The Greener Green Tea – YERBA MATE

Yerba Mate, the Friendly Drink is more than just a plant or drink or herb in Argentine, it is a lifestyle.

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Pradeep Chamaria
Pradeep Chamaria
I am a photojournalist. Love to travel to unknown and unexplored vistas. Since 1992, I make places desirable for other travelers through experiential Travel Writing.

ARGENTINA: Argentinean friendly nature is a thing of envy for others in the world. The country has a communal, family-oriented culture. And it’s not a surprise for visitors to Argentina when they are offered Yerba Mate, “The Friendly Drink.” Most Argentines can be seen sharing a gourd amongst friends and strangers alike.

Yerba mate or the Greener Green tea is made from pulverised leaves of a shrub or simply cured as the other tea. It is a different kind of Tea that is native to Argentina and also to three more South American countries.  Yerba Mate is a hygienic, nutritious drink with energizing properties.   

Argentine Yerba Mate Leaves, Photo Credits: Pradeep Chamaria
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Yerba Mate is generally served in a mate cup called the Gourd and sipped from metal straw called the Bombilla (bom-BEE-ya) that brings up hot, bitter tea to the mouth. Yerba mate is the most animated drink a newbie can ever encounter. It’s alive! The locals in Argentina refer to Yerba mate as “The Drink of the Gods” and it has been said to have been handed down by the God of Friendship. In Argentina they say that friendship is infused into each leaf of Ilex Paraguariensis (Scientific name of Yerba Mate).

It is more than just a plant or drink or herb, it is a lifestyle. A symbol that represents unity among everyone that sits to drink and speak whatever comes to mind. Argentines, Uruguayans, Paraguayans, and Brazilians have been doing this for centuries, passing on from generation to generation. 

Argentine Yerba Mate, Photo Credits: Pradeep Chamaria
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Yerba Mate contains “Mateine” just as theobromine found in chocolate, caffeine found in coffee, and theophylline found in tea. With Yerba Mate, you don’t get the jitters as with coffee, but a gentle buzz that’s sustainable throughout the day and slow releasing. You get the same calm and cooling effect as tea, along with the euphoria of chocolate. Yerba Mate contains healthy doses of potassium and magnesium, and is good for the heart.

Yerba Mate is the best of coffee, tea, and chocolate, because it embodies the magic of all three plants. It’s packed with amino acids, B vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and nutrients—in concentrations not found in any other plant. Yerba Mate has significantly more antioxidants than both green and black tea.

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Yerba Mate Health Benefits

  • Increases wellbeing and Happiness
  • Natural Energizer
  • Relaxes the Muscles
  • Loaded with Antioxidants
  • Decreases Stress
  • Improves Sleep
  • Lowers Blood Pressure
  • Lowers Bad Cholesterol
  • Fights Colon Cancers
  • Helps with Type II Diabetes
  • Help you Lose Weight
  • Boosts Creativity
  • Improves Immune System

My Experience with Yerba Mate:

We had an opportunity to taste the raw Yerba mate as well as 4 different blends specially prepared for the Indian palate at the Argentinean Embassy in Delhi .

The raw Yerba mate was kind of some drink which was very dry and husky like light beer in flavour. The more it brewed the more bitter it got. At first it really hit the throat straight, but after a 2nd serving it started having an addictive effect on me and I started having a liking for it. The blends prepared tasted perfectly fine.

I think the blends will be more appropriate and will soon be popular with we Indians first. But for people like me who loves trying and savouring the raw, the bitter and huskier version will be better.

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