Guayaki Yerba Mate (Flavored Tea Bags)
Yerba Mate (pronounced "yerba mahtay") is a medicinal and cultural drink of ancient origins prepared from the leaves of the South American shrub Ilex paraguariensis, which is related to holly. This is the only 100% Certified Organic Mate from the Amazon and is cultivated on small, sustainable farms in Paraguay.
More than a drink, though, Yerba Mate has become a cultural phenomenon throughout South America. Its benefits are obvious, and in Buenos Aires, where people carry their Mate with them throughout the day, the site of an obese person is rare. An invigorator of the mind and body, a natural source of nutrition, and a health promoter par excellence, the active principle in Yerba Mate is not caffeine! It is a unique alkaloid called a xanthine, so the nervousness associated with caffeine is absent from this wondrous drink.
Better than any other xanthine alkaloid, Mate has the ability to increase mental alertness and acuity and to do it without any side effects such as nervousness and jitters. It seems to act like a tonic, stimulating a weakened and depressed nervous system and sedating an overexcited one. Our knowledge of Mate's effects is currently limited to observations of behavior changes such as more energy and vitality; better ability to concentrate; less nervousness, agitation, and anxiety; and increased resistance to both physical and mental fatigue. Improvement in mood, especially in cases of depression, often follows drinking the tea. This may be a direct or indirect result of increased energy. One of the remarkable aspects of Mate is that it does not interfere with sleep cycles; in fact, it has a tendency to balance the cycles, inducing more rapid eye movement (REM) sleep when necessary, or increasing the amount of time spent in delta states (deep sleep).
A consistent observation in most South American literature on Mate is that it increases the immune response of the body, stimulating natural resistance to disease. This results in a nourishing and strengthening effect on the ill person, both during the course of the illness and during convalescence, sometimes dramatically accelerating recovery times. Exact mechanisms of Mate's action have not been worked out, but they involve both a direct action against infectious organisms, and an effect on overall resistance to disease. The nutritional content of the plant probably plays a major role here, but it is also probable that other constituents contribute to the action by stimulating the activity of white blood cells.
Mate is often used as a staple food, sometimes substituting for such important foods as bread and vegetables. It easily eliminates the sensation of hunger and can impart as much invigoration as a full meal, according to the well-known Chilean herbalists J. Zin and R. Weiss. Peace Corps workers have reported cases in which large groups of natives remain in good health for extended periods of drought and famine, even though they eat only one small meal per day. How so? By drinking copious amounts of Yerba Mate tea. Some natives spend their entire lives on such a diet and live to very advanced ages, sometimes in excess of 100 years.