Farmers of poor developing South American countries just love it when rich Gringos discover one of their traditional products and declare it a miracle for one thing or another. This is what happened to yerba mate (Ilex paraguariensis).
All over South and Central America, a tea made of yerba mate leaves has been a traditional drink, very much like black tea or coffee is in the Western world. Even children drink it. There are soft yerba mate drinks sold with added flavors and sugar.
Yerba mate is a beverage used for social gathering in countries like Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil and Bolivia, and it has its own rituals, special containers and tools, like silver straws. People go to special shops to drink yerba mate and call it ‘mateing’.
The main active ingredient of yerba mate is caffeine, but not just any caffeine. This one affects muscle tissue, and not the central nervous system, having a relaxing effect instead of making you jittery, as other caffeinated drinks do. As a user said:
“I go to work and I have a really nice "boost" that is very noticeable; not in a jittery caffeinated way”
Yerba Mate also contains manganese, potassium and magnesium, 11 polyphenols, which are strong antioxidants, and vitamins A, B, C, and E.
It is completely non-addictive and can be taken by anyone, of any age. It has no known counter-indications.
How does Yerba Maté Tea Work?
Yerba Maté tea is known to help fight fatigue and boost energy. It is a proven antioxidant. It supports the immune system and fights stress, but its fat burning properties are not clear.
A scientific report by Dr Anderson (see below) talks about its effect on delaying gastric emptying, making users lose appetite because they feel full longer. The most active ingredient is caffeine, which normally helps with burning fat.
How To Prepare Yerba Mate in the Traditional Gourd
How To Prepare Yerba Mate in a Coffee Maker
Does Yerba Maté Tea Really Work?
Research shows that extract from yerba mate has a potent anti-obesity activity. A 2009 study examined whether yerba mate extract could attenuate weight gain in obese mice that were on a high-fat diet. Interestingly, mice fed with yerba mate gained much less weight than those treated with placebo (water), while on the high-fat diet.
In the human level, there are reports that Yerba Mate not only helps you lose weight, but also gives you a sense of well-being, loss of appetite and increased energy, without having to count pills or worry about negative side effects.
According to studies in animals and humans, the anti-obesity effect of yerba mate can be explained on the basis of:
- the regulation it exerts on the expression of genes related to obesity, and
- the fact that it makes food stay in the stomach for longer time, giving a feeling of fullness.
How Does Yerba Mate Tea Taste?
The taste of yerba mate is faintly smoky, bright, and almost grassy (in a good way).
What Others Are Saying
Ellie from Florida says:
"if you enjoy strong herbal teas, you’ll likely enjoy this. It pumps me up like coffee without any of the weird side effect"
and Kenneth from Irak, who found that yerba mate gives him mental awareness, says:
"I really enjoy this tea. It’s as stimulating as coffee but it tastes better. I strongly recommend this to anyone seeking an alternative to coffee."
How Much Weight Will I Lose?
The widely cited controlled study by Danish Dr. Anderson shows that overweight patients who were taking a mix of three herbs – guarana, yerba mate and damiana – lost about 11 pounds in 45 days. The study concluded:
“The amount of weight lost, equivalent to about 0.75 kg (1.65 lbs) per week, would be regarded as safe […] and sufficient to improve biomarkers of disease in susceptible individuals “
No side effects were reported even after prolonged use.
Pros and Cons
- Increases satiation, reduces energy intake and leads to weight loss
- Great antioxidant
- There is scientific evidence that it promotes weight loss
- No dose limit
- Pleasant drink with caffeine which does not make you jittery
- The herbal preparation used in Dr Anderson’s study did not contain only Yerba Mate. It contained Damiana and Guarana as well. Therefore it is not clear from the study if yerba mate tea alone can have the same weight loss effect.
- It is a little expensive
Problems and Complaints
No problems and complaints have been reported expert for the relatively high cost of the product.
Yerba Mate is a pleasant stimulating drink that has been used in South American countries at social gatherings for centuries. It has relaxing effect, boosts immune system, suppresses appetite, makes user feel full longer and tastes nice. Does it really help with weight loss? Research suggests that it does, and real-life experience confirms that. Users claim to feel more in control of their appetites. And this is probably the best way to lose weight anyway –by eating less.
Where to Buy Yerba Mate Tea
Yerba Mate tea along with its beautiful, hand crafted, traditional yerba mate tea gourd is available on Amazon.