Practical Magic: Yerba Mate - The Drink of the Gods

Yerba Mate - The Drink of the Gods

Name: Yerba Mate

Most Commonly Found: Yerba mate is grown and processed in the South American rainforest holly tree (Ilex paraguariensis). It is primarily found in northern Argentina (Corrientes, Misiones), Paraguay, Uruguay, and southern Brazil (Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina, Paraná and Mato Grosso do Sul).

Stone Cold Facts: Yerba Mate has the “strength of coffee, the health benefits of tea, and the euphoria of chocolate.” It is full of antioxidants, healing a number of ailments while delivering massive amounts of energy. 

What to Heal: Along with being a popular beverage, Yerba mate heals a number of illnesses. It is used as a tonic, diuretic and as a stimulant to reduce fatigue, suppress appetite and aid gastric function, as well as to promote cleansing and excretion of waste. 

In Brazil, people use mate to stimulate the nervous and muscular systems and is used for digestive problems, renal colic, nerve pain, depression, fatigue and obesity. 

In Europe, it is also used for weight-loss, physical and mental fatigue, depression, rheumatic pains and psychogenic and fatigue related headaches. It is especially popular in Germany for its weight-loss effects. In France, it is also approved for the treatment of asthenia (lack of energy or weakness). 

In the United States, it is recommended for arthritis, headaches, hemorrhoids, fluid retention, obesity, fatigue, stress, constipation, allergies and hay fever. Dr. James Balch, M.D. states that it "cleanses the blood, tones the nervous system, retards aging, stimulates the mind, controls the appetite, stimulates the production of cortisone and is believed to enhance the healing powers of other herbs."

Millions of South Americans drink mate and weight problems are less common within that continent. 

Yerba mate contains xanthines, which are chemicals that boost your metabolic rate by 10 percent and are rich in pantothenic acid, which prevents overstimulation of the nervous system. It also contains tons of antioxidants that boost immunity and protect against colds and flu. It is as powerful a cell protector as Vitamin C and reduces the effects of aging. As an antioxidant, it also kills cancer cells and helps prevent cancer. 

It is also a source of magnesium that has been proven to ease anxiety and help muscles to relax. 

A 2002 U.S. patent reports that it may be useful for "depression, disorders of attention and focus, mood and emotional disorders, Parkinson's disease, extrapyramidal disorders, hypertension, substance abuse, eating disorders, withdrawal syndromes and the cessation of smoking."

How to Heal: Yerba mate is consumed as a beverage with the exact formula for consumption ranging from location to location. It can also be consumed as a health food. 

Spiritual + Psychic Properties: There's a tradition of sipping tea while trying to relax the mind and the body.The Guarani Indians used it to heal the mind, body and spirit, and to make new friends and to heal relationships.

History + Lore: Yerbe mate has an extensive history. There are legends surrounding Yerba mate, and it's known to the Argentine Gauchos (cowboys) as their "liquid vegetable," and to the native forest peoples who have survived periods of drought and famine by drinking Yerba mate as the “Drink of the Gods."

The Guaraní (Brazilian Portuguese) people started drinking mate in Paraguay, southern Brazil, north-east Argentina and Uruguay. Their legend says that the Goddesses of the Moon and the Cloud came to the Earth one day to visit it, but instead they found a jaguar that was going to attack them. An old man saved them, and the goddesses gave the old man a new kind of plant.