Yerba Mate Benefits

Yerba Mate
Latin Name

Ilex paraguariensis

Origin

South America

Parts Used

Leaf

Traditional Use and Health Benefits

Native to South America, the tradition of drinking Yerba Mate stretches back thousands of years and encompasses all of the indigenous tribes of this area.

Believed to contain every nutrient necessary to sustain life, Yerba Mate is a powerhouse of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals that offer a wide variety of health benefits.

In the same way we English have a great fondness for a cup of tea, the South American people love their Yerba Mate!

Yerba Mate Benefits

Healthy Weight Loss

There has been much research into the fat busting properties of Yerba Mate. A Korean study was published in the “BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies” journal that looked at the anti-obesity effects of this herb. Obese subject who supplemented with 3 Yerba Mate capsules per meal (3 times per day), experienced statistically significant decreases in body fat compared with the placebo group.

Other studies show that Yerba Mate may reduce appetite and boost metabolism – important factors in any healthy weight loss plan. Another study found that it actually increases the amount of fat burned for energy by measuring “fatty acid oxidation” (FAO), during exercise. They found that Yerba Mate increased the FAO of subjects by a whopping 24 percent. The researchers concluded that “Yerba Mate has potential to increase the exercise effectiveness for weight loss and sports performance.”

Heart Health

Yerba Mate is bursting with beneficial plant compounds, including polyphenols that have been found to slow the progression of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), a pre-cursor in cardiovascular disease.

There have also been studies on the beneficial impact Yerba Mate tea has on the reduction of LDL cholesterol in people with hypercholesterolemia. A 2009 study published in the “Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry” found that consumption of Yerba Mate increased HDL cholesterol and lowered LDL cholesterol which in turn could reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

With powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, Yerba Mate protects the heart and cardiovascular system. It contains significant amounts of the phytochemical theobromine which relaxes blood vessels, allowing for better blood flow.

Brain Boosting

Containing a reasonable amount of caffeine which is well studied for its brain enhancing benefits, Yerba Mate also contains the aforementioned theobromine and the compound theophylline. These three compounds work synergistically to produce mild stimulant effects.

Regular drinkers of this nutrient rich tea report that they are more productive, motivated and mentally alert, without the crash and potential addiction that is commonly faced by coffee drinkers.

Energy Boosting

Compared with other energy boosting herbs and superfoods, Yerba Mate is said to produce a sustained energy boost that is gentle and calm.

It is frequently consumed by athletes to enhance their performance and can be useful to people suffering from physical and mental fatigue.

Immune System

Yerba Mate leaves are rich in saponins, phytochemicals that have been found to specifically stimulate the immune system and help the body to protect itself against disease.

The saponins in Yerba Mate have been found to possess powerful anti-inflammatory properties and fight disease causing free radicals.

As one of the most nutritionally dense leaves that are used to make a tea, Yerba Mate contains many vitamins and minerals that are known to support and boost the immune system. Vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium and zinc are all immune boosting nutrients that are found in this super healthy herbal tea.

Typical Use

Yerba Mate powder can be made into a tea, by infusing in boiling water for 10 mins.
Suggested Dosage 2g per cup.
Can also be taken with water, fruit juice or smoothie.
This powder is caffeinated so is it is recommended to not exceed 3 cups per day.

Folklore and History

Believed to have originated with the Guarani tribe, who lived in what is known today as Paraguay, Yerba Mate was a hugely important beverage that was drunk ceremonially, socially and medicinally.

The Ch’unchu tribe prepared the leaves as an infusion that was believed to cure sexually transmitted diseases and help sterile women to get pregnant. The Charrúa people drank Yerba Mate not as a medicine, but as a social event. They would gather in a circle to share it using a gourd or horn containing whole leaves and hot water.

The custom of drinking Yerba Mate in a gourd is still important in South America. A Chimarrão circle became the culmination of tradition, uniting people of every race, belief, skin colour and social class around a fire creating a common ground for all. This creates an environment of respect, uniting couples, bonding generations and solidifying the family nucleus. It brings people to a sense of community, enduring friendships, inspiring a sense of comfort as the gourd circles around. Chimarrão is a spontaneous expression of the survival of healthy traditions, many of which are fading today.

Yerba Mate
Constituents

Vitamins: A, C, E, B1, B2, B3, B5
Minerals: Calcium, Manganese, Iron, Selenium, Potassium, Magnesium, Phosphorus
Additional Compounds: Fatty Acids, Chlorophyll, Flavonols, Polyphenols, Theobromine, Trace Minerals, Antioxidants, Pantothenic Acid and 15 Amino Acids.

Precautions

None known.