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Yerba mate

Ilex paraguariensis, also known as yerba mate, is a tea brewed from a plant native to South America. It is a good source of caffeine and contains bioactive compounds like quercetin and ursolic acid.

Our evidence-based analysis on yerba mate features 62 unique references to scientific papers.

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Summary of Yerba mate

Primary information, health benefits, side effects, usage, and other important details

Ilex paraguariensis , commonly called yerba mate, is a flowering tree. Traditionally, its leaves are brewed into a stimulating tea, popular throughout the Middle East and South America.

Yerba mate is marketed for its supposed ability to suppress appetite and burn fat. Evidence suggests its appetite-suppression effect can only be achieved through high doses, if at all. Yerba mate’s fat burning effect is attributed to its caffeine content. It has not been shown to be a more effective fat burner than compounds like green tea catechins, though it can help reverse some of the adverse health effects associated with obesity.

Yerba mate has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. It is able to reduce LDL cholesterol within 20 days of supplementation. Like many supplements derived from plants, it protects the heart and cardiovascular system.

Yerba mate contains a cocktail of xanthines (like caffeine), flavonoids (like quercetin), saponins (like ursolic acid), and cinnamic acid compounds (like chlorogenic acid).

Yerba mate is a healthy tea, but it is not necessarily healthier than other plant-based drinks, like coffee. It does, however, have a unique nutrient composition.

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How to Take

Recommended dosage, active amounts, other details

Studies typically use a dose of 3 cups (330mL each) of yerba mate a day, for up to 60 days.

It’s safe to drink up to 1.5 liters of yerba mate a day, though toxicity has not been shown to occur from higher doses either.

A daily supplemental dose of isolated yerba mate in a powdered supplemental form is between 1,000-1,500mg of yerba mate leaf.

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Human Effect Matrix

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The Human Effect Matrix summarizes human studies to tell you what effects Yerba mate has on your body, how much evidence there is, and how strong these effects are.

Full details are available to Examine members.
Grade Level of Evidence
Robust research conducted with repeated double-blind clinical trials
Multiple studies where at least two are double-blind and placebo controlled
Single double-blind study or multiple cohort studies
Uncontrolled or observational studies only
Level of Evidence
? The amount of high quality evidence. The more evidence, the more we can trust the results.
Outcome Magnitude of effect
? The direction and size of the supplement's impact on each outcome. Some supplements can have an increasing effect, others have a decreasing effect, and others have no effect.
Consistency of research results
? Scientific research does not always agree. HIGH or VERY HIGH means that most of the scientific research agrees.
grade-b Minor High See all 3 studies
There is a possible increase in fat oxidation rates seen during rest, with one study confirming it during exercise; this may not coincide with an increase in metabolic rate.
grade-c Minor - See study
A decrease has been noted with Yerba Mate consumption, which is somewhat notable as stimulants tend to increase heart rate
grade-c - - See study
At rest and during exercise there does not seem to be any major modification of lactate levels in serum.
grade-c - - See study
No significant influences on blood pressure have been noted (although this may be due to it being underresearched; Mate may follow the same motifs as caffeine ingestion)
grade-c - Very High See 2 studies
No significant influence on metabolic rate has been noted
grade-c - - See study
Supplementation of yerba mate prior to a VO2 max test does not appear to have any effect relative to placebo.
grade-d Minor Very High See 2 studies
Appears to increase the primary three antioxidant enzymes (glutathione, catalase, and SOD) in both healthy and diseased persons
grade-d Minor - See study
Somewhat of a decrease in hyperlipidemic patients consuming Mate tea
grade-d Minor - See study
A slight decrease in blood glucose has been noted with Mate consumption in type II diabetics; no evidence in otherwise healthy persons
grade-d Minor - See study
An association has been noted with increased bone mineral density and Mate consumption; insufficient evidence to suggest a causative role as no interventions exist
grade-d Minor - See study
A decrease in serum oxidative parameters tends to be noted following Mate consumption
grade-d Minor - See study
An increase in HDL-C has been noted with Mate consumption
grade-d Minor - See study
A decrease in HbA1c levels has been detected in type II diabetics consuming Mate tea, although not to a remarkable degree
grade-d Minor Very High See all 3 studies
Decreases in LDL cholesterol have been noted in metabolically unwell persons following moderate Mate consumption (as brewed tea)
grade-d Minor - See study
A decrease in lipid peroxidation has been noted with Mate consumption over 7 days
grade-d Minor - See study
A decrease of total cholesterol has been noted with Mate consumption
grade-d - - See study
Although associations exist between mate consumption and esophageal cancer risk, this appears to apply to any (scalding) hot beverage and is not associated with cooled mate. The increased risk is associated with the heat rather than the drink constituents.

Studies Excluded from Consideration

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Things to Note

Is a Form Of

Primary Function:

Also Known As

Ilex paraguariensis, Mate plant, St. Hilaire, Aquifoliaceae

Goes Well With

  • Quercetin (increases anti-inflammatory potential of matesaponins)

  • Preparing Yerba Mate tea with milk does not seem to negatively affect mineral absorption[1]

  • 1g/kg bodyweight oral dosing in rats may be approximately equal to 1.5 liters of prepared Yerba Mate tea[2]

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