Mate is used as a stimulant to relieve fatigue. It is also used for heart-related complaints including heart failure, irregular heartbeat, and low blood pressure. Some people use mate to improve mood and depression; to relieve headache and joint pains. Mate contains caffeine and other chemicals which stimulate the brain, heart, muscles lining blood vessels, and other parts of the body.
The Pasteur Institute and the Paris Scientific Society concluded that Yerba Mate contains “practically all of the vitamins necessary to sustain life.”
- There are 196 volatile (or active) chemical compounds found in the Yerba Mate plant. Of those, 144 are also found in green tea.
- Yerba mate has been claimed to have various effects on human health and these effects have been attributed to the high quantity of polyphenols found in mate tea.
- Yerba Mate leaves contain saponins that have been found to specifically stimulate the immune system and aid the body in protecting against disease.
- Research has found that yerba mate may improve allergy symptoms and reduce the risk of diabetes mellitus and high blood sugar.
- Mate also contains compounds that act as an appetite suppressant and possible weight loss tool, increases mental energy and focus, improves mood, and promotes deeper sleep; however, sleep may only be affected in people who are sensitive to caffeine.
- The flavor of brewed mate resembles an infusion of vegetables, herbs, grass and is reminiscent of some varieties of green tea. Some consider the flavor to be very agreeable, but it is generally bitter if steeped in boiling water.
Mate consumption complements green/black tea use quite well.
The infusion, called mate in Spanish-speaking countries or chimarrão in Brazil, is prepared by filling a container, typically a gourd, up to three-quarters full with dry leaves (and twigs) of the mate plant, and filling it up with water at a temperature of 70–80 °C (158–176 °F), hot but not boiling. Sugar may or may not be added; and the mate may be prepared with cold water (tereré).