A comprehensive review of the chemistry, health implications, and technological considerations

Yerba Mate Herb (Ilex paraguariensis)

a comprehensive review of the chemistry, health implications, and technological considerations

The content on the website comes from   the International Journal of Food Science  and has been translated into Polish.

Link to source –  https://ift.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1750-3841.2007.00535.x?vis=107973391.14074560005139_


SUMMARY:  Yerba Mate tea, an infusion of the leaves of the  Ilex paraguariensis tree  , is a widely consumed non-alcoholic drink in South America that is quickly gaining popularity on the global market, both as tea itself and as an ingredient in ready-made food products or dietary supplements. Native people have used it for centuries as a social and medicinal drink. Yerba Mate has been shown to have hypocholesterolemic, hepatoprotective, central nervous system stimulating, diuretic and cardiovascular benefits. It has also been suggested in the treatment of obesity. Yerba Mate protects DNA against oxidation and  in vitro peroxidation of low-density lipoproteins and has a high antioxidant capacity. Yerba Mate tea has also been reported to be associated with both the prevention and cause of certain types of cancer. Yerba Mate has gained public interest outside South America, namely in the United States and Europe, and research on this tea is expanding. This review covers the uses, chemistry, biological activity, health effects, and some technological considerations for the processing of Yerba Mate tea. Moreover, it briefly and comprehensively assesses the potential of  Ilex paraguariensis  as a source of biological compounds for the nutraceutical industry.


Yerba Mate (Mate) tea, a herbal tea drink widely consumed in southern Latin American countries (southern Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay), is rapidly gaining global markets, including the United States. It is obtained from an infusion of dried leaves  of Ilex paraguariensis  , a plant from the Aquifoliaceae family (  Small and Catling 2001  ;  Grigioni et al. 2004 ). In Latin America, Mate is often drunk from a dried gourd using a metal straw called a “bombilla”. Put dry leaves (about 50 g) into the gourd and pour hot water over them; this is then repeated many times, with an amount ranging from half to 1 liter of water. However, in the United States, Mate is commercially packaged in individual tea bags (1 to 2 g) or as Mate tea concentrate for use as an ingredient in the food or dietary supplement industry. Given the importance of the growing consumption of Mate tea and products containing Mate tea, the purpose of this review is to collect and comprehensively analyze the current scientific information on Yerba Mate, including its composition, physiological effects, and potential health effects. Additionally, this review aims to further stimulate the uses of Yerba Mate as a nutraceutical ingredient.

Mate tea has received much publicity recently for its health benefits, but there have also been concerns about its safety. On the one hand, scientific literature states that Mate tea is hypocholesterolemic, hepatoprotective (  Filip and Ferraro 2003  ), stimulant of the central nervous system, diuretic (  González et al. 1993  ) and antioxidant (  Filip et al. 2000  ;  VanderJagt et al. 2002  ). It also has a beneficial effect on the cardiovascular system (  Schinella et al. 2005  ), protects DNA oxidation and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) lipoperoxidation  in vitro (  Bracesco et al. 2003) ). Some studies also suggest its potential in the treatment of obesity (  Andersen and Fogh 2001  ;  Pittler and Ernst 2004  ;  Opala et al. 2006  ). Many active phytochemicals have been identified in Mate tea that may be responsible for its health benefits. Among them, the top 2 compounds are polyphenols (chlorogenic acid) and xanthines (caffeine and theobromine), then purine alkaloids (caffeic acid, 3,4-dicaffeoylquinic acid, 3,5-dicaffeoylquinic acid), flavonoids (quercetin, kaempferol and rutin), amino acids, minerals (P, Fe and Ca) and vitamins (C, B1 and B2) (  Pomilio et al. 2002  ;  Zaporozhets et al. 2004 ). Mate tea has been shown to not only contain high concentrations of bioactive compounds, but also has cytotoxic effects on human hepatoma cells (HepG2) and may act as a catalytic topoisomerase II inhibitor (  Ramirez-Mares et al. 2004  ). .

On the other hand, some epidemiological studies have found an association between Mate tea consumption and an increased risk of various types of cancer, including cancers of the oral cavity, oropharynx, esophagus, larynx, and bladder (Goldenberg et al. 2003  ;  Sewram  et al. 2003  ;  Bates et al. 2007  ).

Ethnobotany and botanical description

Ilex paraguariensis  , from the sacred plant family, Aquifoliaceae, is a native South American tree used to produce Yerba Mate tea. It occurs mainly in the southern regions of South America, namely Brazil (Mato Grosso do Sul, Minas Gerais, Parana, Rio Grande do Sul, Rio de Janeiro, Santa Catarina, Sao Paulo), Argentina (Corrientes, Misiones), Paraguay (Alto Parana , Amambay, Caaguazu, Canendiyu, Central, Guaira, Itapua, Misiones, San Pedro) and Uruguay (  USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program 2007  ). Figure 1A shows the main regions where Mate is grown. Of these regions, Argentina is the largest producer, growing approximately 152,000 hectares of Mate annually in the northeastern part of the country (Misiones and Corrientes). This equates to approximately 280,000 tonnes per year, which is a large part of the countries’ gross domestic product. Brazil and Paraguay are the second and third largest producers respectively. Worldwide, 290,000 ha of area harvested were reported in 2002, producing 874,678 tonnes of Mate (  FAOSTAT 2007  ). Overall Mate production value worldwide was estimated at $1 billion in 2004.

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Figure 1 – Open in PowerPoint Figure Viewer (A) Map of South America showing Yerba Mate  (Ilex paraguariensis) growing regions  1 Argentina; 2 Brazil, 3 Paraguay, 4 Uruguay. (B) Yerba Mate plant.

