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How much yerba mate should I drink?

Jan 20, 2015

argentinian drinkinig mate

South Americans safely drink upwards of 1–4 liters of yerba mate per day. In United States, Canada, and Europe, it’s not uncommon for an avid yerba mate drinker to consume at least 1–2 liters per day. The amount of yerba mate you consume daily will mainly depend on your own tolerance and preference.

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.


  1. Greg Kusnierz

    hey, thanks for the video. how often do you change the mate in your gourde?

  2. Very interesting. I didn’t know it was an herb. And that’s amazing that people drink so much of it down there. I drink 2 cups of day, but it’s expensive here. LIke almost $8 for 50 300mg bags. Do you have a video where you talk about your adventures living in South America?

    • Sure, mates an herb. Indeed, the price varies from country to country as well as supply and demand. Not too many videos of my adventures out there. Most of my original reviews done out there have been updated with newer ones. You may enjoy this: http://circleofdrink.com/what-is-yerba-mate

    • BRENDA

      I’m Argentinian and I fill my gourd with fruits either apples or oranges then I add the Yerba to it. It gives it a great taste, healthy and makes Yerba herbs last longer.

  3. Ahmad Haley

    does anyone have information on the manganese content in yerba mate, is it enough to cause harm, or have you heard the argument. I’m taking 2 table spoons of loose mate a day right now

    • Dave Mate

      I’ve never heard about unusually high amounts of manganese in yerba mate. I suggest you read Dr. Elvira de Mejia’s “Comprehensive review on yerba mate…” to learn more about the compounds found in the herb.

  4. samljer22

    Uruguay public health has published a link between mouth, esophageal and bladder cancer with yerba mate. But at the same time it was found to fight OTHER forms of cancers.
    The article mentioned no link between hot or cold infusions.

    There is PAH in yerba mate, the same carcinogenic chemicals found in flame charred red meats (like BBQ) and smoke.

    Dont say theres no bad health benifits at all, ive clearly done more research on the matter, which
    isnt that much. which means you have done NONE.
    you are in no position to speak on this matter till you do.

  5. natalie

    An 80 year old client of mine told me about this tea and that a few doctors were astounded by his health at such an age. They were in deep question, “what is it that you do??” They were very surprised to hear of this tea. Well I’m sold and have been drinking three cups a day.

  6. Christopher O'Dalaigh

    I am a recent convert to mate. A cuban coworker and i had a discussion about yerba mate over lunch (cuban sandwiches and yerba mate soda). After a brief debate over the use if salami in a cuban sandwich, which is a whole other story in and of itself, the topic of yerba mate came up. Being Irish-Italian, I’d never heard of it. Thank God for Google. After some research we both decided we wanted to try it.
    I ordered some from amazon; bombilla and all. After 2 sips i thought it was awful and wondered what i was supposed to do with the 4 pounds id bought. I stuck with it and by the time it was lavado, i was hooked. I’ve had a cup a day since. This is a bit deceptive because a cup gets used about 12-18 times. My wife, who’s German, thinks I’m drinking too much. Shes a pain in the ass like that, with all the things i love (beer, bacon, cookies, you name it), but I guess she has a point. Too much tea can give you kidney stones right? You think this is a concern? Id like to hear your opinion. Also how many “waterings” should i get? I just fill a 10oz mug 3/4s with the yerba and keep adding water.

  7. PatronOfHeaven

    Does anyone else experience feelings of anxiety or even anger when drinking this stuff? I feel like people on this site aren’t talking about the dark side. Or at least not giving an explanation for these feelings.

    • unreality

      yes, it does that when you have had too much, for me that is refilling with more water than fits in one large coffee mug. after that I kinda get the feelings of a caffeine overdose, not the shakes, but high alertness bordering on paranoia, extra anxiety and general unpleasantness.
      actually mate does this if you drink it ofr the energy boost and don’t use that energy. if you will just keep sitiing doing nothing, all the mate energy is just going to be used for eating your brain from the inside with overthinking. if you go out and use that energy, like do cleaning or go out for a very active walk, that helps.

  8. nolan tew

    I have been drinking mate since I was first introduced to it when I lived in Uruguay back in 1965-1968. tha way I drink, is to buy the loose bag from either walmart or amazon; a heaping teaspoon in my coffee maker(my wife loves coffee). makes 2 cups filtered tea am 72 and have been drinking for 50 years.

  9. Hi! I am a uruguayan and grew up drinking mate. I still drink it daily. There is differences bettween most of all yerba mate out there. Argentinan yerba has more stems and is weaker than uruguayan that is mostly leaves. Yerba mate is. Made from leaves of a tree not a herb. You will build a tolerance to the caffeine depending on how much you drink. When i lived in uruguay i could drink it all day with no problem now i live in the Us and only drink about a litter per seating usually in the morning and after work. Dont drink it to late or you wont be able to sleep good. Soccer players from around the world are now drinking mate before training and games cause the boost of energy. Def you yave to do something after drinking it it boost not only your energy but your motivation. Dont buy it in health food stores cause is super expensive. Find a latin food store that carries it usually goesnin the US for about 15 dollars per kilo good quality yerba. I recomend the brand canarias in the green package witch is lighter in caffeine than the original yellow package.

    • KrisDeb

      Thank you Fernando, your reply makes the most sense for me.

  10. emil

    I really need to know an appropriate dosage range in terms of teaspoons. I know this website wants to sell mate but it is irresponsible to lie and claim you can’t drink too much mate. I had about 10 teaspoons in a teapot. Final drink around 6pm. I was lying in bed at 3:30am super alert with no sign of sleep in sight. There is definitely a think as too much. Why not recommend a starting dose? That is not the same thing as mentioning a product to buy. I see that your website is basically useless now because you only spout information that serves your purpose and seem happy to ignore the truth if it gets in the way.

  11. Maxey

    I have thrombocytopenia (low blood platelets) and when
    I eat or drink something that is a blood thinner I have a
    meltdown. so I wonder if yerba mate is a blood thinner ?

  12. Mate is often too bitter for me, so I’m more inclined to the variation with orange skins. I usually just add them to my yerba mate. What I do love about mate is the social bond it creates within a group.
    There are 2 considerations I believe you should have added to be as thorough as possible: 1) it’s important to take care of the gourd so that no mould ever forms; over time, that mould could imply health risks; 2) the health benefits of drinking hot water (and the risks if it’s too hot). Anyway, thanks for all the info!

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