YERBA MATE

Yerba mate (Ilex Paraguariensis) begins as a shrub and eventually matures into trees growing up to fifty feet tall.  These trees, relatives of the holly plant, bear serrated leaves, small green and white flowers, and red berries.  

Yerba mate is best known as the source of mate (also known as chimarrao), a caffeinated beverage primarily produced and consumed in South American countries.  

Served hot or iced, sometimes with sugar or fruit juices, mate was created by the native Guarani people of Brazil and introduced to the rest of the world during Europe’s colonization of South America over the following years.  

 

Today, Brazil remains the primary producer of yerba mate, followed closely by Argentina.  In South America mate is traditionally consumed with sweet pastries during the breakfast and lunch hours, although it is not uncommon for devotees of the beverage to drink it throughout the day.  

Mate is well known in the United States and Europe, where it is sold at most health food stores and often consumed as an alternative to traditional teas and coffee.  Yerba mate is also a component in many familiar energy drinks (although I imagine you lose yerba mate’s healthy qualities when you throw thirty grams of sugar and a heaping scoop of taurine into the mix).  

 

Mate provides a great natural source of caffeine to certain Jahmu mixtures, where it can lend its antioxidant qualities to the other high powered spices at work.  Jahmu’s spice blend also obviates yerba mate’s slight bitterness; mate has a flavor not unlike certain green teas.  Jahmu also benefits from yerba mate’s high levels of potassium, magnesium, and manganese, as well as the high level of antioxidant activity that has been detected in members of the ilex family.  

Studies have shown that classically prepared mate, when applied to controlled subjects in an experiment, showed a great deal of antioxidant activity and potential, leading scientists to believe that further study might reveal a number of different medical applications.  Further compounding this belief is a study showing that yerba mate may encourage positive lipid activity in test subjects, which researchers suggest could be used to treat obesity and its many symptoms.

Yerba mate adds a caffeinated edge to the classic jahmu blend, a little wakeup kick that makes this variety of Jahmu a perfect option for those looking to cut down on their coffee or energy drink intake.  

Your morning caffeine ritual (and doesn’t it seem like everybody has one?) does not need to be a guilty pleasure; Jahmu with mate lets you wake up to wellness every day.

PHOTO CREDITS

By Franz Eugen Köhler, Köhler’s Medizinal-Pflanzen – List of Koehler Images, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=255350

By Marshallhenrie – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=45064910

By James Case – Own work, GFDL, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=19746248