Properties of mate
Yerba mate, also called Paraguayan tea, is a tree native to South America, of the Aquifoliaceae family that grows mainly in northern Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and southern Brazil. Ilex paraguariensis
was discovered by the Guarani Indians who considered it a gift from "Mother Earth". Yerba mate has been used for its medicinal properties for centuries by the natives. The energy drink called "maté" or "chimarrão" in Brazil, is prepared from an infusion of its dried leaves that are drunk in a dried calabash using a straw, called the "bombilla". Very popular in South America, mate is now widespread throughout the world in the form of tea, as an ingredient in certain foods or incorporated into food supplements.
Yerba mate is indeed appreciated for its taste, its aroma as well as for its nutritional and beneficial health properties. The leaves of the Ilex paraguariensis St.-Hil
tree indeed have hypocholesterolemic, hepatoprotective (1), stimulating properties for the central nervous system, diuretics (2) and improve the cardiovascular system (3). In addition, studies suggest effects regarding weight loss and the treatment of obesity (4).
Yerba mate also has a high antioxidant capacity (5) greater than that of green tea and could promote the prevention of certain types of cancer (6).
Mate tea contains many bioactive compounds responsible for its health benefits: a high concentration of polyphenols (chlorogenic acid), xanthines (caffeine and theobromine), saponins with anti-inflammatory properties, alkaloids (caffeic acid, acid 3 ,4-dicaffeoylquinic acid, 3,5-dicaffeoylquinic acid), flavonoids (quercetin, kaempferol, and rutin), amino acids, minerals (P, Fe and Ca) as well as vitamins (C, B1 and B2) (7).
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