20 June, 2021 | Ernest Atta Adjei
The Interesting Tradition Of Yerba Mate [& Surprising Benefits]
If you're searching for an energy boost but don't prefer espresso bean, yerba mate tea is the right choice. The beverage tastes like tea, but it hits you like coffee, but it's technically neither.
Yerba mate comes from a South American super-beverage derived from steeped twigs and leaves of an indigenous plant. It has provided locals with excellent beverages for centuries. The drink goes back to the pre-Columbian era, during which the local Guarani people in Paraguay found and started to cultivate the Ilex paraguariensis plant.
After the cultivation, the people dried the twigs and leaves and drank them in hot water. The local people drank it primarily as a wellness beverage.
During the seventeenth century, the Spanish colonized Paraguay, and they started drinking the beverage. It later became the country's main export. Other southern American countries such as Argentina, Brazil, and Chile grew the plants too.
Yerba Mate Became The Most Popular Drink With Its Distinctive Taste
Even when different types of coffees arrived, including other types of tea, the beverage became extremely popular. No wonder you can find yerba mate in LA. The drink is strong, bitter, and vegetal, which makes it highly distinctive in its taste. But like coffee, it also requires adjusting to suit your taste.
The beverage is highly expressive, almost like a euphoric experience. It’s possible to feel trippy due to the caffeine content.
Some people even celebrate the consumption of the drink, usually at a gathering sport or at a park. The ritual is Yerba Mate, which means gourd herb, and refers to the typical drinking beverage.
The ritual requires a dried gourd, a thermos, and a bombilla, a unique straw for drinking that sieves the tea leaves. The thermos is used for transporting hot water. The people will sit in circles in the celebration, and an individual called the cebador would fill the dried gourd to about two-thirds.
After, the person adds little warm water to release the rich flavors, and puts the bombilla into the dried gourd at an angle. The angle is to make sure the straw doesn't get filled up, and they finally finish it off with hot water.
The person passes the gourd around, so everyone takes a sip through the bombilla. However, if you ever get to join this celebration, never stir the drink with the bombilla. It's considered to be impolite.
Different Types Of Bombillas And Yerba Mate
There are different kinds of mates and bombillas, and each person in South America usually has their own unique version. Even though mate or dried gourd is made of actual gourds, you can also use wood or ceramic. It's then painted decoratively for the celebration.
Bombillas are also made with different materials such as bamboo, silver, and stainless steel. Now, as the gourd goes around, it keeps being refilled with hot water. And each pour intensifies the taste of the leaves.
If you don’t like bitter drinks, you can always add milk or sugar to your drink, especially yerba mate in LA. However, in the celebration or if you drink it with the locals, you add no sweeteners.
Of course, the beverage eventually found its way in the United States, and for many years now, it has become a popular ingredient. It’s praised for its energy booster, not only that but also better for concentration, weight loss, and better digestion.
You can purchase the loose leaves at specialty grocery stores and prepare the drink at home. If you want to get the whole yerba mate experience, you can order online and drink with your friends!
How To Prepare Yerba Mate
As stated before, the drink is traditionally served in a gourd, also called a calabash. If you want to prepare mate at home, fill the bottom of the gourd with toasted or dried mate leaves before adding hot water.
If you don’t have a calabash or gourd, you can use a French press. The tea is usually served with lemon juice, burnt sugar, or milk, and top it off with water many times before using new leaves to make another batch.
Health Benefits Of Yerba Mate
People worldwide apparently have an appetite for stimulants. Depending on where your ancestors lived, they might have enjoyed beverages made from coffee, tea, kola nuts, cacao beans, or yerba mate leaves.
Even though each holds slightly different active chemicals, they all have caffeine and similar stimulant properties. Here are the health benefits of yerba mate:
1. Rich In Nutrients And Antioxidants
The beverage contains numerous plant nutrients such as xanthines, saponins, caffeoyl derivatives, and polyphenols. For example, xanthines act as stimulants that contain theobromine and caffeine.
The caffeoyl derivatives promote health; the saponins are bitter compounds that have certain cholesterol-lowering and anti-inflammatory properties. Surprisingly, the antioxidant in the beverage is a bit higher than that of green tea.
Furthermore, the antioxidant in the yerba mate may contain amino acids, including every mineral and vitamin your body needs.
2. Increase Energy And Enhance Mental Focus
The beverage contains less caffeine compared to coffee but more than a cup of tea. So it can increase your energy levels just like any other caffeinated beverage or food.
Furthermore, caffeine can affect specific signals in your brain, which can help you increase your mental focus. So if your work requires considerable mental attention, this beverage might be ideal for you.
3. May Increase Physical Performance
Caffeine has enhanced muscle contractions, decreased fatigue, and increased sports performance by five percent. Yerba mate contains a fair amount of caffeine, so you can expect to improve your physical performance if you take it.
In short, the beverage increases your body's dependence on fat for fuel when you're exercising. So if you work out now and then, the drink might be an excellent supplement for you.
4. Protection Against Infections
The drink may help prevent infections from parasites, bacteria, and fungi. A study showed that high doses of the beverage fought against bacteria that cause food poisoning symptoms such as diarrhea and stomach cramps.
So the drink may have some anti-parasitic, anti-bacterial, and antifungal properties. Even though more research is required, the beverage does have relevant qualities suitable for the body.
5. May Help You Reduce Belly And Weight Fat
According to animal studies, yerba mate may decrease appetite and enhance metabolism, reducing weight loss. It looks like it can reduce the total amount of fat cells and decrease the amount of fat the beverage holds.
A study done on humans shows the beverage can increase the amount of stored fat burned for energy. So yerba mate can decrease appetite, improve the amount of fat you use for fuel, and boost metabolism.
You can enjoy yerba mate in LA with your friends and family, especially at your favorite coffee shop. However, the beverage may not be appropriate for everyone, and also, drinking it regularly at high temperatures may cause specific side effects. Just like other caffeinated beverages, moderation is key. If you take it moderately, you can benefit from its relevant compounds connected to outstanding health benefits. If you like to give the beverage a try, order online now, and we'll deliver it to you. If it's your first time trying it out, start slowly and make the drink cool a little before taking your first sip. The first drink will be a memorable one!