“How much yerba mate should I drink” is the question of the neophyte mate drinker. A plant with such a long list of health benefits, social benefits, and all sorts of magic surrounding it, must rightfully pique your caution. Indeed. So I’ve put together a short video discussing my thoughts on how much mate you should (or can) drink. We’ll get to that shortly.
Let’s first layout a few ideas to think about:
Yerba Mate is an herb
- Like oregano and mint and parsley, yerba mate is an herb. The Earth abounds with consumable herbs that we generously enjoy without a moment of hesitation. When was the last time you asked yourself, how much mint tea can I consume? Even with coffee, most people never consider how much to consume—it’s consumed all day!
Yerba Mate appears to be adaptogenic
- Mate seems to be in a group of herbs known as adaptogens. These special herbs help the body deal with pathogenic and environmental stress. They also help deal with psychological issues such as depression, confusion, anxiety, etc. Scientists have revealed that most, if not all, of these herbs can be consumed to no end, since they seek to constantly harmonize the body.
The power of Big Pharma
- Pharmaceutical pills, the de-factor method of disease management, account for over 100,000 deaths per year in the United States. Yes, those so-called “safe” pellets of engineered compounds that fill those orange plastic bottles, stacked from bottom to top behind our mirrors. There’s a multibillion dollar marketing campaign going on right now, madly promoting this manufactured industry. Now granted, I think it’s absolutely genius what the West has accomplished with this allopathic course of healing and management. Many lives have been saved, but many lives have also succumbed to a philosophy that depends more on surgery and manmade compounds over Nature’s herbs. Balance should be found between the two. The crusade to discredit—non patentable plants, mind you—shall not survive. Too many people are finding out the power of herbs and their relative safety over their engineered counterparts.
Argentines and Uruguayans drinks mate like mad men!
- In Argentina, Paraguay, Southern Brazil, and Uruguay, where mate is the national drink, I’ve experienced people drinking upwards of 3 liters of mate per day. During my three years living in the region, the amount of mate consumed on a daily basis never ceased to amaze me. Put it this way, with a highly conservative estimate of 80% of the population (of these countries) consuming mate on a daily basis, the average person drinks more mate in a day than any European or North American drinks coffee or traditional green tea. No epidemiological study has ever shown such a high amount of daily consumption to cause any harm to the body. Moreover, many people have sustained that level of drinking up until their golden 80s and 90s.
So how much mate can I safely drink?
Okay. Those were just a few morsels of thought to chew on when considering how much mate is safe to consume. At the risk of equivocating, there is no absolute answer to this question. As dynamic as our individual bodies are, there are as many responses to such a question. In other words, listen to your own body. Keep in mind that some people drink upwards of 12–16, 8oz cups per day, as in South America. While others drink 2–3 cups per day. Many more drink somewhere in between. (Here’s a link on how to prepare yerba mate.)
Perhaps you’ve wondered about the caffeine levels in mate. “Well, I don’t want to drink a lot of caffeine…” was the thinking. Fair thought. To that, watch this video that discusses the fundamental differences between the caffeine in yerba mate and the caffeine in coffee. Interestingly, the caffeine in yerba mate seems not to produce crashing effects as anecdotally found in coffee drinkers. However, as you’ll see in the video, if you’re highly sensitive to caffeine, take your time with mate and build you way up as your body begins to figure out this new herb.
If you’re absolutely new to mate, and are accustomed to drinking flavored teas, you may appreciate some of our yerba mate blends to get you started. If you’re ready to jump in with the big dogs, go straight to our Mission variety. Salud!
- Adaptogens, David Winston and Steve Maimes, 2007.
- Yerba Mate Tea (ilex Paraguariensis): A Comprehensive Review on Chemistry, Health Implications, and Technological Considerations, E.G. Mejia, 2007.
- Medical Herbalism, David Hoffman, FNIMH, AHG, 2003.