Mate & Health
Several centuries ago, indigenous people in the South American rainforest discovered the sustained energy and nutrition provided by the leaves of the yerba mate tree and it became the base of their diet and herbal medicine. Over the past decade, the scientific review of yerba mate has demonstrated that the native peoples’ reverence for the health merits of yerba mate is substantiated.
Modern science is shedding light on the many benefits of yerba mate, including its: robust nutrition profile; high level of antioxidants; balanced and sustained stimulation; boost to the immune system; ability to enhance mental clarity; effect in relieving allergy symptoms; role in weight management and elimination; and its relationship to help control or limit other common modern ailments including diabetes, poor circulation, cholesterol and halitosis.
Studies of Antioxidant Properties of Yerba Mate Yerba mate has significant antioxidant activity. In 2005, researchers at the University of Illinois at Champaign –Urbana analyzed 25 different kinds of yerba mate and found that mate contained higher levels of antioxidants than green tea and, and based on cellular studies, reported that there was a correlation between yerba mate’s polyphenol content, antioxidant capacity and human topoisomerase inhibition that may help prevent oral cancer.
Prior to this most recent research, researchers in 1995 published a study in Biochemical and Molecular Biology International in which they concluded that water extracts of yerba mate “were more potent antioxidants than either ascorbic acid (vitamin C) or butylated hydroxytoluene.” A few years later, a group of researchers embarked on a study to again investigate the antioxidant properties of Ilex paraguariensis infusions. Those findings were published in March of 2000 in the Journal Biochemical and Biophysica Research Communications. Their results suggest “that ingestion of extracts of Ilex paraguariensis could contribute to an increase in the antioxidant defense of an organism against free radicals attack.” In a more recent study, published in the November 2001 issue of Fitoterapia, researchers took a look at seven different plant species in South America. They found that yerba mate “contained a higher content of flavonoids and caffeoyl derivatives than any other assayed species.”
Sustains Energy Yerba mate is a central nervous system stimulant that provides a unique sustaining energy due to its complex combination of xanthine alkaloids including caffeine, theophylline (also found in green tea) and theobromine (the “euphoriant” also found in chocolate), as well as pantothenic acid - which prevents over-stimulation of the central nervous system. Yerba mate is also a rich source of magnesium, which has been proven to ease anxiety without over-stimulating.