On the evening of day two, I got online and made phone call after phone call. “Do you carry guava leaf tea?” I would ask. “What kind of tea?” the response would be. “Could you spell it?” “One more call,” I told myself. “Someone has to know SOMETHING.”
Then … someone did! Drug Stop 22 had it!! The poor woman on the phone did not understand my excitement, and so I explained. I had been searching for days, I told her. DAYS! And I finally found someone who carries it! The trail was warming back up.
Day three: I went to Drug Stop 22 and spoke with an employee named Melissa. She said she carried the tea because people requested it, but she didn’t know what they used it for. She also told me that she was fairly sure guava leaf tea was sold in Chinatown.
So off I went to Chinatown. I found guava leaf tea at one of the huge stores, Wing Hop Fung, and at another small market, BJ’s Market. There were a couple different kinds of tea – one branded as a detox tea, another as a tea for diabetics. At last, my efforts were panning out. The women at the tea counter said they sold a decent amount of the tea, and that it was very beneficial for healthy blood sugar levels, as well as for the gastro-intestinal system.
Driving back to Las Vegas, I reflected on my trip. What had I found? Guava leaves have been used for many centuries, but by only a segment of the world’s population. Even in trend-setting L.A., it remains an herb popular only within Asian culture. The general population may be missing out, but we now know the baseline. And with the popularity of all things Asian, and with the huge number of tea and herbal retailers in Southern California, it may be only a matter of time before the guava leaf market expands.