5 Reasons drinking Yerba Mate Tea could change your life
Updated: Jan 28
You might want to sit down (on the toilet) for this one...
Balance your Mood + Energy, Combat Fatigue, Aid Weight Loss, Increase Health, Strengthen Friendships, Increase Sex Drive and Help you Poo - sounds too good to be true, right? Wrong. Take a seat, it’s time to spill the tea on Yerba Mate:
Yerba mate is gaining worldwide popularity: said to have the strength of coffee, the health benefits of tea, and the joy of chocolate. But please don’t expect it to taste like any of these!
The slightly bitter, grassy taste of Yerba mate tea takes some getting used to, but here are some excellent reasons to drink it. Try it out of curiosity, and chances are, it will find a home in your kitchen forever.
What is Yerba Mate Tea?
Yerba mate is brewed from the stems + branches of the Ilex paraguariensis, a plant home to South America. Yerba mate ("yur-bah mah-tay") is especially popular in South American countries as a shared caffeine-rich beverage.
If you've ever traveled to cities of South America, you'll remember seeing almost everyone with a drink of yerba mate in their hands. It’s like Yorkshire Tea of the UK, only it's drank to help maintain a healthy weight (not to dunk biscuits) and for its stimulating properties.
Joe, meet Yerba Mate. Now I love I good cup of the black stuff as much as the next coffeeholic, but mixing it up with Yerba Mate every few days might just change your life (it did for me).
The health benefits of yerba mate make it like the Dalai Lama of teas, the Beyoncé of benefits, the Harry Potter of plants, the Einstein of antioxidants, the Jesus of nutrients… you get the idea.
Yes, there are so many reasons to try out this tea, but most let’s focus of the top reason yerba mate is winning over the world: it helps you poo.
Let’s talk about Poo
Poo Time is You Time. If you have IBS, constipation, or often go a day without a number 2, you know the pain, discomfort and worry all too well. Chances are, ever since you were little, you knew a poo would always help you feel better - whatever was wrong.
A good poo does great things, and we all love one. I do not know a single person who would say otherwise, when they are being honest. The euphoric sensation after a good poo actually has a term, it’s been coined: ‘poo-phoria’ - yes, I’m being serious, this is a real term.
Poo Time is You Time
Now I know what you’re thinking - surely a magical, mystical place where you get to enjoy the wonders of pooping forever doesn't exist - and you are correct. Poophoria is not the principle of ‘euphoria’ - but one can dream...
Poophoria is when your vagus nerve is triggered by a having a great big poo. As a result, your heart rate lowers, blood pressure drops + a chill runs down your spine that helps your body to release tension + relax. Pooptasic.
I’m finished talking poo for now, I won’t go too deep into the toilet bowl with this post - although if you like reading/learning about poo, let me know + I’ll arrange that post quicker than you can say oopsie-poopsie. The moral of this story is to appreciate your Poo-Time-You-Time. Poophoria is real, and yerba mate might just be your ticket there on the daily. Hence why I've nicked-named this tea... the Poo Tea.
The Top 10 Health Benefits of Yerba Mate
1. It will literally flush those tummy troubles down the toilet
Oh yes, yerba mate is magic for your gut. I’m talking proper plant medicine. Due to its high choleretic effect, drinking Yerba Mate will really help soothe all kinds of upset tummys. Honestly, it feels like your drinking a lil' potion of calm!
Going back to the poo… this means the tea helps digestion problems such as constipation and diarrhea. It goes in, finds what isn’t working, and fixes it. If that ain’t magic, well… I don’t know what is.
The unique compounds found in yerba mate, such as xanthines, are able to promote smooth muscle relaxation, which again can be very good for digestion, particularly if you are struggling with bloating, cramping, and symptoms of IBS. Amen.
2. It gives you a balanced energy boost, meaning you won’t jitter, stress or crash
The energy boost of Yerba Mate is often described as creating smooth clean + calm effect.
