Yerba mate, pronounced “yer-bah mah-tay,” is an herbal tea made by grinding and steeping the dried leaves and stems of the South American holly tree, Ilex paraguariensis. The result is a bitter but healthy brew that just may become your new favorite tea.
In terms of production, yerba mate is very different from green tea. Green tea leaves are exposed to fast, high-temperature air to retain their freshness and aroma. On the other hand, yerba mate leaves are dried very slowly, often using wood smoke which makes them have a distinctive flavor and appearance.
The tea boasts numerous health benefits, including “the strength of coffee, the health benefits of tea, and the euphoria of chocolate.” Sounds too good to be true, right? Guayaki, the first fair trade certified yerba mate supplier, says that out of the six commonly used stimulants in the world, such as coffee and tea, yerba mate is the most balanced, providing energy as well as nutrition in the form of herbal tea.
Due to its diverse range of biological compounds not readily found in most other teas, especially xanthine, theobromine, and theophylline, yerba mate provides a clean energy boost — great for those who need a pick-me-up throughout the day.
In addition, the tea may aid in weight loss when consumed, and there are many individuals and sites online that endorse this statement. Believe it if you will, but there has been some supportive evidence regarding this claim.
Yerba mate sounds absolutely fantastic right now. But before you jump right into it, it’s also important to consider all of the effects it may have on your body. While there have been studies that show that the tea has some anti-carcinogenic effects, there have been other reports showing a correlation between the consumption of the tea and bladder cancer.
The tea itself seems harmless to drink in small doses and often even beneficial — but isn’t that the case for just about everything? Whether you believe all of the benefits this tea has or not is up to you. For me, it’s just another reason to try some interesting tea.