Bring me a gourd of mate and some dried mulberries, then cancel lunch – I don’t need it! Honestly, seriously, I can go an entire day without food and feel great with just a snack and some yerba mate. I’m not saying that’s healthy… but the health benefits of switching from coffee and tea to yerba mate are real!
Legend has it that yerba mate, a plant related to its sister guayusa and other Holly plants, was given to mankind by charitable gods as a health elixir and peace offering. The indigenous Guarani of South America drank mate for strength and courage (no kidding). After Spanish explorers failed to find Eldorado, mate became their long sought-after gold. Literally, the history surrounding this plant is chaos; all at once, everyone seemed to want it.
Nowadays yerba mate is both a national drink and obscure health import. That is, while the majority of South Americans drink or at least know about mate, most North Americans, Canadians, and Europeans – and pretty much the rest of the world’s inhabitants – are in the dark. And that’s a damn shame! Don’t they know how great this stuff can make you feel? Despite some blown up claims, drinking yerba mate has some real benefits you can really notice, really fast.
Called a ‘liquid vegetable’ by many, yerba mate contains tremendous natural amounts of potassium and iron, with a healthful serving of vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, A, C, E, and K. Smaller amounts of magnesium, calcium, and other minerals lend to yerba mate’s complete spectrum of electrolytes. Also present are heaps and piles of antioxidant compounds (several times more than green tea) and phytonutrients that combat aging and disease. If you happen to feel a little “research-y,” there are over 310 studies including yerba mate on the PubMed website. Finally, mate contains a modest-but-potent amount of caffeine.
But what does all that even mean? Well, here’s a summarized list:
- Lower blood pressure
- Weight loss promoter
- Improved circulation
- Warmer extremities
- Faster metabolism
- Heart protection
- Lowers cholesterol
- Stronger muscles
- Better bones
- Greater endurance
- Less inflammation
- Stronger lungs
- Cancer killer
- And for some, better sleep!
Isn’t it strange that a caffeinated drink might be able to prevent hypertension or insomnia? Coffee and soda dissolve your bones and tea discolors your teeth, and all three trouble the heart. But mate does nothing of the sort. Plus, it’s drunk from a gourd with a bamboo straw – optional, but awesome. So how about some Yerba Mate instead?
Guayaki yerba mate comes in tea bags or loose-leaf. Tea bags are my recommendation for beginners, maybe 3-4 per morning cup (but of course the amount is all personal preference). For those desiring the full exotic experience, read up on filling and drinking from a yerba mate gourd…!
Hide the tea and coffee for a while! Give a healthier drink a chance!
*Editor’s Note: After reviewing and posting this article from Colby Johnson, I am — in fact — a little upset he never shared the mate secret. I am now under the influence of its goodness and so far, so good! 😉 Kim
-Legends of Yerba Mate (guayaki.com)
-The Chemistry of Man (Bernard Jensen, PhD)
-Potassium (Steven D. Ehrlich, NMD & var. authors; umm.edu)