If you were to visit Argentina, Paraguay, or Uruguay and stroll the streets, you would frequently see people drinking something from a gourd shaped vessel (mate) through a hollow straw like tube (bombilla). What they are drinking is a tea made from yerba, an herb. It is called yerba mate.
Yerba mate is made from the leaves of the South American holly tree which only grows in northeastern Argentina, eastern Paraguay, and southwestern Brazil (Ilex paraguarenis). However, the drinking of yerba mate is extensive and widespread in Argentina, southern Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Chile. In Argentina it is second only to water as the beverage of highest consumption. It is becoming ever more popular in other areas including the United States.
The knowledge of yerba mate goes back to the beginning of the Guarani Indians’ culture. When the Spanish conquistadors came to Argentina in 1515, they found this indigenous people using yerba mate for food, drink, and medicine. Yerba mate is nutritious, but for the Guarani people it also played a social role. It was used as part of their cult ritual and as a currency of exchange with other pre-Hispanic cultures including the Incas. To the Guarani people the yerba tree a gift from the Gods. Drinking from its leaves was to them like drinking the jungle itself. They used it as a household remedy for many things.
Apparently, the first people to cultivate yerba mate were the Jesuit missionaries, who by around 1670 already had yerba mate plantations. It became an important item of trade within the Spanish-American Empire during the 17th and 18th centuries. The gauchos made Yerba Mate their constant companion. After a hard day's work on the pampas, they would gather around the campfire and pass the gourd around so that each could share the refreshing beverage. Today it is the way millions in South America and around the world start the day, greet guests, and share good times with family and friends.
Yerba mate is growing in popularity worldwide. Demand is soaring as well as it prices. It is quickly becoming the beverage of choice for better health, energy and well being. Due to its growing popularity yerba mate is also being incorporated into bottled energy drinks, diet pills, and more. The misconceptions concerning yerba mate are growing as fast as its popularity. It has been touted as the miracle cure for weight loss, a cure for cancer and a cause of cancer. This is the best source for the latest, most comprehensive and honest information on yerba mate. You will discover that yerba mate is not a "rare" herb from South America, it is very popular and it has been for a long time. It may not be the "miracle" cure but it is very good for you, and it is very reasonably priced if you know where and how to buy it.
We hope this information that we provided for you will help you to make the most of your yerba mate experience.
Here is a very informative video produced in English by Pajarito in Paraguay.