At age 16 I was a volunteer at a hospital bacteriology lab. I became a chemist for U.S. government. Then I studied health & related fields.
Loose Yerba Mate Tea Leaves
Yerba Mate Tea Benefits
Yerba mate tea, Jesuits' tea, Jesuit tea or mate (pronounced ma-tay) tea is the most popular drink in most of South America. It is the national drink of Argentina (mate means gourd). Pope Francis is from Argentina and this is his favorite beverage but you do not need to be Catholic to drink it.
See Yerba mate, Jesuits, and Francis – The Story of the Pope's Favorite Drink. This tea has many health benefits and over 400 phytochemicals that are also in green tea. The pope says that it relaxes him. Also see: The Pope Drinks Yerba Mate Every Day — Should You? This article tells about weight loss, bone health, heart disease & colon cancer. It says:
Yerba mate has been used for centuries as a stimulant, and while it contains caffeine (more than tea, less than coffee), it also contains vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, amino acids, and polyphenols. A study at the Pasteur Institute investigated yerba mate and concluded that it contains "practically all of the vitamins necessary to sustain life." Lovers of mate claim that although it's a stimulant for both mind and body, it doesn't have the side effects of coffee, such as jitters and stomach upset.
Yerba maté (llex paraguariensis ) tea is consumed a certain way in South America. To see how that is done just click on the source under the picture. In the United States you can buy it in tea bags or loose and make it just like regular tea. Green tea has had a lot more studies done on it but I think that this tea is just as good for health. But they are different in many ways.
So I like to drink both. Whole Foods markets has their own brand (365) of tea with organic yerba mate tea, organic green tea and organic peppermint leaves. It is only $3.99 for 40 tea bags.
Yerba mate has more chlorogenic acid than green tea. Yerba mate is 10% chlorogenic acid. Wikipedia says about this:
This compound, long known as an antioxidant, also slows the release of glucose into the bloodstream after a meal.
Chlorogenic acid and caffeic acid are antioxidants in vitro [in a test tube] and might therefore contribute to the prevention of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus and cardiovascular disease. It is claimed to have antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal effects with relatively low toxicity and side effects, alongside properties that do not lead to antimicrobial resistance.
In one study, researchers observed that people with healthy blood pressure have more nitric oxide available to nourish their endothelial cells (smooth, supple lining inside every blood vessel in your body)—and help maintain healthy blood pressure. And researchers believe that chlorogenic acid plays a role in supporting normal nitric oxide levels. Inside your body, this remarkable substance, chlorogenic acid, helps protect your body’s natural supply of nitric oxide so your blood vessels can open up wide and keep your blood pressure right where your doctor wants it.
In 1998, three Nobel Prize-winning scientists: Robert F. Furchgott, Ferid Murad and Louis J. Ignarro discovered that nitric oxide, a natural substance in your body, actually signals your endothelial cells to relax and open up your blood vessels.
Yerba mate tea also has caffeine in it just like green tea but when it comes to plant foods that are made by nature or God, there is synergy. This word means that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. So just like with green tea, even though caffeine raises blood pressure, drinking yerba mate tea lowers high blood pressure. They used to think that the caffeine was a difference compound and called it mateine.
Since the tea is made with leaves or leafy greens, it is similar to eating your greens. Eating greens have many health benefits. The chlorophyll in greens have a cleansing effect on the body. The molecular structure of chlorophyll is almost identical to our blood. The center atom of blood is iron whereas the center atom of chlorophyll is magnesium.
Eating greens also are a great aid in helping people to lose weight. They are not sure why but this is what studies show. So this is like drinking your greens. Also it helps the inner layer of the arteries from damage that can lead to heart attacks and strokes. Greens have a lot of folate in it that greatly helps the body with its health.
As far as the taste, green tea tastes bland and I have been drinking it for many years. For Americans, yerba mate tea has a bitter taste, but it is an acquired taste. But you can sweeten it with the herb stevia and I have seen it sold already mixed with stevia. This is similar to how black coffee is bitter but tastes better when sweetened. I liked yerba mate tea right away the first time but I had been drinking a very bitter health tea with stevia for many years.
You can see by the first thing said about chlorogenic acid that this tea would help with weight loss and diabetes. It also helps the metabolism work better which also helps with losing weight. Green tea enhances concentration but yerba mate is said to be better at it. It also helps with mental clarity and focus.
