Yerba Mate Nutrition

mate_tree01Botanical Name: Ilex Paraguariensis (Part of the Holly Family)

Minerals Richly Found in Yerba Maté that Support Metabolism and Development

  • Chromium
  • Copper
  • Iron
  • Manganese
  • Potassium
  • Zinc
Compound Biological activities
Caffeine Anticarcinogenic, antiobesity, antioxidant, antitumor, diuretic, energizer 20 to 200 mg, stimulant, topoisomerase-I-inhibitor 0.1 M, topoisomerase-II-inhibitor 99 mM, vasodilator
Chlorogenic-acid Antioxidant IC50= 54.2 μM, analgesic, antiatherosclerotic, antibacterial, antidiabetic, antitumor, choleretic
Chlorophyll Antibacterial, anticancer
Choline Antidiabetic, cholinergic, lipotropic
Nicotinic acid Choleretic, hypocholesterolemic 1 to 6 g/day
Pantothenic acid Antiallergic 100 to 500 mg/day, antiarthritic 500 to 2000 mg/day, antifatigue
Rutin 50= 30 ppm IC 50= 120 μM, antitumor, antitumor-promoter, antiulcer, cAMP-phosphodiesterase-inhibitor, topoisomerase-II-inhibitor IC50= 1 μg/mL, vasodilator
Tannin Antioxidant 1/3 quercetin IC50= 1.44 μg/mL, antitumor, antitumor-promoter, lipoxygenase-inhibitor, MAO-inhibitore
Theobromine cAMP-inhibitor IC50= 0.06 mg/mL, cAMP-phosphodiesterase-inhibitor, diuretic 300 to 600 mg/day, stimulant, myorelaxant
Theophylline cAMP-inhibitor IC50= 0.06 mg/mL, cAMP-phosphodiesterase-inhibitor, diuretic, choleretic, stimulant, vasodilator, myorelaxant 100 μM
Ursolic acid Analgesic, antioxidant IC50= 10 μM, antiperoxidant IC35= 200 μg/mL, protease-inhibitor IC85= 18 μg/mL, topoisomerase-II-inhibitor, antiarrhythmic, anticancer, antialzheimer

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The Yerba Mate Plant

mate_tree01The yerba mate plant, which is really a tree, is an evergreen from the Holly family that grows in the subtropical forests of South America. The yerba mate tree, from the Aquifoliacae family, stands between 6 to 8 meters tall, being able to reach even 15 meters. There are many different species in the family, the Ilex gender having more than 550, the holly plant included, 280 species found in South America, 60 of which occur in southern Brazil. Only 3 species though are used in the mate industry (I. paraguariensis, I. angustifolia, I. amara), Ilex Paraguariensis being the most important. The mate plant, due to the widespread genetic variety of the Ilex family, may have white or light purple stems, and thick waxy leaves that may present dented or smooth edges.

mateleaves02The Flavor

The amount of xanthene alkaloids in the leaves of maté is believed to be directly related to the quality of the soil. This influences the flavor of the yerba mate giving it a milder taste. This flavor varies from region to region, the soil of southern Brazil presenting drastic variations in mineral content, texture, and organic mass. The tendency though, is for the cultivated maté to have a stronger bitterness, and probably higher xanthene content. The native trees, which grow in the nitrogen-rich topsoil of the Paraná Pine forests, tend to have a milder bitterness, characterized by a stronger leafy flavor. Obtaining the right balance of these is the secret to having a stable, fresh tasting yerba mate. (more…)

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