Yerba Mate is a species of holly, native to subtropical South America in Argentina, eastern Paraguay, western Uruguay and southern Brazil. It is the national drink in Argentina and Uruguay and a common social practice in Paraguay and parts of Brazil, Chile, eastern Bolivia, Lebanon, and Syria. Mate is an evergreen with white flowers and red fruit and it is the dried or roasted leaves that are used. The flavour of brewed Yerba Mate is herbal, grassy and reminiscent of some varieties of green tea.
The primary active chemical constituency of yerba mate comprises xanthine alkaloids (caffeine, theobromine, and theophylline), saponins, and up to 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).
Mate also contains theobromine, theophylline, phytol, stigmasterol, and squalene. It has tannins, N-nitroso compounds, iron, phosphorus, calcium, thiamine, riboflavin, vitamin C and vitamin E.
Yerba Mate is well known for its vitamin and mineral content. It has been used as a tonic (tones, balances and strengthens the body), as a digestive aid (for obesity and
as part of weight loss regimen) and as a general nervine (balances/calms nerves). It may also help with symptoms of allergies, sinusitis, depression, stress, nerve pain and nervous fatigue. In addition, Yerba Mate is said to energise the body and mind, improve concentration and heighten physical endurance. It is much gentler on the stomach than coffee without the side effects of anxiety, diarrhoea, "jitteriness", and heart palpitations.
Suggested use: Make a refreshing and nutritious tea by adding to hot water. Using boiling water will give a more bitter taste. As an appetite suppressor, take 15 to 20 minutes before a meal.
It can also be used as a natural stimulant it is often drunk by professional athletes before training and competition.
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