Yerba Mate Tea: 5 Benefits Vs. Side Effects Include Potential Cancer Risk

HomeTea KnowledgeYerba Mate Tea: 5 Benefits Vs. Side Effects Include Potential Cancer Risk

Last Updated on 03/23/2020 by Desmond

A beautiful story about yerba mate tea spread long in the indigenous of South America: long, long ago, goddess of the moon and clouds, drive clouds went down to the land, but they were under attack by a jaguar. An indigenous hunter came, and save them. In return, the goddess gives the hunter a plant as a present, which can make a beverage representing friendship—that drink is yerba mate tea.

What Is Yerba Mate Tea

The goddess gift plant is Ilex paraguariensis, and yerba mate tea made from its twigs and leaves.

April to August is the harvest season for yerba mate tea. The leaves, buds, and twigs are picked and dried, baked, fermented, and ground to make the fragrant and delicious yerba mate.

Yerba mate tea tastes bitter and astringent, but a strong flavor similar to the rainforest. Most people usually brew it with some fruit juice or honey to balance the bitter taste. It derives various styles of making mate tea.

In South American countries, yerba mate tea is the most popular drink, and it also loved by foreign people. They start their morning with a cup of yerba mate instead of coffee or tea. With the intense flavors and the caffeine effect – yes, yerba mate is a caffeine drink. People get their energy boost from it, for a good beginning of the workday.

Yerba Mate Tea Nutrition Ingredient

Yerba mate tea is rich in 196 kinds of active elements, 11 types of polyphenols, various microelements, and antioxidants such as flavonoids, as well as a variety of amino acids and unsaturated fatty acids required by the human body. It is the single-family plant with the most nutrition and health benefits found so far.

As same as green tea and coffee, yerba mate tea also contains caffeine. It makes it got the benefits that caffeine brings, such as energy boost and weight loss. 

The caffeine content of yerba mate is similar to coffee, about 85mg per 150mg cup. Also, it depends on your brew way and the quality of the mate. But the traditional yerba mate tea consuming way may make more caffeine intake, about 250 – 500mg per time. If you mind the caffeine, there are some decaf type mate tea sold on the market.

Keep reading, let’s see what health effect will yerba mate tea brings to us.

Yerba Mate Tea Benefits

Weight Loss

Numerous scientific studies have found the relation between yerba mate and obesity; the significant effect on weight loss may vary mainly due to its abundant polyphenols and caffeine.

We know that caffeine and polyphenols can help with losing weight. By ingesting them, you can significantly increase your satiety. The ingredients will also improve burn fat, speed up your metabolism, what is most important, it will not generate unnecessary calories, which can go a long way toward helping you with a healthy diet and weight loss plan.

Another research showed that yerba mate tea also could improve liver metabolism. In the liver, the antioxidant capacity of mate tea inhibits the activity of oxidase, reduces lipid peroxidation, and restores the levels of steatosis and triglyceride in the liver. Which not only plays the role of protecting the liver, it still can anti-obesity.


Research showed that yerba mate is rich in antioxidants and contains polyphenols even more than green tea.

In addition to the anti-aging effect on the human body, the rich antioxidants also can help improve human immunity, prevent the aging of blood vessels, thus playing a role in protecting the heart and preventing heart disease.

Managing Diabetes

Aborigines in South America believed that yerba mate tea could cure diseases by purifying the blood in the body.

The research showed that chlorogenic acid (the primary polyphenols in yerba mate tea) could effectively control blood glucose, cholesterol, and insulin levels in the human body. 

With the protective effect on blood vessels by the antioxidants, it can effectively manage type 2 diabetes caused by obesity and help diabetic patients reduce other complications caused by hyperglycemia.

But it’s a different situation in the type 1 diabetes case. Studies showed that caffeine stimulation might make the warning symptoms of low blood sugar in people with type 1 diabetes more noticeable.

Anyway, if you got diabetes, it’s better to consult your doctor before you consume mate tea.

Boost Athletic Ability

As a specialty of South American countries, yerba mate tea loved by the sports stars. We know that the famous football player Messi is one who loves mate tea a lot. And so many other sports players take it as an energy drink or a natural stimulant.

Due to the fat-burning effect by the rich caffeine contains in mate tea, give the energy body needs, to support the vigorous exercise. At the same time, it can improve muscle contraction, making muscles in the best condition for training.

With caffeine stimulates the nerves and make them in an excited state, which is undoubtedly an excellent drink for people who need to carry out high-intensity physical exercise.

Besides, native South Americans believed that the effect of yerba mate tea to enhance athletic ability, and the rich benefits ingredient it contains, helps to increase sexual desire and fertility.

