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Microsoft word - yerba mate.doc
Mate’, Paraguay Tea, Brazil Tea, Jesuit Tea Ilex paraguariensis
F. Aquifoliaceae Description
Hardy, attractive evergreen bush to small tree, up to 6 metres high, which is drought hardy
and light frost tolerant. Dark green, glossy, elliptic-shaped leaves to 10cm with fine, serrated margins.
Petite, white flowers are inconspicuous, as they set close in the leaf axils. Small round seeds form in a
bright red 5mm berry which makes the bush most attractive, giving it a similar appearance to Holly
aquifolium) to which it is related.
Propagation is by seed (how I grew my first tree) and cuttings (best started in late spring and summer).
Adapts to a wide range of climates. I have found trees grow well in sub-tropical conditions. Plant in a
sunny position, in well-drained soil. Constituents:
volatile oil, chlorogenic, oxalic and neochlorogenic acid, rutin, mateine, caffeine (up to
1.5%), theobromine 0.2%, theophylline, bitters, tannins Vitamins:
calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, silica Actions:
diuretic, cerebral stimulant, ant-inflammatory, expectorant, tonic, nervine, digestive, appetite
suppressant, laxative, diaphoretic Medicinal Uses
Mate’ has been a traditional folk medicine in South America. The Indians claimed that
this plant, with it’s varied uses, was a gift from a ‘white bearded God’ to give them health, happiness and
sustain them in times of sadness, calling it the drink of the Gods.
In 1964 the Pasteur Institute researched the properties of yerbe mate. Their conclusion was ‘It is
difficult to find a plant in any area of the world equal to mate’ in nutritional value. It has most all the
vitamins necessary to sustain life’. Some references indicate that mate’ tea contains only about a third
of the amount of caffeine as a cup of brewed coffee, while other references say the plant contains a
xanthine alkaloid called mateine, which acts like caffeine but doesn’t have the caffeine side effects.
Mate’ has the effect of stimulating the mind, increasing concentration and easing depressive moods
while not interfering with sleep like coffee may.
Students preparing for exams often find mate’ helpful as it is a powerful mental stimulant, aiding
understanding, assisting clear thinking and recall, with the added benefit of being soothing to the nerves,
providing a tonic to the body at a time when the immune system needs extra help. Although often used
as a tonic tea by many people, and drunk regularly in the same manner as China tea, it is regarded as
being devoid of any undesirable stimulant action. The herb tea has been found in research to help
deliver oxygen to the heart and muscles, an action most beneficial to health. Body builders use mate’ to
help tone muscles. Mate’ also has a beneficial action of the heart, toning the smooth muscles. Mate’
tea is a satisfying alternative to a calorie laden snack, by decreasing the sensation of hunger and
cravings. The tea has thermogenic properties that assist in burning fat. Mate’ has been used for:
diabetes, arthritis, gout, rheumatism, headaches, migraines, neuralgia, anxiety and stress, asthma, pre-
menstrual discomfort, nerve pain, indigestion, toning the intestinal tract, urinary tract infection, kidney
and bladder stones, irregular heart rhythm, obesity, fatigue as well as being used as a tonic for stamina
and endurance building. Many traditional drinkers in south America claim they can do a hard day’s work
with nothing but frequent cups of strong mate’ tea. Drink mate’ for its vitamin C antioxidant action as
well as relieve colds and flu. Dose:
Use 1 teasp. dried leaves to 1 cup of boiling water. Drink 4 cups a day. When I use fresh
leaves, I cut 2-4 leaves finely with scissors, place in a small teapot with a cup of boiling water, stir
vigorously a few seconds and pour. If it brews too long it can go bitter. Mate’ is often used in fasting
programs to cleanse the system of undigested residue, to stimulate the organs and glands, and revitalise
the body. To stimulate the glands, use 1 teas. of herb to 1 cup of boiling water and add 2 teasp. of
lemon juice and a teas. of honey. Mate’ is drunk to relieve pain in the lungs and increase respiratory
capacity. Culinary Uses
Mate’ tea is a main ingredient in a popular soft drink in South America. Leaves are often
added to bread. Traditionally the tea is not drunk in cups, as we drink tea, but from the spout of a
teapot, syphoning it with a tube like we use a drinking straw. Grown commercially, leaves and twigs are
picked partly sun-dried and then artificially heated. Traditionally, mate’ branches are fire-roasted and
dried to give the typical smoky taste of the herb tea.
Extract from Book “How Can I Use Herbs In My Daily Life?”
by Isabel Shipard
For more details Phone Shipard’s
(07) 54411101 Email email@example.com www.herbsarespecial.com.au
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