Yerba Mate Benefits
Yerba Mate Benefits
Yerba mate is a shrub and also an herb which has been traditionally consumed as yerba tea. Yerba is also known as ilex paraguariensis, erva mate, mate or just yerba. It is native to South America and is the national beverage of Paraguay.
Studies found that yerba mate contain 196 active constituents which are more than the compounds in green tea. Some of its active constituents are caffeic acid, antioxidants, amino acids, flavonoids, polyphenols and tannins. It also contains manganese, magnesium and potassium.
- One of yerba mate benefits is its potential in reducing the tendency to become obese. This is based on a report in 2009 after trials were done on mice induced with high fat diet and then given yerba extract. The theory is that the active constituents in yerba increased the transit time of food through the digestive tract and made the mice feel fuller over a longer period.
Prior to that, a study that involved 47 healthy but overweighed adults showed significant weight loss when they were given yerba tea combined with guarana and damiana herbal extracts for 45 days.
- Another one of yerba mate benefits is its ability to reduce fatigue and increase mental and physical fatigue. One of the reasons for its effectiveness is due to its caffeine content.
- Yerba tea acts as a natural diuretic because of the presence of theobromine. Drinking yerba tea helps increase the flow of urine, flush toxins from the body, manage blood pressure and reduce the risk of edema or water retention. Theobromine may also help reduce the risk of certain cancer.
- Yerba leaves contain theophylline which is also found in most tea leaves. The natural plant chemical is helpful in relieving symptoms of respiratory problems such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease of COPD and asthma.
- Yerba is high in antioxidants. Yerba mate benefits include enhancing the immune system, fighting free radicals and reducing the risk of many serious diseases including cancer.
- Another one of the benefits of yerba mate is it may reduce the risk of ischemia which is a condition that happens when the blood flow to the heart is reduced because of blockage in the coronary artery. Rats that were given yerba extract showed improvement from this condition of inadequate blood supply.
- In a study, yerba tea has shown to increase HDL or the good cholesterol and lower LDL which is the bad cholesterol. Another study that was done by Brazilian researchers in 2009 on 102 volunteers who drank yerba tea 3 times a day for 40 days showed the same result. The individuals' good cholesterol levels increased while the LDL cholesterols were reduced.
Yerba mate dried leaves are available loose and dried to make yerba tea. It is also sold in tea bags. Yerba extract is also available as a dietary supplement.
It is not advisable to take high doses of mate tea because it is a strong brain stimulant. The suggested amount is not more than 4 cups a day. When taken in overdose, yerba mate side effects may include high blood pressure, insomnia and increased sweating.