Ilex paraguariensis  is a subtropical, dioecious, evergreen tree that can reach 18 m in height. Figure 1B  shows a photo of a Mate plant. The Mate tree is a flower-fruit plant that blooms from October to November and bears fruit from March to June. The Mate plant requires a strict regime of annual rainfall both in quantity, not less than 1200 mm, and in distribution throughout the year. However, it is much less sensitive to temperature, withstanding temperatures down to -6°C, with an average annual temperature of 21 to 22°C. It is also able to withstand frequent snowfalls, which are attributed to the mountainous region in which it lives.

Growing and harvesting Mate is not a uniform procedure and is carried out using different methods depending on the region. The three basic methods of cultivation and harvesting are the exploitation of natural forests, the mixed system and cultivated Mate plantations. Natural forest exploitation involves wild harvesting of mate from the forest and is the most inconsistent of the 3 methods based on quality and quantity. The second method, a mixed system, combines forest growth with better growing practices, including replanting lost plants and improved pruning methods. This practice ensures better production rates when growing natural forest products. Both natural forest harvesting and mixed farming occur mainly in Brazil. Cultivated plantations Mate, Giberti 1994  ).

Mate Tea Processing

Yerba Mate is not consumed raw, but processed before it reaches the consumer. Fresh Mate leaves go through several processing stages before they are packaged. This includes blanching, drying and generally aging the tea. Processing conditions vary greatly depending on the manufacturer and the ultimate goal of obtaining the desired style and flavor of Mate tea. Processors can change blanching and drying times and temperatures. Not all producers age their tea, while others vary the ripening time (  Bastos et al. 2006a  ). However, the overall process is essentially the same. Figure 2A  shows a typical process flowchart for Mate tea.

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Figure 2- Open in PowerPoint Figure Viewer (A) Flowchart of processing  Ilex paraguariensis leaves  into Yerba Mate tea (adapted from  Schmalko and Alzamora 2001  ). (B) Flowchart of processing  Camellia sinensis leaves  into green and black tea (Adapted from  Hara 2001  ).

Mate undergoes a very minor fermentation and blanching process, which deactivates the enzymes polyphenol oxidase. The difference in the blanching process, however, is that green tea leaves are steamed or pan-fried, while mate leaves are quickly heated over an open flame. This blanching process is different from the process used to produce black tea; black tea leaves are left to wither and ferment and are not blanched before drying. Figure 2B  shows the process of making green and black tea. In black tea, the enzyme polyphenol oxidase can oxidize polyphenols to form dimerized compounds, i.e. catechins to theaflavins (  Hara 2001  ).

The main difference between the production of green tea and Mate tea is the drying method. Green tea is dried primarily by rapid air drying at high temperatures, which retains more of the characteristics of fresh leaves and also develops characteristic flavor compounds. Mate tea is dried very slowly and often using wood smoke. This imparts very different flavor characteristics and contributes to changes in chemical composition and physical appearance. Another important difference between Mate and green tea is the presence of stems in the final product. Green tea production removes all large stems before grinding (  Graham 1992  ); however, Mate will generally contain a high content of stem pieces, depending on the manufacturer.



Polyphenols are a class of compounds containing a benzene ring bonded to one or more hydroxyl groups. These compounds were analyzed by multiple methods, including tyrosinase biosensor, Folin Ciocalteu assay, and high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) (  Carini et al. 1998  ;  Chandra and De Mejia Gonzalez 2004  ;  Dall’Orto 2005  ). Thanks to these analyses, it was shown that the Mate variety, the degree of grinding and mixing with other teas determine the concentration of polyphenols extracted in the infusion. On average, the amount of polyphenols extracted from Mate tea is 92 mg chlorogenic acid equivalent per gram of dry leaves, with blended teas having much less (  Dall’Orto 2005 ). The concentration of polyphenols in mate also showed a strong correlation with its overall antioxidant capacity (  Chandra and De Mejia Gonzalez 2004  ). Mate showed a slightly higher concentration of polyphenols, 7.73 ± 0.15 mg chlorogenic acid/mL aqueous extract, than green tea, 7.15 ± 0.14 mg chlorogenic acid/mL aqueous extract. This correlates with the higher antioxidant capacity of Mate, 90.45 ± 0.22% of free radical inhibition, than that of Green Tea, 88.36 ± 0.76% of free radical inhibition when the 1,1-diphenyl-2-picryl-hydrayl method ( DPPH) was used (  Bastos et al. 2007  ). Moreover, the amount of polyphenols extracted from Mate is influenced by the extraction method used, i.e. water or organic solvent, with 50% acetone extraction yielding the highest amount of polyphenols ( Turkmeni et al. 2006  ).

The polyphenolic compounds found in Mate tea are significantly different from green tea because Mate tea contains high concentrations of chlorogenic acid and does not contain catechins (  Chandra and De Mejia Gonzalez 2004  ). Table 1  shows the diversity of polyphenolic compounds in green tea, black tea, and Mate tea. Table 1-. Polyphenols in Green Tea, Black Tea and Mate Tea. and

 green teaBlack teaHerbata Mate
Caffeic acid 
Caffeine derivatives 
Caffeoylshikimic acid 
Catechin gallate  
Chlorogenic acid 
Coumaric acid 
Galusan epicatechiny 
Galusan epigallokatechiny 
Feruloylquinic acid 
Gallic acid 
Galusan gallocatechiny 
Quinic acid 


Xanthines are a class of purine alkaloids found in a wide variety of plants, including tea, coffee and chocolate. The xanthines found in Mate are theophylline (1,3-dimethylxanthine), theobromine (3,7-dimethylxanthine), and caffeine (1,3,7-trimethylxanthine) (  Athayde et al. 2000  ). The structural formulas of these compounds are shown in  Figure 3  . Of the three, caffeine is found in the highest concentration, 1% to 2% of dry weight, followed by theobromine, 0.3% to 0.9% of dry weight (  Ito et al. 1997 ). These 2 compounds are found mainly in the leaves of the plant and in lower concentrations in the woody stems, which are often present in the product, as well as in the epidermal waxes of the leaves (0.5% of the wax content in the dry matter of the leaves), from 5.9 to 17.0 ng of caffeine per milligram of wax and 0.9 to 3.5 ng of theobromine per milligram of wax (  Athayde et al. 2000  ), although the main amounts of these methylxanthines are found inside the leaves.

