Yerba Mate: Could the national drink of Argentina successfully replace coffee?

Last Updated December 20th, 2021

What is Yerba Mate?

Yerba Mate is a caffeine-containing plant. Yerba Mate is used for making a tea-like beverage which contains caffeine. It is a herb which is found in South America. It is used for preparing the national drink of Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and Southern Brazil.

It is often described as a herbaceous and tastes bittersweet. Yerba Mate has the smooth flavour of the tea and the strong energizing impact like coffee. The Yerba Mate has healing characteristics like any other herbal tea. Like coffee, tea and chocolate, Yerba Mate also contains the same stimulants called theophylline and theobromine.

What is the nutrient value of Yerba Mate?

The nutrients in Yerba Mate is elaborated in the table below:

Vitamins Minerals Additional Compounds
Vit ACalciumFatty acids
Vit CManganeseCholorophyll
Vit EIronFlavanols
Vit B1SeleniumPolyphenols
Vit B2PotassiumAntioxidants
Vit B3MagnesiumAmino acids
Vit B5PhosphorusPantotheic Acid

How is Yerba Mate prepared?

yerba-mate-originsFill one-third of the bottom of the container (calabash) in which Yerba Mate Tea is served with dried Yerba Mate leaves. You can also use toasted Yerba Mate leaves. It can also be prepared using a French press. 

  • Then add some water to it.
  • The Yerba Mate tea is served usually with burnt sugar or milk. You can easily add hot water as many times as you want to before you are adding any new leaves.
  • The Yerba Tea is sipped using a metal straw which is having a filter on the lower end of it. This helps in resisting the entry of the leaf fragments of the Yerba Mate inside the straw while sipping on the Yerba Mate tea.
  • The Yerba Mate beverage is preferred hot as well as cold based on the climatic conditions of the area.

What are the benefits of Yerba Mate?

There are several benefits of Yerba Mate. It has various components in it which have a lot of health benefits. Some of the most important and most common benefits are discussed below:

Antioxidants and nutrients content

Yerba Mate is rich in various plant nutrients. Some of the most common plant nutrients and their functions are elaborated here:

Xanthines: This caffeine and theobromine containing compounds act as stimulants and hence enhances the mood of an individual, boosts energy and elevates the focus level. These are also found in tea, coffee and chocolates.

Caffeoyl derivatives: These are the antioxidants which are found in the Yerba Mate tea. It has various health-promoting properties in it.

Saponins:  This compound is bitter and is characterized by its anti-inflammatory properties. It helps in lowering the cholesterol of a person as well.

PolyphenolsPolyphenols are the antioxidants which are very significant for the reduction of the risks of various diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, pancreatitis, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, neurodegenerative diseases as well as lung diseases.

The antioxidant content in Yerba Mate is higher than that of green tea. The Yerba Mate tea consists of the 7 most important amino acids among the 9 most essential amino acids, almost every vitamins and mineral that your body requires.

Helps in focusing better as well as boosts energy

Per cup of Yerba Mate contains 85mg of caffeine which is much lesser than a cup of coffee. It helps in increasing the energy level the same way as coffee does. It rejuvenates you and makes you feel even more energized. The Yerba Mate is highly beneficial since it helps in increasing the focusing capacity of your brain. It helps in increasing the awareness level of a person and hardly has any side effects.

Helps in improving the physical performance

The caffeine content in the Yerba Mate helps in improving the muscle contractions and also helps in the reduction of the fatigue and tiredness in an individual. It enhances the physical performance of a person and hence provides a lot of energy for the improvement of sports performance.

Protection against infections

The Yerba Mate is very essential in the prevention of various infections caused by the bacterias, fungi and other parasites. Yerba Mate helps in curbing the growth of various parasites and hence prevents the development of any infections. For example, the E. Coli(which causes food poisoning) deactivation is done by the consumption of various products of the Yerba Mate. The compounds which are present in the Yerba Mate are very helpful in protecting against the parasites which usually develop in the intestines. 

Reduction of weight and belly fat

Yerba Mate is very essential in the reduction of appetite as it boosts the metabolism of an individual. The increased metabolic rate helps in the reduction of the fat and hence helps in losing weight. 

