What Is Yerba Mate?

Many people drink yerba mate as a substitute for tea or coffee. This drink stems from South American cultures, namely from areas like Brazil, Argentina and Bolivia. Mate tea was and still serves as the center piece for ritualistic practices performed in South America and abroad.

Yerba Mate Information

Like other types of tea, mate comes from the yerba mate plant leaves. The dry leaves soak in hot water as opposed to the boiling water used to make most other teas. Yerba mate tastes much like green tea in that both have a vegetative aroma and flavor.

A gourd full of mate tea gets passed in circles as a ritualistic practice in South American regions. In a sense, the tea serves as a means of spiritual release and relaxation inducer.

Yerba Mate Health Function

Mate tea has slightly more caffeine than green tea, but slightly less than coffee. Caffeine found in yerba mate provides the common wake-up effect, which is known to many cultures as an effective way to fight off drowsiness.

Some believe that the xanthines found within the tea have the ability to sooth muscle tissue and increase heart health. However, no definitive evidence has proven these claims. A study in 2009 did show that regular consumption of the yerba mate tea slightly reduces bad cholesterol levels.

Some speculation has surfaced regarding mate’s ability to cause cancer. However, the only tests that did prove any sort of carcinogenic effects were those that used boiling hot water to make yerba mate. The drink was traditionally served warm and has shown no adverse health effects when served this way.

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  • yoda

    The stimulant in yerba mate may be mateine, a xanthine like caffeine but without the adverse effects of caffeine. Whether it is naturally caffeinated or contains mateine, it shouldn’t provide those adverse effects. Also, any hot beverage over time can have a carcinogenic effect due to the high temperature.