What is yerba mate?

Yerba mate is a traditional drink prepared from the dried leaves of the holly evergreen native plant of South America, Ilex paraguariensis. Although it is found in the wild, it can also be cultivated on plantations.


Why is it so important?

Yerba mate provides the awakening benefits of coffee, detoxifying benefits of tea, & the pleasure senses of chocolate!

Below is a list of the major scientifically proven benefits of Yerba mate:

1. Boosts Energy:

Yerba mate leaves contain important chemical stimulants that are also found in coffee, tea, and chocolate; namely caffeine (around 85mg per cup), theophylline, and theobromine. These chemicals make you more awake, alert, and provides you with an energy boost making you feel less tired.

Interestingly, yerba mate has lower levels of tanins than tea which makes less bitter than tea, as strong as coffee, and the perfect morning drink!

2. Antioxidants Powerhouse:


A recent study showed that Yerba mate has significantly the most antioxidant capacity and polyphenol concentrations in comparison to 15 tea-based and 16 non-tea-based drinks!

3. Enhances Mental Functions:

Do you want to increase your productivity, focus, and creativity? Then, yerba mate is your answer!

As previously mentioned, it contains caffeine that is well-known for enhancing memory, mood, and alertness.

Importantly, it stimulates the production of dopamine, the “happy chemical” that keeps you motivated and productive.

4. Increases Daily Nutrient Intake

In 1964, the Pasteur Institute and the Paris Scientific society clearly stated that: “It is difficult to find a plant in any area of the world equal to mate in nutritional value” since it contains “practically all of the vitamins necessary to sustain life.”

Accordingly, yerba mate leaves naturally contain 24 vitamins (A C, E, B1, B2, B3, B5 and B complex) and minerals (calcium, manganese, iron, selenium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc) and at least 15 amino acids!

5. Aids in Digestion:

Yerba mate contains saponins  (ursolic acid and oleanolic acid glycosides) and increases the production of bile and other gastric juices that aid in enhancing digestion, reducing body weight, and increasing fat oxidation and energy usage during exercise.

Hence, yerba mate is your answer for a clean colon, efficient waste elimination, and reduction of harmful stomach bacteria.

Yerba mate supplementation was also shown to reduce body fat mass and percent and the waist to hip ratio in regular users.


6. Has Traditional and Modern Medicinal Uses:

Yerba mate was shown to have anti-inflammatory and anticancer (mainly colon) properties. Moreover, its saponins have beneficial effects on blood cholesterol levels, bone  & cardiovascular health, and in stimulating the immune system aiding the body in the protection against disease.

So, when will you adopt this healthy habit? ASAP! 

And if you already do, then keep it up! You’re on the right track!

Want to learn more about yerba mate terminology, supplies, and preparation method? Check our up-coming post!

Ranim Daw, MS in Cell & Molecular Biology

American University of Beirut

February 21, 2017