Guayakí Yerba Mate - A Powerful Rainforest Experience
Yerba Mate (Ilex paraguariensis) is a small tree native to the subtropical Atlantic forests of Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina. This evergreen member of the holly family was introduced to modern civilizations by the indigenous Guarani of Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil. An infusion, brewed from the dried leaves and stems of the tree, is consumed by millions of South Americans as a healthful alternative to coffee. Deemed “The Drink of the Gods” by many indigenous groups in South America and “the green gold of the Indios” by Europeans, yerba mate possesses a multitude of health benefits that have begun to attract the attention of American scientists and consumers.
Yerba mate was discovered centuries ago by the indigenous people in South America and has been revered as the “drink of the gods” and consumed to enhance health, vitality, and longevity. With 24 vitamins and minerals, 15 amino acids, abundant antioxidants and naturally occurring caffeine, yerba mate triumphs as nature’s most balanced stimulant.
Of the six commonly used stimulants in the world: yerba mate, coffee, tea, kola nut, cocoa, and guarana, yerba mate is the healthiest, delivering both energy and nutrition.
Yerba mate, is a shade subtropical. Like high quality coffee, high quality mate is shade-grown; delivering more flavor and containing more medicinal and nutritional properties than the commercially grown, sun farmed varieties. It thrives in its natural rainforest environment located between the 10th and 30th parallels, in high humidity with up to 1500 mm of annual rainfall.
How is Yerba Mate Grown?
In the wild, the tree needs about 25 years to develop completely, reaching a height of up to 15 meters. When cultivated, the mate trees are pruned to a height of 3-5 meters to allow for harvesting. The harvesting (or careful pruning) of the leaves and tender stems begins after 3-4 years of age. Harvest takes place annually between May and July in most regions. At maturity, yerba mate has a unique bittersweet flavor. The tree can produce for about 40 years making it a perfect crop when sustainably harvested.
The yerba mate tree looks similar to an orange tree, with a grayish trunk usually measuring 20-25 centimeters in diameter. Yerba maté is ready to harvest after seven years of growth, and usually doesn't exceed a height of 15 meters.
The leaves are alternated, elliptical or oval, with the border slightly serrated. It flowers between the months of October and December. Yerba mate is a dioecious plant, meaning that the male and female flowers are born on separate plants. The fruit is a very small globular double berry that is green when new, turning a brilliant red-purple with maturity. Yerba mate leaves and stems contain 196 active compounds compared to the 144 are found in Asian green tea (Camellia sinensis).
Yerba mate is a dioecious plant, meaning that the male and female flowers are born on separate plants. Flowering occurs between the months of October and December. The fruit is a very small globular double berry that is green when new, turning a brilliant red-purple with maturity.
Yerba mate grows wild in Paraguay, Argentina, Chile, Peru and Brazil. It thrives most efficiently between the 10th and 30th parallels. Yerba maté prefers high temp/high humidity and up to 1500 mm of annual rainfall. Yerba mate is most widely cultivated in Paraguay, typically mono-cropped in direct sunlight.
At maturity, yerba mate has a unique bittersweet flavor. Shade-grown yerba mate possesses more medicinal and nutritional properties. The Paraguayan method of curing lends a slightly smoky flavor.
Learn about Mate History
Common Mistakes about Yerba Mate
People often call yerba mate an "organic herbal tea", but "herbal" refers only to plants that are not caffeinated. Mate is not a "green tea" either, as "green tea" is the camelia sinensis plant which comes from Asia, and yerba mate is Ilex Paraguariensis from South America. They do share some similar qualities in the way the are produced and the way they enhance health in the body, although yerba mate has more active compunds in it than green tea. Read More.
The term "mateine" has been used to refer to the stimulant in yerba mate. Some researchers feel that the stimulating compound in yerba mate does differ from caffeine. We have elected to use the phrase "Naturally Caffeinated" to share the most accurate scientific information currently available. Read More.
Yerba Mate is sometimes incorrectly misspelled yerba matte, erba mate, yerbah mate, yerba madte, yerba matr, yerba matt, yerpa matte.
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