Traditional yerba mate, in the form of a loose-tea infusion, is a common drink in South American countries that is thought to have many health benefits, including aiding in weight loss. Yerba mate is often used for weight loss because it stimulates the central nervous system, relaxes the muscles, and suppresses the appetite. It also helps to increase metabolism and functions as a diuretic. Studies have shown the yerba mate for weight loss to be effective for those trying to lose weight; it also has the side benefit of being very high in antioxidants and is often considered a healthier alternative to coffee or caffeinated tea.
In 1999, researchers in Switzerland tested yerba mate for weight loss benefits. They found that it raised the proportion of fat burned as energy in healthy men and women. Another study in the United States in 2001, reported that taking a mix including yerba mate, guarana and damiana three times a day for 45 days decreased appetite and resulted in weight loss. In 2009, another study was conducted on mice; it indicated yerba mate may have qualities that act as anti-obesity agents.
A unique combination of three chemical compounds exists in yerba mate: caffeine, theophylline and theobromine, although sometimes the amount of theophylline is insubstantial. This grouping has led researchers to conclude that yerba mate has different effects than coffee or tea, especially because the caffeine content is much lower in yerba mate. It also has antioxidant properties that researchers say stimulate brain activity. In addition, it has been shown to lower cholesterol by lowering serum lipid parameters.
Yerba mate for weight loss supplements has grown rapidly in popularity. Many users say the plant’s unique properties make it a healthier alternative to other caffeine-based stimulants, such as coffee or soda. Among the aspects that make it popular to drink yerba mate for weight loss, either as a loose-tea infusion, a bag tea or in over-the-counter tablets, is its reputation for being safe and effective, with few health risks.
The tea was first introduced when the Guarani Indian tribe of Paraguay shared the drink with Spanish explorer Juan de Solis in the early 16th century. It is made from a species of holly plant that is native to Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Brazil, although it is now also grown in other tropical areas. Many citizens of South American countries consider it to be a national or social drink.