Yerba mate tea is quite a remarkable beverage. The plant this tea is derived from, Ilex paraguariensis, carries a number of beneficial qualities. The plant was originally a traditional medicine, and favorite beverage of people from the South American countries of Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay.
Ilex paraguariensis has been scientifically proven to be a nutritious and energizing plant with the ability to lower your levels of cholesterol. It may even help with weight loss, the negative effects of obesity, and diabetes! (1,2)
With so many benefits and a taste claimed to be similar to coffee, who wouldn’t consider swapping their morning coffee for a cup of Yerba mate tea? Enjoy the various health benefits of Yerba mate tea in the tea or in any one of these four delicious recipes.
1. Yerba Mate Tea Has Energizing Properties
Yerba mate tea is used as a stimulant due to the content of caffeine contained in the leaves of Ilex paraguariensis. It can boost your energy on levels similar to coffee. It is often used as a treatment for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome due to its stimulating effects and the revitalizing, energizing relief from fatigue.
Some herbalists in Brazil will recommend Yerba mate tea as a treatment for Major Depressive Disorder, as a relief from the constant physical and mental exhaustion that goes hand in hand with depression. The main difference between Yerba mate tea and coffee is that it provides all of the benefits of caffeine without the unwanted side effect of jittering, and, as an alkaline plant, Yerba mate tea lacks the acidic effects of coffee such as stomach pains.
For people with acid reflux, the alkaline nature and similar flavor of Yerba mate tea make it a great substitution for coffee. (3,4)
Key takeaway: The caffeine in Yerba mate tea is energizing without the negative effects that can come with coffee.
2. Yerba Mate Tea Is A Mental Stimulant
Yerba mate tea is also stimulating to the central nervous system. This type of stimulant is often used to treat disorders of the central nervous system such as ADD, ADHD, narcolepsy, and various others. Medications and supplements that stimulate the central nervous system hold the purpose of improving and directing mental focus.
Central nervous system stimulants also decrease restlessness, increase levels of focus, and improve the physical coordination in those with ADHD. Yerba mate tea has been claimed to improve mental functions by various different sources, but there is no scientific evidence to support or discredit these claims. However, the fact that it is a stimulant to the central nervous system supports this theory. (5)
The evidence of a lack of jittering despite the amount of caffeine in Yerba mate tea is also in favor of decreased restlessness and therefore could support the rest of the effects of central nervous system stimulants. (6)
Key takeaway: Yerba mate tea may be able to improve mental functions and focus.
3. Yerba Mate Tea Is A Highly Nutritious Drink
Yerba mate tea contains small amounts of nearly all of the nutrients needed to sustain the human body; it’s even claimed to be difficult to find a plant equal in nutritional value. The minerals naturally included in Yerba mate tea are calcium, magnesium, manganese, iron, selenium, potassium, zinc, and phosphorous.
Vitamins A, B1 (Thiamine), B2 (Riboflavin), B3 (Niacin), B5 (Pantothenic acid), and B complex are also present in Yerba mate tea. Moreover, the compounds of carotene, chlorophyll, flavonols, fatty acids, polyphenols, tannins, pantothenic acid, inositol, antioxidants, and trace amounts of several other minerals all make an appearance in Yerba mate tea.
With an additional 15 amino acids, if you ever find yourself on a stringent diet that allows for the consumption of teas without added sweeteners; it could make for quite a nice supplement. (7)
Key takeaway: Yerba mate tea contains greater amounts of many essential nutrients than most other plants. It can be used as a supplement.
4. Yerba Mate Tea Has High Levels of Antioxidant Power
Yerba mate tea has much more powerful antioxidant activity than that of green tea, reportedly having a 90% greater level of activity. It contains two antioxidants by the names of theophylline and theobromine, found in green tea and dark chocolate respectively. (8,9)
Theophylline is a methylxanthine bronchodilator used to treat asthma and other breathing problems by relaxing the lung’s air passages. It is also a diuretic and a stimulant of the central nervous system. (10,11)
Theobromine, on the other hand, is a weaker diuretic and has practically no stimulating activity in the central nervous system. It is likewise a methylxanthine bronchodilator. Theobromine is used to treat hypertension and angina pectoris. (12,13)
In a study conducted on mice, the method used to protect the heart involved reducing oxidation levels. In the process of protecting the heart, the natural chemicals in Yerba mate tea significantly reduced the damage done by oxidation. (14)
Key takeaway: The antioxidant activity level in Yerba mate tea is much higher than it is in green tea.
