10 Health Benefits of Yerba Mate Tea (Better Than Coffee)

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10 Health Benefits of Yerba Mate Tea (Better Than Coffee)
KayaWell Expert

Yerba mate is a traditional drink made from the dried leaves of an evergreen holly, Ilex paraguariensis, a native plant of South America.

This plant is found in the wild but is also cultivated on plantations similarly to familiar kinds of tea.

In countries where yerba mate is widely consumed, it assumes the cultural importance exemplified by coffee cafés and Japanese tea ceremonies.

Drinking yerba mate tea is often a social event.

Sharing this drink from a traditional gourd is a sign of friendship and bonding.

Mate drinking has its own vocabulary, not unlike ordering a coffee at Starbucks!

It’s wildly popular in Uruguay, where it’s not unusual to see people walking down the street sipping mate while carrying a thermos of hot water to refresh their drink.

1. Yerba mate provides a smooth increase in energy.

Yerba mate is well known for providing an energy boost that’s been described as gentle, clean, and calm.

Compared to the other most commonly used stimulants in the world — coffee, tea, kola nut, cocoa, and guarana — yerba mate reportedly delivers the most balanced energy boost.

Yerba mate drinkers experience a state of alert wakefulness similar to that of coffee, but without coffee’s side effects.

It rarely interferes with sleep and doesn’t cause caffeine jitters.

2. Yerba mate boosts mental functions of all kinds.

Everyone wants to be as smart, productive, focused, and creative as possible and yerba mate may just help you do that.

Yerba mate contains a moderate amount of caffeine, the most widely used psychoactive drug in the world. (7)

The brain enhancing benefits of caffeine are commonly known.

It enhances memory, mood, and alertness. (8)

It makes you more motivated and productive by stimulating production of the neurotransmitter dopamine. (9)

3. Yerba mate is a nutritional powerhouse loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

powerhouse loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Yerba mate is so loaded with nutrition that it contains practically all the micronutrients needed to sustain life. (11)

Each serving of mate contains the following vitamins and high concentration of these minerals: (12, 13)

vitamin A

vitamins B1, B2, B3, and B5

vitamin C

vitamin E











It also contains other beneficial phytonutrients such as tannins, trace minerals, chlorophyll, flavonoids, and 15 amino acids.

Yerba mate contains 11 polyphenols and exhibits more antioxidant power than any other tea-based drink. (14)

4. Yerba mate has a long history of traditional medicinal uses.

illustration of yerba mate plant

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

Dr. Leslie Taylor is an herbalist and naturopath who has dedicated her life to exploring the healing properties of native, medicinal plants of the Amazon rain forest.

In her book The Healing Power of Rainforest Herbs, she lists dozens of uses for yerba mate including:

as a stimulant

as an overall tonic and digestive aid

as part of a weight loss regime

as a general nerve tonic for pain, fatigue, and depression

for allergies and sinusitis

You can learn more about traditional yerba mate benefits and uses in her tropical plant database.

There you’ll find close to 100 scientific references to studies that support the health claims of traditional yerba mate.

5. Yerba mate can boost the immune system.

Yerba mate is high in compounds called saponins.

Saponins are natural emulsifiers that boost the immune system and have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. (15)

Inflammatory and Infections