By Anish Narang
Yerba Mate is a beverage made with water and processed yerba mate leaves, a species of ilex plant with the botanical name ilex paraguariensis. It grows only in northern Argentina, Paraguay and south of Brazil.
The discovery of Yerba dates back to when Europeans traveled the American continent in search of gold and other treasures, what was called “El Dorado”. From their travels, they noticed how the locals drank yerba mate, especially the Guaraní tribe. They tried it and liked the ‘exotic’ taste as well as its stimulating benefits, which led some to take dried and processed leaves (sapecadas) back to their settlements.
The Guarani tribe are the ancient people of the country, who lived in what is today Paraguay, north of Argentina, south of Brazil and parts of Uruguay and Bolivia, believed that the herb was a divine blessing and began the tradition of brewing its leaves for and tea. -like drink, the Yerba Mate drink, ingested because of its many health benefits for the body and mind, elevated to the status of a community practice that brings individuals and society together. The name of the herbal drink comes from the Quechua language “mati,” which means gourd (cup) and refers to the ancient way of drinking Yerba Mate. It was ingested by first chewing the green leaves of ilex paraguariensis, and then they used a real pumpkin and a small straw made of sugar cane.
Alternatively, the name Mate is adopted from the fruit of the summer pumpkin called ‘Calabash’ (scientific name: Lagenaria vulgaris), which was used to prepare and pour the yerba mate infusion. The word Yerba comes from the word “herb”.
In the 17th century and with the arrival of the Jesuits in the area, consumption was first banned and later promoted when they realized that it was beneficial to their health. Intoxicated mostly in rural areas, its consumption in cities increased in the late 19th century and throughout the 20th century.
Taking Yerba Mate:
The way of drinking mate has varied a bit by changing the material in its basic elements and there is a wide range of options for every taste. The most important change was the introduction of the ‘thermo’, an insulated flask (which took the name Thermus). The ‘thermo’, first introduced in Uruguay in the 60s, allowed people to have a buddy on the go, keep the water warm all day and be able to enjoy it in public spaces.
Today, feed is widely consumed in Paraguay, Argentina and Uruguay and in some areas of Brazil. It is also consumed in southern Chile and in the rural areas of the central region of South America. Uruguayans drink the most – 6 to 8 kg of yerba per person per year. Argentines drink an average of 5 kg of yerba per person per year and they are also the first exporter of yerba mate in the world.
Each region has its own preference in terms of the type of yerba, water temperature and different ways of cooking and drinking. In general, people in northern Argentina and Brazil usually use a large spice pumpkin (cup), whereas in Uruguay, south of Argentina and Chile it is more common to drink a small partner pumpkin (cup). Chimarrão (infusion of Yerba Mate) is preferred in Uruguay and southern Brazil, while Paraguayans and northern Argentines prefer Tereré (Cold Yerba Mate).
Various infusions of Yerba Mate drink:
Yerba mate is also the national drink in Argentina, consumed from a traditional pumpkin (cup), and they commonly add herbs or spices to the drink. For example, it is normal to add ginger, cinnamon, orange peel or herbs to the hot water. The yerba is used for a chimarrãois in powder form. While a few stems are included, the yerba is typically very fine. You will notice that this yerba is much greener than other Yerba.Tereré is an infusion of yerba mate and is prepared with cold water and ice instead of with hot water and in a slightly larger container.
Cooking Argentine traditional mate is a simple process that consists of filling a container (pumpkin) with yerba, pouring hot but not boiling, water over the leaves and drinking with a straw, the bombilla acting as a filter to draw only the liquid and not the yerba leaves.
Yerba Mate’s growing popularity:
Yerba Mate is very popular with football stars like Messi, Neymar, Suarez, Griezmann and others as it has powerful antioxidants and energizing effects.
Outside of South America, Syria is the country that imports the most yerba and from Argentina. This is attributed to the migration wave of Syrians – and Lebanese – to Argentina, who returned home and continued the tradition. Yerba is also becoming popular in the United States, Germany, Austria, parts of Europe, the Middle East and Japan and Korea.
Yerba mate is consumed by thousands of people in different countries around the world due to its nutritional properties and variation in consumption patterns. Yerba Mate can be taken as a wellness drink; energy refreshment and a plant-based beverage.