Compared to the other most commonly used stimulants in the world, (coffee, tea, cocoa, and guarana), yerba mate reportedly delivers the most balanced energy boost. Basically, you can experience a state of alert wakefulness similar to that of coffee, but without coffee’s side effects.
Many athletes use it to enhance physical performance. What’s more, it rarely interferes with sleep and doesn’t cause caffeine jitters. Thus, it’s useful for people suffering from mental or physical fatigue, or from chronic fatigue syndrome
Like coffee, but without the jitters
2. It increases your brain power; improves cognition, attention + memory
A brain booster with the studies to prove it (probably all written by people drinking the stuff). The tea’s active ingredients are able to improve memory + attention, as well as focus. It’s even known to increase productivity + motivation by stimulating the production of the neurotransmitter dopamine. Moreover, yerba mate contains two related compounds, theobromine + theophylline. These three alkaloids work together to provide unique, mild stimulant effects, as they also do in coffee + chocolate, without the crash and addictive quality.
3. It’s basically just happiness in a tea: fights disease + improves your mood
I cannot stress enough how many antioxidant benefits this tea has to the body. Remember, the gut + the mind are best friends. No really, neurotransmitters + other chemicals produced in your gut affect your brain. By altering the types of bacteria in your gut, it's possible to improve your brain health + the production of hormones (happy ones!).
Yerba Mate has many phytochemicals [active compounds found in plants] that make it a super antioxidant. Research on yerba mate shows huge potential in reducing oxidative stress (the kind of stress that increases the risk of damage to liver + heart). It also reduces the nitrosative stress that may cause DNA damage, cell death + lipid peroxidation (the kind of stress that increases the risk of disease). When compared to green tea, yerba mate is more effective in preventing cytotoxicity associated with blood flow restriction heart disorders such as stroke, etc.
4. It contains practically all the micro-nutrients needed to sustain life, so imagine how your body will feel when you give it that.
Yerba mate is truly a powerhouse of vitamins, minerals + antioxidants, just check out this incredible list:
vitamins B1, B2, B3, and B5
Do you really need any more reasons to drink this tea?
5. It increases your sex drive, improves fertility + helps balance hormones
Better sex, less spots? Say no more. It’s not quite chocolate covered strawberries, but it has traditionally be known as a mild aphrodisiac, used primarily by men to increase their libido and sex drive. The rich mineral + vitamin content can also help improve fertility, hormonal balance, and reproductive health.
Fancy another brew?
Keep reading for some more interesting information on the magical tea that is Yerba Mate.
The Legend and Friendship
So many magickal proper-teas... (last terrible pun in this post, I promise). It was called “the drink of the gods” by many indigenous South Americans and later “the green gold of the Indios” by European settlers.
Legend has it, Goddesses of the Moon + the Cloud visited Earth and were saved from a fearsome Yaguareté (jaguar) by an elderly man. As a reward for this bravery, they presented him with a mysterious new plant, the yerba-mate, from which he could create a tea that would aid good health + happiness.
The practice of drinking mate in groups is well-known and symbolises friendship + hospitality. Mate tea has been a symbol of strength + the bond of friendship for decades. Folks take real pride in the ritual of preparing + sharing the tea! It’s even written into Argentinian law that this drink is the ‘national infusion’.
How-To Prepare Yerba Mate Tea:
This tea infusion is typically served in a hollowed-out calabaza gourd (that’s basically a cute wee pumpkin that’s made into cup - but I just use any wee cup!) with a metal straw, called a ‘bombilla’ (it’s a metal straw with a filter on the end).
Here’s how to prepare your own mate:
Fill a small cup just over half full with yerba mate. Tilt the gourd until the tea covers the side + almost reaches the top.
Before putting the straw in, pour hot water onto the bottom half of the drink to set it. A temperature 70-80ºC is best.
Relax for a moment while the yerba mate leaves absorb the water.
Put the filtered end of the mate straw into the tea, at an angle.
Pour hot, not boiling, water into the yerba mate tea and drink.
Recommended Reading: Culture Trip - How to Drink Yerba Mate