.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Carini, M., R. Maffei Facino, G. Aldini, M. Calloni, and L. Colombo. 1998. Characterization of Phenolic Antioxidants from Mate (Ilex paraguayensis) by Liquid Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry and Liquid Chromatography/Tandem Mass Spectrometry. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry 12:1813–1819.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Chandra, S. and E. Gonzalez de Mejia. 2004. Polyphenolic Compounds, Antioxidant Capacity, Quinone Reductase Activity of an Aqueous Extract of Ardisia compressa in Comparison to Maté (Ilex paraguariensis) and Green (Camellia sinensis) Teas. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 52:3583–3589.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Fairbanks, C. H. 1979. The Function of Black Drink among the Creeks. Pages 120–149 in Charles M. Hudson, ed., Black Drink: A Native American Tea. University of Georgia Press, Athens.Google Scholar
- FAOSTAT Online Database. 2007. http://faostat.fao.org/site/567/default.aspx#ancor (30 April 2007).
- Fuller, H. M., R. I. Arnold, and M. K. Murphy. 2002. Using Chemistry to Understand Culture: Why Did Native Americans Vomit after Drinking Yaupon Tea? Journal of Undergraduate Chemistry 1:47–51.Google Scholar
- Gilbert, R. M. 1986. Caffeine: The Most Popular Stimulant. Chelsea House Publishers, New York.Google Scholar
- Graham, H. N. 1998. Maté. Pages 193–197 in Gene A. Spiller, ed., Caffeine. CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida.Google Scholar
- Hale, E. M. 1891. Ilex cassine: The Aboriginal North American Tea. USDA Division of Botany 14:1–22.Google Scholar
- Hudson, C. M. 1979. Introduction. Pages 1–9 in Charles M. Hudson, ed., Black Drink: A Native American Tea. University of Georgia Press, Athens.Google Scholar
- ———. 1995. “Black Drink” and the Indians of the Southeastern United States. Pages 15–21 in James M. Affolter and M. Henry, eds., People and Plants: Cultural and Historical Connections. State Botanical Gardens of Georgia, Athens.Google Scholar
- Mazzafera, P. 1994. Caffeine, Theobromine, and Theophylline Distribution in Ilex paraguariensis. Revista Braseleira de Fisiologia Vegetal 6:149–151.Google Scholar
- Merrill, W. L. 1979. The Beloved Tree. Pages 40–82 in Charles M. Hudson., ed., Black Drink: A Native American Tea. University of Georgia Press, Athens.Google Scholar
- ———. 2004. Response to: Conservation Policy in Coffee Landscapes. Science 303:625–626.Google Scholar
- Perfecto I. and I. Armbrecht. 2003. The Coffee Agroecosystem in the Neotropics: Combining Ecological and Economic Goals. Pages 159–194 in John H. Vandermeer, ed., Tropical Agroecosystems. CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida.Google Scholar
- Spiller, M. A. 1984. The Methylxanthine Beverages and Foods: Chemistry, Consumption, and Health Effects. Alan R. Liss, Inc., New York.Google Scholar
- Sturtevant, W. C. 1979. Black Drink and Other Caffeine-Containing Beverages among Non-Indians. Pages 150–165 in Charles M. Hudson, ed., Black Drink: A Native American Tea. University of Georgia Press, Athens.Google Scholar
- Weinberg, B. A. and B. K. Bealer. 2001. The World of Caffeine: The Science and Culture of the World’s Most Popular Drug. Routledge Press, New York.Google Scholar
- Wright, Jr J. L. 1986. Creeks and Seminoles. University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln.Google Scholar