Latin name: Ilex paraguariensis
Also know as: Yerba Mate
Yerba Mate Leaves are a green with a musky smell and bitter, earthy taste.
The main uses and benefits of Yerba Mate are:
- Induces mental clarity – Yerba mate has the ability to quicken the mind and increase mental alertness and acuity. Yerba mate also provides sustainable energy due to its complex combination of xanthine alkaloids and caffeine. Although its caffeine content is comparable to coffee, the stimulation is balanced by yerba mate’s nutritional content. Clinical studies have shown that caffeine-sensitive individuals generally have very positive results and don’t experience the hard side effects (jitters, stomach discomfort, headache) commonly associated with caffeine.
- Sustains Energy Levels/Reduce Fatigue -Yerba mate is a central nervous system stimulant. The metabolic effects of mate appear to include the ability to maintain aerobic breakdown of carbohydrates during exercise for long periods of time. As a result, more calories are burned, thereby increasing cardiac efficiency and delaying the build-up of lactic acid. Additionally, mate’s blend of xanthine alkaloids: caffeine, theophylline and theobromine, provide sustaining energy.
- Boosts the Immune System-The yerba mate plant contains a number of powerful phytochemicals called saponins. When studying the effect that saponins have on plants, it has been discovered that saponins are the plants’ active immune system and function as a “natural antibiotic.” Research looks very promising that the effects saponins are being transferred to the human body when ingested. Scientists are looking at how saponins can help humans fight fungal infections, combat microbes and viruses, boost the effectiveness of certain vaccines.
- Helps Relieve Allergies-Linda Rector Page, N.D., Ph.D., notes that yerba mate is helpful in opening respiratory passages to overcome allergy symptoms. Shown to reduce the severity of some allergies and hay fever, yerba mate works by stimulating the adrenal glands to produce corticosteroids, which help suppress the inflammation and immune response due to allergies.
- Aids in Weight Control-For many years now, physicians in Europe have been incorporating yerba mate in treatments for obesity. In 2000, a research team studying obesity at the Charlottenlund Medical Center in Denmark tested an herbal preparation of Yerba Maté, Guarana, and Damiana (YGD) for gastric emptying and subsequent weight loss. They concluded that the herbal preparation, YGD capsules, significantly delayed gastric emptying, reduced the time to perceived gastric fullness and induced significant weight loss over 45 days in overweight patients treated in a primary health care context. In addition, maintenance treatment given in an uncontrolled context resulted in no further weight loss, nor weight regain in the group as a whole. Guayaki recommends that the product be used as part of a program that includes a healthy diet and sufficient exercise.
- Aids in Elimination-The indigenous of South America traditionally use yerba mate to treat gastrointestinal disorders as eupeptic and choleretic agent. Research conducted by a team at Catedra de Farmacologia in Buenos Aires, Argentina found that yerba mate does in fact induce an increase in bile flow and enhance intestinal transit.
- Diabetic Treatment-Yerba mate has been shown to inhibit the formation of advanced glycation end products (AGEs), with an effect comparable to that of two pharmaceutical grade AGE inhibitor drugs. The formation of AGEs plays a part in the development of diabetic complications.
- Inhibits Lipid Peroxidation-A study conducted by Gugliucci and published in Biochemical Molecular Biology International (1995) claims low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or “bad cholesterol”) oxidation is inhibited by extracts of yerba mate. Oxidation of LDL is considered to be the initiating factor to the onset of atherosclerosis (thickening and hardening of the arteries).
- Fights Bad Breath-Polyphenols found in tea and yerba mate have been shown to prevent both the growth of bacteria responsible for bad breath and the bacteria’s production of odorous compounds