Called the ‘herb from the gods,’ yerba mate comes from Paraguay’s South American rainforests. The native tribes believed yerba mate to be a spiritual herb that increased vitality with the tea used for worship during tribal ceremonies.
The tea became popular with Argentinian gauchos because it gave them a source of energy during cattle drives and long harvesting days. It was typically served in a dried, hollowed-out decorative shell of a gourd and drunk using a metal straw with a fine strainer at the submersible tip.
What Is Yerba Mate?
Yerba mate is made from the naturally caffeinated leaves of the native South American holly tree, the Ilex Paraguariensis, found deep in the rainforest. It is said to have the strength of coffee, the health benefits of tea, and the euphoria of chocolate, all in a single drink. The leaves are hand-harvested by cultivators who are known as yerbateros.
What Does Yerba Mate Taste Like?
Imagine the rich earthy rainforest floor, and that is the closest you’ll get to imagining its unique taste. It’s been described as grassy, earthy, bittersweet, woody, and toasted. There are lots of different yerba mate flavors, with tea brands infusing herbs and fruits to add flavor and sweetness.
What Is the Caffeine Content in Yerba Mate?
Yerba mate contains the same stimulants found in chocolate, tea, and coffee; caffeine, theophylline, and theobromine. The caffeine and nutrient levels depend on whether it is from a male or female plant. The female plants tend to be softer in favor and lower in caffeine.
What Are the Health Benefits?
Caffeine-Associated Health Benefits
It is well known that caffeine can boost your mood and energy levels. Many studies have been carried out and show that caffeine can increase brain function and alertness. But the stimulant offers many other health benefits. A 2016 study found that caffeine consumption can also result in a decreased risk of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.
Research shows that various food types, including soybeans, yerba mate, and ginseng, contain a type of bacteria called actinobacterium. It is believed that it changes how our bodies digest fat through lipid metabolism and might help with weight management or loss. It is also thought that yerba mate can lower some of the common side effects of obesity, including serum triglycerides, inflammation, and blood glucose.
Yerma Mate Contains Antioxidants
Yerma mate, like tea, is packed full of antioxidants that inhibit oxidation and the effects of free radicals, which are known to have close links to cancer, heart disease, and other serious health issues. Yerba mate contains 11 polyphenols and possesses more antioxidant power than any other tea or caffeine-based drink. The highly nutritious tea also boasts incredibly high concentrations of essential vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients.
Protect Against Infections
All sorts of medical studies surround yerba mate. It’s showing time and time again to be an excellent source of nutrients for overall well-being and the ability to stave off infections. A 2012 study revealed that a high dose of yerba mate deactivated a particularly nasty strain of food poisoning that causes painful stomach cramps and diarrhea. It might also contain protection against internal parasites and the growth of the fungus that is responsible for scaly skin and rashes.
Boosting The Immune System
Yerba mate contains saponin, which is a naturally formed compound that boasts anti-inflammatory properties. Antioxidants such as vitamins C and E and zinc can strengthen your immune system.
Lower Blood Sugar Levels
Raised blood sugar levels are known to cause complications for those that have diabetes. Yerba mate can help lower and stabilize blood sugar levels and improve insulin signaling. It might also help reduce the formation of AGEs (advanced glycation end-products), which can play an instrumental role in the vascular complications in diabetes and other diseases.
A healthier Heart
We already know that caffeine plays a vital role in improving our heart health; studies show that yerba mate might also offer additional benefits. In a 2013 animal-based clinical trial, yerba showed signs of reducing chronic inflammation that can damage blood vessels and the heart and lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, which is also linked to poor heart health.
Better Bones With Yerba Mate
Osteoporosis is a health condition that weakens bones, making them fragile and more likely to break. A 2012 study shows that women who regularly drink yerba mate are more likely to have a lower risk of osteoporosis and a decreased incidence of fractures. A regular cup of yerba mate can help to make your bones stronger.
While yerba mate has been around for centuries, it’s only in the last couple of decades that western medicine has started to research the health benefits this tea offers. The clinical trials that have been conducted so far so plenty of promise. Adding yerba mate to your daily routine can have a positive impact on your health and well-being.