by Ingrid Cannes
Rachael Young, a biologist, longtime forager and herbal alchemist, has created her own wild-crafted beverage company, Texana—teas brewed from the native yaupon plant and infused with medicinal herbs and local honey. As the base of her synergistic blends, she’s chosen yaupon not just for the delicious flavor, but also for the health benefits.
Young says, “Because of yaupon’s uniquely gentle, stimulating force and densely valuable phytochemical load, it’s the ideal pick-me-up and daily health supplement. Many people are excited to know that it’s the only caffeinated plant in North America, but yaupon only contains about 1 percent caffeine, so it’s very low.”
Yaupon contains a stimulant called theobromine, a nootropic named for the cacao genus and known as the “happiness drug” in chocolate because of the mood improvement that many people experience. Unlike caffeine, theobromine does not act on the central nervous system, and so yaupon lacks the crash associated with drinking coffee. Additionally, while caffeine constricts the blood vessels, causing blood pressure to rise, theobromine dilates blood vessels, potentially lowering blood pressure. Yaupon also contains quercetin, an anti-inflammatory that’s an incredible treatment for Cedar Fever, and it has approximately the same load of antioxidants as green tea.
Texana currently offers four blends on the shelves—Illumination, Self Care Ritual, Bee Caves Brew and Marfa Lite. Three blends in the line are sweetened with Good Flow honey, and the fourth is unsweetened. “I created this brand with a huge regard for the nascent industry of ready-to-drink, cane-sugar-free teas and plant-based beverages. Our blends are truly lightly sweetened, with a spectrum of between zero and five grams of honey-based sugar per serving.”
Illumination is infused with organic, pink rose petals and is lightly honey-sweetened, formulated for cooling, calming and opening the heart. Self Care Ritual is lightly honey-sweetened and additionally infused with organic oat straw, nettle leaf, hawthorn berries and mint, a potent blend for relaxation of the nervous system. The Bee Caves Brew highlights yaupon infused with honey. Young describes it as “a healthy Texas sweet tea.” Marfa Lite is “naked” with no added sweeteners or infusions.
Young says she’s received an abundance of positive feedback from customers that normally avoid caffeine due to sensitivity, but they find a positive resonance when drinking products from Texana.
The social mission of Texana, aside from providing drinkable plant-based healing to the wider community, is focused on providing homeless and aged-out-of-foster care youth with healing therapeutic horticultural opportunities to lead them to their own healing, and with internships and professional opportunities like harvesting and brewing yaupon. Young is also on a path to becoming a foster parent herself. Young arrived in Texas from Vermont in 2014 with a carry-on backcountry pack full of wet calamus rhizomes and a suitcase full of wild-crafted herbs, and she’s made Austin her home ever since. She taught the likes of local star chef teams Emmer & Rye, Uchi, and The Barton Creek Omni to forage, and she has provided wild edibles for many others including Salt & Time, Qui and Lenoir.
Texana can be found at Wheatsville Co-op, JuiceLand, Farmhouse Delivery, Austin Bouldering Project, in.gredients, Kinda Tropical and Live Oak Market. For more information, email TexanaTea@gmail.com or visit TexanaTea.com. To schedule a group foraging trip or plant walk, email WildEatsAustin@gmail.com.