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April 25, 2020
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Akshay ChopraFounder - We R Stupid
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The biggest issue with the fat burners is not just that most of them are out rightly useless or filled with cheap stimulants like caffeine, but that there are way too many ingredients mentioned behind the bottle, which you have never heard of, or can’t comprehend what it really does and if it really is linked to fat burn. Yerba Mate is one such ingredient. Let’s see the truth behind it.

According to a 2012 study in the International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences & Research, by a Polish research team, led by Maciej Frant (, Yerba mate is one of the most popular consuming plants in South America. Traditional usage of mate is in the form of beverages but it is now being served as candies, beers, energy drinks, or creams.

Researcher Dora Loria & team, in the 2009 study in the Pan American Journal of Public Health (, suggested that Mate is a beverage made from the leaves of a perennial shrub-tree native to Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay. The Spanish word mate refers to the dried leaves (also called yerba mate), as well as the cup from which the beverage is drunk, traditionally a small, hollow gourd.

Yerba Mate is basically a small shrub, that grows to a height of app. 15ft. and bears small white flowers and red fruits. The tree is actually called ‘Mate’ and the leaves are referred to as ‘Yerba’, so ‘Yerba Mate’ is the leaves from this shrub.

According to a US research team, led by Kellie Burris, in a 2012 study in the Chilean Journal of Agricultural Research (, yerba mate, processed from the leaves and small stems of I. paraguariensis, is a non-alcoholic beverage consumed socially primarily in these countries, and like coffee, primarily for its caffeine content.

Author the text Herbal Secrets of the Rainforest, Leslie Taylor, suggests that, in the early 16th century, Juan de Solís, a Spanish explorer of South America’s famed La Plata River, reported that the Guaraní Indians of Paraguay brewed a leaf tea that “produced exhilaration and relief from fatigue.” The Spaniards tried the beverage and liked it. Their subsequent demand for the tea led the Jesuits to develop plantations of the wild species in Paraguay and yerba mate became known as “Jesuits’ tea” or “Paraguay tea.”

Polish researcher Monika Kujawska, in a 2018 study in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine (, suggests that the yerba mate beverage has been consumed traditionally by Guarani indigenous people since before the conquest of South America by the Spaniards. It plays a very special social role and constitutes a very important form of caffeine intake. Its popularity is also increasing outside South America due to its pharmacological properties, proven to be beneficial to health. It is also a very important drink in Syria and Lebanon due to Syro-Lebanese migration to Argentina in the second half of the 19th century. Many migrants who returned to the Levant in the 1920s took the habit of drinking mate with them.

According to Loria & team (, “Mate is consumed in various ways, but the most popular method is by placing the yerba mate in the cup (the aforementioned gourd, or a metal, silver, or ceramic vessel shaped like a small jug), pouring boiling water into it, and sipping the infused liquid through a metal straw called a bombilla (little pump). The bombilla acts as a filter—the end that goes into the liquid has a bulb pierced with small holes that prevent the leaves from going up the straw. Hot water is added to the mate mainly in Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay; this type of preparation is called mate con bombilla. On the other hand, mate can also be a cold beverage (tereré), a habit common in Paraguay. Sugar or an artificial sweetener may also be added, though, in Brazil, the mate is traditionally drunk without sugar (cimarrao).”

yerba mate

In a 2007 study, in the journal Medicinal and Aromatic Plant Science and Biotechnology, Brazilian researcher Deborah Helena Markowicz Bastos, from the University of Sao Paulo (, popular medicine and the herbalists recommend the use of yerba mate for arthritis, headache, constipation, rheumatisms, hemorrhoids, obesity, fatigue, fluid retention, hypertension, slow digestion, and hepatic disorders.