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Figure 3 – Open in PowerPoint Figure Viewer Structure of xanthines: theophylline (1,3-dimethylxanthine), theobromine (3,7-dimethylxanthine), and caffeine (1,3,7-trimethylxanthine).

The caffeine concentration relative to consumer intake has been found to be approximately 78 mg of caffeine in 1 cup of Mate tea (approximately 150 ml). Compared to coffee, this is a very similar amount of caffeine intake, approximately 85 mg per cup. However, a customary serving of mate prepared in the traditional way may constitute an intake of approximately 500 ml, giving 260 mg or more of total caffeine (  Mazzafera 1997  ).

Unlike theobromine and caffeine, theophylline has only been found in small amounts in the leaves. This may be due to the fact that theophylline appears to be an intermediate in the catabolism of caffeine in the plant. It is believed that the main pathway of theophylline metabolism is the conversion to 3-methylxanthine, which, before entering the purine catabolism pathway, is further demethylated to xanthine and degraded via the xanthine → uric acid → allantoin → allantoic acid → → CO  2  + NH  3  route. It has been shown that when theophylline is radioactively labeled, the label will appear in caffeine and theobromine by resynthesis of caffeine via the theophylline → 3-methylxanthine → theobromine → caffeine pathway (  Ito et al. 1997 ). The fact that theophylline was difficult to find in various tests on Mate may be due to the metabolism of theophylline to caffeine and theobromine.

Yerba Mate is often sold as dried, ground leaves; however, it was suggested that the drying process may significantly affect the caffeine concentration and the color and chlorophyll content of the leaves. Schmalko et al. (2001)  examined the content of caffeine, color and chlorophyll in Mate leaves after 3 drying stages. The first stage was blanching, sapeco, at a temperature of 500 to 550 °C for 2 to 4 minutes; stages 2 and 3 are drying stages, barbaqua, at a temperature of approximately 110 °C. These drying steps showed a dramatic decrease in caffeine (30%) and chlorophyll (70% to 80%) concentrations and a reduction in the green color. However, even if the caffeine concentration in the dried product was lower than in the fresh leaves, evidence by  Bastos et al. (2006a) showed that when the leaves were dried and used to prepare Mate infusions, significantly more caffeine and caffeoylquinic acids were extracted than when the leaves were fresh. This increased extraction of compounds is likely due to cell disruption during the drying process. This could also be explained by a decrease in leaf moisture concentration and an increase in soluble solids during drying, leading to more compounds dissolved in the infusion. Evidence was also presented that harvest time plays a role in the concentration of methylxanthines found in Mate, ranging from 1 to 10 mg total methylxanthines/g, depending on the time of harvest (  Schubert et al. 2006  ).

Caffeine derivatives

Caffeoyl derivatives found in Mate include caffeic acid, chlorogenic acid, 3,4-dicaffeoylquinic acid, 3,5-dicaffeoylquinic acid, and 4,5-dicaffeoylquinic acid (  Filip et al. 2000  ). These caffeine derivatives are the main ingredients that are responsible for the antioxidant capacity of Mate tea. Figure 4  shows the chemical structures of chlorogenic acid, 4,5-dicaffeoylquinic acid, 3,5-dicaffeoylquinic acid, and 3,4-dicaffeoylquinic acid. They have been mainly analyzed by 2 different methods, spectrometric (330 nm) and HPLC, and are often correlated with chlorogenic acid as a standard with a concentration of 6.90 ± 0.09 mg chlorogenic acid/g dry leaves (  Filip et al. 2000 ). This is representative of 0.48 mg of chlorogenic acid/ml and approximately 72 mg in 1 cup (150 ml) of Mate infusion, prepared with 1.5 g per 50 ml of water (  Mazzafera 1997  ). These compounds can also be identified individually by HPLC and combined with liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (LC/MS), with absorption at 242, 228, and 330 nm (  Carini et al. 1998  ;  Chandra and De Mejia Gonzalez 2004  ). Figure 5  shows the chromatographic profile generated by our group to identify caffeoyl derivatives in Mate (  I. paraguariensis  ) (  Heck and Gonzalez de Mejia 2007) ). It is obvious that the main ingredients are chlorogenic acid and its derivatives and dicaffeoylquinic acids: 3,4-dicaffeoylquinic acid, 3,5-dicaffeoylquinic acid and 4,5-dicaffeoylquinic acid; although the specific identity of each dicaffeoylquinic acid peak has not been described (  Carini et al. 1998  ). This profile agrees with the compounds shown in  Table 2  in terms of the concentrations of caffeoyl derivatives found in Mate (  I. paraguariensis  ) compared to  I. dumosa, I. brevicuspis  , and  I. argentina  . This table shows that  I. paraguariensis contains the highest concentrations of caffeoyl derivatives, while other species have much lower concentrations and vary in the concentration of dicaffeoylquinic acid (  Filip et al. 2001  ). It is thanks to the high concentrations of these compounds that Mate has a very high overall antioxidant capacity (  Filip et al. 2000  ).

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Figure 4 – Open in PowerPoint Figure Viewer Structure of caffeoyl derivatives: chlorogenic acid, 4,5-dicaffeoylquinic acid, 3,5-dicaffeoylquinic acid, and 3,4-dicaffeoylquinic acid.
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Figure 5— Open in PowerPoint figure viewer Mate tea chromatographic (HPLC) profile identifying caffeoyl derivatives and other compounds (  Heck and de Mejia 2007  ). The analysis was performed using a 1050 Hewlett Packard (Palo Alto, California, USA) gradient liquid chromatograph equipped with a 1050 HP automatic sampler, a 1050 HP gradient pump, a 1050 HP photodiode array (PDA) detector and helium bubbler. Sentinel column AC  18 RP and C  18 An RP Phenomenex Prodigy ODS column (250 mm × 4.6 mm × 5 μm) was used. The column temperature was kept at ambient temperature, the elution time was 0.9 ml/min and it was carried out with a solvent gradient. The solvent gradient consisted of solvent A (water/methanol/formic acid, 79.7/20/0.3) and B (methanol/formic acid, 99.7/0.3) mixed, starting from 0% B, increasing linear to 25% B in 50 minutes, increase to 80% B in 5 minutes and hold at 80% B for 3 minutes, then linear decline to 0% B in 5 minutes and hold at 0% B for 5 minutes. The injection volume was 50 μL and the output was at 280 nm.