5. Yerba Mate Tea Can Lower Your Blood Sugar
High Blood pressure also known as hypertension is a disease characterized by an elevated internal pressure within the blood vessels. The World Health Organization estimates that 1.56 billion people will have hypertension by the year 2025.
Early research has suggested that Yerba mate tea can lower blood sugar levels in people with diabetes, although there hasn’t yet been a full-fledged investigation that confirms this. If Yerba mate tea does prove to lower the levels of blood sugar, those at risk of or who have diabetes just might be in luck. (15)
Perhaps you’re wondering, “Why is this significant?” Hyperglycemia (the scientific word for high blood sugar levels), both a cause and symptom of diabetes, is most often exhibited through headaches, increased thirst, fatigue, constant urination, blurry vision, and issues with concentrating.
If hyperglycemia is prolonged and left untreated, these can grow into severe symptoms such as damaged vision, kidneys, or blood vessels; skin infections; nerve damage; the inability to process glucose; and even a coma. (16,17)
Key takeaway: Having very high blood sugar levels can be extremely dangerous, and Yerba mate tea may be able to help lower it.
6. Yerba Mate Tea Can Lower Cholesterol In Your Body
There are two types of cholesterol present in our body. One is LDL’s and the other is HDL’s.
Low-Density Lipoproteins are considered as the bad cholesterol due to the fact that they are the responsible for depositing fatty tissues around our body.
Yerba mate tea has been scientifically proven to help to lower high cholesterol levels. A study conducted on rats showed that although the effect on cholesterol levels was minimal with a normal diet, the effects of Yerba mate tea included in a diet heavy on cholesterol ended up being magnified. The lipid breakdown action (18,19)
According to this study, conducted by Laura Bravo, Raquel Teaos, Beatriz Sarriá, Gema Baeza, Elena Lecumberri, Sonia Ramos, and Luis Goya, “In rats that consumed a high-cholesterol diet, drinking tea showed a marked hypolipidemic action, decreasing triglycerides, total and LDL-cholesterol, and malondialdehyde levels” (Bravo et al, 2014). (20)
This study showed that Yerba mate tea does not simply provide a reduction of cholesterol, but rather protects against hyperlipidemia (a high concentration of lipids and fats in the blood). (21)
Key takeaway: There is scientific evidence that Yerba mate tea can impact and reduce high bad cholesterol levels in our body thus reducing the accumulation of fatty tissues building up and causing damage.
7. Yerba Mate Tea Has Dozens Of Cardiovascular Benefits
Considered as one of the most important parts of our body, our cardiovascular system deserves every protection that we can give it.
The previously mentioned study done on mice was intended to reveal the cardioprotective effects of Yerba mate tea. It did so quite spectacularly, proving that the heart suffered less damage from oxidation while announcing to the overseeing scientists that it was an avid inhibitor of cytotoxicity (a phenomenon where a compound is toxic to living cells, commonly affiliated with strokes and myocardial ischemia/coronary artery disease), more so than green tea or red wine.
The heart and liver tissues were protected from oxidation by the antioxidants found in Yerba mate tea. Yerba mate tea also showed in this experiment that it could help balance the circulatory system by lowering ADP, ATP, and AMP hydrolysis. (22,23)
Key takeaway: The compounds found in Yerba mate tea can protect as against cardiovascular related diseases, and slow down the aging of the heart.
8. Yerba Mate Tea Protects You From Liver Damage
Yerba mate tea has been shown to protect from liver damage. As mentioned previously, the antioxidant compounds of Yerba mate tea are protective of the heart. Guess what? They protect the liver too!
The liver is one of the most prone to damage among our organs. This is because the liver can be considered as one of our first defenses against harmful substances that enter our body. Yerba mate tea not only prevents a degree of damage done to the liver by oxidation, but it’s shown to be toxic to cancerous cells in the liver. (24)
If a very large portion of the liver were to be damaged, it would likely begin to fail. Symptoms of liver failure resemble that of many common viruses in the early stages, but as it gets worse, the fluid in the eyes becomes yellow and the victim may fall into a coma. If a liver transplant does not take place before the liver is completely shut down, the person would probably die. (25)
Key takeaway: Taking care of the liver should be part of everybody’s concern. Luckily, they can easily do this by simply adding Yerba Mate Tea in their daily diet.
9. Yerba Mate Tea Can Guard Against Cancer
Cancer is one of the worst things to have struck man. It has destroyed many lives and yet an effective and efficient cure for it is still not available. That is why the best thing we could do against it is to find ways to prevent it from ever happening to us.
