Yaupon is a small evergreen shrub with berries that are red when
ripe. Young dried leaves contain enough caffeine to provide the same "lift" that is expected from tea. In the early 1900s, there were two attempts to grow yaupon commercially in Mount Pleasant, but both failed. There was too much competition from oriental teas even though the yaupon grew well in cultivation. Native Americans also probably cultivated yaupon, distributing it in several locations in the state. They drank tea made from the young leaves, but also used the older leaves. These older leaves contained more caffeine and were one component of the "black drink." Old leaves were boiled down along with several other herbs to make a potent, very dark liquid. This caused vomiting when consumed as part of a cleansing ritual, and is responsible for the scientific name of Ilex

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