Table 2-. Concentration of caffeoyl derivatives in different  Ilex species  (% dry weight). and

SpeciesChlorogenic acidCaffeic acid3,4-DCQ3,5-DCQ4,5-DCQ
I. paraguariensis2,800 ± 0,3000,023 ± 0,0040,855 ± 0,0643,040 ± 0,1802,890 ± 0,060
I. brevicuspis0,915 ± 0,0640,005 ± 0,0010,130 ± 0,0100,360 ± 0,0600,490 ± 0,040
I. Argentina0,090 ± 0,0150,003 ± 0,0010,047 ± 0,0100,545 ± 0,0490,043 ± 0,003
I. dumosa0,042 ± 0,0090,012 ± 0,0080,017 ± 0,0010,147 ± 0,0600,070 ± 0,014
  • a  Adapted from  Filip et al. (2001)  .
  • 3,4-DCQ = 3,4-dicaffeoylquinic acid; 3,5-DCQ = 3,5-dicaffeoylquinic acid; 4,5-DCQ = 4,5-dicaffeoylquinic acid.


Saponins are bitter and highly water-soluble compounds found in many types of plants and are believed to be one of the factors contributing to the distinct flavor of Mate tea. Not only do they play a role in flavor, but they are also attributed to anti-inflammatory and hypocholesterolemic properties (  Gnoatto et al. 2005  ). Several of these compounds, namely triterpenoid saponins with ursolic and olean moieties, have been isolated from Mate leaves. The identified primary saponins contained an ursolic acid moiety and were named: Matesaponins 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 (  Gosmann et al. 1995  ;  Kraemer et al. 1996  ). Table 3  shows the primary saponins identified in Mate (  I. paraguariensis ) as well as for other  Ilex species  ; common R group substitutions are included.  Figure 6  shows the structure of a generic saponin aglycone to which various R groups are attached. The hypocholesterolemic properties can be attributed to saponin Mate’s inhibition of passive diffusion of colic acid and the formation of micelles that cannot be absorbed and are therefore excreted (  Ferreira 1997  ). Table 3-. Ilex species saponins   and their structural differences, including R group substitutions.

Ilex species SaponinagroupingRR1R2R3
paraguariensis aSaturday 1Ursolic acidglc(1→3)araHglcH
Saturday 2Ursolic acidglc(1→3)rha(1→2)araHglcH
Saturday 3Ursolic acidglc(1→3)araHglc(1→6)glcH
Saturday 4Ursolic acidglc(1→3)rha(1→2)araHglc(1→6)glcH
Saturday 5Ursolic acidglc(1→3)rha(1→2)araHglc(1→4)glc(1→6)glcH
related  bAffinozyd Ipomolic acidglc(1→3)araHglcH
crenata cileksozyd IIpomolic acidglc(1→3)araHglcH
integrate  dilexozyd XXVHydroxyursolic acidglcHglcCH2OH__  _  _
ilexozyd XXVIHydroxyursolic acidglc(1→6)glcHglcCH2OH__  _  _
ileksozyd XXVIIRotundic acidWe buyHglcCH2OH__  _  _
buxifolia  bbuxifolioside IDihydroxyursendioic acidHHglcCH 3
buxifolioside IIDihydroxyursendioic acidOHHglcCOOH
dumoza  eChikusetsusapon IvaOleanolic acidgluAHglcH
Dumosaponin 5Oleanolic acidglc(1→2)galOHglcH
Dumosaponin 6Oleanolic acidara(1→2)araHglcH
Dumosaponin 7Oleanolic acidgalHglcH
broadleaf  flatifoliozyd Flexgeninarha(1→2)glc(1→3)araHrha(1→2)glcH
latifoliozyd Gpolmolic acidrha(1→2)glc(1→3)araHrha(1→2)glcH
Latifoliozyd HSiaresinolic acidrha(1→2)glc(1→3)araHrha(1→2)glcH
Argentina  GNot applicableRotundia acidHHglcCOOH
rotunda  hoursileksozydy 33Oxysiaresinoleic acidGlcAHHGIVE
ilexozydy XXXIVpedunculatedSO  3  NaHglcH
ileksozydy XXXVRotungenic acidSO  3  NaHglcCH2OH__  _  _
ilexozyde XXXVIRotungenic acidglcHglcCH2OH__  _  _
Ileksozydy 37Rotundic acidglcHglcH
brevicuspis iBrevicuspisaponin IHydroxyursolic acidWe buyHHCH 3
Brevicuspisaponin IIHydroxyursolic acidWe buyHHCH2OH__  _  _
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Figure 6— Open in PowerPoint Figure Viewer Overall saponin structure with locations of common R group substitutions.

Gnoatto et al (2005)  recently developed a method using HPLC with ultraviolet (UV) detection for the analysis of saponins in Mate. The total recovery of matesaponin 1 was 94.5% and the total concentration of saponins in the aqueous extract was 352 μg/ml from 15 g of dried leaves in 100 ml of water. Although the major saponins in Mate are formed from ursolic acid aglycones, 2 minor saponins have also been identified that contain oleanolic acid instead of ursolic acid (  Marnet et al. 2001  ). Pavei et al (2007)  also developed and validated an HPLC method for characterizing saponins from  I. paraguariensis  Mate fruit.