Yerba Mate Spreads in India:
Today, consumers in India are looking for new types of teas and beverages to satisfy their taste buds and health needs. Drinking tea remains highly relevant across consumer groups. It’s something Indians have grown up with, and yet, to keep up with constantly changing consumers, they have to experiment, seek out something new, they reach out to other kinds of teas. In India, Argentine Yerba Mate is widely available in tea bags, traditional way of drinking it in Gourd & Bombilla and Mate coolers for the hot summers.
Health Benefits of Yerba Mate:
Yerba Mate – South American tea is a blend of flavors from the native tea leaves. High in health benefits and antioxidants, it provides energy all day long and gives you the right wake up call. People who love Yerba Mate are the ones who are aware of everything they eat and want to maintain a healthy and wholesome lifestyle. They also prefer high quality flavors and are tough in their approach. Need to lose those extra pounds; Yerba Mate Tea is the right fit.
The Yerba mate infusions have a great antioxidant power due to its high concentration of polyphenols, and it is ranked in a very privileged position among natural elements with the highest antioxidant power.
Helps lower bad cholesterol levels:
The results of a scientific study conducted by a team of researchers confirm that consuming yerba mate helps reduce bad cholesterol (LDL) and triglycerides and improve the plasma lipid profile.
Anti-obesity and anti-diabetic properties: Yerba Mate has therapeutic properties to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes through weight control. Taking Mate reduces final body weight, blood sugar levels and insulin resistance.
Source of vitamins:
Yerba mate contains B-group vitamins. The body needs 13 vitamins, and 8 of them are B-group vitamins, which are essential for the body’s functions such as energy and red blood cell production.
Source of minerals:
Yerba mate contains minerals (aluminum, chromium, copper, iron, manganese, nickel, potassium and zinc among others), an essential mineral that is necessary for the proper functioning of the heart and helps the body incorporate proteins.
Yerba mate’s health properties have been evaluated on the content of nutrients, bioactive compounds and the biological properties, including its potent antioxidant activity and antidiabetic, anti-obesity, hypocholesterolemic, antihypertensive, heart protective, anti-inflammatory, antimutagenic, antibacterial, antifungal. , antiviral and antiparasitic effects. In addition, the positive effect on neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and bone tissue is also pointed out.
How do you prepare your Yerba Mate drink?
Add enough loose herbs to the gourd to fill it just over halfway. Cover the pumpkin with your hand and turn it upside down. You can lose a sprinkle of leaves by doing this, so be careful where you turn. This will help reduce your chances of getting the powdery stuff stuck in your straw. Give it a few inverted mares so that the smaller leaves move in place. This will move any stems to help with filtration. Carefully place the pumpkin in an upright position so that the herbs are stacked high against one side of the cup and you have free space to insert the bombilla on the other.
As with tea, Yerba Mate leaves are sensitive and can be damaged. To prepare the leaves, first pour a little cool water into the pumpkin. A good way to do this is to aim low at the straw – do not pour directly on the crooked pile! The cool water will dampen the leaves, which helps protect them from shock from hot water later. This also “awakens” the Yerba Mate. Pour slowly and let the herb soak up the water. Add just enough to moisten most of the leaves, but keep the top of the pile dry.
Once your leaves are ready, packed, go ahead and add the hot water. Remember that the leaves are sensitive, so avoid boiling water! The correct water temperature for the Yerba Mate lands somewhere between 70 and 85 ° C (158 to 185 ° F). If your water is too hot, bam! Terrible mate. If you do not like the natural taste, you can add some zipper with mint, sage, lemon, licorice root or just sweet with honey or sugar. Once it is gone, you can also continue to fill your pumpkin with hot water from the thermos to brew the leaves several times. When the bubbles stop forming on top of the water, you will know that your leaves have given it their all.
(The author is an entrepreneur with experience in International Business Advisory, focusing on India, USA, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Peru and Chile (Latin America) and other global markets. He has worked with Argentine Yerba Mate companies promoting the product and brands such as Pipore Beverages in the Indian market. Views are personal and do not reflect the official position or policies of Financial Express Online. Reproduction of this content without permission is prohibited).