Yerba mate is one of the most popular forms of tea in South America. It is low in caffeine. Despite being low in caffeine, you should know how many cups of yerba mate tea should you drink per day.

Before moving on to the amount of consumption, it is better to get familiar with yerba mate first.


What is Yerba Mate?

Yerba mate is not as popular as other beverages like tea and coffee all over the world. It is considered to be the mixture of tea, coffee, and chocolate, as it provides the strength of coffee, delight as that of chocolate and health benefits like that of tea.

Indigenous South Americans termed it as ‘the drinks of the gods’, while European settlers called it ‘the green gold of the Indigos.’

According to Wikipedia, Yerba mate is the traditional drink served in the central and southern regions of South America especially in Paraguay, Argentina, Uruguay and central and southwestern Brazil, Bolivia and southern Chile. The Druze community of Syria and Lebanon also use Yerba mate

Yerba mate contains mateine, which is made by infusing the dry yerba leaves. It is a traditional drink in South American countries and prepared from the leaves of Ilex Paraguariensis.

Yerba mate mostly occurs in the wild but is grown in plantations with other forms of tea. It has cultural significance in countries like that of coffee and tea in Japan, so it is connected to the social events.

Often Yerba is served in hollow calabash gourd with a metallic drinking straw known as Bombilla and is often shared among friends. 

People usually consider that sharing the Yerba mate among each other is a sign of friendship and bond. It is the traditional drink of Argentina, where it is consumed in about 92% of the households, as shown by a survey.


How Much Yerba Mate Should You Drink Per Day?

According to Examine, studies usually suggest that a healthy person should drink 3 cups of 330mL of each, yerba mate per day, continued for 60 days. It further indicates that even if you drink 1.5 liters of yerba mate, it is considered to be safe. Even the high doses of yerba mate do not pose much danger.

You should drink yerba mate based on your health conditions. Different health conditions have different effects. According to Circle of Drink, there are people in South America who drink more than 12-16, about 8oz cups of yerba mate daily, while some limit it to just 2-3 cups per day.

Yerba mate tea is considered to be one of the most healthy drinks, but it is not much healthier compared to plant-based beverages such as coffee. The nutrient composition of Yerba mate is very much ‘unique.’

A daily supplemental dosage of isolated yerba consists about 1000-1500mg of yerba mate leaves in the powdered form. It is also rich in xanthines as caffeine, flavonoids like Quercetin, Saponins like ursolic acid and compounds of cinnamic acid.


Yerba Mate for Appetite Suppression

Yerba mate tea is also known for its ability to reduce appetite and lead to weight loss.

Compared to that of green tea catechins, yerba mate isn’t much benefit. However, it has been found that yerba mate is efficient to counter the health issues related to obesity.

Although, there is some evidence which suggests that to achieve the appetite suppression, yerba mate should be continued in high doses. As yerba mate contains caffeine, it can result in weight loss.

However, higher consumption of yerba mate for longer time includes some dangers which should be appropriately taken care of to avoid these dangers.

As Mayo clinic suggests, people who drink yerba mate occasionally do not suffer from diseases, but if you drink it regularly for a more extended period, you may be at the risk of developing the risks of diseases like cancer of mouth, esophagus or lungs.

A combination of smoking and drinking yerba mate can prove to be carcinogenic. It is so because of yerba mate is rich in PAH (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) which are usually carcinogenic. Apart from yerba mate, PAHs is also present in tobacco smoke and grilled meat. However, further researches need to be conducted to determine these side effects of yerba mate.

People dealing with sleep-related issues, should also stop the high doses of yerba mate and restrict the consumption of it after 6 pm, as it can cause further problems.

You should always be aware of your yerba mate consumption, as an excess of it can be dangerous. Drink it in moderation to get the benefits. Nevertheless, it is highly recommended to consult with a doctor before starting the consumption of yerba mate.

Research studies About the Consumption of Yerba Mate

Yerba Mate & Pregnancy

As per the reports of American pregnancy association, if you drink yerba mate in moderation, it won’t pose any negative impact on your pregnancy. It reported the moderate intake to be 150-300mg.

However, the study by American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology suggests that more than 200 mg of caffeine can lead to the risk of miscarriage. So, it is better if you limit your consumption of caffeine less than 200 mg.

One cup of yerba mate contains about 85 mg of caffeine. If we consider that, then pregnant women can drink 1-2 cups of yerba mate per day, as suggested by American Pregnancy Association.



