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Yerba Mate

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  • Botanical: Ilex paraguariensis
  • Family: Aquifoliaceae
  • Hits: 3523
Yerba Mate


Ilex paraguariensis



Known as

Yerba Mate, Ilex paraguariensis, Erva mate, Matestrauch, Mate-Teestrauch, Paraguay Tee

Old Use

culinary and medicinal use

Parts Used

herb, leaves

Heart & Circulation


Muscle & Joints


Mind & Nerves

fatigue (exhaustion), obesity

Stomach & Intestinal

constipation, diabetes, glucose lowering, laxative, indigestion

Skin & Hair

dermatitis, eczema, itching


anti inflammatory, diaphoretic, diuretic, stimulant


Yerba mate, Ilex paraguariensis, begins as a shrub and then matures to a tree and can grow up to 15 metres (49 ft) tall. The leaves are evergreen, 7–11 cm long and 3–5.5 cm wide, with a serrated margin. The leaves are often called yerba (Spanish) or erva (Portuguese), both of which mean "herb". They contain caffeine (known in some parts of the world as mateine) and also contains related xanthine alkaloids and are harvested commercially.

The flowers are small, greenish-white, with four petals. The fruit is a red drupe 4–6 mm in diameter.

Traditional Use

Maté and its herbal preparations have been well known as stimulants in Europe for decades. Literature data support the traditional use of Maté as a medicinal product for traditional use. Several monographs have described Maté as a medicinal product for the treatment of mental and physical tiredness and as a diuretic agent. Maté folium has an old tradition as a caffeine containing beverage. Due to caffeine, theobromine, flavonoids and saponins a stimulating and a diuretic effect are plausible. Maté tea is also marketed as a food supplement without any standardized regulations for classification. Maté was used as a beverage by ancient Indians in Brazil and Paraguay some hundred years ago, however Ilex paraguariensis was first cultivated by the Jesuit missionaries in the 17th century. As early as the 18th century Maté was brought to Portugal. Even then, its therapeutic effects as a stimulant were known. At present consumption of Maté is common in parts of Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay and Argentina. In those areas, the beverage largely has replaced coffee and tea. Due to its coffeine and theobromine content, it has traditionally used as a stimulant and diuretic. Due to its properties, in the last decades, the consumption of Maté has spread to many areas including the Middle East, Germany, and the United States. Michl and Haberler 1954 had already investigated the purine content of Maté in order to explain its effects. Already in 1883, Peckolt described the use of Maté. In the survey by Mendes and Carlini 2007 from 24 Brazilian books published between 1930 and 2003, Ilex paraguariensis is described as a popular plant for treatment of weakness, muscular and mental fatigue, providing vitality, resistance and dynamics.


 Insomnia, anxiety, tremor, restlessness, agitation, nausea and vomiting, palpitations, and headache 


South America, particularly northeastern Argentina, Bolivia, southern Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay


caffeine, theobromine, theophylline, chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid , mono- and dicaffeoyl quinic acid, dicaffeoylquinic acids, dicaffeolquinic acid, flavonoids, quercetin, rutine, kaempferol, saponins, carotine, ascorbic acid , manganese, sodium, potassium, magnesium, iron, zinc, copper,

For educational purposes only This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.