Yerba Mate is taken to increase mental focus and stimulate a feeling of alert energy. Its effects are similar to those of coffee, but Mate is considered more gentle, with fewer side effects. Yerba Mate is an excellent anti-oxidant which can detox cells, boost immunity, and guard against some cancers.
Yerba Mate was first used and cultivated by the Guarani, an indigenous people that lived off the lands of South America. Yerba Mate was scientifically classified by the Swiss botanist Moses Bertoni, who settled in Paraguay in 1895.
Prior to its use as a nutritional supplement, Yerba Mate was (and still is) used as an infusion or drink similar to that of tea in European cultures. The flavor of this drink is said to resemble an infusion of vegetables, herbs, and grass. It is also considered to be similar in taste to some varieties of green tea.
Yerba Mate is available in many different flavored extract varieties, the kind where the tea has been blended with other herbs such as peppermint or citrus rind. Yerba Mate contains various nutrients such as Inositol, Selenium, Magnesium, Fatty Acids, Vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B5, C, E, and a selection of powerful anti-oxidants and immune boosting compounds.
As a compound, Yerba Mate works fairly similarly to tea (particularly green tea). One of its main characteristics is that it acts as a central nervous system stimulant, due to the presence of caffeine. Many of the individual components of Yerba Mate are able to chemically cross over the blood-brain barrier and enter into the central nervous system.
As a source of ingredients like antioxidants, amino acids, polyphenols, vitamins, and minerals, Yerba Mate supports whole body health and cognitive function on several different levels. You might even say it is a multi-vitamin for your brain in and of itself. Research has also shown that this supplement work by influencing systems related to energy metabolism and cellular function. Ultimately, this results in higher levels of extracellular ATP, ADP, and AMP.
It also acts as a vasodilator, helping to open up blood vessels by causing smooth muscles to relax. This helps to improve blood flow and overall cardiovascular function. There is even speculation that these mechanisms of action may lead to novel methods of manipulating vascular regenerative factors and help to treat issues like heart disease.
Side Effects & Dosages
Although this supplement is generally regarded as safe and fairly well-tolerated in healthy adults (of course native South American populations have been using it for hundreds of years), there are some associated side effects. These can include insomnia, nervousness, restlessness, stomach upset, nausea, vomiting, headache, increased heart rate, high blood pressure, and ringing in the ears. Most of these would only present when this supplement is consumed in high doses. If any of these side effects are seen, discontinue use and seek medical attention.
Drinking Yerba Mate in moderation is advised by most experts, since very high doses have been linked to increases in the risk for certain types of cancers. Seeking an opinion from your doctor or qualified medical professional before adding this supplement to your normal routine is advised.
The dose you use is going to be dependent on several different factors, such as your reasons for taking Yerba Mate as well as the form of extract you are using. It is common to consume between 1 – 3 cups of this beverage daily, but if taken as a supplement, then a 500 mg dosage once a day is recommended.