Many of the saponins found in  Ilex species have been shown  to have antiparasitic properties, including matesaponins 1, 3, and 4. Triterpenoids found in  Ilex species have also been confirmed  to be antitrypanosomal. Ursolic acid and 4,3-  O-  [α-D-glucopyranosyl-(1-2)-α-D-galactopyranosyl]oleanolic acid had an IC50 of  4  µM against  Trypanosoma brucei  . These findings may lead to the exploration of the use of these compounds for new antitrypanosomal derivatives (  Taketa et al. 2004  ).


Mate also contains high concentrations of inorganic compounds. The minerals aluminum, chromium, copper, iron, manganese, nickel, potassium and zinc are of particular interest due to their importance in human metabolism and development. Using capillary ion electrophoresis with indirect UV detection (  Carducci et al. 2000  ) and atomic absorption spectrophotometry (  Tenorio Sanz and Torija Isasa 1991  ;  Vera Garcia et al. 1997  ), these minerals were identified in various concentrations and may vary among soils and seasonal factors. Using particle induced X-ray emission (PIXE),  Giulian et al (2007) examined brands of Mate tea before and after infusion and found a wide range of minerals, some of which depend on the temperature and volume used for infusion, namely chlorine and potassium. Wrobel et al. (2000)  found aluminum concentrations of 369 ± 22 μg/g and manganese concentrations of 2223 ± 110 μg/g; Mate may prove to be a good dietary source of manganese, depending on bioavailability. It should also be noted that an inverse correlation (correlation coefficients >0.82) was found between the amount of these ingredients leached into Mate infusion and the concentration of tannins; at lower tannin concentrations, the best leaching was observed, with the exception of nickel.

In addition to beneficial elements, Mate may also contain toxic impurities. Marchisio et al (2005)  developed a lead analysis method using ultrasonic nebulization coupled with inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry (USN-ICP-OES) and polyurethane foam. Their method demonstrated a lead detection process that was found to be fast, accurate, and reliable, and capable of measuring low lead concentrations. Lead concentrations in Mate infusions ranged from 7.6 to 8.9 μg/L. The average lead concentration in the analyzed commercial Mate tea samples was 8.1 μg/L. The permissible limit for lead in drinking water by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is 15 μg/L; therefore, the levels found in Mate are well below levels of concern ( EPA 2003  ).

Mate adulteresses

Adulterants of other  Ilex species  may be incorporated into the final product, intentionally or unintentionally. Six common  Ilex species  found adulterated in Mate tea were tested for theobromine, theophylline and caffeine. The species analyzed were  I. dumosa, I. pseudobuxus, I. brevicuspis, I. theezans, I. microdonta  and  I. argentina; overall results showed that these other species contained little or no of the above-mentioned compounds. Only traces of caffeine were detected in  I. theezans, I. dumosa, I. microdonta  and  I. pseudobuxus.  Moreover, only trace amounts of theobromine were detected  in I. argentina  and  I. microdonta . Theophylline was quantitatively detected only in I. pseudobuxus  at 6 ppm (  Filip et al. 1998  ). Using HPLC and NMR to analyze  Ilex cultivars  , caffeine and theobromine were found only in  I. paraguariensis  compared to other adulterating  Ilex species  (  Reginatto et al. 1999  ;  Choi et al. 2005  ).

These adulterations can be problematic for the quality of Mate teas due to varying concentrations of saponins. Mate tea prepared from  I. paraguariensis  turned out to be the least bitter of all extracts prepared from adulterated species. Therefore, it is possible that the addition of adulterated species may have a significant impact on the bitterness of Mate drinks. Not only do adulterated plants contain higher concentrations of bitter compounds, but the fruit of the  I. paraguariensis plant itself  also contains highly bitter saponins. The inclusion of these fruits in Mate products may lead to increased bitterness and decreased overall quality (  Taketa 2004  ).

Many of these species were also analyzed for saponin concentrations. Analysis showed that most species, including  I. buxifolia  ,  I. crenata  ,  I. affinis, I. rotunda, I. brevicuspis, I.  argentina and  I.  integra all  have saponin aglycones that are absent in  I. paraguariensis  and  I. dumosa  ; instead of ursolic acid or oleanolic acid aglycones, they contain hydroxyursolic acid or its derivatives. Of the various  Ilex species,  I. dumosa  is the most common adulterant and more closely resembles the saponin structure of  I. paraguariensis. All adulterant species, including I. dumosa,  contained a large diversity of saponins, none of which were found in  I. paraguariensis  . Due to the specificity of saponins, it may be possible to identify adulterants in Mate based on the concentration of saponins, and thanks to new methods of quick and precise identification of adulterants, this may now be a reliable method of quality control of Yerba Mate products (  Pires et al. 1997  ).

Biological activities and health effects

Table 4  shows an incomplete list of compounds that have been identified in Yerba Mate and some of the most important biological activities reported. Table 4—. Compounds identified in Yerba Mate leaves and some of their biological activities.

MixtureBiological activities
CaffeineAnticancer, antiobesity, antioxidant, anticancer, diuretic, energizing 20 to 200 mg, stimulant, topoisomerase-I inhibitor 0.1 M, topoisomerase-II inhibitor 99 mM, vasodilator
Chlorogenic acidAntioxidant IC  50  = 54.2 μM, analgesic, antiatherosclerotic, antibacterial, antidiabetic, anticancer, choleretic
ChlorophyllAntibacterial, anticancer
CholinaAntidiabetic, cholinergic, lipotropic
Nicotinic acidCholeretic, hypocholesterolemic 1 to 6 g/day
Pantothenic acidAnti-allergic 100 to 500 mg/day, anti-arthritic 500 to 2000 mg/day, anti-fatigue
RoutineAntioxidant IC  28  = 30 ppm IC  50  = 120 μM, antitumor, antitumor promoter, antiulcer, cAMP-phosphodiesterase inhibitor, topoisomerase II inhibitor IC  50  = 1 μg/ml, vasodilator
And thisAntioxidant 1/3 quercetin IC  50  = 1.44 μg/mL, anticancer, anticancer promoter, lipoxygenase inhibitor, MAO  e inhibitor
TheobrominecAMP-inhibitor IC  50  = 0.06 mg/ml, cAMP-phosphodiesterase inhibitor, diuretic 300 to 600 mg/day, stimulant, myorelaxant
TheophyllinecAMP inhibitor IC  50  = 0.06 mg/ml, cAMP phosphodiesterase inhibitor, diuretic, choleretic, stimulant, vasodilator, muscle relaxant 100 μM
Ursolic acidAnalgesic, antioxidant IC  50  = 10 μM, antioxidant IC  35  = 200 μg/mL, protease inhibitors IC  85  = 18 μg/mL, topoisomerase II inhibitors, antiarrhythmic, anticancer, anti-Alzheimer’s

