Principal Proposed Uses
Maté is an evergreen tree native to Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay. The leaves and small stems of the tree are used to make a tea-like caffeinated beverage. Maté has traditionally been used to enhance alertness and mental function, and also to treat digestive problems.
What is Maté Used for Today?
Maté is widely advertised as a healthful beverage, said to provide all the presumed benefits of green tea, such as preventing cancer and heart disease. However, the basis for this claim is largely theoretical. Maté does contain antioxidant polyphenols similar to those in tea, but this by itself does not demonstrate that mate is health-promoting; numerous substances with strong antioxidant properties have failed to prove beneficial in double-blind , placebo-controlled studies. Even green tea itself has not yet been proven to offer any health benefits.
Although some maté proponents attempted for many years to maintain that maté does not contain caffeine (supposedly it contained a chemical called “mateine,” which, in fact, does not exist), maté does in fact contain caffeine. Depending on how it is brewed, maté tea contains somewhat more caffeine than black tea and slightly less caffeine than coffee. Based on this caffeine content, maté would be expected to enhance mental function and improve sports performance .
A typical dose of maté is 3–10 grams dried herb per cup. Concentrated extracts are also available. These should be taken according to label instructions.
Maximum safe doses have not been established in pregnant or nursing women, young children, or people with severe liver or kidney disease.
Interactions You Should Know About
If you are taking:
- MAO inhibitors : The caffeine in maté could cause dangerous drug interactions.
- Stimulant drugs such as Ritalin: The stimulant effects of maté might be amplified.
- Drugs to prevent heart arrhythmias or treat insomnia , heartburn , ulcers , or anxiety : The caffeine in maté might interfere with their action.
- Reviewer: EBSCO CAM Review Board
- Review Date: 08/2013 -
- Update Date: 08/22/2013 -