Author Leslie Taylor suggests that “in addition to its standing as a popular beverage, yerba maté is used as a tonic, diuretic, and as a stimulant to reduce fatigue, improve appetite, and aid gastric function in herbal medicine systems throughout South America. It also has been used as a depurative (to promote cleansing and excretion of waste). In Brazil, mate is said to stimulate the nervous and muscular systems and is used for digestive problems, renal colic, neurasthenia, depression, fatigue, and obesity… Yerba maté now is cultivated in India, and the Indian Ayurvedic Pharmacopeia lists maté for the treatment of psychogenic headaches, nervous depression, fatigue, and rheumatic pains. “

Frant (, suggests that Yerba Mate & its products are used as stimulants against physical and mental weakness (central nervous system stimulant), and have been shown to act as hepatoprotective, choleretic, diuretic, hypocholesterolemic, anti-rheumatic, antithrombotic, anti-inflammatory, anti-obesity, anti-bacterial, anti-diabetic and cardioprotective agents. Moreover, it has been widely used as cancer inhibitory and anti-mutagenic factors acting against many carcinomas.

According to Kujawska (, numerous active compounds have been identified in yerba mate. Phenolic compounds predominate caffeoyl derivatives (caffeic acid, chlorogenic acid), xanthines (caffeine and theobromine), which are a class of purine alkaloids found in many other plants such as tea and coffee, flavonoids (quercetin, kaempferol, and rutin), and tannins.

According to Burris (, the level of polyphenolics in yerba mate extracts are greater than those of green tea and similar to levels found in red wine. Yerba mate extracts are highly rich in chlorogenic acids, and unlike green tea, contain no catechins.

The mate is a rich source of tannins or phenylpropanoid compounds like caffeoyl derivatives and flavonoids but also xanthines, vitamins, essential oils, purine alkaloids, and triterpenoid saponins. Owning to Yerba mate biologically active components, this plant is reported to possess strong antioxidant features well as DNA-protective properties.

yerba mate


Burris (, found that there are three xanthines found in yerba mate, caffeine, theobromine, and theophylline, and give yerba mate its characteristic bitter flavour and stimulant effects. Of these, caffeine is present in the highest concentrations at 1 to 2% of total dry weight, followed by theobromine at 0.3 to 0.9% of total dry weight. According to Bastos & team, amongst these three compounds, caffeine is the most abundant in coffee, tea, and yerba mate, while theobromine is the most abundant in cocoa seeds. Theophylline is usually lower in coffee and tea.

The consumption of caffeine found in a cup of yerba mate (78mg) is similar to that of a cup of coffee (85mg); however, the typical method of yerba mate consumption involving repeatedly pouring additional hot water over in the ‘mate’ can yield intakes greater than 260mg of caffeine per serving, attributed to percent stem or woody content and extraction rate.

A 2018 study in the Brazilian Journal of Medical & Biological Research, a Brazilian research team, led by D.T.A da Veiga (, evaluated the association between the consumption of yerba mate and the frequencies of dyslipidemia, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases in 95 postmenopausal women.

Researchers found that the group that consumed more than 1ltr/day of mate infusion had significantly fewer diagnoses of coronary disease, dyslipidemia, and hypertension. Furthermore, the serum levels of glucose were lower in the group with higher consumption of yerba mate infusion. The serum levels of total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, HDL-cholesterol, and triglycerides were similar between the groups.

In a 2012 study in the Journal of Functional Foods, a Korean research team, led by Sun-Young Kim (, evaluated efficacy and safety of an extract from a green mate in 60 overweight subjects aged 20–39 years during 6-weeks. The subjects were divided into two groups, one group consumed a very high dose of yerba mate in supplement form, i.e. 3000mg/day for 6 weeks; and the other group consumed a placebo. After 6 weeks, subjects taking mate experienced a significantly greater reduction of percent of body fat and fat mass than placebo.

In a 2015 study in the journal BMC Complementary & Alternative Medicine, by a Korean research team, led by Sun-Young Kim (, investigated the efficacy and safety of Yerba Mate supplementation in Korean subjects with obesity. A total of 30 obese subjects were divided into two groups. One was given oral supplements of Yerba Mate capsules, and the other was given placebos, for 12 weeks. Subjects took three capsules per each meal, total three times in a day (3g/day).

