Report on Yerba Mate Side Effects and Usage

Yerba Mate

Natural health supplements sometimes have unexpected side effects or interactions with medication that can lead to adverse reactions that are sometimes life threatening. The following is a list of cautions that you should be aware of before using Yerba Mate (Ilex paraguariensis). These are referred to as drug/herb interactions.

Warning 1 – Central Nervous System Depressants: Yerba mate may produce antognistic effect. Experts recommend avoiding concurrent use.

Warning 2 – Central Nervous System Stimulants: This herb may increase the effects of CNS stimulants. Experts recommend avoiding concurrent use.

Warning 3 – Diuretics:The use of yerba mate may increase the effects of diuretics. Experts recommend avoiding concurrent use.

Warning 4 – Blood Pressure: A cup of yerba mate contains about the same amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee. Although it also contains vitamins and other compounds that are said to negate the effects of caffeine such as the jitters, headaches and upset stomachs, caution is advised to people with high blood pressure to consult with their doctor before using this herbal drink.

Warning 5 – Liver Problems: Drinking excessively high amounts of yerba mate has been documented cause liver problems. This has not been seen in those who use this herbal drink in moderation.

Yerba mate is pronounced “Yerba Mat-ay” and is a healthy herbal drink. Used as a natural health remedy: yerba mate is used internally for the following benefits and conditions:

  • Aid digestion
  • Allergy relief
  • Anti-depressant
  • Anti-inflammatory (inhibits the enzyme lipoxygenase, which is associated with inflammation)
  • Antioxidant
  • Body tonic; Energy levels increase, feel more vitalized
  • Boosts immune system (contain saponins)
  • Brain booster for concentration, memory, mental clarity and focus
  • Delays buildup of lactic acid, which increases endurance
  • Diet aid (yerba mate drinkers feel fuller for longer after eating)
  • Headache relief
  • Helps the body to burn more calories
  • Improve mood
  • Improves heart efficiency (contains theophylline which is used medically to stimulate the heart muscle)
  • Increases the rate at which fat is burned
  • Prevent mental fatigue
  • Prolong the effects of thermogenesis (i.e., fat burning)
  • Reduce anxiety
  • Reduce withdrawal symptom as from smoking cessation
  • Relieve fatigue
  • Rheumatic pain-reliever
  • Supports endurance by maintaining energy production with oxygen for longer periods of time
  • Weight loss remedy

Anecdotally, many regular mate drinkers report that they do not suffer negative side-effects from caffeine when drinking yerba mate. In particular, users report that drinking it in the evening keeps them alert if want to stay up working, but does not prevent them sleeping when they want to. Please let us know your experience with this.

Side Effects of Yerba Mate

The known side effects of using yerba mate include:

  1. excessive stimulation
  2. may elevate blood pressure in some people

Because of the caffeine content drinking too much yerba mate can lead to symptoms similar to the overuse of caffeine. Other side effects may also occur when using yerba mate. (See form below)

Side Effects in Children
Because children are still growing, their bodies are more sensitive to ingredients such as caffeine, which has the potential to cause a nervous reaction, as well as an upset stomach. Also be aware that some forms of this drink may include alcohol or sugar, so always check the label before giving it to children.

In general, yerba mate is a safe herbal remedy, and has a long history of use. As long as common sense is used, the potential for any side effects will be minimal.

Yerba mate is also known as caminú, erva mate, erveira, Jesuit’s tea, kali chaye, maté, matéteestrauch, Paraguay cayi, Paraguay tea, South American holly, St. Bartholomew’s tea, and Yerba maté.

As with any herb, a serious allergic reaction is possible. Seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction. These may include a rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, or trouble breathing.

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For questions and answers about the side effects of herbs see the Herb Forum

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