Improves the Immune system

The content of Saponins which is one of the components present in the Yerba Mate provides it with anti-inflammatory properties. The Yerba Mate also consists of Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Selenium and Zinc which play the part of various antioxidants having many health benefits.

Helps in lowering the blood sugar level

The Yerba Mate helps in the improvement of the insulin signalling and lowers the blood sugar level. The formation of the Advanced Glycation End-Products(AGEs) which results in the development as well as worsening of various diseases can also be reduced by the consumption of the Yerba Mate.

The risks of heart diseases are reduced

The antioxidants such as Caffeoyl derivatives and Polyphenols which are present in the Yerba Mate protects an individual from the risks of various heart diseases. The Yerba Mate is well known to work on the cholesterol levels of an individual. It is very helpful in reducing cholesterol levels in the body.

What are the other benefits of the Yerba Mate?

The consumption of Yerba Mate also helps in improving various health conditions. Some of them are mentioned below:

  • Constipation or trouble in passing bowels
  • Chronic fatigue Syndrome
  • Constant headaches or migraine
  • Depression
  • Stones in the kidney and urinary bladder can also be treated by the consumption of the Yerba Mate.
  • Urinary Tract Infections(UTI)
  • Low blood pressure can be improved to a certain extent by the regulated consumption of the Yerba Mate.

What are the side effects of Yerba Mate?

Besides various benefits, Yerba Mate also has a few side effects associated with it. Some of the most common side effects which are associated with the overconsumption of the Yerba Mate are as follows:
Risks of Cancer : One of the most common risks which are associated with the overconsumption of the Yerba Mate tea is the cancer of the upper respiratory parts and the digestive tract cancer. The Yerba Mate is also known for its PAH(Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons) contents which are very common carcinogens mainly found in tobacco and grilled meat. The risks of the cancerous cells formation are increased as the overconsumption of the Yerba Mate can damage the linings of the respiratory tract and the digestive tract.
The side effects due to the caffeine : The caffeine content in the Yerba Mate has got various side effects on individuals such as headaches, migraines, high blood pressures, etc. During the time of pregnancy, women are not recommended to drink more than 3 cups of Yerba Mate. Consuming more Yerba Mate can result in miscarriage as well as low birth weight in the case of the newborn.
Side effects due to medicinal interations
: Certain types of Yerba Mate contains a Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitor(MAOI). It is a very common compound found in the medications which are used for treating depression and Parkinson’s Disease. The individuals who are taking muscle relaxant medications Zanaflex or the antidepressant called Luvox should be highly cautious while consuming the Yerba Mate. the interactions of Yerba Mate along with these particular medications can have adverse health effects on an individual.
Risks of Glaucoma: The content of the caffeine in the Yerba Mate increases the pressure of the eyes. 
The condition of Diarrhoea can get worsened due to the high consumption of the Yerba Mate. The higher amount of consumption of the Yerba Mate can also result in elevated blood pressure in an individual due to the caffeine content in it. The caffeine content in the Yerba Mate also flushes out the calcium in the body of an individual. The loss of calcium in the body results in weak bones.

How does Yerba Mate help in losing bodyweight?

Yerba Mate is a diuretic beverage like tea and coffee and hence it prevents any water retention in the body. The Yerba Mate also has purifying elements in it i.e. it consists of a lot of antioxidants which help in flushing out various toxins from the body. It helps you to feel full for a very long time, i.e. it helps in preventing the feeling of hunger.

Besides this function, the Yerba Mate also helps in increasing the rate of the metabolism of an individual which means that the body breaks down more carbohydrates and fats for the production of energy. Hence, the Yerba Mate helps in the reduction of weight in the following way.

Is Yerba Mate more beneficial than coffee?

As the popularity of Yerba Mate is growing and people are being more aware of its benefits, it is suggested over coffee. It has lesser caffeine content as well as increases the metabolism.

There are various benefits to the consumption of the Yerba Mate. it is better than coffee in various ways. The Yerba Mate is very rich in the nutrients such as manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, iron, sodium, selenium, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E as well as the B group Vitamins such as Vitamin B1, B2, B3 and Vitamin B5.


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