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Yerba Mate, The Great South American Elixir

Yerba Mate, The Great South American Elixir

  • May 23, 2022

You may not have heard much about yerba mate (pronounced mah tay). I heard about it a few years ago while researching the ingredients of a popular protein drink. And yet I have learned that yerba mate is not a new discovery. In fact, native South Americans have been using it since at least the early 16th century.

Not only is it a popular beverage throughout South America, but it is also considered an herbal medicine, most commonly used as a stimulant to increase endurance, reduce fatigue, suppress hunger, and aid in digestion. Here in America, yerba mate is often marketed as an energy boosting diet/detox tea. It is also an ingredient that you will find in many diet pills or tonics that you see on the market today.

As a tea, it can be served cold as a refreshing iced tea drink or brewed hot and drunk hot. You can even add cream or milk for what I like to call my “mate latte.” Either way, drunk hot or cold as a tea, it provides your body with many healthy antioxidants and a safe energy boost.

When I drink it, I usually find that I have a more sustained boost of energy than coffee, without the breakdown or any of the jitters or stomach issues that I get after drinking coffee. Many people report that drinking yerba mate induces a general feeling of alertness while still being able to fall asleep normally.

Yerba mate is far less researched than its close cousin green tea, but some scientific research has been conducted and even published in recent years. During these studies it is revealed that it appears to be far superior to the benefits of green tea. It appears to have 196 active compounds while the active compounds found in green tea are only 144.

Yerba mate contains xanthines. Xanthines are chemicals that can increase your metabolism by up to 10% and are rich in pantothenic acid, which prevents over-stimulation of the nervous system. It has been found to be a powerful antioxidant and even an oral cancer fighter.

Other research confirms the polyphenolic activity found in this tea, and it comes highly recommended as a general cleansing drink. Several small studies have found that it helps with weight loss. Most research concludes that 500 to 1,500 mg of yerba mate in supplement form is used daily for weight loss. But scientists also say more research is needed.

Yerba Mate is for those who lead fast-paced lives and for those of us who just need a little extra healthy boost of energy from time to time. Anyone could benefit from the antioxidant activity it contains, as well as the thermogenic benefits. Yerba mate is not very expensive and can be found online or at most health food stores.

Thanks to Mellisa McJunkin

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