Health properties of Yerba Mate
More details
Hide details
Department of Medical Anthropology, Institute of Rural Health, Lublin, Poland
Corresponding author
Piotr Lutomski   

Instytut Medycyny Wsi im. Witolda Chodźki w Lublinie, Jaczewskiego 2, 20-090, Lublin, Poland
Ann Agric Environ Med. 2020;27(2):310-313
Yerba Mate, also called Paraguay tea, is obtained from the dried leaves (approximately 95%) and stems (about 5%) of the evergreen shrub-tree Ilex paraguariensis. Each year, the consumption of yerba mate becomes increasingly popular in North America and Europe. The fashion for Paraguay tea has also reached Poland. During the period 2012 – 2018, as much as an 8-fold increase has been observed in the import of this raw material to our country.

The aim of the study is analysis of the present state of knowledge concerning the health effects of Yerba Mate, based on selected scientific literature.

The consumption of yerba mate may exert a beneficial effect on human health and its consumption is recommended in the treatment of obesity and while practicing sports. Nevertheless, it should be remembered that a very high consumption of the tea, especially when very hot, may increase the risk of occurrence of cancer, which has not been unequivocally confirmed by scientific studies to-date.

It has been confirmed that this beverage shows a number of beneficial health effects, including: a protective effect on liver cells, stimulation of the central nervous system, anti-inflammatory effect, as well as a positive effect on the cardiovascular system.

