What is yerba mate tea? Yerba mate may not be a household name yet in many parts of the world, but this beverage is rapidly growing in popularity in North America, Europe, and Asia - many hundreds of years after South Americans discovered this amazingly healthful beverage!
Keep reading to learn more about yerba mate and some of the reasons why this herbal tea is finding a home in so many tea cupboards around the world.
Yerba mate (also called simply 'mate') is a very flavorful, slightly astringent herbal tea made from the dried leaves (and often the young stems) of the Ilex paraguariensis shrub, a member of the holly (Aquifoliaceae) family that is native to parts of South America. Ilex paraguariensis is found in the wild and is also cultivated on plantations to produce yerba mate.
For centuries, yerba mate has been enjoyed by indigenous peoples in South America for its satisfying taste and its many health and wellness benefits (to boost energy, strengthen the immune system, detoxify, and much more).
Today, mate is still a beloved, highly popular beverage in many parts of South America (in Argentina, for example, mate is consumed in about 92% of households). As in other parts of the world, where coffee time and teatime are important daily and social rituals, so do many South Americans relish their mate and its many, many health benefits.
Yerba mate can be prepared from the plant's fresh green leaves, from dried ground leaves, or from roasted leaves. What the drink is called depends on its preparation and the region or country in which it's being served, too.
For example, mild mate cocido is brewed green leaves (usually in a teabag), mate tea is brewed roasted leaves, and dried, crumbled green mate leaves can be brewed with hot water into chimarrão or with cold water into tererê.
Traditionally and still today in South America, mate is sipped from a dried gourd (also called a mate) through a metal straw with a filter tip (called a bombilla). Once the dried mate leaves are packed into the gourd, hot (not boiling) water is poured over to make the tea, which can then be sweetened, if desired. More hot water is added as the tea is drunk. (You'll find a traditional yerba mate recipe here.)
In other parts of the world, yerba mate (like other types of tea) is made from loose, dried leaves or teabags. And, due to its caffeine content (mate has about 70 - 85 mg caffeine per 8 oz. cup) and numerous beneficial properties (like helping to lose weight and boosting energy), yerba mate is becoming a common and very popular additive in other foods, beverages, and dietary supplements.
Enjoy mate just as you would coffee or tea - served hot or iced, as is or with flavoring, your favorite milk, or sweetener added. Mate is also delicious in a latte or soda! Some people do find mate 'straight up' to be too strong or even bitter, so you may want to experiment with adding extras to your tea, or try one of the many flavored yerba mate teas available until you find the perfect tea for you.
A tea that is delicious, fragrant, and filled with benefits for good health is hard to resist! Yerba mate is one of these teas - tasty, versatile, and healthful, this tea may be an excellent choice to include in your tea cupboard.
What are some of the ways this naturally caffeinated tea may enhance health and wellbeing? Mate provides support for overall physical and mental wellness - it's brimming with antioxidants, is a heart-healthy drink, boosts physical and mental energy, stimulates and tones the digestive system, can support weight loss, relieves insomnia, is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, and so much more!
You'll find lots more information about how very good mate is for health on our Yerba Mate Benefits pages.
Now that you know a bit more about yerba mate, why not give this herbal tea a try? So very healthful and tasty served hot or cold, with or without a sweetener of choice, in your favorite mug or a traditional gourd, yerba mate is a versatile drink that provides a host of benefits for good health.
As always, please check with your healthcare professional before you add any new tea or herbal tisane to your family's routine, just to be sure it's a good choice for your household.
And, why not drop by our Yerba Mate Side Effects pages for more information, too, to stay informed about some potential concerns associated with this tea.
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