WHAT IS YERBA MATE?
Yerba mate is a tea harvested from evergreen holly leaves, a plant native to South America. It has been called “the drink of the gods” and “what keeps us alive” by South Americans. However, the current name (yerba mate) literally means “gourd herb.”
Yerba mate provides significant digestive support. This benefit alone makes it a worthwhile drink for celiacs. Any time I’m having digestive issues (not that I ever make bad decisions like eating diary), I drink a cup of yerba mate to get relief.
I’m going to provide a bulleted list of the many documented advantages of drinking yerba mate, since they are so extensive. I’ve marked with an asterisk the benefits I can attest to personally.
- Allergy symptoms, helps improve*
- Athletic performance, helps improve
- Blood sugar levels, helps regulate*
- Bone density, helps increase
- Cardiovascular system, aids*
- Depression, helps relieve*
- Digestive aid* (it is amazing for this!!)
- Elimination tonic
- Fatigue, helps relieve*
- Immune system, helps boost*
- Mental function, helps improve*
- Micronutrients—A, B2, B2, B3, B5, C, E, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sodium, sulfur, and zinc
- Nerve tonic
- Phytonutrients—chlorophyll, tannins, 15 amino acids, trace minerals, and flavonoids
- Polyphenols—contains 11
- Sinusitis, helps improve
- Weight loss, assists*
HOW I USE YERBA MATE
I drink about 2 cups of yerba mate every day. I do this because my digestion is weak, because it gives me a smooth, calm energy, and because the concentration and focus it gives me is immediate.
I typically drink it cold or iced, since I usually make a large amount at one time and then put it in the fridge to have it available when I want it.
I use 1 tsp of mate per 8 oz of water when I make it. Play around with the amount and measure to your taste. Steeping it longer will also increase the flavor.
For maximum nutritional value, steep it just shy of boiling because once you reach boiling temperature, you’ll damage some of the nutrients.
IS YERBA MATE CAFFEINATED?
Most people agree that it is caffeinated, and companies label it as caffeinated. I disagree—not that I fancy myself a scientist or anything, but I’m decently in tune with my body, and my body tells me it isn’t caffeine.
I can’t handle caffeine at all—it makes me very jittery, the energy it provides is a frantic energy (it’s hard for me to concentrate and sit still), if I drink caffeine after noon I can’t go to sleep that night, it makes my muscles tense and hard as rocks (particularly my shoulders), and it smacks my adrenals hard leaving me with a miserable crash when it’s done.
Yerba mate gives me an even, peaceful, focused energy and a very obvious mental clarity. In fact, my coworkers can tell if I’ve had my tea or not in the morning by how I communicate (or struggle to communicate—you know, the thing with the thing? The guy who said the thing about the thing. You should know what I’m talking about!).
Best of all, I can drink it all the way up until bed time because it doesn’t interfere with my sleep and it’s not addictive. In fact, I sleep better when I drink it.
All that to say, if you typically struggle with caffeinated beverages, don’t rule yerba mate out—it doesn’t impact my body the same way at all!
I’ve tried a lot of mate teas (I’ve been drinking yerba mate for about 15 years), and I’ve recently discovered and really like the Inato brand which I usually order on Amazon. The flavor is fantastic, the quality is outstanding, and I’m a huge fan of the company’s efforts to minimize processing.
It’s 100% organic (important for teas, as non-organic teas typically have multiple pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, etc. applied to them), it’s only the leaf (you’ll commonly get branches and dust in some brands), the type I buy is never smoked (but they do offer a premium roasted flavor if you prefer that), it’s never aged (again, more nutritious), and of course it’s gluten free!