What is Yerba Mate?

Mate is an infusion or tea made from leaves of a bush that belongs to the holly family. It is the most important and traditional tea in Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. Yerba Mate is made by grinding dry leaves of the Ilex paraguayensis a plant that grows in Parana, Argentina and Uruguay.

It can grow to be up to 15 metres tall under ideal conditions of high humidity and warm temperatures. Annual production of yerba mate is: approximately 300, 000 tons

Yerba Mate has a place in traditional or herbal medicine as well. Yerba mate is sold as an herb that stimulates the nervous system, helps with diets and relieves rheumatism.

The name yerba or “hierba” is Spanish for grass or herb; and “mate” comes from the Indian language Quechan: where “matia”, means container and refers to the small hollow gourd cup in which the tea is traditionally served in throughout South America.

To drink real mate you need a container, the mate, and as well a bombilla (a metal straw with a strainer on the end). Descriptions of all the components for drinking and serving mate are found on our web site under the title of “mate accessories”.

The many good qualities of mate are well known in South America, for example it helps suppress appetite and increases energy levels thus aiding in overall weight loss. It can also stimulate digestion and act as a mild laxative and diuretic.

More than a drink, mate is a cultural symbol in South America. It is served at many social and even business meetings, and the process of sharing mate strengthens relationships.

¹ Vgl. Gosmann, G., Schenkel, E.P. and Seligmann, O.; A New Saponin from Mate, Ilex Paraguarensis, J.Nat.Prod. 52(6), 1367 (1989)

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