Yerba mate tea contains chlorophyll and ursolic acid. Both are natural anticancer chemicals. Additionally, ursolic acid is an anti-Alzheimer and anti-arrhythmic. In particular, yerba protects best against liver cancer due to the cytotoxic effects it has on cancer cells in the liver. According to a 2007 analysis of the properties of Yerba mate tea, it’s suspected to be a stronger anticancer than green tea. (26)
“Several studies have been conducted on the anticancer properties of Tea tea and comparisons have been made with other teas such as green tea, believed to have high anticancer potential” (Heck et al, 2007). (27)
Key takeaway: Yerba mate tea has been found to be effective in preventing cancer cells in spreading throughout our body. It has been found to be most effective against liver cancer.
10. Yerba Mate Tea Improves Physical Performance
Don’t you just hate it when you try to exercise or even in just normal settings, you lose your energy faster than you can even break a sweat? This can easily be prevented if you know which food to eat and which drink to drink.
Yerba mate tea has been shown to improve physical performance during exercise. Due to the medium content of caffeine, people who drink Yerba mate tea will have more energy during exercise. Twelve healthy male college students were tested on their ability to perform a set of exercises. (28)
There was a significant improvement in their ability to perform the exercises when they were taking a caffeine supplement as opposed to when they were doing nothing to improve their performance or they took a placebo. Another study showed that those who consumed a 1 gram capsule of Yerba mate tea before exercising burned an additional 24% fatter than those who did not. (29)
Key takeaway: The caffeine level of Yerba mate tea is at a balanced level that is enough to provide you with your much-needed energy boost without dehydrating you of precious fluids.
11. Yerba Mate Tea Can Help You Lose Weight
Losing weight is such an impossible task for some people that they often turn to synthetic drugs to help them lose a few inches. However, this is a very dangerous thing to do due to the fact that most of the drugs that are being sold in the market are filled with chemicals that are harmful to the body most especially to the liver.
Yerba mate tea increases the amount of fat burned during exercise. In an experiment conducted by Ahmad Alkhatib, fourteen healthy men and women ingested 1000 mg of Yerba mate tea or a placebo before participating in a set of randomized exercises. The fatty acid oxidation for those who took Yerba mate tea was significantly increased from their rates when they took the placebo. The increase is measured at around 24%. (30)
Key Takeaway: Drinking Yerba mate tea has already been proven to be an effective and natural way to lose weight. If you want to lose some weight, throw away those synthetic drugs and shift to Yerba mate tea.
12. Yerba Mate Tea Can Protect Against Pathogens
In every food we eat, surface we touch and breath we take, bacteria enter our bodies in many ways. The body has a natural immune system to protect us against these pathogens, however, most of the time the body needs assistance to do its job.
Researchers have shown pieces of evidence that Yerba mate tea can deactivate E. coli bacteria, protect against intestinal parasites, and can prevent or slow the growth of Malassezia furfur (the fungus that causes dandruff).
A study performed on Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli (Staph infection and E. coli, respectively) revealed that the Staph bacteria and E. coli were both sensitive to Yerba mate tea, The Staph bacteria was proven to even be more sensitive to this wonderful tea.
Another study revealed that Yerba mate tea could completely inactivate E. coli. In the analysis of the properties of Yerba mate tea, it was noted that chemical compound found in Yerba mate tea has anti-parasitic properties. (31,32,33)
Key takeaway: Yerba mate tea has antimicrobial properties and can protect you against harmful pathogens around us. Thus, it can protect us from becoming sick due to these pathogens.
13. Yerba Mate Tea Has Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Some of the diseases connected with the inflammation of some of our body parts usually involve long-term suffering and pain. Some of these diseases are arthritis and asthma. If not treated immediately the disease can get worse and worse every passing day.
Yerba mate tea is known to have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help prevent infections. Caffeine, quercetin, ursolic acid, and oleanolic acid derived from Yerba mate tea were tested to see which ones exhibited anti-inflammatory action.
Of these four compounds, quercetin inhibited inflammation with the most potency; at ten times lower of a concentration, quercetin still was reducing inflammation more than the other three compounds at their normal concentrations. It was also noted that, based on this experiment, whole Yerba mate tea had more promising anti-inflammatory properties than Yerba mate tea extract. (34)
Key takeaway: Yerba mate tea contains quercetin or an anti-inflammatory compound that can prevent infections and inflammations in our body.
14. Yerba Mate Tea May Prevent Diabetes
Diabetes is a very dangerous and often fatal long term disease. It is the overabundance of glucose in our body caused by the lack of insulin and the inability of someone’s body to utilize insulin.
