Yaupon Holly

Candy Gaskill
Yaupon Holly
As you drive around the island you might see a beautiful tree with red berries and green leaves; that is yaupon and it grows naturally wild on the island.

Yaupon berries for years has been a source of food for the birds and the leaves have been used in making tea for hundreds of years.

It is said the Croatan Indians on Ocracoke & Hatteras Islands used the tea, which they called the "Black Drink", for medicinal and ceremonial purposes. In later years residents enjoyed yaupon tea as a replacement for Asian tea and coffee, especially during the Revolutionary and Civil Wars when these were hard to obtain. Many of the old-timers on Ocracoke remember their parents & grandparents drinking the tea.

Yaupon Holly

Yaupon is supposed to be rich in antioxidants, and the only native North American plant containing caffeine. It is claimed to be a tonic, an aphrodisiac, & a cure for hangovers.

I have never tried yaupon tea, but if you are interested in trying it the Ocracoke Preservation Society and Village Craftsman sell it.

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