14 August 2008

Other Common Names : Yerba maté, maté, erva mate, erveira, Paraguay cayi, Paraguay tea, South American holly, matéteestrauch, St. Bartholomew’s tea, Jesuit’s tea, caminú, kali chaye, congonha, rva-verdadeira, hervea, kkiro.

Plant Parts Used : Leaves and stem.
  • Habitat : Yerba mate got its humble beginnings with the Guarani Indians in the highlands of Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina. When the Spanish explorers came upon these Guarani in the early 16th century this drink intrigued them. Even though they were not sitting around in tearooms with pastries and sipping from fine china as was customary in Europe, the resultant effect of drinking the herbal drink was what caught their attention. The drink seemed to relieve their fatigue and produced a feeling of exhilaration. Later the Jesuits began to cultivate it and spread its influence
  • Yerba mate is a small evergreen shrub like plant.
  • It produces small white four petal flowers with a hint of green and later red berries around 4–6 mm in diameter.
Health Benefits of Yerba Mate
  • It has been used as an anti-depressant, headache relief, rheumatic pain-reliever, allergy reliever, weight loss medication, Stimulate Mental Alertness, Cleanse The Colon, Gentle Diuretic, Calm Allergies, Fortify Immune System, Increase Longevity and an overall body tonic.
  • Although coffee is a common drink in many countries, and tea replaces it in others, Yerba mate is becoming a popular replacement. It was theorized for a while that mate did not contain caffeine, but recent studies have proven that there is caffeine present in the plant but it is possible that the other chemicals present may soften the effects of the caffeine.
  • People who drink Yerba mate report less of the negative side effects common with caffeine but all of the positive ones. They have better mental clarity and focus, their energy levels increase and they feel more vitalized. They do not get the jittery feeling often associated with caffeine intake and seldom have the resultant drop off of energy levels when the caffeine effects wear off.
  • Sleep does not seem to be interrupted with ate night consumption either, actually some users claim their sleep is better regulated when drinking this “Drink of the Gods.”
  • Some researchers have claimed that Yerba mate has all the nutrients required to sustain life. The presence of antioxidants in the drink help to fight those free radicals that have been reported to cause everything from decreased immune function to cancer and blindness.
Composition-Active Ingredients
  • Mate contains xanthines (alkaloids caffeine, theophylline, and theobromine), saponins, and 10% chlorogenic acid.
  • Sterols resembling ergosterol and cholesterol are also present in yerba mate, and novel saponins have been discovered in the leaf (and named matesaponins). Saponins are plant chemicals with known pharmacological activities, including, as recent research shows, stimulating the immune system
  • yerba mate leaf is a rich source of vitamins, minerals (potassium, magnesium and manganese.), and 15 amino acids
  • Caffeine content varies between 0.3% and 1.7% of dry weight (compare this to 2.5–4.5% for tea leaves, and 1.5% for ground coffee).
  • The pyrrolizidine alkaloids contained in mate tea are known to produce a rare condition of the liver, veno-occlusive disease, which produces liver failure due to progressive occlusion of the small venous channels in the liver.
  • yerba mate extract as a monoamine oxidase inhibitor; the maximal inhibition observed in vitro was 40–50%. MAOIs being antidepressants, there is speculation that this may contribute to the calming effect of yerba mate.
Dosage Information and Preparation
  • Yerba mate is often prepared by cutting the leaves, and sometimes the stems, and drying them over a fire, resulting in a more smoky flavor, or curing them in boiling water and then baking them off in a pan or oven. The dried leaves are then packaged.
  • They are sold as tea bags or loose. The traditionalists like to steep the loose tea leaves in a gourd and then sip them through a metal spoon-like straw with a filter on the end, called a bombilla.
  • In some circles the cup will be filled with hot (not boiling) water and the host will drink the liquid down before adding water to the leaves again and passing it on, with each subsequent guest doing the same. This can be done 10-12 times without sacrificing the flavor or healthful qualities of the drink, of course the other things you might be sharing could decrease the healthful
  • Traditional Preparation : A leaf tea or infusion is the standard preparation, utilizing 2-4 g of cut leaves in 150 ml of hot water. Powdered leaf and leaf extracts with standardized caffeine content are being used in capsules and formulas in herbal products as well. General dosages recommended are the equivalent of 2 g once or twice daily, or follow the labeled dosage information.
Warning and Potential Side Effect
  • Because of the caffeine content too much mate intake can lead to similar symptoms as overuse of caffeine.
  • Two to three cups a day may be just the ticket needed to increase your mental focus and energy levels (and who couldn’t use a little help there.)

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