Yerba Mate – Famously Good for you
Yerba Mate is a type of tea, made from dried leaves and stems from a Yerba Mate plant. It is much gentler than coffee on the stomach. It is hugely popular in South America, and increasingly across the globe as a healthy tea, but what are the yerba mate benefits?
Yerba Mate Benefits: Social
It is an important, common social practice in Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, eastern Chile, southern Bolivia and Brazil. Drinkers in these countries usually share the mate, each taking turns to drink, with one person serving from a flask.
Sharing Mate ‘mateando’ means that people take time to sit with friends and family, to relax and chat.
Yerba Mate Benefits: Health
Guaraní Indians for centuries have traditionally drunk Yerba Mate as a tea for energy, and for its use as a natural remedy for many ailments. The fame of yerba mate has since spread and is a way of life in many South American countries and is recognised as a healthy herbal tea.
More recently the rest of the world has come to hear of the use of Yerba Mate as a health tea. It is activitely sought by consumers in Europe, Australia, Asia and North America, and this has prompted scientific research to formally identify the reported health benefits of yerba mate.
Below are some of the reasons that people are introducing yerba mate into their lives for health reasons, together with links to research articles:
Yerba Mate Benefits: Digestion & Weight Loss
Studies have been carried out to test how yerba mate can improve digestion & metabolism. As so many people in South America use yerba mate to supress the appetite and lose weight, these studies also looked into more detail about if and how this happens. You can read about the research here.
Yerba Mate Benefits: Antioxidant Capabilities
There is a lot of research showing that antioxidants are effective at “mopping up” free radicals. Free radicals are unstable electrons the presence of which can lead to some cancers and degenerative diseases. Yerba mate like green tea is a great source of antioxidants, and many people drink it for this reason. To read more about how antioxidants work, click here and to read the research of the antioxidant capabilities of yerba mate click here.
Yerba Mate Benefits: Vitamins/minerals content
Various studies have pinpointed the vitamin/mineral content of yerba mate. The following list of vitamins/minerals contains in significant quantities in standard, loose leaf yerba**
- Thiamin (B1)
- Riboflabin (B2)
- Pantothenic Acid (B5)
- Pryridosin (B6)
Yerba Mate Benefits: Energy, Stimulating Body and Mind
Yerba mate is also a source of Pantothenic Acid which has been shown to contribute to a normal energy-yielding metabolism, normal mental performance, reduction of tiredness and fatigue, and also contributes to the synthesis and metabolism of steroid hormones, vitamin D andsome neurotransmitter. A typical 50g portion of yerba with stems has 3.3mg of Pantothenic Acid, equivalent to 66% of the recommended daily allowance.*
Several other vitamins/minerals are also present in significant quantities, many of which contribute to normal energy-yielding metabolism and the reduction of fatigue, such as riboflavin, pryridosin, magnesium and iron.
Thiamin and pyridosin also contribute to normal psychological function.
Yerba mate is a source of caffeine. The caffeine in yerba mate is referred to as ‘matteina’ but its the same as the caffeine found in other drinks more well known such as coffee.
Yerba Mate Benefits: Other
There have been some studies carried out that show encouraging results for other health benefits, and would need further study in order to pinpoint the mechanism/significance of such findings. You may like to read more:
* Typical yerba example: Taragui Roja
** Significant defined as 100g containing at least 15% of the recommended daily intake as outlined in EU Directive 90/496/EEC. Vitamin and mineral list taken from standard original yerba mate (those with ingredients 100% pure yeba mate with no added vitamins/minerals) of the most popular brands: Pajarito, Rosamonte, Sara, Canarias, Taragui