Researchers found that, during 12 weeks of Yerba Mate supplementation, decreases in body fat mass and percent body fat compared to the placebo group were statistically significant. Waist-to-hip ratio was significantly decreased in the Yerba Mate group compared to the placebo group.

In a 2001 study in the Journal of Human Nutrition & Dietetics, Danish researchers T. Andersen and J. Fogh (, tested a herbal preparation of yerba maté, guaraná, and damiana (YGD) for gastric emptying and subsequent weight loss. Researchers found that after 10 days of using 3 YGD capsules before major meals (3 capsules totaling 336mg Yerba, 285mg Guarana, 108mg Damiana) that placebo group lost 0.3+/-0.03kg and YGD lost 0.8+/-0.05kg. When the study was extended to 45 days, the difference was a loss of 0.3+/-0.08kg (placebo) and 5.1+/-0.5kg (YGD).

They concluded that the herbal preparation, YGD capsules, significantly delayed gastric emptying, reduced the time to perceived gastric fullness and induced significant weight loss over 45 days in overweight patients treated in a primary health care context. In addition, maintenance treatment given in an uncontrolled context resulted in no further weight loss, nor weight regain in the group as a whole.


In a 2015 study in the journal Nutrients, Brazilian researchers Alessandra Gambero & Marcelo Ribeiro (, evaluated the impact of yerba mate on obesity and obesity-related inflammation and found that the use of yerba mate might be useful against obesity, improving the lipid parameters in humans and animal models. In addition, yerba mate modulates the expression of genes that are changed in the obese state and restores them to more normal levels of expression.

In a 2008 study in the journal Archives of Biochemistry & Biophysics, Korean researchers J. Pang & team (, investigated the anti-obesity effect of yerba mate extract and its molecular mechanism in rats rendered obese by a high-fat diet (HFD). Researchers found that yerba mate extract supplementation significantly lowered body weight, visceral fat-pad weights, blood, and hepatic lipid, glucose, insulin, and leptin levels of rats administered HFD. The extract reversed the HFD-induced downregulation of the adipose tissue genes involved in adipogenesis or thermogenesis.

In a 2009 study in the journal Obesity, a Brazilian research team, led by D.P. Arcari (, evaluated the effects of yerba mate extract on weight loss, obesity-related biochemical parameters, and the regulation of adipose tissue gene expression in high-fat diet-induced obesity in mice. 30 mice were given high-fat diets for 12-weeks and then were given either water or yerba mate extract at the dose of 1g/kg of body weight. Researchers found that obese mice treated with yerba mate exhibited marked attenuation of weight gain, adiposity, and restoration of the serum levels of cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL cholesterol, and glucose.

In a 2012 study in the journal Lab Animal Research, a Korean research team, led by Young Rye-Kang (, evaluate the effects of Yerba Mate extract on weight loss, obesity-related biochemical parameters, and diabetes in high-fat diet-fed mice. Researchers found that Yerba Mate treatment affects food intake, resulting in higher energy expenditure, likely as a result of higher basal metabolism in Yerba Mate-treated mice. Furthermore, the effects of Yerba Mate on lipid metabolism included reductions in serum cholesterol, serum triglycerides, and glucose concentrations in mice that were fed a high-fat diet. In conclusion, this study found that Yerba Mate extract has potent anti-obesity activity.

In a 2017 study in the journal Nutrients, by a British research team, led by, Ahmad Alkhatib and Roisin Atcheson (, tested whether yerba mate ingestion affects fatty acid oxidation, mood state, and appetite, during prolonged moderate exercise. Twelve healthy active females were asked to ingest either 2g of yerba mate or placebo, before a 30min cycling exercise.

The study found that in participants taking yerba mate, hunger and desire to eat reduced; and focus, energy, and concentration all increased. Thus, researchers found that combining yerba mate intake with prolonged exercise at targeted “fat-loss”’ intensities augment fatty acid oxidation and improves measures of satiety and mood state.

