Yerba Mate

Scientific Name/Common Name: Ilex paraguariensis / Yerba Maté

Part(s) Used: Leaf

Constituents/Active Ingredients: Xanthine alkaloids (1-2% caffeine, 0.45-0.9% theobromine, 0.05% theophylline); tannin-like substances (4-16% caffeic and chlorogenic acids); the amines choline and trigonelline; amino acids; the flavonoids kaempferol, quercetin, and rutin; ursolic acid; vitamins B2, B6, C, niacin, and pantothenic acid, and volatile oil.

Overview: Maté, also known as yerba maté, kali chaye, and Paraguay tea, is a small evergreen tree or bush native to Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay. In most parts of South America, maté is the national drink, and as a daily stimulant, it is even more popular than tea or coffee. Maté tea, which is made from the dried, crushed, or powdered leaves, acts on the central nervous system as a stimulant, diuretic, and mild pain reliever. These medicinal properties can most definitely be attributed to the high caffeine content in the drug. Like other herbs that contain caffeine, Maté is used for fatigue, water retention, gastrointestinal complaints, and as a wakefulness promoting agent. Studies are being conducted to see if Maté can be used as an effective treatment for obesity. Maté is not recommended for prolonged or habitual use. As a metabolic stimulant, yerba mate has shown positive results in clinical studies of obesity.

Traditional Use/Benefits/Body Systems: Stimulant to alleviate mental and physical fatigue; source of antioxidants, diuretic for the urinary system.

Clinical Studies/Scientific Research/References:

Blumenthal M, Goldberg A, Brinkmann J, editors. 2000. Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commission E Monographs. Boston (MA): Integrative Medicine Communications.

Duke JA. 1985. Maté. In Handbook of Medicinal Herbs. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, Pp. 245-246.

Kim SY, et al. Anti-obesity effects of Yerba Mate (Ilex Paraguariensis): a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2015 Sep 25;15:338.

Disclaimer: This information in our Herbal Encyclopedia is intended only as a general reference for educational purposes. It is not a replacement for medical advice. This content does not provide dosage information, cautions/contraindications, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Please consult any relevant product labels for detailed information on use and with a medical practitioner for individual health advice.