Florczak J, Karmańska A, Wędzisz A, Brożek E. Skład chemiczny suszu różnego gatunku yerba mate. Bromat Chem Toksykol. 2011; 4: 1105–1110.
Fernandez Baez CD, Ruzickova G. Consumption of Yerba Mate. (Ilex paraguariensis L.) in the Czech Republic. Mendel University in Brno, Faculty of Agronomy, Departement of Crop Science, Breeding and Plant Medicine, Brno 2010.
Markowicz Bastos DH, Moura de Oliveira D, Teixeira Matsumoto RL, Carvalho P, Ribeiro ML. Yerba maté: Pharmacological Properties, Research and Biotechnology. Medicinal and Aromatic Plant Science and Biotechnology, Global Science Books 2007.
Filip R, Ferraro G. Researching on new species of ‘‘Mate”: Ilex brevicuspis Phytochemical and pharmacology study. Eur J Nutrit. 2003; 42(1): 50–54.
Lewan T, Associated Press Writer, The Bitter Tea South Americans Love to Drink, APWSTM. international. (access: 2018.11.01).
Heck CI, de Mejia EG. Yerba Mate Tea (Ilex paraguariensis): a comprehensive review on chemistry, health implications, and technological considerations. J Food Sci. 2007 Nov; 72(9): R138–51.
Dmowski P, Post L. Wpływ krotności parzenia na właściwości przeciwutleniające naparów yerba mate. Zeszyty Naukowe Akademii Morskiej w Gdyni 2018; 104: 9–18.
Burris PK, Harte FM, Davidson MP, Neal Stewart CN, Zivanovic S. Composition and bioactive properties of yerba (Ilex paraguariensis A. St.-Hil.). J Agric Res. 2012; 72(2).
Filip R, Lopez P, Giberti G, Coussio J, Ferraro G. Phenolic compounds in seven South American Ilex species. Fitoterapia 2001; 72: 774–778.
Filip R, Lotito SB, Ferraro G, Fraga CG. Antioxidant activity of Ilex paraguariensis and related species. Nutri Res. 2000; 20: 1437–1446.
Arbiser JL, Li XC, Hossain CF, Nagle DG, Smith DM, Miller P, et al. Naturally occurring proteasome inhibitors from mate tea (Ilex paraguayensis) serve as models for topical proteasome inhibitors. J Invest Dermatol. 2005; 125: 207–212.
Taketa ATC, Gnoatto SCB, Gosmann G, Pires VS, Schenkel EP, Guillaume D. Triterpenoids from Brazilian Ilex species and their in vitro antitrypanosomal activity. J Natural Prod. 2004b; 67: 1697–1700.
Puangpraphant S, Berhow MA, de Mejia EG. Mate (Ilex paraguariensis St Hilaire) saponins induce caspase-3-dependent apoptosis in human colon cancer cells in vitro. Food Chemistry 2011; 125: 1171–1178.
Ito E, Crozier A, Ashihara H. Theophylline metabolism in higher plants. Biochim Biophys Acta 1997; 1336: 323–330.
Rauha JP, Remes S, Heinonen M, Hopia A, Kahkonen M, Kujala T, et al. Antimicrobial effects of Finnish plant extracts containing flavonoids and other phenolic compounds. Int J Food Microbiol. 2000; 56: 3–12.
Puangpraphant S, de Mejia EG. Saponins in yerba mate tea (Ilex paraguariensis A. St.-Hil) and quercetin synergistically inhibit iNOS and COX-2 in lipopolysaccharide-induced macrophages through NFκB pathways. J Agric Food Chem. 2009; 57: 8873–8883.
Sun-Young Kim, Mi-Ra Oh, Min-Gul Kim, Han-Jeoung Chae, Soo-Wan Chae. Anti-obesity effects of Yerba Mate (Ilex Paraguariensis): a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. BMC ComplementAltern Med. 2015; 15: 338. DOI 10.1186/s12906-015-0859-1.
Andersen T, Fogh J. Weight loss and delayed gastric emptying following a South American herbal preparation in overweight patients. J Hum Nutr Diet. 2001; 14: 243–50.
Myung-Sook Choi, Hyo Jin Park, Sang Ryong Kim, Do Yeon Kim, Un Ju Jung. Long-Term Dietary Supplementation with Yerba Mate Ameliorates Diet-Induced Obesity and Metabolic Disorders in Mice by Regulating Energy Expenditure and Lipid Metabolism. J Med Food. 2017; 20(12): 1.
Young-Rye Kang, Hak-Yong Lee, Jung-Hoon Kim, Dea-In Moon, Min-Young Seo, Sang-Hoon Park, et al. Anti-obesity and anti-diabetic effects of Yerba Mate (Ilex paraguariensis) in C57BL/6J mice fed a high-fat diet. Lab Anim Res. 2012 Mar; 28(1): 23–29. doi: 10.5625/lar.2012.28.1.23.
de Oliveira E, Lima NS, Conceição EPS, Peixoto-Silva N, Moura EG, Lisboa PC. Treatment with Ilex paraguariensis (yerba mate) aqueous solution prevents hepatic redox imbalance, elevated triglycerides, and microsteatosis in overweight adult rats that were precociously weaned. Braz J Med Biol Res. 2018; 51(6): e7342.
Gambero A, Ribeiro ML. The positive effects of yerba maté (Ilex paraguariensis) in obesity. Nutrients. 2015; 7(2): 730–50. doi:10.3390/nu7020730.
Alkhatib A. Yerba Maté (Illex Paraguariensis) ingestion augments fat oxidation and energy expenditure during exercise at various submaximal intensities. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2014; 11: 42.. doi: [10.1186/1743–7075–11–42].
Maciejewska D, Łukomska A, Jakubczyk K, Baranowska-Bosiacka I, Stachowska E, Chlubek D, et al. The content of linoleic and alpha-linolenic acid in different types of Yerba Mate, depending on country of origin and the conditions of the infusion. Pom J Life Sci. 2015; 61(1): 90–93.
Puangpraphant S, Berhow MA, Vermillion K, Potts G, Gonzalez de Mejia E, Dicaffeoylquinic acids in Yerba mate (Ilex paraguariensis St. Hilaire) inhibit NF-κB nucleus translocation in macrophages and induce apoptosis by activating caspases-8 and -3 in human colon cancer cells. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2011 Oct; 55(10): 1509–22. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201100128. Epub 2011 Jun 8.
Burris KP, Davidson PM, Stewart CN Jr, Zivanovic S, Harte FM. Aqueous extracts of yerba mate (Ilex paraguariensis) as a natural antimicrobial against Escherichia coli O157:H7 in a microbiological medium and pH 6.0 apple juice. J Food Prot. 2012 Apr; 75(4): 753–7. doi: 10.4315/0362–028X.JFP-11–214.
Burris KP, Davidson PM, Stewart CN Jr, Harte FM. Antimicrobial activity of Yerba Mate (Ilex paraguariensis) aqueous extracts against Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Staphylococcus aureus. J Food Sci. 2011 Aug; 76(6): M456–62. doi: 10.1111/j.1750–3841.2011.02255.x. Epub 2011 Jul 5.
Filip R, Davicino R, Anesini C. Antifungal activity of the aqueous extract of Ilex paraguariensis against Malassezia furfur. Phytother Res. 2010 May; 24(5): 715–9. doi: 10.1002/ptr.3004.
L Ronco A, Vazquez A, Ronco A, De Stefani E, Mendoza B, Vazquez A, et al. Mate and Tea Intake, Dietary Antioxidants and Risk of Breast Cancer: a Case-Control Study. Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2016; 17(6): 2923–2933.
Pawlak-Lemańska K, Zarzyka O, Gliszczyńska-Świgło A, Tyrakowska B. Yerba Mate, Black and Green Tea Infusions: Comparison of Their Alkaloid Content and Antioxidant Activity. Towaroznawcze Problemy Jakości 2016; 1: 105–114.
Ruxton CH S. The impact of caffeine on mood, cognitive function, performance and hydration: a review of benefits and risks. The Author Journal compilation, British Nutrition Foundation Nutrition Bulletin 2008; 33: 15–25.
Brun LR, Brance ML, Lombarte M, et al. Effects of Yerba Mate (IIex paraguariensis) on Histomorphometry, Biomechanics, and Densitometry on Bones in the Rat. Calcif Tissue Int. 2015; 97: 527.
De Stefani E, Muñoz N, Estève J, Vasallo A, Victora CG, Teuchmann S. Mate drinking, alcohol, tobacco, diet, and esophageal cancer in Uruguay. Cancer Res. 1990 Jan 15; 50(2): 426–31.
Loria D, Barrios E, Zanetti R. Cancer and yerba mate consumption: a review of possible associations. Rev Panam Salud Publica. 2009 Jun; 25(6): 530–9.
Szymańska K, Matos E, Hung RJ, Wünsch-Filho V, Eluf-Neto J, Menezes A, et al. Drinking of maté and the risk of cancers of the upper aerodigestive tract in Latin America: a case–control study. Cancer Causes Control. 2010; 21: 1799.
Goldenberg D, Golz A, Joachims HZ. The beverage maté: a risk factor for cancer of the head and neck. Head Neck. 2003 Jul; 25(7): 595–601.
Goldenberg D, Lee J, Koch WM, Kim MM, Trink B, Sidransky D, et al. Habitual risk factors for head and neck cancer. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2004; 131(6): 986–93. DOI: 10.1016/j.otohns.2004.02.035.
Sewram V, De Stefani E, Brennan P, Boffetta P. Mate consumption and the risk of squamous cell esophageal cancer in Uruguay. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2003; 12: 508–13.
Riachi LG, De Maria CAB. Yerba mate: An overview of physiological effects in humans, J Funct Foods. 2017; 38, 308–320.
Cardozo Junior EL, Morand C. Interest of mate (Ilex paraguariensis A. St.-Hil.) as a new natural functional food to preserve human cardiovascular health – A review. J Funct Foods. 2016; 21: 440–454.
Journals System - logo
Scroll to top