Yerba mate is not an Australian greeting or a cream substitute for tea (like Coffee Mate for coffee.) It is actually pronounced “Yerba Mat-ay” and is a very healthy herbal drink.
The name comes from the Spanish word “hierba” which was changed to yerba in Argentina and means “grass or herb,” and the word mati which was changed to mate and stands for “cup or gourd.” This gives it the literal translation of “cup herb.” The basis for the name comes from the traditional way of steeping it in and drinking it from a gourd.
Since its beginnings in South America, it has had varied uses worldwide.
Although coffee is a common drink in many countries, and tea replaces it in others, yerba mate is becoming a popular replacement.
It was theorized for a while that mate did not contain caffeine, but recent studies have proven that there is caffeine present in the plant but it is possible that the other chemicals present may soften the effects of the caffeine.
People who drink yerba mate report less of the negative side effects common with caffeine but all of the positive ones.
They have better mental clarity and focus, their energy levels increase and they feel more vitalized. They do not get the jittery feeling often associated with caffeine intake and seldom have the resultant drop off of energy levels when the caffeine effects wear off.
Sleep does not seem to be interrupted with late night consumption either, actually, some users claim their sleep is better regulated when drinking this “Drink of the Gods.”
Some researchers have claimed that yerba mate has all the nutrients required to sustain life. The presence of antioxidants in the drink help to fight those free radicals that have been reported to cause everything from decreased immune function to cancer and blindness.