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Green Tea vs Yerba Mate

Aug 22, 2013

Green Tea vs Yerba Mate by Circle of Drink

We all know of green tea. It’s been called the Elixir of Life and has been hailed as a powerful medicinal herb for thousands of years. It’s good stuff. There’s no doubt about that. And when you compare it to the highly acidic and toxic coffee, it’s a no-brainer that green tea is the healthier option. With less caffeine and a healthy stack of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and compounds that restore life and give you energy, green tea is truly a powerhouse of health and wellbeing.

Green Tea vs Yerba Mate

But surely you’ve heard of yerba mate, right? Oh, no? Not really? Well I can’t blame you. I only found yerba mate a few years ago. It’s the green tea of South America and the best kept secret of the past 100 years—I kid you not. If green tea is the Elixir of Life, well, yerba mate is the Drink of the Gods.

In 2009 I started drinking yerba mate while living in Argentina, the world capital of yerba mate. The average Argentine mate drinker happily consumes about 2 liters of mate per day; even children enjoy it. Like green tea, yerba mate is a medicinal herb that share many common health attributes. However, strictly speaking, yerba mate isn’t from the tea plant (camellia sinensis); it’s from a holly plant native to Paraguay, Argentina, Southern Brazil, and Uruguay (ilex paraguariensis).

Consumed for millennia by the ancient Guarani Tribes, yerba mate has been used as a communal and medicinal drink for a long time; even before the Spanish begun forcing them to grow mate as a multimillion dollar cash crop of the time (1600–1850). It was used as the basis of all medicine, as well as a drink that invariably provided an unlimited source of natural energy.

The Guarani actually prayed to the “God of Yerba Mate.” Traditionally, it’s drunk from a hollowed squash plant (also called a “mate” or gourd) and a metal straw with a filter (called a bombilla) that’s placed inside the gourd to draw up freshly steeped hot water that’s been infused with the herb. Sounds a bit cumbersome, but it’s really easy when you get the hang of it. (Here’s a video showing you how to prepare yerba mate.) Nowadays, yerba mate can be consumed exactly like green tea, using a frenchpress or infuser to prepare yerba mate or using some yerba mate tea bags. It’s a truly fascinating herb.

Yerba Mate and Green Tea have these things in common:

  • High antioxidant capacity; reduce oxidative stress
  • High amounts of minerals and vitamins (potassium, manganese, phosphorus, sodium, nitrogen, etc. Vitamins A, C, E etc.)
  • Promote healthy Gastrointestinal Tract (GI)
  • Improve digestion
  • Promote healthy heart
  • Lower LDL cholesterol
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Increase cognition and mental clarity
  • Help regulate glucose levels for Type 2 Diabetes
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anti-obesity; Enhances fat metabolism
  • Anti-carcinogenic
  • Good source of natural energy (with the aid of caffeine, theobromine, and theophylline)
  • Promote weight loss
  • Fight and prevent osteoporosis by increasing bone density

As you can see, the green tea vs yerba mate analysis shows that these two herbs are just about neck and neck. But! Hold on just a moment… There are some critical differences that clearly distinguish these herbs in their healing capacities.

yerba mate plants

Is Yerba Mate better than Green Tea?

Let me start with the simple answer: yes. Actually, it’s a resounding, emphatic, confident, YES! Though both plants offer a wide array of health benefits, yerba mate is more effective and efficient. And why is this? Because of the concentration of mate’s antioxidants compared to green tea’s. In fact, mate’s unique combination of healing compounds are so starkly different than any other tea, that most scientists currently studying these herbs admit that they still don’t know exactly how mate can be so effective. The research continues.

Polyphenolic compounds found in Mate tea differ significantly from green tea because Mate tea contains high concentration of chlorogenic acid and no catechins.
—De Mejia Gonzalez, 2004; Toxicology Scientist

In particular, yerba mate contains high concentrations of Chlorogenic Acid (the same acid that the health world has been buzzing about lately; namely in respect to green coffee beans); green tea is a very poor source of Chlorogenic Acid, (if even a source at all).

Health Benefits of Chlorogenic Acid

chlorogenic acid

Since yerba mate has such a high concentration of Chlorogenic Acid, it’s able to be highly effective with the following:

  • Reduce and attack cancer cells
  • Destroy bacteria
  • Clear the arteries; promote healthy heart
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Lower cholesterol
  • Help with Diabetes

Yerba Mate also has a group of compounds called Saponins and Caffeoylquinic Acids (CQAs)

These compounds act as the turbo-booster for yerba mate; they are the fuels that ignite yerba mate’s unusually high antioxidant capacity. Moreover, these compounds play major roles in mate’s ability to be effective against inflammation and weight loss. Green tea is losing the race on this track.

