What is Mate Tea, What are its Benefits?

The leaves are dried and hot water is poured over them to make tea. Its aromas taste as strong as coffee. Meet the mate tea of ​​South America! “Mate tea” or “yerba mate tea” is a traditional South American beverage that has gained popularity around the world. It is said to have “the power of coffee“, “the benefits of tea” and “the happiness of chocolate“. It can be consumed hot, cold, sweetened or flavored. In our article, we discussed the properties and benefits of this intensely aromatic tea.

What is Yerba Mate Plant and Mate Tea?

Yerba mate, South America’ It is a plant that grows in Turkey and is scientifically called “Ilex paraguariensis”. It is a plant species from the “hollyhock” family. To herbal tea made from dried leaves and branches; It is called “yerba mate tea” or “mate tea”. Mate tea is also known as “Brazilian tea” or Paraguayan tea“. Indigenous peoples of Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina, Uruguay and Chile have used this invigorating tea long before Europeans reached the continent. Locals regard mate tea as the “drink of the gods,” not only for its energy-boosting caffeine content, but also for its various benefits. . While preparing tea in this vessel, a bamboo or silver straw or reed called “bombilla” is used to strain the leaves. Modern commercially available straws are made of nickel-silver alloy metal or stainless steel, and these straws are called “alpacas.”

What are the Benefits of Mate Tea?

Mate tea has many health benefits as well as increasing energy. The compounds in its content; It is rich in antioxidants that lower cholesterol levels, protect liver health and fight cancer. Its unique chemical structure and high amount of active compounds have the ability to “increase energy without side effects”. For example; It is an ideal option to increase the performance of athletes.

Mate tea;

Studies on the effect of caffeine; It shows that it can help with issues such as fatigue, focus, physical endurance and vitality.
Other studies have revealed that it can improve cognitive functions.
Nutrient supplements containing yerba mate; promotes focus, vitality and energy boost.
In addition, it reduces fatigue without causing changes in heart rate and blood pressure.
Some studies on mice have shown that mate use exhibits antidepressant properties. compounds; It is rich in caffeine and “theobromine”, which is also found in tea, coffee and chocolate.
Caffeoyl-derived compounds are the main health-supporting antioxidants in tea.
Compounds called “saponins” show anti-inflammatory and cholesterol-lowering properties. In a 12-week study of overweight people, participants given 3 grams of yerba mate per day lost an average of 700 grams (1.5 lbs).This content is even more than green tea. Polyphenols found in strawberries, dark chocolate, and spices are powerful cancer-fighting antioxidants. Yerba mate contains 11 of these polyphenols.

Strengthens the immune system: Yerba mate contains high levels of “saponin” compounds. With this feature, it exhibits a strong anti-inflammatory effect. Thanks to the phytochemicals in its content, it strengthens the immune system and protects the body against diseases. It also contains various vitamins and minerals that support the immune system, as well as antibacterial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties. The vitamins C and E, selenium and zinc in its content exhibit immune-boosting properties.

Helps to lose weight: The “saponins” in it are also beneficial for weight loss. Mate has positive weight management effects by improving lipid parameters in both animals and humans. Thus, it reduces appetite and speeds up metabolism. Additionally, mate can help burn stored fat; that is, it has been observed that it reduces the total number of fat cells and the amount of fat stored by the cells.

A study in mice revealed that it could potentially be used to treat obesity and diabetes. It also supports heart health and digestion; It lowers “bad” LDL cholesterol, blood sugar levels and blood pressure. All these effects help to maintain a healthy and optimal weight.

Lowers blood sugar levels: Yerba mate can help lower blood sugar and reduce complications often seen in diabetics. A recent study in animals shows that it can improve insulin signaling. At the same time, it has been determined that it can prevent the negative effects of glycation products, which cause the development and worsening of many diseases. However, more research is needed in humans on this subject.

May lower the risk of heart disease: Mate tea may protect against heart disease, antioxidant compounds such as “caffeoyl” derivatives and “polyphenols” includes. Cell and animal studies have revealed that mate extract may also offer some protection against heart disease. In a 40-day study, participants who drank 325 ml of mate tea each day had their “bad” LDL cholesterol levels dropped by 8.6-13.1 percent.

Increases energy and mental focus: Yerba mate contains 85 mg of caffeine per cup. This amount is less than coffee; but it is more than a cup of tea. Therefore, it has the ability to increase energy levels and make you feel less tired, like any other caffeinated food or drink. Caffeine helps with mental focus by affecting the levels of certain signaling molecules in the brain. In many studies on humans; It has been observed that those who consume between 37.5 and 450 mg of caffeine per day have better recall and reaction effects in a short time. In addition, those who regularly consume yerba mate tea have increased levels of alertness; however, it has been found that it does not cause side effects like coffee does.

