Is Yerba Mate Bad for You?

Reviewed on 9/22/2021
is yerba mate bad for you
Is it safe to drink yerba mate? Learn about potential risks to be aware of as well as 7 possible health benefits

If you are healthy and occasionally drink yerba mate, it’s unlikely that you will experience any adverse effects. 

However, some evidence suggests that long-term consumption of large amounts of yerba mate may increase the risk of malignancies of the mouth, throat, and lungs. Drinking yerba mate at a very hot temperature—at least 149 degrees F (65 degrees C)—is associated with a higher risk of cancer than drinking yerba mate at lower temperatures. 

One potential reason for this is that yerba mate contains polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) which have previously been associated with cancer. Both tobacco smoke and grilled meat also contain PAHs. More research is needed to investigate the safety and side effects of yerba mate. 

Consult a doctor before using any herbal product. Yerba mate can interact with other medications, resulting in adverse effects or reduced effectiveness of the drugs you consume.

What is yerba mate tea?

Yerba mate is a tea produced from the leaves of the yerba mate plant. Mate, often known as mate tea, is a popular beverage in South America. Leaves and twigs of the yerba mate plant are dried, generally over a fire, and then steeped in hot water to make herbal tea. Caffeine is present in yerba mate, just as it is in black tea. 

In the United States, yerba mate can be found in health food stores and on the internet. Yerba mate advocates claim that it can aid with fatigue, weight reduction, depression, headache, and a range of other problems. Caffeine and other substances in yerba mate stimulate the brain, heart, blood vessels, muscles, and other areas of the body.

7 possible benefits of yerba mate

Yerba mate is a nutrient-dense beverage, containing 24 vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, calcium, amino acids, and antioxidants, which is why many people choose to give up coffee in favor of this healthier option. A cup of yerba mate contains about 85 milligrams of caffeine. 

Yerba mate has been used in traditional medicine to cure various ailments, although there isn’t enough research to prove its effectiveness for treating specific health conditions. Possible benefits of yerba mate tea and/or extract include:

  1. Weight loss: Research suggests that yerba mate can help with weight loss by helping with satiety, reducing appetite, and shrinking fat cells.
  2. Lowered cholesterol: Yerba mate is believed to cause 8%-13% reduction in low-density lipoprotein (bad) cholesterol and up to a 6% increase in high-density lipoprotein (good) cholesterol. Drinking yerba mate tea has been linked to considerably fewer diagnoses of cardiovascular disease, dyslipidemia (abnormal cholesterol levels), and high blood pressure.
  3. Cancer prevention: Some animal studies have shown that yerba mate helped neutralize free radicals and DNA damage in mice, providing evidence of its anti-cancer effect. Conversely, however, an excessive amount of yerba mate may increase the risk of cancer.
  4. Improved mood, focus, and energy: Drinking yerba mate has been linked to improved mental attention and physical benefits due to the fact that it is higher in caffeine content than tea but has a higher nutritional value than coffee.
  5. Diabetes management: For people with diabetes, one cup of mate in the morning can help lower their glycemic index for the day and help control blood sugar levels.
  6. Decreased risk of age-related diseases: Yerba mate improves memory function and enhances brain health and can help prevent Alzheimer's disease. It may have a beneficial effect on people with Parkinson's disease as well.
  7. Rich in antioxidants: The antioxidant content of yerba mate is much higher than that of green tea. As a result, it aids in the slowing of the aging process and prevention of certain diseases.


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