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14 Health Benefits of Yerba Mate
Yerba Mate has been used for hundreds of years medicinally and as a tonic. Many of its benefits are confirmed by modern research. Others are not yet proven by science but have been observed during centuries of traditional practice.
1. Aids weight loss
Mate is now being used increasingly in weight-loss programmes. It is thermogenic – it increases the rate at which fat is burned. This was demonstrated in a study in Switzerland in 1999.
Yerba Mate is an appetite suppressant. Mate drinkers feel fuller for longer.
2. Treats depression and anxiety
Mate has traditionally been used to treat depression and nervous anxiety.
In laboratory tests mate inhibits monoamine oxidase activity by 40-50%. A 2002 US patent envisages this being useful in treating a number of diseases, for example:
“depression, disorders of attention and focus, mood and emotional disorders, Parkinson's disease, extrapyramidal disorders, hypertension, substance abuse, eating disorders, withdrawal syndromes and the cessation of smoking."
3. Relieves allergies and sinusitis
This is another traditional use for mate. The British Herbal Pharmacopoeia recommends mate for headaches. Dr James Balch, the US complementary medicine expert, recommends mate for allergies.
Yerba mate has very significant antioxidant properties.
5. Stimulates the body and mind
Yerba Mate contains caffeine which stimulates the mind and the body. Mate relieves fatigue-related headaches and enhances athletic and cognitive performance after sleep deprivation and stress.
Anecdotally, many regular mate drinkers report that they do not suffer negative side-effects from caffeine when drinking mate. In particular, users report that drinking mate in the evening keeps them alert if want to stay up working, but does not prevent them sleeping when they want to. Please let us know your experiences of this.
Caffeine and other xanthines also stimulate the central nervous system and relax smooth muscle (especially bronchial muscle). They promote myocardial stimulation and peripheral vasoconstriction.
6. Strengthens the heart
Yerba Mate has long been used in traditional medicine to strengthen the heart. We now know that it contains theophylline which is used medically to stimulate the heart muscle.
7. Boosts immune system
Another traditional use of Yerba Mate is to boost the immune system and increase resistance to diseases. Again, this use appears to be supported by recent research. Mate is known to contain saponins which have been shown to stimulate the immune system.
8. Aids digestion
Mate is known to stimulate increased bile flow which aids digestion.
Another traditional use. More recent clinical studies have found that yerba mate inhibits the enzyme lipoxygenase, which is associated with inflammation.
10. Hypotensive (lowers blood pressure)
Yerba mate is a vasodilator – it relaxes the smooth muscle in blood vessels which makes them dilate and allows the blood to flow more easily.
11. Aids memory and concentration
This is another traditional use. It is very widely used in South America for this purpose, even more than tea and coffee are in Europe and America.
12. Reduces wrinkles
The leaves are highly astringent and a poultice of the leaves applied to the skin may improve the appearance of wrinkles.
Mate has traditionally been used as a diuretic. We now know that it contains the xanthines theobromine, caffeine, and theophylline, which all have mildly diuretic properties.
14. Contains vitamins and minerals, including :
- Vitamin C
- Thiamine (B1)
- Riboflavin (B2)
Mate is high in potassium, magnesium and antioxidants
You’re in good company
The health authorities in France authorise the use of mate for :
- Asthenia (low energy)
- As a diuretic
The British Herbal Pharmacopoeia recommends mate for :
- Weight loss
Dr. James Balch M.D. recommends mate for :
- Weight loss
- Allergies and hay fever
- Fluid retention
The Indian Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia recommends mate for :
- Psychogenic headaches
- Nervous depression
- Rheumatic pains