Yerba mate can be traced back to the semi-nomadic Guarani folks in Brazil, northern Argentina, and Paraguay, who are known to be the first to harvest and drink yerba mate.
Ever since ancient times, the Guarani people have gathered around a fire to socialize and pass around the gourd of yerba mate, a custom that has gained massive popularity in United States and Europe.
Yerba mate is often consumed as a healthy drink, and packages of it are available in health food stores, and supermarket chains across the United States and Europe. If you live in the United States, one of the quickest ways to get your hands in a package of Yerba Mate is through Amazon or Walmart, the two biggest retailers in the world.
In this article, I’m going to speak a bit more about yerba mate, its benefits, where it’s available, and where you can find it if you physically head out to a supermarket. Stick around.
What is Yerba Mate?
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Yerba mate is a herbal tea made from the leaves and twigs of the Ilex paraguariensis plant.
The leaves are dried over a fire, and then infused in hot water to make the tea. This tea is typically consumed from a container called gourd and sipped with a metal straw that filters the leaf fragments floating on the surface.
The gourd is shared from one person to another as a sign of friendship and camaraderie, a custom that was passed on from ancient times. If you don’t have a gourd, then I recommend getting this one from Amazon.
Yerba Mate Benefits
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The first thing to acknowledge is the fact that yerba mate contains several plant nutrients in the form of antioxidants that are associated with different benefits. For example:
- Xanthines: These compounds are stimulants, so they act like caffeine and theobromine, which are also found in green tea and coffee.
- Caffeoyl derivatives: These are health-promoting compounds, and are also present in green tea.
- Saponins: These compounds have anti-inflammatory and cholestorol-lowering properties.
- Polyphenols: These compounds are packed with antioxidants and potential health benefits. They’re believed to improve digestion, and prevent conditions like type 2 diabetes, neurodegerative disease, and cardiovascular disease. They might also play a role in weight management.
Yerba mate contains caffeine, so like any caffeinated beverage, it may increase your energy levels and provide you with the perception that you’re less tired. Caffeine also triggers signal in the brain that augment your focus, so it might be very helpful if you need to double down on something like studying or working.
Additionally, caffeine consumption is also associated with improved muscle contractions, reduced fatigue, so it may improve your performance in the gym.
Where to Buy Yerba Mate
Here’s where you can find yerba mate both online and offline:
- Amazon is the best place to buy anything online, including yerba mate. They have several brands of yerba mate, including Canarias, EcoTeas, Taragui, and Cruz de Malta.
- Walmart is the he second best place to purchase anything, but in this case you can buy it both online and offline. Walmart sells traditional Guayaki yerba mate bags.
- Whole Foods is a health food store, so it’s a great place to find natural and organic ingredients. Whole Foods has organic yerba mate available.
- Publix is an employee-owned supermarket chain, and while it’s not as huge as Amazon or Walmart, they appear to have traditional Guayaki yerba mate bags in stock.
- Kroger is also a large retail company in the United States, and they also have different brand of yerba mate available, including EcoTeas and The Mate Factor.
- Ethnic Markets are essentially places where you can find products of a particular culture. If you wish to purchase yerba mate, you have to look for Brazilian or Paraguayan-themed food markets.
Keep in mind that aside from traditional yerba mate (dried leaves), there are also yerba mate drinks (like energy drinks), and ready-made tea bags.
In Which Aisle Can You Find Yerba Mate?
If you head out to a supermarket, the first place to look for yerba mate is in the tea aisle, but if you can’t find it there, then the second best place is the international aisle, particularly the one selling South American products.
Yerba mate is essentially herbal tea, but what’s more interesting is the tradition enveloping it.
People drink yerba mate in a gourd with a metal straw, and they pass it around to others as a sign of friendship and bonding, something that has been happening since ancient times.
Yerba mate is available in many health food stores (Whole Foods being one) and large retailers (Amazon, Walmart), as well as ethnic markets, particularly those that sell South American products.
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