Improves physical performance: Caffeine; reduces muscle contractions and fatigue, improves sports performance. Moderately caffeine-containing mate tea has physical performance effects. Those who took 1 gram of yerba mate before exercise burned more than 24 percent of fat during a moderate-intensity workout. It backs up carbohydrate stores for high-performance moments such as using high fat as fuel during workouts, climbing a hill. This means better sports performance. In summary; Yerba mate increases the dependence on fat for fuel during exercise. It can reduce fatigue by improving muscle contractions. All of these contribute to physical performance.

Protects against infections: It is reported to be beneficial against bacterial, parasitic and fungal infections. In one study, high doses of yerba mate extract neutralized the bacterium “E.coli” that causes food poisoning symptoms such as stomach cramps and diarrhea. The compounds in its content can prevent the development of the fungus type “Malassezia furfur” responsible for dandruff, skin flaking and rashes. It is also suggested that some of the compounds in its content may provide some protection against intestinal parasites. However, most of these studies have been done on isolated cells. Side effects of caffeine content are rare for humans.


It is stated that it can cause a mild headache, stomach upset or restlessness in sensitive individuals.
It also interacts with some chemotherapy and depression drugs and antibiotics.
Due to its high caffeine content, it is not recommended for pregnant and lactating women and people with high anxiety levels.
It is stated that it can exhibit potential carcinogenic qualities when brewed at very high temperatures.
However, the International Agency for Research on Cancer has acknowledged that mate tea cannot be classified in terms of “carcinogenicity” (cancer-causing toxicity).
Yerba mate contains “polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons” (PAH), carcinogens found in grilled meats. .
When consumed very hot, it can damage the respiratory and digestive tracts and increases the risk of cancerous cell formation.
Too much caffeine can cause headaches, migraines and high blood pressure in some individuals and may increase the risk of miscarriage in pregnant women.
Some of the compounds in it have “monoamine oxidase inhibitory” (MAOI) activity.
MAOIs, It is often prescribed as depression and Parkinson’s drugs.
Therefore, individuals taking MAOI drugs should use mate tea with caution.
Due to its caffeine content, it can also interact with muscle relaxant “Zanaflex” and antidepressant “Luvox” drugs.
This is why it is important for those who use drugs to get information from the specialist doctor.

How to Prepare Mate Tea?

Mate served in a container called a traditional “zucchini” To filter the leaves of mate tea, straws made of metal or bamboo with a filter at the lower end are used.

Mate tea is prepared as follows;

To prepare mate tea, before adding hot water, you can use a third of the container before adding hot water. put dried or crushed yerba mate leaves on one ur.
Then add hot water to it and wait for about 5 minutes.
Tea can be obtained by filling the container with hot water several times without changing the leaves.
Can be served with sugar, lemon juice or milk.
Although traditional mate tea is hot, especially those living in hot climates may prefer cold mate tea.

Content of Yerba Mate Plant

Yerba mate; It contains almost every vitamin and mineral that the body needs. Unlike traditional teas, it has a low tannin content. It contains 7 of the 9 most beneficial amino acids along with 196 active compounds. In addition, there are 11 different polyphenol substances.

The content of the Yerba mate plant is as follows;

Vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B5, C and E,
Amino acids,
Trace minerals

Anecdotes About Yerba Mate Plant and Mate Tea

The word “mate” means “friend” in Spanish.
The word “yerba” (plant) in some languages, the word “mate” de (pot).
With naturally caffeinated and nutritious leaves, Ilex paraguariensis is known as the “sacred tree” of the South American rainforest.
Europeans describe the yerba mate plant as the “native green gold”. The natives also call it the “god tree.”
The Aché Guayaki tribe in South America and the indigenous Tupi people have used it for centuries for its rejuvenating effects.
Mate tea; It is Argentina’s most popular national drink.It thrives in a natural rainforest environment with high humidity.
Mate is a tea in South America that is traditionally consumed in social settings such as family gatherings and groups of friends.
It has strong cultural significance, both nationally and socially. .
Funded by the State of Paraná in Brazil, the “Parque Histórico do Mate” is a park designed to educate people on sustainable harvesting methods necessary to preserve the integrity and vitality of the oldest wild forests in the world.
Mate is also In Brazil, it is produced in the form of iced tea with the name “Matte Leão”.
Matte Leão is part of the beach culture sold on beaches in Rio de Janeiro.
An alternative to coffee addiction in North America It is consumed as a tea.
It is known that Che Guevara from Argentina constantly consumes mate tea against asthma.
Mate tea in Turkey is sold in tea bags with mint and cinnamon added. Frequent consumption of yerba mate tea is a risk factor for some types of cancer.It may not be suitable for everyone and it is dangerous to drink too hot on a regular basis. However, mate tea contains several beneficial compounds. The benefits far outweigh the harms. It will be beneficial to consume moderately at suitable temperatures. If you want to try yerba mate tea, let it cool a bit before drinking it!.

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