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Guayakí Yerba Mate - A Powerful Rainforest Experience

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Health Concerns Share / Save / Bookmark Print Page

Health Concerns

You may have heard recent controversy surrounding Yerba Mate and its association with cancer risks. We know that this has spurred several questions from our customers. We have been actively researching this issue and are confident that Yerba Mate itself is not detrimental to your health but that there are environmental factors and processing methods which could be a health concern if not minimized.

Yerba Mate is a healthy beverage that contains numerous beneficial nutrients including vitamins, minerals, amino-acids, polyphenols, flavonoids and saponins which are ingredients known for their health benefits. Yerba Mate has been consumed for several hundred years in South America and is considered to be a powerfully energizing and rejuvenating beverage. When it comes to processing Yerba Mate, different methods can be used; in addition different consumption patterns can be associated with Yerba Mate drinking. At this time we would like to take this opportunity to share the processing methods that Guayaki implements, and our healthy recommendations for drinking Yerba Mate.

Most of the world’s commercially available Yerba Mate is processed using a heavily smoked drying method that uses burning wood (barbacoa) to dry the Mate leaves between 8 to 24 hours. This smoke-dried method is known to produce a Yerba Mate which contains Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs), chemicals known to be carcinogens at high concentrations. PAHs are common in many foods and beverages such as water, coffee, and tea and cannot be completely avoided in the diet, but the levels of PAHs that are consumed can be minimized.

At Guayaki, we have been committed to reducing the PAH levels in our Yerba Mate for many years. Our organic San Mateo Yerba Mate for instance is air-dried. Air drying is a processing technology that allows us to greatly reduce the PAH levels in our Yerba Mate. We are proud to announce that we have been testing the PAH levels in our Yerba Mate for more than a decade and the results demonstrate a significant reduction in the PAH content. Since 2008, a reputable US Government analytical lab with the most current and accurate methodology has been testing the PAH levels in our Yerba Mate every year. The results indicate that our San Mateo air-dried Yerba Mate has a significantly lower PAH level compared to other commercially available Yerba Mate’s tested. Comparing our air-dried yerba mate to that of the smoke dried yerba mate, we have seen an ~80% reduction in overall PAHs. Our organic Traditional Yerba Mate as well has lower PAH levels compared to other traditionally smoked varieties of Yerba Mate by incorporating mostly air-dried mate into the blend. We are confident that these results indicate that our air-drying processing method enables us to greatly reduce the formation of PAHs compared to the smoke- dried method most commonly used. We have been and will continue to focus on using the best available processing technologies to produce our Yerba Mate. In addition, we have been and will continue testing our PAH levels with the highest quality testing methods to offer you safe, healthy and nutritious Yerba Mate.

We would also like to recommend that you consume your Yerba Mate at a comfortable temperature.  Consuming any beverage including tea, soup, and water at very high temperatures can be detrimental to your health and cause damage to the esophageal lining.  We would also like to recommend trying our bottled and canned Yerba Mate offerings since they are made with air-dried yerba mate and test within the PAH limits set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for drinking water.

What is most important for us is that we have seen that it is not Yerba Mate itself that is of concern, but rather the additional confounding factors that can be attributed to both its processing and consumption style. 

If you have any other questions or concerns, please contact us.


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