T Nation

yerba mate


I did a forum search but couldn't find very much on this herb. I've just started to use it in tea form as a replacement for coffee. Hopefully the reduction in caffeine will do my insulin sensitivity some good. It's too early to gauge the results, but in the meantime I have a couple of questions:

  1. Does mate contain any caffeine?

  2. Is there any research on the effects of mate on insulin sensitivity?

  3. Does mate have any lipogenic or appetite supressing properties?

Thanks for any help.


Don- From what I have heard Yerba Mate does have some caffeine. It is also suppose to be a mild mood enhancer. If that is the case then it should have a appetite suppressing effect.

The Argentineans and Uruguayans drink it like mad people.


Sorry, it doesn't contain caffeine but rather mateine that has many of the same properties but has muscle-relaxing properties. Not all familiar with mateine. Anyone else?


DonM, yerba mate is a very nice alternative for those trying to wean themselves off of caffeine. Caffeine is one of xanthines in the larger trimethlxanthine family. The xanthines have a similar chemistry/structure but each has its own unique set of properties and widely varying pharmacological properties.

Others xanthines are theophylline and theobromine, mateine (found in yerba mate), guaraneine (found in guarna). There is only one effect that seems to be shared by all; smooth muscle relaxation.

Mateine, like other xanthines, stimulates the central nervous system, but is not habituating or addicting. Likewise, unlike caffeine, it induces BETTER, not worse, sleep.

It is a mild diuretic, as are many of the xanthines. It relaxes peripheral blood vessels, thereby reducing blood pressure, without the strong effect on the medulla and heart exhibited by some of the other xanthines.

It improves psychomotor performance without the typical xanthine-induced depressant after effects.

While mateine has a chemical constituency similar to caffeine, the molecular binding is different, and it is believed to IMPROVE insulin sensitivity (as does green tea). You will find it in a number of diet/thermogenic/insulin-sensitivity-enhancing formulas. Since mateine seems to enhance insulin sensitivity, I would consider it to be ANTI-lipogenic. I don't know about appetite suppression, though.

After testing, researchers have concluded that even if there were caffeine in mate, the amount would be so tiny that it would take 100 tea bags of mate in a six ounce cup of water to equal the caffeine in a six ounce serving of regular coffee.

Interesting fact I picked up along the way, but caffeine suppresses insulin sensitivity by 15%. That being the case, would anyone like to join me in a cup of yerba mate? (grin)



Can you tell me where you got that port put in the back of your head to download terabytes (terrybytes?) of information into your brain like in the Matrix?

I'd really like to have one too.


Thanks for the responses. Thanks especially to Terry. I should have said lipolytic, not lipogenic - my mistake. So far I'm doing okay without the coffee. I'll report back after a couple of weeks.


Yerba Mate is a beautiful alternative to coffe. I love it. It does not contain caffine. It contains many healthful proporties that does me a world of good. The most potent version I have found is the guayaki brand. I bought a pound of it. It takes a week to get it. I highly, highly recommend this beverage. I order it from www.guayaki.com. They also have a very good definition of its properties. Go there at least for info. Give is a shot, I think you will find it wonderful. It's is also a mild fat burner....CHEERS!


Akheron, mostly I'm good at analyzing and condensing things. I carry SOME of it in my head, but I have a great library (we're talking recovering book-aholic) and find the 'Net to be a great resource for rounding out my other resources.

Hopefully, I'm not really THAT much of a nutritional nerd. (grin)


Yerba mate provides a boost, but not like coffee. I found it to be a direct drop in for coffee as well. No caffiene "hangovers"

I like the Nativa brand, I buy it in the bulk loose leaf and make it in a french press.

I ice it down and drink it.

It's a touch bitter. I do like mixing green tea and mate.


TT nailed it.


Like Ike, yup, I'm actually a carpenter in my "other" life. (wink)


one quick question, is it good for prework out, do you get an energy kick, or is it pretty mild?
ps. TT you're the best


Check out http://www.ma-tea.com/ I order my mate from them. They have the best prices that I have been able to find and the widest variety, they don't try to rape you on shipping either. There's alot of info on Yerba mate too. I like to drink it the traditional way from a gourd, I have tried several brands and they actually have quite distinctively different tastes. Some are very bitter, others are quite smooth. I like Rosamonte and Taragui, Taragui Serranas has peppermint leaves mixed in and is probably my favorite. Yerba Mate hasn't competely replaced coffee for me because I still crave a cup of the dark stuff now and again, but it definitely got me out of the 'pot a day' habit.


Forrester, thanks for posting your source for yerba mate. I've got to check them out. Cool!

Whetu, I tried yerba mate before, a while back. But based on my research, I went out and bought some more this evening. A friend of mine, a BB type, says it give you a heckuva kick, but that it's different from coffee. At this point, I'm ditching my preworkout caffeine pills and java and going to give the YM a run for the money.

I have to do some more checking, but I hope YM mobilizes fatty acids like caffeine does, one of the reasons I always took in some coffee before cardio, the CNS "kick" being the other reason.


Whetu, since you asked, here's the AM YM report. . . (grin)

I brewed some yerba mate (2 cups of hot, not boiling, water poured over 2 heaping teaspoons of YM leaves). From there I poured it over ice, added Splenda to taste and guzzled it down. It was quite tasty, quite the pleasant beverage. And did I get a kick? Heck, yeah! I'm ready for my cardio!!!

Jacked, but no jitters. Really cool.

For those of you trying to optimize insulin sensitivity or for those who are sensitive to caffeine but still need some kind of CNS kick, I'd strongly recommend the YM.


TT, I forgot to mention how YM makes me feel in my last post. It isn't a jittery jacked feeling but it is definitely a strong energized feeling, the cool part is that your muscles are still relaxed and fully under your mental control and your mind is calm, hence no jitters. One day I drank about 8 cups of hot water, steeped in about 1 cup of YM and I felt like I had a mild buzz from it and my energy levels were off the charts, yet still calm and collected. Good stuff! If you find out any more info about the effects of mateine and the chemistry of YM let me know.


Oh yah, and just so you know, Rosamonte has higher levels of caffeine than the other types of mate but I don't know how much more. All other Mate's contain very low trace amounts of caffeine and I am sure that Rosamonte has low levels as well but did test a little higher, can't find the actual results though.


Forrester, thanks for the input!!! My experiences have been about the same as yours. In fact, I just made a couple of cups in anticipation of my PM workout, and I'm feeling no pain. (grin)

It was DonM's question that prompted my research, but after posting my reply, I went right out and stocked up on YM.

Based on what I learned from my research and since increasing/enhancing/improving insulin sensitivity is, coffee-type caffeine just got retired from my diet.


Cool! Sounds good for sittng though hours of boring ass programming, oh and that weight training/ cardio thing im sposed to be doing.
now to see if i can find a local supplier.......


Hey TT, which brand do you buy? I just placed an order at ma-tea for 1.1 lbs of Taragui Sarranas, Taragui Citrus, and Manzana Union con palos, and a new hand crafted gourd. I haven't tried the citrus or the con palos yet, I am slowly working my way through all the diffrerent kinds at ma-tea, pretty interesting.