What is yerba mate?
Also known as Ilex paraguariensis by her scientific name, it is a plant that is commonly called mate and it is mostly consumed in South America, Uruguay, Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay.
The first people that started cultivating it were Guarani people.
Where is it found?
This plant is mainly cultivated and processed in Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay.
If you didn’t know by now, its leaves are rich in polyphenols and saponins which are found to stimulate your immune system and have important anti-inflammatory properties..
How It Is Prepared?
In case you want to drink a good tea, yerba mate is actually very good tasting, although a little bitter if it is prepared with boiled water.
The tea can be prepared by steeping yerba mate dry leaves in warm water. Preferably not at a boiling point because this is where the plant changes its taste and becomes a little bitter.
A weird but common social practice of drinking mate is with a metal straw. This is mostly practiced in Uruguay.
Even if many people tell you that it is an effective weight loss supplement, there’s no genuine available research studies done on people in controlled circumstances that shows it as an effective weight loss supplement.
Instead, it is a powerful antioxidant which is good for skin health, is a nice natural vitamin and mineral supplement good for general health and also helps with appetite control.
What it is used for?
Because of this, yerba mate is mainly used as a coffee and green or black tea replacement.
You can also find it as a powder supplement in plenty online stores or even in certain grocery stores.
The powdered mixture is called yerba and it’s formed from yerba mate leaves that are chopped, dried and transformed into usable powdered form.
What Is A Bombilla
A bombilla is the terminology used for the straw that is used when you want to drink this tea.
The name “Bombilla” comes from Latin American Spanish.
The straw is constructed from different metals and it is mainly used as an alternative to a filtered tea so you don’t swallow the leaves.
Yerba mate elaborada
Yerba mate elaborada is just another type of packaged mate tea with leaves and twigs.
This plant is rich in three xanthenes like: theobromine, theophylline and caffeine but we are mostly interested in caffeine.
The caffeine quantity varies between 0.6-1.7% of dry weight.
One cup of coffee contains anywhere from 85 mg to more than 150 mg of caffeine.
Some mate varieties contain as little as 25 mg of caffeine, but others contain almost 150 mg – just like coffee. A cup of tea will not usually exceed more than 70 mg of caffeine.
If we were to compare a yerba mate tea with coffee, the difference is still pretty high.
A cup of coffee can contain between 90 mg and 160 mg of caffeine.
A cup of mate can vary from as little as 25-30 mg of caffeine/cup. You can find certain types of yerba mate that can contain the same amount of caffeine as a regular coffee.
Yerba mate vs black tea
A cup of black tea has approximately 40-50 mg of caffeine and it can vary depending on breed.
As you can see, a cup of this tea will always have higher caffeine content than a cup of black tea.
Yerba Mate And Weight Loss
When it comes to weight loss, yerba mate is frequently recommended as a weight loss supplement. Many people bought into this but the truth usually lies in between.
The reality is that yerba mate is nothing more than a stimulant, just like coffee.
It can’t magically burn the fat from your body. It can just help you indirectly by making you feel more energized, suppress appetite a little bit and improve your general health because of its antioxidant and vitamins and minerals content.
What research studies are telling us?
Most weight loss studies are done on rats and animals and this doesn’t apply to humans.
Any available weight loss pills?
You can pretty much find yerba mate weight loss pills everywhere on the internet, marketed as a weight loss supplement and antioxidant supplement but I don’t really recommend you to buy them.
Even if they are inexpensive, they can’t really replace the taste of a good tea and the active ingredient from these pills is mostly caffeine which can be obtained simply by getting coffee.
Weight loss results
I couldn’t really find any plausible pictures or stories of people getting weight loss results by using this tea. It is not a weight loss supplement.
Weight loss reviews
The only weight loss reviews I could find were written by people promoting products and pills but nothing that looks genuine.
I mean, I would like to see a person that makes a case study in which he loses weight by constructing a nicely controlled diet and supplementing with this tea – none found.
Yerba Mate Benefits
Yerba mate benefits are many to detail. Because it is mainly a stimulant which also contains antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, its benefits are as follows:
Libido related benefits
Even if there’s no genuine research study that can show this, there are people reporting increased libido from using it so you can pretty much do a personal “test”.
Because of its vitamin A and Leucine content, it can have beneficial effects on your skin but take these benefits as a possible “side-effect” of using it and not the main benefits.
Yerba mate is quite rich in antioxidants and if it were for us to compare it with green tea, it has 90% more antioxidants.
There are many people preaching that this herb also has sleep benefits because it also relaxes you but because of its caffeine content I don’t really believe this is true because caffeine is a stimulant so in return, you can’t possibly expect better sleep by drinking this tea late at night.
Dr. Oz’s promoted it as a “miracle drink”. If you are a regular reader of mine, you should know by now that I hate nonsense and “magic pills”. I don’t really like Dr. Oz’s show because they promote every weight loss product and herb as the next shiny thing even if these products are just fat loss gimmicks.
Take a look at another supplement promoted by Dr. Oz. that is nothing but nonsense: Garcinia Gambogia Review
Vitamins and minerals content
What I liked the most about this plant is that each cup of mate tea contains a good proportion of vitamins and minerals. The list is huge: vitamin A, B2 C, E, B5, B1 and even Niacin, Iron, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Calcium, Manganese, Selenium and certain antioxidants.
A nice “tea supplement” if you ask me.
Because yerba mate is mostly a stimulant, the main side-effects that I thought about before doing any research were related to sleeping problems and it seems I was right.
This is not really a side effect because people having sleeping problems shouldn’t really drink any stimulants.
Some of the potential side effects medical specialists caution about include insomnia or problems sleeping, nervousness, stomach upset and irregular heartbeat. It’s not recommended to take it with other stimulant drugs or herbs such as ephedra or asthma medications, because averse effects from those medications and supplements can be enhanced when combined with yerba.
Liver Side Effects
Most side effects that have to do something with liver are mostly research studies done on rats. I couldn’t find any applicable human study but in 1976, the Journal of Clinical Pathology actually released a report that showed that long term consumption of yerba mate in high quantities can lead to liver disease.
Notice: long term, high quantities and the word “CAN” not “will”.
There’s an interesting study done by the researchers of University Of Illinois that studied 25 different types of yerba mate and they found that green tea had lower levels of antioxidants. Based on cellular studies, it seems that yerba mate might help with oral cancer prevention.
There’s also a study in which yerba mate consumption was studies when it comes to linking it to larynx, oral cavity and esophagus cancer but there’s no sound population based study to show this as a definitive rule.
There was a study done which showed that drinking mate tea can have potential positive effects when it comes to curing colon cancer.
Although, I wouldn’t really buy into this because the study was done on rats. We are not rats.
I hope people will stop using yerba mate for weight loss and concentrate more on its health benefits or simply enjoy its taste.
Do you drink this tea and if you do, what are the effects you are feeling?
Share it with us :).