Sunday, 22 March 2009

Yerba Mate - Be Wary of This 'Cleaner' Buzz

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yerba mate gourdI first saw yerba mate tea in 2005 when my South American friends from The University of Florida's married/student graduate housing sipped the tea from tiny straws (bombillas) out of a gourd at poolside. I'd wonder what in the heck they were drinking, it looked more like an exotic drink from a smooth coconut than a favorite tea concoction popular in their native Brazil.

Available in tea bags, loose leaf and even cold, bottled blends, yerba mate tea is becoming more mainstream, touted for its all-natural, jitter-free buzz and high antioxidant content. Yerba mate may be sold as an all-natural stimulant alternative to famed Red Bull, but that doesn't mean it's necessarily any healthier. Researchers caution yerba mate may better be enjoyed in moderation than by the multiple daily gourd-full. Studies are inconclusive as to the health benefits of this tea, which contains twice the caffeine as black tea, but only half that of coffee. In fact, one human study even showed heavy yerba mate tea drinkers had a significantly higher risk of some cancers.

Cleaner buzz? I tried a yerba mate energy drink last year that delivered The Super Jitters, but I'm caffeine-sensitive.

Anyone out there tried yerba mate? Tell us what you think.

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