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on MATE, a stimulant tea that I enjoy

I discovered mate when I was travelling in Chile in 1992-3. The Andean people drink the stuff all day long, using a bombilla and a gourd. A bombilla is a metal straw with a mini tea ball on the end. You put the mate leaves in your gourd, dump in a spoonful of sugar and top it with hot water, and drink through the bombilla. The Chilean men drink it while working, and keep adding more water and more sugar.

I liked it because it was obviously a stimulant, but it didn't give me the jitters. Here in the US you can buy it in tea bags, so you don't have to carry a gourd and bombilla around. I like the Guayaki brand, from Ecuador. I use one tea bag plus a BIG dollop of honey to make one large thermos of the stuff, usually one each day. It really does suppress my apetite. If I need to stop taking in so many calories, drinking mate helps.

Mateine is the stimulant found in mate. It is a trimethyl xanthine, same as caffeine. Both relax smooth muscles, which is the kind of muscle tissue that lines tubes in the body, such as the intestine. This is why coffee makes you want to take a dump. I personally do not experience the same sudden need to shit from mate that I do from coffee, nor does it seem to be as extreme of a diuretic.

A friend asked if there is guarana in mate. The answer is no. They are two separate plants that both contain xanthines, and are often combined in teas and supplements.

Here's a link for the best article I've found about mate today:

http://www.a1b2c3.com/drugs/yer_02.htm

Here's what Dan had to say about it:

“The Yerba Mate stimulant is basically a form of a xanthine. Theophylline, theobromine and caffeine are all examples of xanthines. Caffeine, of course, is the most used and most common of the xanthines. It is easily accessible in any part of the world because of the benefits it can bestow upon its user.

* It is used in popular medicine and employed in commercial herbal preparations as a stimulant to the central nervous system. (Gosmann)
* It is especially convenient that the caffeine in Yerba Mate is bound in a manner that makes it far less addictive than any other form we know about.

There is some who claim that this unique presentation of caffeine in the yerba mate deserves another name; many call this Mateine. They claim, "Mateine appears to possess the best combination of xanthine properties possible. For example, like other xanthines, it stimulates the central nervous system, but unlike most, it is not habituating or addicting. Likewise, unlike caffeine, it induces better, not worse, attributes of sleep. It is a mild, not a strong, diuretic, as are many xanthines. It relaxes peripheral blood vessels, thereby reducing blood pressure, without the strong pressure effect on the medulla and heart exhibited by some xanthines. We also know that it improves psychomotor performance without the typical xanthine-induced depressant after effects." (from Yerba Mate: Unequaled Natural Nutrition by Dr. Daniel B. Mowrey, Ph.D.)”

“Eur J Nutr. 2003 Jan;42(1):50-4.
Researching on new species of "Mate": Ilex brevicuspis: phytochemical and pharmacology study.
Filip R, Ferraro GE.

Chair of Pharmacognosy, IQUIMEFA, (Institute of Drug Chemistry and Metabolism), UBA-CONICET-National Research Council, Faculty of Pharmacy and Biochemistry, University of Buenos Aires, Junin 956-1113, Argentina. rfilip@ffyb.uba.ar

BACKGROUND: Ilex paraguariensis St. Hilaire (Aquifoliaceae) ("Mate" or "Yerba mate") is one of the most commercialized plants of South America which grows naturally in NE Argentina, Uruguay, SE Brazil and E Paraguay, where it is also cultivated. It is used to prepare a tea-like beverage (infusions or decoctions) appreciated for its peculiar flavor, stimulation and nutritional properties. Ilex brevicuspis Reisseck grows in the same habitat and is widely used as a substitute or adulterant of Ilex paraguariensis. In a previous work, methylxanthines (caffeine, theobromine and theophylline) were not detected in it by HPLC. AIM OF THE STUDY: This study was undertaken in order to isolate, identify and quantify the polyphenolic compounds (caffeoyl derivatives and flavonoids) and to investigate some of the pharmacological activities of I. brevicuspis, related with the traditional use of the "Mate" (choleretic, intestinal propulsion and antioxidant activities). Acute toxicity was also investigated. METHODS: Decoctions, like extracts, were prepared in order to compare the results with preparations commonly used by the local people. For the phytochemical analysis, the extracts were analyzed by HPLC with a diode array detector. Choleretic and intestinal propulsion activities were assayed in rats. Sodium dehydrocholate (DHC) was used as a choleretic reference standard. Antioxidant activity was tested in liposomes that were oxidized by the free radical generator 2,2'-azobis [amidinopropane] chloride (AAPH). RESULTS: For the first time in I. brevicuspis the following compounds were isolated and quantified: A) caffeoyl derivative compounds (chlorogenic acid; caffeic acid; 3,4-dicaffeoylquinic acid; 3,5-dicaffeoylquinic acid and 4,5-dicaffeoylquinic acid. B) flavonoids (rutin, quercetin and kaempferol). Biological activity assays demonstrated that I. brevicuspis extracts produced a significant increase of bile flow (BF) in rats in the first 30 min period and in the percentage of BF increase accumulated at 120 min. It also produced an increase in the intestinal propulsion activity. Moreover, this species showed a high antioxidant activity. The acute toxicity test showed that Ilex brevicuspis did not produce any sign of toxicity at the analyzed doses. CONCLUSIONS: An Argentinean Ilex specie ( I. brevicuspis) has choleretic, intestinal propulsion, antioxidant activities and these results may lead to the potential development of a new "Yerba Mate" and/or phytopharmaceutical products, without central nervous system (CNS) stimulant activity.

PMID: 12594541 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]”

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
aughraseye
Feb. 17th, 2006 08:52 pm (UTC)
I've been drinking a bit of mate every day. The taste is even growing on me, and I love the way that it's not as harsh as coffee. It really is hilarious that coffee makes you need to shit. I've always assumed that it was because it speeds your metabolism!
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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