Yerba Mate

Yerba Mate-Ilex Paraguariensis is an evergreen tree, and member of the Ilex holly family which grows widely on the hillsides of Latin America up to 50 feet or 16m in Ht.220px-Yerba_Mate  When processed it makes the tea beverage Mate. The branches are cut up and dried over an open fire, imparting a smoky flavour, it is threshed to remove twigs then aged which improves the flavour.

It contains about 1% caffeine by wt. And is socially drunk from a gourd through a metal straw passed around a group. Nowadays the vessel maybe made of ceramic, plastic or silicon even.

Apart from the caffeine and some theobromine, it contains the polyphenols flavanoids , quercetin and rutin. It has stimulating and fat burning effects and may help in lowering blood sugar. It also reduces the sense of hunger.

ilexp (2)You can grow  Yerba Mate from seed and make your own tea, the seeds need a few weeks stratification period ie regular dips in temperature for proper germination.  Scratching some of the hard seed coat is recommended, soak in water overnight then into a 50/50 perlite/loam mix. Germination is slow keep out of direct sunlight and frost until well established 2-3 foot. A bit like Camellia sinensis (regular tea).

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