The drinking of Maté tea in South America is just as widespread as coffee or tea is in the Western world. Maté was traditionally used by the Guarani, a tribal people native to an area that spreads over Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and parts of southern Brazil. They say the plant was originally a gift, given to an old man by the Goddesses of the Moon and the Clouds, who he had just saved from a hungry jaguar. They gave him the plant so that he may prepare the “drink of friendship”, Maté.
Maté is used to strengthen the immune system, to purify the body and blood, to calm the nervous system, stimulate the mind, control the appetite and reduce stress. Some studies suggest that it is richer source of antioxidants than green tea.
The plant, Ilex paraguarensis, from which Maté is made, also contains a wide range of vitamins and minerals and is very popular with young and old for its stimulating effect throughout South America.
To prepare the maté tea, the dried minced leaves of the Yerba Maté should be placed in a gourd and repeatedly covered with hot, but not boiling, water (roughly 70C). Each time the gourd is emptied the water is repoured, until the final drop of goodness is extracted.
Traditional Use: Tea (5-6 Tablespoons)