Ilex paraguariensis or the plant Yerba mate tea comes from contains choline and chlorogenic acid, both of which are anti-diabetic compounds. In addition, it appears that Yerba mate tea is hypoglycemic.
“It has also been reported that hyperglycemia is a cause for diabetic complications due to dicarbonyls involved in advanced glycation end product (AGE) formation. Oxidation has been linked to glycation and Tea extracts show a dose-dependent inhibition of dicarbonyl action” (Heck et al, 2007). (35)
In simpler English, oxidation is connected to glycation. Some of the issues that come with diabetes happen as a result of dicarbonyls being involved in glycation. Yerba mate tea contains antioxidants and inhibits dicarbonyl action, thus reducing or even eliminating both major factors that cause diabetic complications with hyperglycemia.
Key takeaway: Yerba mate tea has been shown to prevent diabetes with its powerful components and antioxidants.
15. Yerba Mate Tea May Prevent Heart Disease
Our hearts is one of the hardest working organs in our body. It is the only organ to work 24 hours a day, and 7 days a week. With this much effort, the heart is also one of the easiest organs to get damaged or sick.
Yerba mate tea may help protect against heart disease. It was previously mentioned that Yerba mate tea is cardioprotective and highly beneficial to the cardiovascular system, as well as anti-inflammatory. More importantly, however, it can lower your cholesterol levels, lower your blood sugar levels, and it’s even believed to be able lower blood pressure.
If you’re familiar with heart disease, you’ll know that the conditions of diabetes, coronary artery disease, and hypertension (high blood pressure) are some of the leading causes. All these can be prevented by drinking the wonderful drink Yerba Mate Tea. (36,37)
Key Takeaway: Prevent your heart from being broken, literally. Drink Yerba mate tea for a strong and healthy heart!
5 Delicious Recipes
Doesn’t it seem a bit odd that this plant seems to be able to do everything it could possibly need to in order to protect the heart? Between lowering cholesterol, lowering blood pressure, protecting the heart from oxidative damage, and its anti-diabetic properties, it seems as though this plant was designed by nature to protect the heart.
With so many amazing benefits, why would you not look for a way to include Yerba mate tea into your diet? If you already have your morning tea filled with a cup of something else, well, there’s still other ways to consume Yerba mate tea and reap its outstanding benefits.
If you need a tasty breakfast beverage or a quick, healthy pick-me-up energy snack, you can always find something to make with Yerba mate tea. Here are five delicious recipes that use Yerba mate tea as an essential ingredient.
1. Strawberry Yerba Mate Tea
Yerba mate tea is already a delicious and healthy drink on its own. Nevertheless, adding a little twist to it would surely make you love it even more.
½ pound of washed and hulled strawberries
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
1 tablespoon of sugar (powdered recommended)
1 sprig of basil (roughly eight large leaves)
2 cups of cold brewed Yerba mate tea
Combine all ingredients but Yerba mate tea in a blender. Blend on the “blend” setting until the mixture is smooth, do this for about 30 seconds. If necessary, stop the blender and, using a spoon, move the strawberries closer to the blade.
When ready to serve, stir Yerba mate tea in with the strawberry mixture in a pitcher or jar. Serve while fresh to achieve the best taste.
2. Yerba Mate Tea Smoothie
This terrific smoothie is sure to excite your tongue and body for the health benefits that Yerba mate tea has in store for you!
1.5 cups of unsweetened almond milk
1 cup of unsweetened Yerba mate tea, chilled
1 piece of frozen banana
1 tablespoon of cashew butter
2 ice cubes
1 serving vanilla/French vanilla nutritional shake powder
Brew Yerba mate tea and allow it to chill for 10-15 minutes.
Combine all ingredients into a blender and blend until the mixture is smooth.
Serve while cold and enjoy!
3. Kale Yerba Mate Tea Bars
Carrying a tea drink with you everywhere you go is almost an impossible task. Luckily you can do that now by preparing these delicious and healthy bars!
3 ⅓ cups ground oats
3 heaping cups of ground kale & chard chips
2 heaping cups of Yerba mate tea leaves
½ cup of ground flax seeds
2 ½ cups chocolate chips (may be vegan or carob)
1 ¼ cups any nut halves (may be substituted for raisins, whole flax seed, sunflower seed, or chopped dates)
1 ¼ cups puffed rice (about 2 - 3 crumbled rice cakes)
⅓ cup melted nut butter (any) (may be substituted for additional agave or maple syrup)
¼ cup melted butter (may be substituted for any other oil)
1 ½ cups agave nectar (may be substituted for honey)
1 ½ cups pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ tablespoon of vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon sea salt (optional)
1 cup raisins or chopped dates (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a blender, individually pulse oats, kale/chard chips, Yerba mate tea, and flax seeds. After grinding into a fine powder, measure out the specified amounts.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground ingredients with the chocolate chips, nut halves, puffed rice, baking soda, and vanilla extract. If you are adding sea salt and raisins or chopped dates, add those in as well. Mix while gradually adding in the melted butter, agave, maple syrup, and melted nut butter until the mixture clumps and can easily be formed into compacted balls.
