This article is reviewed, corrected, and approved by: Dr. Benjamin McLean M.D. | FCPS | FRCP | MPH

Are you tea or caffeine addicted or looking for substitute for coffee. There is a healthy way out in front of you. The plant called yerba mate comes from South America and holds a special place in the hearts of many cultures.

This incredible plant has been known for its health benefits. Let's together the origins, nutritional composition, traditional and modern uses, as well as the potential health benefits of yerba mate plant. So, grab a cup of mate and enjoy the journey to discover the wonders of this remarkable plant.

History and Origins of Yerba Mate

Yerba mate (ilex paraguariensis) has deep roots in South American history. Indigenous tribes, such as the Guarani people, have been using yerba mate for generations. It is typically cultivated in South American countries like Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil, where the climate and soil conditions are ideal for its growth.

Yerba mate leaves are carefully harvested and dried before being processed into different forms, such as loose leaves or tea bags. It was a sacred plant believed to have energizing and medicinal properties.

As European settlers arrived, yerba mate gained popularity beyond its native lands and became an essential part of many cultures across the globe. The evergreen shrub known as the yerba mate plant can reach towering heights of up to 15 meters and is predominantly cultivated in South American nations. Its leaves undergo meticulous harvesting and drying processes before being transformed into various forms, such as loose leaves or tea bags.

Nutritional Composition of Yerba Mate




6 kcal


1.2 g


0.4 g


0 g


0 g


12 mg


8 mg


0.2 mg


40 mg


9 mg


7 mg


0.1 mg


0.1 mg


0.5 mcg

Vitamin A

3 mcg

Vitamin C

1 mg

Vitamin E

0.1 mg

Vitamin B1 (thiamine)

0.02 mg

Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)

0.03 mg

Vitamin B3 (niacin)

0.3 mg

Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid)

0.05 mg

Yerba mate is both a tasty beverage and a nutritional powerhouse, along with other essential nutrients. It contains potassium, manganese, magnesium, and vitamins like A, C, and E. Moreover, yerba mate is anti inflammatory and a rich source of antioxidants, which aid in fighting free radicals, protecting against oxidative stress, and promoting overall health.

This herbal tea catalyzes energy levels, mental acuity, weight management, metabolic function, immune system resilience, and cardiovascular well-being. Additionally, it is believed to harbor potential anticancer properties.

Ways to Use Yerba Mate Plant

This communal practice is a symbol of friendship and hospitality. In modern times, yerba mate is enjoyed in various ways. Including ready-to-drink beverages, energy drinks, even culinary creations like ice cream and desserts.

It gained popularity in the beauty and skincare industry as it is believed to have rejuvenating and antioxidant properties for the skin.

Traditional and Modern Uses of Yerba Mate

Yerba mate holds a rich cultural legacy deeply entrenched in traditional practices. While also finding relevance in modern applications across diverse societies.

Health Benefits of Yerba Mate

Grounded yerba mate leaves. Credits: ReviewsFellas©

Here are the Yerba mate benefits listed below-

Boosting energy and mental alertness

Yerba mate contains around 70 mg of caffeine, theobromine, and theophylline, which stimulate the central nervous system and provide energy to the body. It also enhances mental focus and alertness.

Aid in weight loss and metabolism

It has been found to have thermogenic properties, which increase calorie burning and promote weight loss. It also helps suppress appetite, making it an excellent appetite-suppressant tea in addition to a balanced weight loss regimen. To learn more about appetite suppressant teas, read: Appetite Suppressant Tea: Control Appetite & Cravings Naturally

Enhancing immune system function

The high concentration of antioxidants in the yerbamate plant strengthens the immune system and protects against various diseases. It helps combat inflammation and supports overall immune health.

Potential cancer-fighting properties

Some research shows that Yerba mate tea may have the ability to fight cancer. Early medical studies suggest that it contains certain substances that can help protect the body against cancer by reducing inflammation and preventing damage caused by harmful molecules. However, more studies are needed to fully understand how yerba mate can be used to prevent and treat cancer.

Promoting cardiovascular health

Consuming yerba mate can reduce high blood pressure and promote blood sugar control. Eating this beverage can help improve the health of your heart.

Taking yerba tea assists in lowering your cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels. All of these things are important for a healthy heart and can reduce your risk of heart disease.

Sustainability and Conservation Efforts

Ensuring sustainable cultivation practices for yerba mate is crucial as increased demand raises concerns about maintaining its nutritional value.

Many producers are committed to environmentally friendly farming methods such as organic and fair trade certifications. These efforts are designed to save the natural environment. Also, such efforts can maintain the variety of living creatures and assist the nearby people in making a living.

Yerba Mate in the Global Market

Yerba mate has transcended its South American roots and gradually gained popularity in the united states and internationally. It is now readily available in supermarkets, health food stores, and online platforms. Several brands offer a wide range of yerba mate products including different flavors and preparations, catering to diverse tastes and preferences.

Test your wit by solving this quiz about "Yerba Mate Plant"
Question 1: What is the scientific name for the yerba mate plant?
A. Ilex paraguariensis
B. Paullinia cupana
C. Camellia sinensis
D. Catuaba
Question 2: What is the most common way to consume yerba mate?
A. As a hot beverage brewed in a gourd and sipped through a bombilla
B. As a cold beverage known as tereré
C. As a food ingredient, such as in ice cream or granola bars
D. All of the above
Question 3: What is the main active ingredient in yerba mate?
A. Caffeine
B. Theobromine
C. Theophylline
D. All of the above


The yerba mate plant is truly a gift from nature, offering a myriad of uses and health benefits. Whether you seek an energy boost, a flavorful beverage, or a natural remedy, yerba mate has something to offer.

Embrace this centuries-old tradition and explore the wonders of yerba mate, but always remember to enjoy it responsibly. So, raise your gourd and toast to the incredible yerba mate plant!


Q: What is called yerba in English?

Ans: Yerba mate tree known as Jesuit tea or Paraguay tea.

Q: What are the differences between yerba mate vs coffee?

Ans: The primary difference between coffee and yerba mate is that yerba mate contains caffeine in lower content than coffee. Yerba provides a more sustained and balanced energy boost, whereas coffee provides a more immediate and intense one. The flavor of the yerba mate is earthy, smoky, and slightly sweet, while coffee has a bitter, acidic taste.

Q. How to drink yerba mate?

Ans: Drinking yerba mate is easy, and it is more beneficial than several cups of coffee. To drink, mate, you need a gourd, grounded yerba leaves and stems, and a metal straw (bombilla). You need to agitate and fill the gourd with the leaves and stems.

After that, you need to make space inside the gourd to add water. Adding hot water will bring out the essence of the yerba, and through natural filtration, you can drink it up by the straw. You can refill and use the same gourd and leaves for many times.