Yerba mate is excellent as a coffee substitute. The tea has the ability to quicken the mind, to increase mental alertness and acuity. It is a mild, not strong, diuretic. It relaxes peripheral blood vessels, thereby reducing blood pressure. And best of all, rather than interfering with sleep as coffee often does, mate has a tendency to balance sleep cycles, inducing more REM sleep when necessary, or increasing the amount of time spent in delta states. Many people report that they require less sleep when using mate.
Consumer feedback has indicated its combined effects of smooth muscle and peripheral blood vessel relaxation, sense of stamina, energy and well being provide improved sexual interest and performance, thereby possibly offering a drug-free, all natural alternative.
As an anti-oxidant, yerba mate is superb. Free radicals are highly toxic oxygen molecules in a reactive, unstable form. They roam freely through the body, seeking out tissues to combine with and render morbid.
As well as destroying tissues outright, they increase susceptibility to a wide range of infections and diseases. Besides the free radicals produced by normal metabolic processes, we are also exposed to them through environmental pollutants. Our bodyís main line of defence against free radicals is its supply of free radical scavengers, collectively known as antioxidants. These are a group of nutrients which include Vitamins A, C, E, and the minerals Zinc and Selenium, all of which mate contains in abundance. These antioxidant nutrients work synergistically to prevent further cell damage, while repairing damaged cells by neutralizing the free radicals and thus deactivating their destructive energy.
Mate tea is made from leaves and stems steeped in hot water. A mate gourd, or mug, is filled a quarter full (or to taste), the bombilla (a filtering straw which extracts the most nutrients by pulling the water across the leaves) is nestled into the herb. Hot-never boiled- water is poured to the top. The water will cause the leaves to swell and the water at the top of the gourd will look frothy and green, indicating its nutrient-rich properties. The gourd can be refilled five or 6 times until the green froth is gone, which means the leaves are depleted, and itís time to refresh the infusion.
This special gift from the plant kingdom is best when served in community with friends, offered in a ritual of love and friendship for each other and our natural world. But even alone, the cup of mate in your hand as you begin a new day promises to leave you refreshed and with a great feeling of well being.