Antioxidant capacity

Mate tea consumption has been found to significantly contribute to overall antioxidant intake and provide large amounts of caffeoylquinic acid derivatives, with biological effects potentially beneficial to human health (  Bravo et al. 2007  ). Among all  Ilex species,  I. paraguariensis  has the highest antioxidant activity and is positively correlated with the concentration of caffeoyl derivatives (  Filip et al. 2000  ;  Schinella et al. 2000  ;  Bracesco et al. 2003  ;  Bixby et al. 2005). ). A study of Mate’s ability to quench reactive oxygen species (ROS) was correlated with peroxidase-like activity. This peroxidase-like activity is strongly related to the concentration of polyphenols in Mate; the higher the concentration of polyphenols, the greater the peroxidase-like activity. This means that from a biological point of view, polyphenols act similarly to the body’s natural antioxidant enzymes and may prove to be strong supporters of these systems.

The compound that may be primarily responsible for this effect is chlorogenic acid (  Anesini et al. 2006  ).

Mate extract has proven to be a very potent inhibitor of ROS-induced oxidative stress, significantly affecting the liver and heart. The heart is susceptible to oxidative stress during post-ischemic reperfusion, i.e. the return of blood flow to the organ and tissue after an infarction, caused by the production of ROS. Mate extract administration reduced cardiac lipid oxidation by protecting myocardial tissue (  Schinella et al. 2005  ).

Recent studies have shown that nitrosative stress, the reaction of peroxides with nitrous oxide (NO) to form peroxynitrite (ONOO), causes protein nitration or nitrosylation, lipid peroxidation, DNA damage, and cell death. Mate tea was able to prevent 95% of protein nitration when tested on bovine serum albumin; in this respect, Mate was superior to both green tea and red wine. Mate has also been tested for peroxynitrite-induced cytotoxicity associated with stroke and myocardial ischemia, blood supply restriction, and Mate tea showed the greatest inhibition of cytotoxicity compared to green tea and red wine (  Bixby et al. 2005  ). Mate was also able to reduce the hydrolysis of ATP, ADP and AMP (nucleotides), which may help balance the circulatory system (  Gorgen et al. 2005 ).

Hyperglycemia has also been reported to cause diabetic complications due to dicarbonyls involved in the formation of advanced glycation end product (AGE). Oxidation has been linked to glycation, and Mate extracts show dose-dependent inhibition of dicarbonyl action (  Gugliucci and Menini 2002  ;  Lunceford and Gugliucci 2005  ).

Mate extracts significantly inhibited enzymatic and nonenzymatic lipid peroxidation in rat liver microsomes and also effectively scavenged peroxides (  Schinella et al. 2000  ). Free radical-induced oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) has been suggested to play a role in atherosclerosis. Mate has been shown to inhibit the propagation of LDL oxidation by inhibiting lipid peroxidation as well as DNA oxidation (  Gugliucci and Stahl 1995  ;  Gugliucci 1996  ;  Bracesco et al. 2003  ). This mechanism has been shown to be possible  in vitro  ; however, it is still speculated whether this is possible  in vivo . Evidence also indicates that Mate has significantly greater antioxidant capacity than green tea, with 13.1 nmol Trolox equivalent (TEAC)/μg gallic acid equivalent compared with 9.1 nmol TEAC/μg gallic acid equivalent, respectively (  Newell et al. 2007  ).

Weight management and obesity

Obesity is a growing problem in many countries, and current research in many areas is aimed at finding ways to curb the epidemic. Mate tea has been shown to have an impact on weight loss and management, and current research has provided some supporting evidence. Obese men and women consuming Mate tea showed a decrease in respiration quotient (RQ), indicating an increase in fat oxidation (  Marnet et al. 1999  ). The herbal infusion of mate, guarana and damiana showed a drastic slowdown in stomach emptying, as well as a shortening of the time spent feeling full, thus increasing the feeling of satiety. This was also followed by a dramatic weight loss after 45 days in overweight patients (  Andersen and Fogh 2001 ). Mate has been shown to have weight loss potential and is now considered a dietary supplement. Adding ingredients such as Mate, guarana, and damiana to supplements has proven effective in weight loss (  Pittler and Ernst 2004  ). In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial, Mate was administered as a supplement that also included green tea, asparagus, black tea, guarana and bean extracts. The results of this study showed that people taking the supplement had reduced body fat and changes in body composition indicators (  Opala et al. 2006 ). It has been cited that the effects of mate on weight loss, although not directly known, may be due to the caffeine it contains, which contributes to lipolytic activity or saponin concentrations, interfering with cholesterol metabolism and delaying the absorption of dietary fat in the intestines (  Dickel et al. 2007  ). Mate tea may also affect other aspects of lipid metabolism. It has the ability to inhibit atherosclerosis in rabbits fed a high-cholesterol diet and an aqueous extract of Mate tea (  Mosimann et al. 2006  ). Administration of Mate extracts to rats fed a hypercholesterolemic diet resulted in a reduction in serum cholesterol and triglyceride concentrations (  Paganini Stein et al. 2005 ). Mate has also been shown to have potential as a digestive aid due to its choleretic effects, increasing the rate of bile flow (  Gorzalczany et al. 2001  ). One study also showed that Mate was able to relax arteries in rats. Thus, it has been suggested that tea may reduce the risk of heart disease, just as red wine is thought to do (  Mccillo Baisch et al. 1998  ).