In a 2018 study in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, a team of Norwegian researchers led by J.L. Areta (, analyzed the metabolic and physical performance effects of yerba mate in 11 well-trained male cyclists. For the study, participants ingested 5g of yerba mate or placebo (maltodextrin) daily for 5d and 1h before experimental trials. Researchers found that yerba mate increased fat utilization during submaximal exercise and improved Time trial performance in male cyclists.

yerba mate

In a 2011 study in the Journal of American College of Nutrition, a team of Brazilian researchers led by, G.A. Klein (, evaluated the effects of roasted mate tea consumption, with or without dietary counseling, on the glycaemic and lipid profiles of individuals with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) or pre-diabetes. For the study, twenty-nine T2DM and 29 pre-diabetes subjects were divided into 3 groups: mate tea, dietary intervention, and mate tea, and dietary intervention. Individuals drank 330mL of roasted mate tea 3 times a day and/or received nutritional counseling over 60 days.

Researchers found that mate tea consumption decreased significantly the levels of fasting glucose, HbA1c, and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol of T2DM subjects; however, it did not change the intake of total energy, protein, carbohydrate, cholesterol, and fibre. The effect was even better with dietary counseling.

In a 2009 study in the Journal of Agricultural & Food Chemistry, a Brazilian research team led by E.C. de Morais (, verified the effect of yerba mate consumption on lipid and lipoprotein levels in humans. One hundred and two individuals participated in this trial. Normolipidemic, dyslipidemic, and hypercholesterolemic subjects on long-term statin therapy ingested 330mL, 3 times/day, of green or roasted yerba mate infusions for 40 days. Yerba mate consumption reduced LDL-cholesterol by 8.7%. Compared with the baseline period, yerba mate intake by dyslipidaemic individuals for 20 and 40 days lowered LDL-cholesterol by 8.1 and 8.6%

The consumption of yerba mate by hypercholesterolemic individuals on statin therapy promoted an additional 10.0 and 13.1% reductions in LDL-C after 20 and 40 days, respectively, and increased HDL-cholesterol by 6.2% after 40 days. It was thus concluded that intake of yerba mate infusion improved the lipid parameters in normolipidemic and dyslipidemic subjects and provided an additional LDL-cholesterol reduction in hypercholesterolemic subjects on statin treatment, which may reduce the risk for cardiovascular diseases.

In a 2012 study in the journal Nutrition, by a Brazilian research team, led by Brunna Cristina Bremer Boaventura (, evaluated the effect of long-term ingestion of mate tea, with or without dietary intervention, on the markers of oxidative stress in seventy-four dyslipidaemic individuals. Subjects were divided into three treatment groups: mate tea (MT), dietary intervention (DI), and mate tea with a dietary intervention (MD). Participants in the MT and MD groups consumed 1 L/d of mate tea. Those in the DI and MD groups were instructed to increase their intake of fruit, legumes, and vegetables and decrease their consumption of foods rich in cholesterol and saturated and trans-fatty acids

Participants in the DI group showed a significant decrease in total fat and saturated fatty acid intakes. Those in the DI and MD groups presented a significant increase in vitamin C consumption. The results of this study demonstrated an increase in serum antioxidant capacity and GSH and a decrease in LDL-cholesterol in dyslipidemic individuals after long-term ingestion of mate tea, suggesting that this is an effective dietary supplement for the prevention of CVD in individuals following a free diet.

A 2014 study in the journal Nutrition & Metabolism, British researcher Ahmad Alkhatib (, investigated whether acute yerba mate ingestion augments fat metabolism parameters of fatty acid oxidation (FAO) and energy expenditure during exercise with several intensities. Fourteen healthy males and females ingested either 1000mg of yerba mate or placebo 60min before performing exercise tests.

Acute yerba mate ingestion augments the exercise dependent increase in FAO and energy expenditure at exercise intensities without negatively affecting exercise performance, suggesting a potential role for yerba mate ingestion to increase the exercise effective for weight loss and sports performance.

Akshay Chopra

Akshay Chopra is a renowned fitness professional, a speaker , a writer and the owner of Indias research based platform, Werstupid. He has been transforming lives, and has addressed many a people with motivational words. Known as the Encyclopaedia of Fitness Industry, his knowledge is unparalleled.

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