In my ongoing search for pure elderberry juice, I stepped into a health food store with my mom. We didn’t find the juice I was looking for, but instead we were greeted by a young man offering samples of a tea beverage he was serving up in small paper cups.
My mother and I agreed to try a sip of Runa iced tea, which the young man explained was packed with antioxidants, more even than in green tea.
The magic ingredient he said was guayusa a super-leaf harvested from the Amazon. I liked the sound of that and I drank up.
I asked him to tell me more about what super-healing properties the guayusa leaf possessed. Well, he said, the people of the Amazon drink it to help them wake and focus their energy to transition from dreams to the world of waking life.
Hearing the word dreams, my ears perked up. But I was equally interested in the part about waking up. I’m strictly an herbal tea drinker – no coffee, no caffeine — and often have trouble feeling alert and awake in the morning after a prolific night of dreaming.
So I bought a $3 box of Runa tea. I asked our salesman friend if I could snap a picture of the tea display for my blog. “I write about dreams,” I explained.
Well, now he was wide awake, alert, and attentive. “I love dreams,” he said. He was no longer just acting in the role of a saleseman with a customer on the line, but was jazzed up with the enthusiasm of meeting a kindred dream spirit.
“I have cinematic dreams, like movies,” he said. “I write them down and make stories out of them.”
We talked dreams for a bit, and then I bought my tea and went on my way.
Reading the package more closely I discovered Runa’s not-so-secret secret ingredient, as it turns out, is caffeine: “As much as one cup of coffee per serving,” the package boasts.
Hmmm. That was an underwhelming development. But still, the opportunity to make the acquaintance of an exuberant young dreamer, to learn a little lore about the Amazonian denizens’ use of a special tea to help them transition from dreams to waking, was worth the $3 price tag for a box of caffeinated tea.
One day, centuries from now, perhaps, an enthusiastic young dreamer will be peddling the ancient “Starbucks Brew,” once said to have helped drowsy denizens of Manhattan transition from the fog of dreams into the jittery pace of the urban jungle.
And some unsuspecting curiosity seeker will marvel at the magic of an extra tall latte, and the romance of a long ago tribe of dreamers inhabiting the long lost isle of Manhattan, and pay the asking price to sample the exotic brew.
- Runa Tea – Bringing Kichwa Traditions to the Global Market (firstpeoples.org)