Help Digestion

The effect of caffeine and polyphenol come again; they can cause bile and gastric acid to increase through the stimulation of the digestive system, and relax the smooth muscle. 

Having yerba mate tea can improve digestion, especially suitable for patients with abdominal distension, constipation, and other diseases related to the digestive system.

But pay attention, consume mate tea too much, the hard stimulation to the digestive system may cause diarrhea, just like you have green tea on an empty stomach.

Yerba Mate Tea Side Effects

For tea lovers, the most significant factor troubling them is the effect of the caffeine brings in the beverage. Similarly, yerba mate tea does have some negative effects on the human body, and some may even cause life dangers.


The amount of caffeine in a single piece of yerba mate leaves is about 0.9% to 2.2%, which is a very high rate close to the coffee.

Due to the stimulation effect of caffeine on the nervous and digestive system, excessive consumption of yerba mate tea may cause side effects such as

  • Headache 
  • Stomach upset 
  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting 
  • Tachycardia 
  • Breathlessness
  • Diarrhea

And the most common side effect is insomnia.

May Cause Cancer

There is no research proven that having yerba mate tea will cause cancer. But in some sampling studies of people who have a long-term consumption of it, they have relatively high rates of cancer of the esophagus, bladder, prostate, and mouth.

A view tells that mate tea just after brewed is so hot that it burns the mouth and esophagus, and long-term consumption increases the risks of cancer.

To best, it’s not advised to drink yerba mate tea every day. 


Women should not take yerba mate tea during pregnancy. 

Because of the high amount of caffeine it contains, it may enter the body of the fetus along with the bloodstream and affect the development of the baby

The stimulation that caffeine is for pregnant woman body cause miscarriage possibly. Pregnant women who intake high dosage caffeine during pregnancy, the baby may even show withdrawal symptoms after birth.

Patients During Medication

Some ingredients of yerba mate tea may cause interactions with some drugs, rendering them ineffective or causing severe side effects. Patients during medication should consult their doctor before drinking it.


The side effect of caffeine again. It may influence blood pressure, increase it in a short time. So the people with hypertension disease should take it carefully.

How To Brew Yerba Mate Tea

As the most popular beverage in South America, the origin yerba mate has a variety of ways to make.

The most traditional way, put 1/2 loose leaves into a pot called guampa(made of a hollowed bamboo tube, or gourd, some metal). Add hot water, then sip it with a metal straw called bombilla locally.

The best water temperature is 80-90°C, the higher is, the more fragrance. But it also the reason for cancer risks conjecture from studies.

At the family and friends party, they will sit around and pass the drink to each other, sip the tea through the same straw, symbolizing a close relationship. When the guampa being empty, add hot water to continue brewing, then keep passing the drink.

Homemade yerba mate tea can make in various ways, such as adding milk, juice, sugar, mint, vanilla, honey, or some herbal tea for flavoring. Cold-brew is a good idea, and iced mate tea is a favorite summer beverage of local people.

To many people, yerba mate tea is an irreplaceable drink. Once you fall in love with it, you will hard to leave it away; If you haven’t tried it, worth having a try.


Yerba Mate: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Dosage, and Warning
Yerba Mate Tea (Ilex paraguariensis): A Comprehensive Review on Chemistry, Health Implications, and Technological Considerations
Yerba Maté (Ilex paraguariensis) Metabolic, Satiety, and Mood State Effects at Rest and during Prolonged Exercise
The Positive Effects of Yerba Maté (Ilex paraguariensis) in Obesity
Effects of Ilex paraguariensis (yerba mate) on the hypothalamic signalling of insulin and leptin and liver dysfunction in adult rats overfed during lactation.
Just a tea lover. Like to try different types of tea. Do not matter if the brewing is perfect, only enjoy the various charming taste.
  1. Thank you for your information. I certainly understand the difficulty speaking, reading and writing a second language. Accomplishing that takes determination and effort. However, I think whoever wrote the information on this website should ask for help from someone who really understands English and grammar. Sometimes the translation of above is a bit confusing and you are mentioning things like cancer…. and health issues. I think what you are saying is that any caffeinated drink in excess is bad for your health and that drinking things TOO HOT THROUGH A STRAW could damage your esophagus, etc. which is definitely not good for anyone.

    I think it will help to clarify the information and appreciate your consideration. I am not criticizing to be negative — I am trying to help. ( the opening story in particular is a bit confusing.)

    Thank you so much for your page and product and information.
    Best regards,

    • Thanks for your advice; I am working hard on my grammar and writing skills. And I’m sorry that I didn’t check your message in time.


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