One of the studies conducted in Southern Brazil in 2005 taking 5000 pregnant women showed that 70% of them drank yerba mate. The results showed that drinking yerba mate posed no danger to their pregnancy. 


Another study published in 2008 in BMJ showed the effect of caffeine on fetal growth. The research reported that fetal growth is often constricted if you consume more than 100mg of caffeine per day.

During the study, women who drank 200mg of caffeine daily, their birth weight reduced by 60-70gm. Hence, the results of the study concluded that you should not drink more than one cup of yerba mate in pregnancy.

Even if the two to three cups of yerba mate doesn’t pose much danger, it is recommended to limit the intake of birth weight, and caffeine intake is linked to each other.

Overall, It is better to restrict your caffeine consumption as much as you can. It is better to consult with your doctor about consuming yerba mate to stay on the healthy side.


Yerba Mate & Cancer

Studies were conducted to show if yerba mate causes cancer or not. However, till now no specific proof has been made regarding the contribution of yerba mate towards causing cancer. Although if you drink too much of hot liquids, you may be at the risk of developing oesophageal cancer. So, doctors recommend avoiding yerba mate at high temperature.

Even the taste of yerba mate is a bit enhanced if drank at average temperatures. The bitterness of yerba mate is also reduced if you drink it at moderate temperatures and is also considered to be healthy.


Health Benefits of Yerba Mate

Yerba mate has numerous health benefits. Some of them are as follows:

1) Yerba mate is known to improve the immune system, as it contains saponins. Saponins have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory characteristics which are known for enhancing the immune system. It is also rich in polyphenols, the antioxidants.

2) It is also efficient as it keeps the heart healthy. It has been found useful to cure heart-related conditions such as heart failure, irregular heartbeat, and even low blood pressure.

3) Yerba mate is also known for its benefit of boosting up energy in a gentle, clean and calm manner. Compared to the other beverages, yerba mate offers the most energy boost. It is also useful to treat chronic fatigue syndrome.

4) As yerba mate contains caffeine, it has been found effective in treating and improving all the brain related functions.

5) Yerba mate is rich in anti-cancerous compounds such as saponins, ursolic acid, rutin, tannin, chlorogenic acid and chlorophyll and hence it is said that it is effective in treating cancer. The extracts of yerba mate are also found to be effective in killing the cancerous cells.

6) As mentioned earlier Yerba mate helps in reducing appetite and burning fat, hence resulting in weight loss.

7) It also contributes towards making the bones healthy.

8) Yerba mate also cures constipation, ingestion, and diarrhea.  

9) It is used in some traditional medicines.

10) Yerba mate contains all the necessary vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It is also the storehouse of various all the micronutrients required by the body. Yerba mate contains iron, Vitamin A, B complex, C, E, manganese, potassium, selenium, sulfur and phosphorous.


Side Effects of Yerba Mate

People in South America drink a lot of yerba mate. In case of excess caffeine intake, you may suffer from symptoms of anxiety, nervousness, insomnia and heart palpitation. The excess of yerba mate can also have its laxative effect.

Although Yerba mate contains very less caffeine compared to tea and coffee, it is also restricted to breastfeeding and pregnant women. People suffering from anxiety issues are also restricted from drinking yerba mate.

As mentioned earlier, people who drink alcohol and smoke should stop the intake of yerba mate as it may increase the risk of cancer.

A study conducted in Argentina found that people who drink too much of yerba mate are at the risk of bladder cancer. Similar was the condition for people who smoked.

If you are on certain medications, you should avoid it, like the medicines used to cure depression, asthma, cancer, heart disease, diabetes or any other medicine which works by triggering off the nervous system.

Most of the cases have shown that the negative impact isn’t due to yerba mate, but due to excess consumption of caffeine. Apart from the excess intake, caffeine also interferes with your medications which pose health dangers. If you don’t suffer any health issues by drinking other caffeinated drinks, you may have no problem with yerba mate either.

Nevertheless, it is recommended to consult your doctor before starting the consumption of yerba mate.


Final Thoughts

Though Yerba mate isn’t much famous around the world, gradually it will become popular. Although the taste of yerba mate isn’t much pleasing, it is very beneficial for health.

Yerba mate has different effects on different people, while some people consume it in excess who are familiar with it, while other people who aren’t, drink it in small amounts. Although it is recommended to drink it in moderation.

Therefore, depending on your health conditions, you should know how many cups of yerba mate should you drink per day.

If you are looking for a proper alternative to coffee, yerba mate may be the best suitable answer.


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