Yerba Maté (Ilex paraguariensis)

yerba mate gourd ilex paraguariensis

Yerba Maté Overview:

Yerba maté is a tall tree native to the Amazon rainforest. The leaves of this tree are similar to that of the tea plant. They contain a combination of xanthine alkaloids like caffeine, theobromine, and a small amount of theophylline.

The leaves are dried, roasted, and chopped to make a strong, grassy, stimulating tea. The caffeine and theobromine in the leaves give it a stimulating effect, and is useful for promoting wakefulness and concentration.

Traditional preparations of this tea uses a special cup, traditionally made from a gourd, and a special straw/filter known as a bombilla. In parts of South America this tea is more popular than coffee, and is a staple at social gatherings.

+ Indications

  • Cognitive enhancement
  • Athletic performance enhancement
  • Weight loss support
  • Weight gain prevention
  • Appetite suppression
  • Various digestive complaints
  • As a diuretic
  • Fatigue
  • Aid with sleep deprivation
  • Topically as an astringent
  • Hypercholesterolemia
  • Diabetes
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Metabolic and endocrine disorders
  • As a study or work aid

+ Contraindications

  • Over stimulation
  • Insomnia

+ Mechanisms

  • Adenosine antagonist

Main Herbal Actions:

  • Antiatherosclerotic
  • Anti-cholesterolemic
  • Antidiabetic
  • Antioxidant
  • Appetite supressant
  • Digestive stimulant
  • Stimulant
  • Cardiac tonic
  • Thermogenic
  • Weight loss supportive

Main Uses:

Yerba Maté is useful as a daily tea to promote productivity and wakefulness. it is also a potent source of antioxidants, and is useful for reducing the effects of oxidative damage within the body for a myriad of reasons. It is also commonly used alongside weight loss regimens, and those trying to reach a state of ketosis for its ability to stimulate beta-oxidation in fat tissues.


Part Used

Leaves and stems

Family Name



South America in the Amazon rainforest and surrounding regions.

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Constituents of Interest

  • Caffeine
  • Theobromine
  • Saponins
  • Chlorogenic acid

Common Names

  • Erva maté
  • Congonha
  • Terere
  • Jesuits tea

Botanical Info:

Yerba maté is contained within the Aquifoliaceae family of plants, otherwise known as the holly family. Thre are about 300 different species in this family, spread between only 4 genuses, with the majority being contained within the Ilex genus. Out of all these species of Ilex, Ilex paraguariensis is preferred by far as medicine. Another species, Ilex huyusa is also popular in some parts of South America, including Ecuador, however, there is far less research on this species than the former.


Level Of Research:


Clinical Applications Of Yerba Maté:

Medicinally, yerba maté is mainly used as a weight loss supportive, and a cardiotonic. The tea is great as a daily health supplement, and is tolerated well by many, even if sensitive to caffeine. The theobromine content in the leaves actively counteracts much of the negative side effects associated with caffeine, such as the jitteriness, anxiety, and heart palpitations.

Tolerance builds quickly to caffeine, whereby the beverage can exert a paradoxical effect on blood pressure and heart contractility. Yerba maté is therefore most useful for reducing the chances of cardiovascular disease if consumed on a regular basis.



Some individuals are highly sensitive to caffeine, and should avoid, or use yerba maté cautiously.


Recommended Yerba Maté Brands:

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Cruz De malta

Cruz De Malta

Made from Ilex paraguariensis leaves (with stems).

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Taragui Red


Made from Ilex paraguariensis (with stems).

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Organic Yerba Maté

Positively Tea Company

Made from Ilex paraguariensis (without stems)

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Expandable Maté Gourd And Bombilla

The Mate Shoppe

Sealable and expandable silicon yerba maté gourd and metal bombilla. Cleaning brush included.

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Carob Wood Yerba Maté Gourd

Made In Argentina

Traditional wood yerba maté gourd made in Argentina from carob wood.

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Easy Clean bombilla

Sold By Sam&Co

Simple, easy to clean yerba maté Bombilla.

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