Genotoxic and mutagenic effects

There is little data on the toxicity of Mate tea, and standard  in  vitro testing is controversial. In one study, Mate extracts were found to be genotoxic in bacterial cells by inducing functions that regulate responses to DNA damage and disruption of DNA replication, and mutagenic in the  case of Salmonella typhimurium  . The Ames test results showed mutagenic activity at concentrations of 20 to 50 mg of aqueous extract/plate and genotoxic activity at concentrations of 10 to 20 mg of aqueous extract/plate. However, when the S9 microsomal fraction, catalase, thiourea, or dipyridyl were added to the assay, the genotoxic effects of Mate were neutralized, suggesting that oxygen-reactive agents are the agents responsible for the genotoxicity (  Leitao and Braga 1994  ; Fonseca et al. 2000  ). The results of these in vitro tests   have not been confirmed in animal or human studies.

Mate’s association with carcinogenesis

Cancer Prevention  In vitro  and animal experiments have demonstrated the protective effects of Mate against cancer. Several studies have been conducted on the anticancer properties of Mate tea and comparisons have been made with other teas, such as green tea, which are believed to have high anticancer potential (  Yamamoto et al. 1997  ). Tests by  Ramirez-Mares et al (2004)  for  in vitro chemopreventive activity  included cytotoxicity, TPA-induced ornithine decarboxylase (ODC), quinone reductase (QR) activity using HepG2 cells, and topoisomerase inhibitory activity using  Saccharomyces cereviseae . These tests are of particular importance because cytotoxicity is strongly related to anticancer activity. ODC is a promoter of tumor growth, and cancer cells often contain high concentrations of ODC. QR is another screening method for antitumor activity, and topoisomerase is required for mitosis; Cancer cells exhibit higher concentrations of topoisomerase II (Topo II) than normal cells due to the high rate of cell division. Mate has been shown to have the highest cytotoxicity against human liver cancer cells compared to green tea, IC50 value of  12.01  g eq. (+) catechins/ml for Mate compared to 72 g eq. (+) catechins/ml for green tea. Table 5  shows the concentrations of tea required for the various inhibitory activities on HepG2 cells. Table 5—. Inhibitory effects of Mate tea, green tea and Ardisia tea on the growth of HepG2 cancer cells. and

 μg equiv. (+) catechin/ml ± SD
Dudegreen teaArdysia
IC 10 9,3 ± 0,6 50,7 ± 2,5  4,9 ± 1,4 
IC50_  _ 12,0 ± 0,2  72,0 ± 1,8 46,9 ± 3,3 
IC 9017,6 ± 0,8113,6 ± 5,5177,2 ± 33,4
  • a  Based  on Ramirez-Mares et al. (2004)  .
  • IC10, IC50, IC90  = concentration needed to inhibit  10%,  50  % and 90% of cell growth, respectively.
  • SD = standard deviation.

Human antitopoisomerase II activity was significant, showing 65% inhibition compared to 15% for green tea (  Ramirez-Mares et al. 2004  ). However, catalytic inhibition of topoisomerase only affected TopoII and not topoisomerase I (Topo I). An in vitro study   on oral cancer cells showed that concentrations greater than 375 μg of solid extract/ml resulted in complete inhibition of tumor cell growth (  González de Mejia et al. 2005  ). Mate has been shown to be a potent TopoII inhibitor and thus exhibits significant inhibition of cancer cell growth, even at low concentrations.

Proteasome inhibitors are an important aspect of cancer research (  Osanai et al. 2007  ). Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), found in green tea, has already been shown to inhibit proteasomes (  Osanai et al. 2007  ). Similarly, compounds in Mate have been identified that exhibit proteasome inhibition (  Arbiser et al. 2005 ). The compounds identified are 3,5-dicaffeoylquinic acid (3,5-DCQ), 5-caffeoylquinic acid (5-CQ) and 3,4-dicaffeoylquinic acid (3,4-DCQ), which act by inhibiting chymotrypsin-like activity purified 20S proteasome and 26S proteasome in Jurkat T cell extracts (human, peripheral blood, leukemia). Of all these compounds, 3,5-DCQ had the greatest inhibitory ability. It is believed to function similarly to EGCG due to its similar structure (  Arbiser et al. 2005  ).

Other compounds found in Mate have also been studied for their chemopreventive properties. Rutin and quercetin show distinct cytotoxicity towards HepG2 cells (  Alía et al. 2006  ). Although these compounds are found in low concentrations in Mate, they demonstrate the variety of flavonoids present in Mate that contribute to its anti-cancer potential.

Epidemiological studies  There is growing concern that there are epidemiological studies suggesting an association between mate consumption and an increased risk of certain cancers, namely cancers of the esophagus, oral cavity, lung, bladder, kidney and other head and neck cancers (  Pintos et al. 1994  ;  De Stefani et al. 1996, 1998  ;  Goldenberg et al. 2003  ;  Bates et al. 2007  ). These cases were highly correlated with regions where high Mate consumption persists, parts of Brazil and Uruguay. However, it is also recognized that other habitual factors, such as smoking and alcohol consumption, which are strongly related to the culture of these regions, may play a role. Goldenberg (2002)  and  Goldenberg et al (2003, 2004)  report epidemiological studies showing an increased incidence of squamous cell carcinoma with increased Mate intake, even when other confounding factors such as smoking were present. The results of these studies indicate that consuming more than 1 liter of Mate per day may increase the risk of head and neck cancer by 3 to 5 times, as well as a clear association with lung cancer (  Vassallo et al. 1985  ;  De Stefani et al. 1996  ;  Sewram et al. 2003 ). It has also been reported that consuming strong and very hot tea may increase the risk of oral cancer. Consuming other hot drinks, coffee and green tea, also increased this risk by 2 to 4 times. Thus, the measured risk of oral cancer may be due to thermal injury (  Rolon et al. 1995  ;  Castellsague et al. 2000  ). With regard to bladder cancer, again an epidemiological study by the same leading authors (  De Stefani et al. 1991 ) conducted in Uruguay showed that an association between mate and bladder cancer was found when it was associated with smoking and to some extent also in non-smokers, although less defined. The same study also found that black tea and coffee consumers had an increased risk of bladder cancer. An epidemiological study in Argentina found an increased risk of bladder cancer in mate drinkers and smokers, but not in nonsmokers (  Bates et al. 2007  ). It is unclear whether this increased risk of bladder cancer is due to Mate alone, smoking alone, a combination of both, or some other cause alone.

