I was introduced to a natural product called yerba mate (pronounced yerba mah-tae) about two years ago, initially as a component of diet supplements and appetite suppressants, and then as a healthier alternative to coffees and some teas as an energy booster.
It turns out, the more I learned about this fascinating natural plant, there are many therapeutic uses that can be used to promote overall health, and it’s not just another recreational energy drink like coffee, and well, energy drinks!
My interest in using yerba mate as an energy boosting drink stemmed from the fact that I am very caffeine sensitive, specifically to the caffeine that is present in America’s favorite caffeinated beverage, coffee.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m still known to once in a while indulge in a latte at Starbucks, but it is much less often than it used to be after I’ve found an alternative that not only contains no calories, but also offers a plethora of other health benefits with it. That’s a win/win to me!
You see, yerba mate is chemically very similar to green tea, and I’m sure by now you’ve heard all the studies and research that have touted the antioxidant and health benefits of green and white tea.
Well, it’s very possible that yerba mate may even be a little higher in some of these micronutrients and beneficial natural compounds as well, it’s just not as well publicized or popular, perhaps because of the name and that it is not promoted as a “tea”.
This, combined with the fact that some find the taste of yerba mate to be undesirable compared with traditional teas may be the reason why yerba mate hasn’t grown gangbusters in popularity. This can be easily remedied though, by mixing it with a natural sweetener, or what I do sometimes is mix it with a little organic peppermint tea, and this taste is then quite appealing.
Since yerba mate is sold in health food stores, in tea bags that are ready for steeping, it is also just as convenient as green tea, it just may be a little harder to find.
Some of the benefits that have been reported for yerba mate are increases in energy that are sustained and are not followed by the typical “crash and burn” that are associated with other caffeinated beverages like coffee, stronger teas, and energy drinks.
Also, yerba mate is very high in natural antioxidants, which helps promote healthy skin, healthy heart, and healthy cell reproduction which can translate into a decreased cancer risk, since cancer is in effect the unhealthy reproduction of cells.
Not only that, but some of the other, more speculative benefits associated with yerba mate as of late are increased endurance in exercise due to increased oxygen levels in the blood as well as healthier cell production, a decrease in hunger or appetite, mood improvement, acceleration of caloric metabolism, and even increased focus. Sounds better than the benefits of coffee already, huh?
I don’t know about you, but coffee most definitely does not result in either sustained energy or a lack of an energy crash after the surge, so right there, this alternative is better for me personally and I suspect for thousands of others who experience the same thing on other energy drinks.
Yerba mate has caught on more in the more organic and health conscious communities, which I am pleased to say is spreading to areas of the world that were previously more uninformed about the benefits of natural alternatives and healthier choices.
It seems that nowadays everyone is more conscientious of what they are putting into their bodies, and there is more of an abundance of health information resources available to everyone, not just “niche culture” or niche communities.
People are looking for ways to enhance their health and promote their longevity, as well as decrease their risk of catastrophic and life quality impairing diseases and health issues, and yerba mate is a hot drink that fits in very nicely with that set of values and goals in today’s more health conscious society.