Yerba mate is a great and healthy drink. Most of the newcomers usually stumble upon  mate, while searching for other topics such as weight loss and healthy foods. I guess the one article that no yerba mate site can do without, is an article explaining the health benefits of yerba mate. So without further adieu, here is my first (of hopefully several) articles on this subject.

Everything written here is based on analysis and studies of yerba mate, which have revealed a composition of various nutritional, physiological and medicinal properties in the product. The book Erva Mate published in 1991 by master in botany Renato Kaspary and Eunice Valduga’s Master’s Degree dissertation helped shed some real light in the topic of the health benefits of drinking yerba mate. Many of the articles found on the web are actually based on or are translations of these two works.

The Chemical Constitution of Yerba Mate

Studies have shown that yerba mate is made up of Alkaloids (caffeine, methylxanthine, theophylline and theobromine), tannins (caffeic and folic acid), vitamins (A, B1, B2, C and E), minerals (aluminum, calcium, phosphorus, iron, magnesium, manganese, and potassium), proteins (essential amino acids), glucides (fructose, glucose, raffinose, and sucrose), lipids (essential oils and waxy substances), as well as cellulose, dextrin and saccharin.

According to Kaspary:

Yerba mate is considered an almost complete food because it contains almost all the necessary nutrients to our body.

Also worthy of mention, is the extensive list of therapeutic properties of yerba mate, partially due to the presence of alkaloids, such as caffeine, in its composition. So let’s take a closer look at some of these therapeutic properties:

Physical and Mental Stimulation

Yerba mate, stands out, as a natural stimulate, assisting in mental and physical activity and acting beneficially on the nerves and muscles to eliminate fatigue. It has also been observed that the stimulating effect of mate is longer than that of coffee without leaving residual or side effects such as insomnia and irritability.

Anti-aging & Cell Regenaration

Yerba mate  has a higher antioxidant capacity than green tea. A brew of yerba mate has an ORAC rating of over 6,000 units, where as green tea has an ORAC rating of about 2,000. This means that yerba mate may have the ability to prevent heart disease, lower cholesterol, and slow the growth of cancer cells.

Studies show it is as powerful a cell protector as vitamin C, reducing the effects of aging as well as protecting against other disease.

Digestion and Weight Loss

Yerba mate acts on the digestive tract as well, helping digestion and facilitating evacuation and urination. I’m sure all of you have felt the urge to visit the toilet after drinking just a couple of gourds. Am I right or am I right? 🙂

It’s weight loss benefits come partially from the caffeine it contains. Caffeine helps  in accelerating the metabolism process and, consequently, in burning fat.

In addition, yerba mate contains xanthines, which are known to boost your metabolic rate by 10%.  Mate is considered thermogenic and diuretic. These characteristics are essential for weight loss.

All in all, mate is a great beverage to accompany meals as it helps to refresh the palette and it also helps aid nutrient absorption, whereas tea, coffee and fizzy pop can all inhibit nutrient absorption.

Antidepressant Properties

According to various researches done by international institutes, mate can eliminate depressive states. It provides a sense of wellness and vigor in the body without causing any side effect like depression, palpitations or nervous agitation caused by other similar beverages.

Sexual functions

Yerba mate contains high proportions of vitamin E, which is known to aid in regulating sexual function, besides being an indispensable element for the skin.

Other vitamins

Analysis made ​​with the leaves of yerba mate shows that this plant contains, in large scale, vitamins of the B complex as well as other vitamins like:

  • calcium
  • magnesium
  • sodium
  • iron
  • fluorine life essential minerals.

Yerba mate is rich in pantothenic acid found in smaller scale in royal jelly of bees, much sought after for the medicinal properties it possesses.

So there you have it. I hope you enjoyed this first post about the health benefits of yerba mate. I will be writing more in the future as well as translating some popular Brazilian articles on how to use mate to keep yourself in shape for the summer and that stuff.

We have seen that yerba mate can do wonders for your health, but all this health talk makes it sound like some kind of herbal medicine and not the “social drink” that its really meant to be.