encyclopedia

Mate

Scientific Names:
Ilex paraguariensis A. St. Hil[Fam. Aquifoliaceae]

Forms:
Powdered or dried leaves of the matι.

Traditional Usage:
– Appetite Suppressant

– Bladder Health Maintenance

– Digestive Disorders

– Diuretic

– Edema

– Fatigue

– Gastrointestinal Disorders

– Irregular Heart Beat

– Mild Pain Relief

– Urinary System Gravel

– Urinary Tract Infection

– Water Retention

Overview:
Matι, Ilex paraguariensis L. [Fam. Aquifoliaceae], also known as yerba matι, kali chaye, and Paraguay tea, is a small evergreen tree or bush native to Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay. In most parts of South America, matι is the national drink, and as a daily stimulant, it is even more popular than tea or coffee. Matι tea, which is made from the dried, crushed or powered leaves, acts on the central nervous system as a stimulant, diuretic and mild pain reliever. These medicinal properties can most definitely be attributed to the high caffeine content in the drug. Like other drugs that contain caffeine, Matι is used for fatigue, water retention, gastrointestinal complaints, urinary tract infections, urinary system gravel, and to treat irregular heart rate and palpitations. Studies are being conducted to see if Matι can be used as an effective treatment for obesity. Matι is not recommended for prolonged or habitual use. Several studies have documented a correlation between habitual use of matι and various forms of cancer. Esophageal cancer has constituted a major public health problem in Uruguay and as such, a case-control study was undertaken to ascertain the possible association of the local custom of drinking infusions of matι with cancer of the esophagus. After controlling for well-known risk factors, such as alcohol and tobacco consumption, it was found that matι consumption did have an independent effect in both males and females for causing cancer, with odds ratios of 6.5 and 34.6, respectively, for heavy users. In the period January 1988-December 1995, a case-control study of diet and renal cell carcinoma risk involving 121 cases and 243 hospitalized controls was carried out in Montevideo, Uruguay. After adjusting for major covariates, the consumption of the beverage known as ‘mate’ was associated with an increased risk of 3.0 for heavy drinkers.

Active Ingredients:
Matι contains: Xanthene alkaloids (1-2% caffeine, 0.45-0.9% theobromine, 0.05% theophylline); tannin-like substances (4-16% caffeic and chlorogenic acids); the amines choline and trigonelline; amino acids; the flavonoids kaempferol, quercetin, and rutin; ursolic acid; vitamins B2, B6, C, niacin, and pantothenic acid, and volatile oil.

Suggested Amount:
The recommended daily dose is 3 grams of the cut herb. To make the tea pour hot water over 1 teaspoon (2 grams) of matι, steep 5-10 minutes, then strain. The infusion will be less bitter if steeped for a short time. Fluidextract 1:1 (g/ml); 2ml once or twice daily. Tincture 1:5 (g/ml) 10 ml once or twice daily. Native dry extract 4.5-5.5:1 (w/w): 0.36-0.44 once or twice daily.

Drug Interactions:
None known.

Contraindications:
Avoid if you are pregnant or lactating or if you have are sensitive to caffeine.

Side Effects:
If taken in high doses may cause restlessness, irritability, insomnia, palpitations, dizziness, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and headache because of the high caffeine content in the drug. Studies are being conducted to see if there is a correlation between habitual use of matι and various forms of cancer. Esophageal cancer has constituted a major public health problem in Uruguay and as such, a case-control study was undertaken to ascertain the possible association of the local custom of drinking infusions of Ilex paraguariensis (“mate”) with cancer of the esophagus, after controlling for well-known risk factors, such as alcohol and tobacco consumption. Mate consumption had an independent effect in both males and females, with odds ratios of 6.5 and 34.6, respectively, for heavy users.

References:

Blumenthal M, Goldberg A, Brinckmann J 2000. Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commission E Monographs. Copyright American Botanical Council. Publ. by Integrative Medicine Communications, 1029 Chestnut Street, Newton, MA 02464. Pp. 249-252

De Stefani E, Fierro L, Mendilaharsu M, Ronco A, Larrinaga MT, Balbi JC, Alonso S, Deneo-Pellegrini H. 1998. Meat intake, ‘mate’ drinking and renal cell cancer in Uruguay: a case-control study. Br J Cancer 1998 Nov; 78(9): 1239-43.

Duke JA. 1985. Matι. In Handbook of Medicinal Herbs. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, Pp. 245-246.

Vassallo A, Correa P, De Stefani E, Cendan M, Zavala D, Chen V, Carzoglio J, Deneo-Pellegrini H. 1985. Esophageal cancer in Uruguay: a case-control study. J Natl Cancer Inst 1985 Dec; 75(6): 1005-9.

Wichtl M and NG Bisset (eds). 1994. Matι. In Herbal Drugs and Phyto-pharmaceuticals. (English translation by Norman Grainger Bisset). CRC Press, Stuttgart, Pp. 319-321