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Yerba Matè (Ilex paraguariensis)

Yerba Matè (Ilex paraguariensis)

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Botanical name: Ilex paraguariensis

Other names: Yerba mate, Jesuit tea, Paraguay tea, 

Family: Aquifoliaceae (Holly family)

Parts used: Leaves

Mate or Ilex paraguariensis is a tree of the holly genus native to parts of South America. It's range covers Paraguay, northern Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia and Uruguay.

Mate was initially used by the Guarani and Tupi people of Paraguay and following the commercialisation of its use by the Jesuits its use become commonplace in South America and has also spread globally.

The leaves are steeped and used to make a beverage that has a stimulating and invigorating effect that refreshes the mind and body. The appetite is suppressed and high doses can produce euphoric feeling and wakefulness.

Mate contains caffeine, theobromine and chlorogenic acid amongst other compounds. Like it's close cousin Guayusa, it provides a stimulation without the jittery effects common with coffee.

Mate is commonly drank from a gourd with a metal straw known as a Bombilla.


Not for pregnant or breast feeing women.


(2) Rätsch, C. Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Plants

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