The health benefits of yerba mate are being lauded as the best thing since sliced bread at the moment, and with good reason. This centuries-old herb has long been consumed in pill form and brewed as a tea to help boost alertness and concentration, as well as provide lots of valuable minerals and vitamins. But as with anything, there are a few possible side affects that could be detrimental to good health, and these should be considered before beginning any new product.
Common sense should prevail when taking herbal remedies, as there is no one complete wonder drug that is without downsides. Moderation is the key, and a gradual introduction to yerba mate is the best way to introduce it into your system.
1. Potential Risk of Cancer
Yes, as with a lot of things these days, drinking excessive amounts of yerba mate has the potential to cause cancer - especially in the head, neck and upper aero-digestive tract. Studies were made in South America, where the leaf is grown, and it was discovered that there was an increase in the amount of heavy drinkers of yerba mate that were contracting the disease. It is thought that this may be due to the tannins produced my brewing the leaves at very high temperatures.
2. Elevated Blood Pressure from Caffeine
The ability to stimulate the mind, increase alertness and help prolong physical activity is a result of the caffeine content. When brewed, yerba can contain roughly the same amount as a cup of coffee. Although it also contains vitamins and other compounds that are said to negate the effects sometimes experienced by caffeine-sensitive drinkers, such as the jitters, headaches and upset stomachs, caution is advised to people who may still experience these side affects as caffeine is still present in the drink. People with high blood pressure should also take medical advice before taking yerba.
3. Possible Liver Disease
Again, this is a side affect that has been documented in those that drink very high amounts of yerba mate. As the liver is the filter for the body, consuming anything with a complex makeup such as yerba could undoubtedly cause problems after a while. As long as it is taken in moderation though, the chances of contracting liver disease in the average person is fairly slim.
4. Increased Side Effects in Children
As children are still growing, their bodies are more sensitive to the ingredients, such as caffeine. Caffeine has the potential to cause a nervous reaction, as well as upset stomach in some people, so you can imaging how these symptoms would be worse for a child. Also be aware that some forms of the product may include alcohol or sugar, so always thoroughly check the label of the preparation before giving it to children.
All in all, yerba mate is generally safe herbal remedy, and has been used for hundreds of years by people. As long as common sense is used when integrating it into your diet, the potential for any of these side effects will be minimal. As with any new product that contains stimulants, it is always a good idea to check with your doctor beforehand, as it may be unsuitable for people on certain medications.