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Yerba mate – how often can we drink it? Are there any contraindications?

2023-03-24
Yerba mate – how often can we drink it? Are there any contraindications?

You often ask us, what is the optimal daily dose of yerba mate and how much can you drink so as not to overdo it? Are there any contraindications to drinking yerba mate? Unfortunately, there are no clear-cut answers to these questions. This is because there are quite a few conditioning factors, the most important of which is the individual predisposition of each and every one of us.

Summary:

  1. Yerba mate – everyone drinks it the way they like it
  2. How does yerba mate work and how much caffeine does it contain?
  3. How many times a day can I drink yerba mate?
  4. Contraindications. Who should not drink yerba mate?

Yerba mate – everyone drinks it the way they like it

Yerba mate, like tea or coffee, has this attribute that it can be drunk in a million ways and everyone drinks it the way they like – according to their own preferences and tastes. This is its great advantage and disadvantage at the same time. On the one hand, Ilex paraguariensis is an excellent base for yerba mate compositions. It combines well with additives – herbs, fruits and aromas, providing a grateful material for experimenting with a variety of flavours. The producers of yerba mate try to invent new, original fusions, but we can also let our imagination run wild in our own kitchen and discover new combinations. We can also experiment with the temperature and the steeping time, use a different liquid instead of water or pour one portion of the dry tea over and over again, discovering new flavours with each addition. On the other hand, this diversity makes yerba mate difficult to test and define with specific parameters. It is impossible to measure exactly the caffeine, vitamin or mineral content of a portion of the brew, to know exactly how much to pour or how long to steep the mate and at what exact temperature. We cannot precisely answer the question: how much yerba mate can be consumed at the maximum? However, we can try to determine to a large approximation the recommended serving of yerba mate, clarify what the correct dosage is and consider how often you can drink yerba mate.

How does yerba mate work and how much caffeine does it contain?

For those new to the world of yerba – a little reminder. Yerba mate is an infusion made from Ilex paraguariensis, a plant that is naturally found in South America, across Paraguay, Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay. The first discoverers of the plant's properties were the Guarani Indians, who noticed that an infusion made from it added energy, stimulated the body and improved concentration. The Indians didn't know it yet, but hundreds of years later, scientists discovered that there is caffeine in yerba mate, called matein by some, which was behind the stimulating effect of mate tea. Due to a variety of factors (type and amount of dried product used, production method, brewing time and temperature), it is impossible to determine exactly how much caffeine is in yerba mate, but scientific sources state that there are approximately 70-650 milligrams of caffeine in one serving of the brew – this is less than in coffee and more than in green tea. Scientists have also proven that yerba mate is a rich and 100% natural source of many vitamins, minerals, polyphenols and other compounds that are great for the functioning of the entire human body. However, let's focus on caffeine. The energy boost it provides is particularly welcome in the morning or when the mind is working hard, but are there any side effects associated with it? Is frequent drinking of yerba mate infusion safe and is it possible to overdose on yerba mate?

Yerba mate – how often can we drink it?

How many times a day can I drink yerba mate?

As we mentioned in the introduction, everyone's body may react differently to caffeine and therefore tolerate it in higher or lower concentrations. Each of us is different. Some people feel immediately stimulated, others feel nothing at all with the same amount, and others feel sleepy after a little dose of caffeine. The effects of stimulating caffeine are influenced by factors such as body weight, health, diet or even the time of day. On top of this, even if you are a yerba mate addict, there is a limit to what you can drink and, as the old saying goes, too much is enough. Although yerba mate, in addition to caffeine, contains a number of vitamins and minerals and does not leach magnesium like coffee does, remember that overdosing it can also have undesirable consequences. How much yerba mate can be drunk so that the natural boost is not interrupted by a worsening sense of well-being? How much to pour and how much water to add? According to scientific publications, the optimal dose is between 1/4 and 3/4 of a cup and, more precisely, about 30 grams of dried yerba mate per day. People who are new to yerba mate will be more susceptible to its effects. Even if they have so far supplemented with caffeine by drinking coffee or energy drinks. The optimum dose for beginners, in our opinion, will be not 30 grams but 15 grams of yerba mate – one large spoonful, preferably served no later than midday. Depending on the type and quality of mate, you can, of course, indulge in a few refills of water. Yerba mate takes a relatively long time to release its properties. Disposing of the grounds after one pour will be a sheer waste! For an experienced mateist, 2-3 refills should not be unusual. Of course, moderation is always needed. Do not force yourself to drink the brew at all costs and without considering the possible consequences. After all, everything is for people, but in the right quantities!

Contraindications. Who should not drink yerba mate?

As is well known, caffeinated products are not suitable for everyone. Caffeine in controlled amounts carries the benefits desired by many, but in too high a concentration it can cause unpleasant side effects such as hand tremors, palpitations, hyperactivity or insomnia. Pregnant women should certainly steer clear of yerba mate. It should also generally not be given to children. What about people struggling with hypertension? Here, caution is advised. However, this does not mean that they have to give up the drink completely. According to most doctors, spikes in blood pressure are caused primarily by the sudden supply of too much caffeine. If our body is accustomed to it, yerba mate should not cause any harm. Nevertheless, we consider it an absolute necessity to consult a doctor!


Source of information:

  1. Wikipedia: Yerba mate, Caffeine.
  2. A. Gawron-Gzella, J. Chanaj-Kaczmarek, J. Cielecka-Piontek, Yerba Mate – A Long but Current History, Nutrients, 2021.
  3. A. Smith, Effects of caffeine on human behavior, Food and Chemical Toxicology, 2002.

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