Botanical name: Ilex paraguariensis
Yerba maté has long been a part of South American culture where it is more heavily consumed than coffee or tea. Native people considered it a gift from the gods ‘to give them health, happiness and sustain them in times of sadness”. Maté bars are as prevalent in South America as cafés are here!
Not just a popular beverage, yerba maté is used as an overall tonic, as it is rich in antioxidants and minerals, and as a stimulant to reduce fatigue. The Pasteur Institute found that ‘It is difficult to find a plant in any area of the world equal to mate in nutritional value. It has most all the vitamins necessary to sustain life’.
Many people find that Yerba Maté is a preferable stimulant to coffee or tea, with less jitters, and longer lasting buzz. It’s great for students, boosting mental function, stimulating the mind, increasing concentration and energy and at the same time providing vitamins and minerals to support the body in times of need.
Often included in weight loss formulas, Yerba Maté has thermogenic properties that assist in burning fat. It acts as a diuretic, suppresses the appetite and increases metabolism.
Yerba maté boosts energy, cleanses the blood and enhances memory. Research has found it helps deliver oxygen to the heart and muscles. Some people also use yerba mate to ease depressive moods.
Yerba mate’s uses include: diabetes, arthritis, gout, rheumatism, headaches, migraines, neuralgia, anxiety and stress, asthma, nerve pain, indigestion, toning the intestinal tract, urinary tract-infection, kidney and bladder stones, irregular heart rhythm, obesity, fatigue as well as being used as a tonic for stamina and endurance building.
Preparation: Steep 1-2 tsp per cup in just-boiled water for 10 mins. Great added to tea blends. You can even try it with milk and honey, or as a Maté Latté.
The traditional method of drinking Yerba Maté is with a gourd (drinking vessel) and bombilla (strainer straw). The basic method is to fill the gourd 2/3 full of Maté leaves, add a small amount of cold water to wet leaves, then top up with hot water. Sip through the bombilla (making sure not to stir!). You can continue to top up with hot water and drink it until there is no flavour left. Traditionally the gourd is passed around a circle of friends and everyone shares the drink.
Reference: Leslie Taylor (2005), The Healing Power of Rainforest Herbs p. 446.
Yerba Maté Common Uses
Yerba Maté Actions
Yerba Maté Recipes
Yerba Maté Precautions
People who are sensitive to caffeine or have high blood pressure should exercise caution.
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