Yerba Mate – Latest Research Included

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Yerba Mate, also known as Paraguay tea, is a type of tea made from the leaf of Ilex paraguariensis, an evergreen tree that grows in South America. It's typically consumed as an infusion and as an alternative treatment throughout Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, and the southern region of Brazil.

In contrast to most herbal teas, the yerba mate tea has caffeine. Its health benefits could include antioxidants and energy-boosting benefits. However, studies suggest that drinking vast quantities of yerba mate may increase the risk of getting certain cancers.

Please continue reading to learn more about the possible health benefits of yerba maté, the potential health risks associated with it, and the best way to consume it safely.

May Help Boost Energy Levels

Yerba mate contains phytochemicals—natural compounds produced by plants—known as methylxanthines. These include caffeine and theobromine, each of which has stimulant and bronchodilating (blood vessels expanding) effects. A cup of yerba mate tea is approximately the same amount of caffeine as one cup of coffee.

Similar to coffee and similar caffeinated drinks and foods, yerba mate is a great drink to boost energy and mood and reduce fatigue, memory and cognitive abilities, and headaches. It also boosts metabolism, which could assist in weight control.

May Reduce Inflammation

Alongside providing a boost of vitality, yerba mate is an excellent source of polyphenols with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Antioxidants lower the number of free radicals in your body, hindering the effects of oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is a process that makes it harder for cells to heal themselves. This could cause organ damage, inflammation, and other health issues.

Yerba Mate's potent antioxidant qualities could be the reason the tea is utilized for natural remedies worldwide.

May Help Increase Bone Density

There's preliminary evidence that yerba mate tea could help prevent osteoporosis (a condition caused by bone loss). A study showed that women who consumed yerba mate tea frequently were more bone-rich in their spine and neck than those in the control group who did not drink it. However, further research is needed to determine if and how drinking yerba mate can increase bone density.

May Improve Heart Health

Evidence suggests that yerba mate tea may be a beneficial factor for the health of your heart. It could be because it's a natural plant component called saponins. These have been proven to reduce cholesterol and blood sugar (blood sugar) levels. High cholesterol and blood sugar may increase the risk of heart disease.

In particular, yerba mate tea consumption has been linked to lower levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol–sometimes known as “bad” cholesterol–and higher levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, sometimes called “good” cholesterol.

May Improve Exercise Performance

Yerba Mate tea can improve various aspects of physical fitness, such as physical endurance, the perception of exertion, and speed.

A study conducted in 2018 revealed that cyclists who drank the tea yerba mate had higher lung capacity, higher levels of adrenaline, and more power output during exercise.

Risks of Consuming Yerba Mate

Specific research suggests that drinking huge quantities of hot yerba mate tea regularly over a long time could increase the chances of contracting cancers like:

  • Oral cavity
  • Pharynx
  • Larynx
  • Lungs
  • Stomach
  • Colon
  • Rectum
  • Kidneys
  • Bladder

This could result from the negative effects on carcinogens (cancer-causing substances) referred to as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). These risks are only evident in people who drink more than the average amount of yerba maté (i.e., at least one liter per day, that is, 4-8 cups or more).

Because yerba Mate is high in caffeine, drinking excessive amounts of it could result in the same adverse consequences as other stimulants. A high intake of caffeine may increase the risk of

  • Excessive bleeding
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Jitteriness
  • Glaucoma
  • Unusual heartbeat
  • Diarrhea
  • Seizures
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)

Tips for Consuming Yerba Mate

Yerba Mate tea is usually made by soaking the plant leaves in hot water. It's also offered as a supplement to herbal tea. Here are some tips for using it safely:

  • Avoid mixing it with nicotine or alcohol.
  • Don't drink yerba-mate tea if pregnant or nursing since the risk is unknown.
  • Reduce your intake of yerba maté (i.e., not more than 400 milligrams (mg) daily) to avoid adverse side consequences.
  • Don't drink Yerba Mate regularly.
  • Do not drink the other sources of caffeine while drinking yerba mate.
  • Inform your doctor about any additional teas, supplements, or medications you use to prevent any potential interactions.
  • Beware of yerba mate drinks that contain added sugar, as it could increase the risk of health issues.

A Quick Review

The yerba mate plant is a tea made with the leaves and stems of the South American shrub. Possible health benefits of yerba mate include increased energy levels, less inflammation, lower blood sugar and cholesterol, better exercise performance, and higher bone density.

However, the consumption of vast amounts of yerba mater, especially over a prolonged period, has been associated with an increased risk of certain kinds of cancer.

If you're interested in trying yerba mate, ask your physician to determine if it's suitable for you and what the appropriate dosage is.

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