Neurologist

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Yerba Mate Benefits – Yerba Mate and Weight Loss

What Is Yerba Mate?

Yerba mate (Ilex paraguayenis) is a tree native to the rainforests of South America. A member of the holly family, the tree produces leaves and stems that have long been used to make tea in Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina. Consumed as a beverage, yerba mate tea (often simply called “yerba mate”) is also used in traditional medicine to treat various health problems.

Uses for Yerba Mate

Yerba mate proponents claim that the tea can help with these health concerns:

  • weight loss
  • pain
  • headaches
  • fatigue
  • bad breath

    Benefits of Yerba Mate

    To date, research on yerba mate’s health effects is very limited. Existing studies suggest that the tea and/or yerba mate extract may be useful for the following:

    1) Weight Loss

    In a 2001 study of 47 healthy overweight adults, researchers found that taking a mixed herbal preparation (containing yerba mate, guarana, and damiana) three times daily for 45 days induced significant weight loss. The herbal blend also helped participants feel full more quickly while eating.

    A more recent study on mice (published in 2009) found that yerba mate may modulate the expression of several obesity-related genes and, in turn, produce a potent anti-obesity effect.

    2) Cardiovascular Problems

    Yerba mate extract may help attenuate heart-muscle dysfunction resulting from ischemia (a condition that occurs when blockage in a coronary artery reduces blood flow to the heart), according to a 2005 study on rats.

    3) DNA Repair

    A study published in 2008 found that yerba mate helped neutralize free radicals and protect mice from DNA damage, a hallmark of cancer and other diseases.

    Yerba Mate and Cancer

    A number of studies have linked chronic consumption of yerba mate with increased risk of bladder, esophageal, lung, and head and neck cancers. Although researchers have yet to determine how or why yerba mate might raise cancer risk, there’s evidence that steeping the tea at high temperatures may promote the absorption of certain carcinogenic compounds found in the plant.

    Safety Concerns for Yerba Mate

    In some cases, consumption of yerba mate may trigger adverse effects such as anxiety, insomnia, nausea, and headache.

    Due to yerba mate’s caffeine content, people with high blood pressure, heart disease, and anxiety should avoid the tea or extract. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should also avoid yerba mate.

    Sources:

    Andersen T, Fogh J. “Weight loss and delayed gastric emptying following a South American herbal preparation in overweight patients.” J Hum Nutr Diet. 2001 14(3):243-50.

    Arçari DP, Bartchewsky W, Dos Santos TW, Oliveira KA, Funck A, Pedrazzoli J, de Souza MF, Saad MJ, Bastos DH, Gambero A, Carvalho PD, Ribeiro ML. “Antiobesity Effects of yerba maté Extract (Ilex paraguariensis) in High-fat Diet-induced Obese Mice.” Obesity 2009 May 14.

    De Stefani E, Correa P, Fierro L, Fontham E, Chen V, Zavala D. “Black tobacco, maté, and bladder cancer. A case-control study from Uruguay.” Cancer. 1991 15;67(2):536-40.

    De Stefani E, Fierro L, Correa P, Fontham E, Ronco A, Larrinaga M, Balbi J, Mendilaharsu M. “Mate drinking and risk of lung cancer in males: a case-control study from Uruguay.” Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 1996 (7):515-9.

    Goldenberg D, Lee J, Koch WM, Kim MM, Trink B, Sidransky D, Moon CS. “Habitual risk factors for head and neck cancer.” Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2004 131(6):986-93.

    Miranda DD, Arçari DP, Pedrazzoli J Jr, Carvalho Pde O, Cerutti SM, Bastos DH, Ribeiro ML. “Protective effects of mate tea (Ilex paraguariensis) on H2O2-induced DNA damage and DNA repair in mice.” Mutagenesis. 2008 23(4):261-5.

    Pintos J, Franco EL, Oliveira BV, Kowalski LP, Curado MP, Dewar R. “Maté, coffee, and tea consumption and risk of cancers of the upper aerodigestive tract in southern Brazil.” Epidemiology. 1994 5(6):583-90.

    Schinella G, Fantinelli JC, Mosca SM. “Cardioprotective effects of Ilex paraguariensis extract: evidence for a nitric oxide-dependent mechanism.” Clin Nutr. 2005 24(3):360-6.

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    November 26, 2009 - Posted by | 1

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