Scoop into as many baking pans as necessary and compact as well as possible, spreading evenly. The bars should be less than 1” thick and have no air pockets; air pockets could cause them to fall apart.
Bake for 18 - 20 minutes or until firm with slightly browned edges. Cut into small mini bars about 1 x 2 inches in size. Makes 40 - 48.
4. Smoked Burgers With Yerba Mate Tea
Burgers are a staple in every campout and tailgate parties, but we all know those things are filled with unhealthy fats and chemicals. However, with this recipe, you are sure that you are enjoying both your party and the benefits of Yerba Mate Tea!
2 cups of boiling water
1 tablespoon of loose Yerba mate tea leaves
1 teaspoon of loose black tea leaves
1 cup of dried Beluga lentils, rinsed
4 pieces of large eggs
½ teaspoon salt
1 chopped medium onion
1 small carrot, shredded
1 cup of breadcrumbs
Olive oil (if pan frying)
Pour the boiling water over the tea leaves in a medium bowl. Cover and steep for roughly five minutes, then strain into a large saucepan and discard the tea leaves. Add the lentils, and bring to a boil over high heat.
Lower the heat to a simmering temperature and cook until most of the tea has been absorbed and the lentils are firm yet tender. This should be about 30 - 40 minutes. Cover the pan and let it sit off the heat for about ten minutes until the rest of the tea has been absorbed.
In a food processor bowl, combine the lentils, eggs, and salt. Pulse until the mixture becomes a thick and pasty; some lentils may remain whole. Transfer this paste into a mixing bowl and stir in the onion, garlic, and shredded carrot. Add the breadcrumbs and stir in until they are combined. Let the lentil mixture rest for a few minutes, allowing the breadcrumbs to absorb some of the moisture, and divide the paste into six equal parts. Form into patties about 1 ½ inch thick.
Grill for about 5 to 8 minutes per side until browned and crisped on both sides. If cooking indoors, heat the oil in a heavy skillet on medium-low temperature, add the patties, and cover it. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until the bottoms of the patties begin to brown. Flip and cook the second side until golden (about 7 minutes).
5. Yerba Mate Tea Latte
Latte is commonly a coffee mixed with steamed milk, however, in this delicious recipe, we’ll be using a more delicious and healthy alternative, Yerba mate tea!
1 tablespoon of Yerba mate tea leaves
3/4 cup of hot Water
1/4 cup of dairy Milk
1 tablespoon of organic sugar
Brew 1 tablespoon of Yerba mate tea leaves in a 3/4 cup of hot water.
Add a quarter cup of warmed milk and 1 tablespoon of organic.
Finally, top the drink with milk foam, you can make the foam by pouring a little bit of warm milk in a jar or container, and shake it vigorously.
Wrapping It Up
Yerba mate tea has been a well-known part of the world of teas. Yerba mate tea is well known for its distinct and flavorful taste and unique aroma. However, Yerba mate tea is more known for one more thing, its dozens of effective and proven health benefits.
Yerba mate tea has been proven to cure all sorts of diseases, from heart, liver, cardiovascular diseases, and much more! These aren’t just hearsays or folklore, but well grounded scientific studies that Yerba mate tea can indeed give us these health benefits.
All in all, Yerba mate tea is a spectacularly healthy and delicious tea. You can add any fruit or vegetables to it to give a twist to Yerba mate tea’s already amazing flavor, or you can add it to any dish you wish to give your food the health benefits Yerba mate tea has. Include Yerba mate tea to your diet now and see your life get better every day.
Jen Miller is a former electrical engineer and product specialist with more than 20 years of product design and testing experience. She has designed more than 200 products for Fortune 500 companies, in fields ranging from home appliances to sports gear and outdoor equipment. She founded Jen Reviews to share her knowledge and critical eye for what makes consumers tick, and adopts a strict no-BS approach to help the reader filter through the maze of products and marketing hype out there. She writes regularly and has been featured on Forbes, Fast Company, The Muse, The Huffington Post, Tiny Buddha and MindBodyGreen.