Mate or Chimarrão – the infusion made from Yerba Mate – is the original “Drink of the Gods” for the indigenous peoples of southern South America. It has a great assortment of health benefits and a growing number of fans – so it is not surprising that this fantastic herbal tea is becoming ever more popular.
On the health side, Yerba Mate contains both vitamin B and C and some top polyphenol antioxidants. It has a higher antioxidant capacity than green tea and no catechins which makes it very different to regular tea.
Scientists believe that mate can relieve migraines because of its high content of alkaloids like caffeine, theobromine, and theophylline, which are reduced by another compound called xanthene. Experts recommend consuming less than two hundred milligrams of alkaloids during the day to control migraines. [Source]
From the leaves of a small bush originating in the region, Mate is consumed primarily in Paraguay, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Bolivia and Chile. Here Mate is so popular that many people carry thermos flasks around with them to drink on the go. Did you know that in Argentina Mate is defined by law as the “national infusion”?
Did you see Lionel Messi drinks Mate – maybe it’s what gives him that extra kick??
Mate is traditionally drunk in social settings with family and friends. Groups are served by the ‘cebador’ who brews and serves the tea to the group using a gourd and a bombilla. The cebador is the first to sip the first brew of mate to test whether it’s too hot or too strong. The first brew is known as the ‘mate of the fool’ because the brew could be too sour, too sweet or too hot and not to everyones’ taste. The cebador refills the gourd for each member of the party. They move around the circle anti-clockwise until the mate become washed-out.
The versatility of Yerba Mate is also what makes it so popular. Not only does it make a great hot drink but it can also be enjoyed with cold water or fruit juice. The juice version is known as “Tereré”