Yerba mate is where it all began for Yuyo. Pronounced [yer-bah ma-tay], this super herb is a member of the holly family and the infusion made from its leaves has a fantastic grassy, slightly smoky flavour. Each cup gives a more sustained lift than a cup of coffee, without the crash, and many more antioxidants than herbal and green teas.
Ancient culture, modern ritual
Sharing a yerba mate is an institution from Southern Brazil to the tip of Patagonia. The leaves and stalks of the yerba mate plant (ilex paraguariensis) are dried, seasoned and served up in specially carved gourds and drunk through a perforated metal straw known as the bombilla.
A gourd is filled, brewed and passed. Legend has it that Yací and Araí, the goddesses of the Moon and Cloud, first granted the plant to the Guaraní people in thanks for saving their lives from a jaguar attack when they visited earth. Yerba mate has been opening people’s minds, forging friendships and sparking ideas for centuries ever since.
Che Guevara, Messi and the Pope are all well-known drinkers of yerba mate. Today every Uruguayan drinks over nine kilograms of yerba mate in a year – five times the amount of tea your average Brit drinks!
Pleasure & Purpose
Yerba mate contains three stimulating and feel-good compounds: caffeine, theobromine and theophylline. The plant has also been found to contain a completely unique antioxidant profile.
The first full analysis by the west in the 1960s by the Pasteur Institute concluded that:
“it is difficult to find a plant in any area of the world equal to mate in nutritional value. It has almost all the vitamins necessary to sustain life.”