When it comes time to go to sleep, they say about this tea that if you focus on something relaxing it will help you to get to sleep. But if you focus on something stimulating than it will help you to stay awake.
Common Sense Warning: If you put boiling hot yerba mate tea on your arm, it will burn it. If you drink burning hot tea, it will burn you. If you drink tea that is too hot, it will have a very bad effect on your mouth and throat over time (like cancer).
Some say that yerba mate tea is a stronger antioxidant than green tea. Other health benefits include cleaning the colon and blood. It helps to prevent arteriosclerosis which can be partly due to the chlorogenic acid. Diabetes is now considered a cardiovascular disease. It also helps with digestion but I wait an hour after eating before I drink anything and do not drink anything while eating. But feel free to drink a bucket of a beverage before eating since it will not disturb your digestion.
This tea is also loaded with a lot of nutrients. As far as cancer, Wikipedia says:
In-vivo [with live animals] and in-vitro [in test tube] studies are showing that yerba mate exhibits significant cancer-fighting activity. In 1995, research at the University of Illinois found yerba mate to inhibit the proliferation of oral cancer cells
Drinking mate tea lowers the bad cholesterol and raises the good cholesterol according to Wikipedia. It is said to be a whole body tonic that is good for anti-aging, helping constipation, strengthens the immune system and increases creativity, strength, energy and endurance.
It is also mostly water so you get the needed water that you need. It is said to be a diuretic like tea but this is different than drug diuretics. People have died of dehydration from drug diuretics. Now if tea worked the same way and someone drank only tea, then they would get more and more dehydrated until they died.
But the way that tea works is to help get rid of excess salt and sodium that causes you to retain a lot of excess water. Once you lose that excess salt then it will no longer cause you to get rid of water. I have an article on this called Can Salt Make You Overweight. Now this effect of Jesuit tea would help someone to lower their high blood pressure. For more on curing hypertension or high blood pressure, see my article Main Cause of High Blood Pressure.
Dr. Theresa Ramsey (NMD) | Yerba Mate Tea -- A Healthy, Delicious Coffee Alternative
Yerba mate health benefits, new antioxidant tea
KDuBarry03 on May 20, 2012:
Tea is one of my favorite drinks; especially Mate and Rooibos. I have to say, teavana is a great place to shop for some good tea if one wishes to get involved. I have heard some great stories about the different mate and Rooibos teas; however, this is the first time I read about Yerba Mate tea. Great information here!
Chuck Bluestein (author) from Morristown, AZ, USA on February 26, 2012:
Well you do know your botany! From Wikipedia: "Yerba mate (Spanish: [??er?a ?mate]; also spelled in English as maté, from the Spanish: yerba mate, Portuguese: erva-mate, IPA: [???v? ?mat?i]), binomial name Ilex paraguariensis, is a species of holly (family Aquifoliaceae), well-known as the source of the mate beverage, which is native to subtropical South America in northeastern Argentina, Bolivia, southern Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay. It was first used and cultivated by the Guaraní people, also in some Tupí people communities in southern Brazil, prior to the European colonization. It was scientifically classified by the Swiss botanist Moses Bertoni, who settled in Paraguay in 1895.
The yerba plant, Ilex paraguariensis, is a shrub or small tree growing up to 15 meters tall. The leaves are evergreen, 7–11 cm long and 3–5.5 cm wide, with a serrated margin. The flowers are small, greenish-white, with four petals. The fruit is a red drupe 4–6 mm in diameter. The leaves are often called Spanish: yerba or Portuguese: erva, both of which mean "herb." They contain caffeine and related compounds and are harvested commercially."
Beelady on February 23, 2012:
Great hub, It was nice to see the latin name included in your article, so many people don't use these when writing about herbs. Does this mean that Yerba Mate is in fact a member of the holly family?
Akhil Anil on January 24, 2012:
I'm hearing about it for the first time though I have green tea often! Thanks . votes up!
Eliminate Cancer from Massachusetts on January 24, 2012:
I have never heard of this tea, but I do go through phases with tea. I drank jasmine green tea for years, especially after the cancer diagnosis. Yes, regular green tea is bland, and many of the flavored ones tasted just like unnatural flavors - jasmine for some reason retained it's nice flowery scent. But Yerba Mate sounds like it will become my new favorite - I will look for it. Thank you for sharing!!