Yerba Mate has more active chemicals than green tea

Among the 196 volatile chemicals found in yerba mate tea, only 144 are present in green tea.
—Kawakami and Kobayashi, 1991

Yerba mate has over 50 more chemicals than green tea. Yes, 50 more! Apart from the additional boost in healing properties you get from drinking yerba mate instead of green tea, these chemicals give depth to mate’s exquisiteness; they offer a rich set of flavors and aromas that firmly place mate in the class of luxury items such as wine, whisky, craft beers, and gourmet foods. Any seasoned yerba mate drinker knows that drinking a fine variety of mate is quite an experience.

Green Tea and Yerba Mate Effective Against Cancer

Green tea has a compound called EGCG, which is an extremely potent antioxidant. EGCG has, heretofore, been green tea’s ace in the hole. It’s been shown to be effective against cancer as well as helping to decrease bad cholesterol. However, EGCG, when placed on the table with yerba mate’s 3,5-dicaffeoylquinic acid, begins to look more like a Golden Parachute than a panacea.

Contrary to the reported carcinogenic properties of Mate, there are scientifically backed reports of anticancer effects. Mate tea has been shown to have high cytotoxicity for cancer cells, which is even higher than that of green tea.
—De Mejia Gonzalez, 2007

In conclusion, though green tea is still a viable option as a healthy drink that calms the body while providing an abundance of antioxidants, it can’t be denied that yerba mate is the winner here.

The Feeling of Euphoria for Yerba Mate

Yerba mate is not only healthier, but with it also comes a surge of spectacular euphoria, mental clarity, and wellbeing that cannot be obtained with the finest of green teas—and certainly not with harsh, acidic coffee.

That alone!

That alone is worth further investigation into yerba mate. The ability to de-fog your mind, feel amazing, AND (and that’s a BIG “and”) know that you’re drinking the most powerful herb on the planet Earth…well now, doesn’t that make you want to have a sip right now?

Here’s a short video discussing the health benefits of yerba mate:

In order to reap the full health benefits of yerba mate, it’s recommend that you drink at least 4 cups per day. With the aid of a frenchpress or yerba mate tea bags, it’s never been easier to feel energized and stay healthy. Visit our yerba mate store and see what this herb can do for you.

If you’re interested in comparing yerba mate with coffee, here’s a link to our research.

Try our organic yerba mate and green tea blend here >>

A Video from our Online Mate Circles Discussing Green Tea vs Yerba Mate


  • The Green Tea Book, Lester A. Mitscher, Ph.D., 1998.
  • Yerba Mate Tea: A Comprehensive Review on Chemistry, Health Implications,
    and Technological Considerations, E.G. De Mejia, 2007.
  • Contributions to the quality control of two major crops of economic importance:
    hops and yerba mate, Erica Georgina Wilson, 2012.


  1. Chris

    Thanks so much for all the info on mate… I’ve seen most of your videos on the Circle of Drink youtube channel. Always walk away with a feeling of new knowledge on such a life changing drink.

  2. Amanda

    Hi, thats an awesome article, very informative thankyou !! But I do have one question, does yerba mate tea have the same amount of benefits if drank cold? I like to add ice to my tea in summer as a refreshing drink and wondered if any of the benefits diminished if iced? thankyou

  3. Vickie Levy

    I have been drinking Yerba Mate for several years and love it, for an afternoon pick me up, vs. coffee, which I also love! There is no doubt that Yerba Mate gives me a lift without that irritable edge, like coffee does. Also, I prefer it to green tea because it doesn’t bother my stomach like green tea does. After learning more about it from your website, I’m going to drink more Yerba Mate for it’s health properties! Thank you for the information!

  4. John Trefry

    Well done. My brother in law’s family are from Buenos Aires, and years ago he gifted me with a kilo of Cruz de Malta. He is not a fan, remembering mate only as “that bitter hot drink” as a child. I enjoy it regularly, and may even consider dropping coffee entirely, but that’s a long term relationship I’m not quite ready to abandon. 🙂 .

    • Glad you liked it. I still drink a coffee now and then, though mate has clearly become my predominant energy drink. Keep on sipping! Salud.

