Yaupon Tea: Benefits & How to Make

Many people are unaware of yaupon tea, but this ancient traditional remedy is experiencing a resurgence of popularity for its various medicinal benefits.

What is Yaupon Tea?

Yaupon tea is a tea made from the dried leaves of the yaupon holly tree, which is scientifically known as Ilex vomitoria. This type of holly tree is native to the southeastern region of North America and was once used as an emetic and a ceremonial tea for numerous Native American tribes. As the taxonomic name implies, excessive consumption of this tea is associated with vomiting, which is partly why it became such an important herbal plant.

Yaupon tea is also closely related to yerba mate tea and has many of the same active ingredients and nutrients. Furthermore, this is a richly caffeinated plant, as is the tea that is made from it. In terms of taste, yaupon tea is slightly bitter and has a similar flavor profile to green tea. The smell of this tea is definitely earthy, but the health benefits far outweigh the somewhat unpleasant flavor.

Yaupon Tea Benefits

The most important health benefits of regularly drinking yaupon tea include its effects on cancer, blood pressure, dental health, inflammatory conditions, the immune system, and digestive processes, among others.


Some people consider yaupon tea to be a superfood, due to its rich supply of antioxidants and beneficial nutrients, including certain compounds that are linked to lower cancer rates, particularly colon cancer.

Blood Pressure

One of the active ingredients in this tea is called theobromine, which is known to help lower blood pressure and reduce strain on your cardiovascular system.


Recent studies have found that yaupon tea can help to moderate the immune response and cut down on inflammatory issues, such as the pain and discomfort of arthritis, as well as headaches, gout, and joint pain.

Immune System

There are polyphenolic compounds in this tea that have been directly linked to stimulating the immune system, which can help you avoid infections from foreign pathogens.


Theobromine is not only good for blood pressure, but also for preventing oral infections and keeping your teeth healthy.


This tea can stimulate the digestive and metabolic systems, helping to eliminate constipation and indigestion.

How to Make Yaupon Tea?

Making your own yaupon holly tea at home is a bit more complicated than making other herbal teas, but it is well worth the effort.

  • Step 1 – Use fresh yaupon leaves; heat them in the oven at 300 degrees Fahrenheit until they begin to brown.
  • Step 2 – Boil 2-3 cups of hot water in a kettle.
  • Step 3 – Add about 1 tablespoon of the roasted leaves to a teacup.
  • Step 4 – Pour over the boiled water and allow to steep for 3-4 minutes.
  • Step 5 – Add honey or natural sweetener to improve the taste.


There are some things you need to worry about with yaupon tea, particularly if you have cardiovascular problems or are pregnant/breastfeeding.

Heart Issues

Due to the high level of caffeine in this tea (comparable to green or black tea), moderate your consumption, or it can affect heart arrhythmias and the level of stress hormones in the body, which can be dangerous.


Due to the caffeine level and powerful active ingredients in this tea, it is not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women.