  5. hengels

    Mate is only better than green tea if you like to get cancer:

  6. I have a question for you. Which is better the right side of the brain or the left side of the brain? They do different things. I say to use them both. That is what I do. I use both green tea and yerba mate tea. Sometimes together and sometimes apart. My friend says that yerba mate is very bitter. I feel that yerba mate tastes much better than green tea. Whole foods market sells a tea made with half mate and half green tea with a little bit of spearment (all organic). Since both have chemicals the other does not have then using both gives you much more than on alone. Which is better for a marine to carry– a pistol or a rifle? They carry them both. Which is better? It depends on what you are going to do.

  7. Luna

    I don’t like “green” yerba mate, I prefer it toasted, the tea version of it. I love the taste, the color and the aroma. Sometimes I make it a little darker (concentrated) and drink it with milk or as iced tea. I think it tastes much better than the more traditional black or green tea. My favorite brand is called “Matte Leao”, I think it’s of Brazilian origin. I only buy the loose leaves 250g pack.

  8. João Marcos

    Here in Brazil Centro-Oeste (Midwest) and Paraguay, Mate is drunk with cold water and ice rather than with hot water, since temperatures here varies from 86 to 104 ºF along the year. This very refreshing beverage is called “Tereré” (te-re-rE).

    The homeland of terere is Paraguay. Here in Brazil, the city of Campo Grande is the capital of terere.

  9. Tina

    Hi. Great info on Yerba mate. Can children drink it?

    • David Askaripour

      Hey Tina, many children in South America do drink mate, but you may want to dilute it to be on the safe side.

  10. Hello thank you for the information. I have a few questions for you. Does Mate contain tannins like tea? Also if you’re a person that is prone to having problems sleeping will the caffeine in mate cause problems sleeping if you drink it after lunch?

    • David Askaripour

      Hey Christy, thanks for the comment. Yes, mate does contain tannis like green tea. For most people, the caffeine is mate actually works differently than caffeine in coffee. It has more of a gentle uplifting effect and mellowing sensation. Once your body gets used to it, it may even help you fall asleep, as long as you don’t have a hyper-sensitivity to caffeine. You may appreciate our Feather Pillow brand, which was designed for relaxation.

  11. Warren

    Does mate flush toxins from the body like green tea. I heard green tea may flush heavy metals from the body also

  12. Sleiman

    Which brands of Mate you recommend?

    • David Askaripour

      Hey Sleiman, I’d recommend you try Anna Park.

  13. Ian

    Uruguayos would love to have a word with you about Buenos Aires being the world capital of “tomando el mate”… They actually consume the highest rates of mate per capita in the world.

    Mate is obviously quite common in Argentina, but having lived in both Montevideo and BA, it doesn’t even seem close…

  14. Eva Wuchoi

    Thank you for the great information of the comparison between Mate and Green Tea!
    I just read there is an article about the “risk for health” from drinking too much Mate Tea…on Google site
    What is your thoughts?
    Appreciate your opinion in advance!!

  15. Sean

    I have heard Japanese green tea has 5 times more antioxidants then Chinese green tea. Do you know what types of green tea where used in these studies comparing green tea to Yerba mate.Thanks

    • David Askaripour

      This article isn’t based on an actual study; it’s based on general scientific studies of both green tea (general) and yerba mate (general). All sources are published at the end of the article. Thanks

  16. Brian

    While Yerba mate is in fact better than regular green tea, match a green tea is clearly superior overall to Yerba mate in terms of overall health benefits.

  17. Ashley

    Most Matcha isn’t “real” matcha. The real stuff is VERY pricy, & it’s from the same plant as regular green tea so I can’t see it coming even close to the nutritional level of Mate. It is wonderful that ppl the world over have extremely beneficial drinks like Mate & Matcha to keep them healthy, & nothing says you can’t drink both. Personally, I love my Yerba Mate so much I often skip my daily honey/ACV drink, so fitting in a super expensive beverage that might have 1 or 2 beneficial elements Yerba Mate doesn’t have is just a bit beyond my means. Listen to your body & do what’s right for you though. We’re all different & maybe there’s something about Matcha that works better for you-ECCG, ratios of nutrients, etc. Drink & be merry 🙂

  18. Joan

    All black and green teas stain your teeth whereas mate does not. Your dental hygienist will appreciate you. One more point in favor of mate.

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