It is also important to note that case studies of mate consumption and increased cancer rates also include people consuming black tobacco and alcohol, namely wine. De Stefani et al (1988) found that there was a correlation with an increased risk of oral cancer in people who consumed wine, Mate and smoke. It was also noticed that this increase was greater in people who smoked black tobacco than light tobacco. Again, there is no direct implication that any one factor is contributing more to this increase in oral cancer rates. Due to these other confounding factors, Mate may not be a carcinogen itself, but due to its high temperature at the time of consumption, it may actually be an agent that enhances the absorption of carcinogens found in cigarette smoke and other environmental pollutants that are carcinogens or cancer promoters (  Goldenberg et al. 2004  ).

On the other hand, there may be compounds in Mate that may contribute to cancer. Fagundes et al. (2006)  showed a correlation between the amount of Mate consumed and the amount of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the body. PAHs, especially benzo[a]pyrene, are known to have carcinogenic properties, and tobacco smoke and grilled meat contain high concentrations of PAHs; At least 15 PAH compounds have been found in Mate varieties. These compounds were isolated and identified using stir bar sorption extraction (SBSE) and high-performance liquid chromatography with fluorescence detection (HPLC-FLD) (  Zuin et al. 2005 ). The total PAH content in different Brazilian mate samples ranged from 600 to 2,300 ng/L, with naphthalene, acenaphthene, and phenanthrene having the highest concentrations. Table 6  shows the PAH compounds identified in Mate and their average concentrations in 11 Mate samples. Table 6—. Average concentration of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in Brazilian Mate tea samples. and

Naphthalene 96,5Benzo(a)anthracen 9.7
Fluoranthene 61,4Indeno(1,2,3)pyrene 9.5
The pier 59.1Benzo(g,h,i)perylen 7.7
Anthracene 50,9Dibenz(a,h)anthracene 5.0
Fluor 29,7Benzo(k)fluoranthene 3.6
Benzo(a)piren 12.2 

It is known that exposure to PAHs through tobacco smoke and other sources may increase the risk of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC). Fagundes et al (2006) assessed 200 healthy adult Mate tea consumers, half men, half women, half of whom were smokers and half of whom were nonsmokers, to determine the concentration of 1-hydroxypyrene glucuronide (1-OHPG), a metabolite of PAH glucuronide excreted from detoxification in urine. Their presence is evidence that a person has been exposed to PAHs. 1-OHPG can be measured in urine by immunoaffinity chromatography, synchronous fluorescence spectroscopy, and urine cotinine dipstick test; tests were carried out by Natl. Cancer Institute at Johns Hopkins Univ. This study showed that there is a direct correlation between the amount of Mate consumed and the concentration of PAHs in urine, the higher the intake, the higher the concentrations. Table 7 shows the increasing concentration of 1-OHPG in urine as Mate intake increases. Table 7—. Concentration of 1-hydroxypyrene glucuronide (1-OHPG) in human urine. and

Mate intake (ml/day)1-OHPG (pmol/ml)

However, beyond just increasing Mate intake, higher 1-OHPG concentrations may also be correlated with the combination of smoking and drinking Mate. When mate consumption is combined with smoking, 1-OHPG concentrations are significantly higher, but mate alone produces on average about the same 1-OHPG concentrations as smoking alone (  Fagundes et al. 2006  ). During a study of a population in Campinas, SP, Brazil and their coffee and mate consumption, PAHs were detected in all products and ranged from 10.12 μg/kg for coffee to 0.70 μg/kg for mate (  Rojo de Camargo and others 2002 ). Considering the estimated average daily consumption of Mate tea in Brazil to be 69.79 g, it can be assumed that Mate tea contributes approximately 0.05 μg of total PAHs to the intake of these contaminants by the study population (  n  = 600) (  Rojo de Camargo et al. 2002  ).

Although there is no proven biological correlation with mate drinking and cancer development (  Pereira Jotz et al. 2006  ), PAH contamination provides a plausible explanation for the increased rates of mate drinking and cancer. It is highly likely that PAHs are obtained during processing, as mate is commonly dried over a smoking hearth. Wood smoke can therefore produce the PAHs found in Mate. There also appears to be a lack of new information on this topic. Although many articles have been published on this topic, no new evidence has been presented. This is an area that requires further research.

Technological considerations

Smak i aromat

Consumer preferences and perceptions are key attributes of any food product, and the same can be said for Mate tea. The driving force behind sales, brand selection and consumer preferences for Mate brands is largely the aroma and flavor properties. Generally, sensor panels analyze these features; however, this is expensive and depends on the sensitivity of the panelists. Therefore, an automated method for aroma determination is needed. Grigioni et al (2004)  showed that the use of e-nose can differentiate Mate aroma characteristics and correlates with the characteristics of trained panelists.

It has been shown that there is a direct correlation between consumers’ taste and smell preferences and the appearance of the product (  Cruz et al. 2003  ;  Schneider et al. 2006  ). When sensor panels are used, key terms must be generated to define the taste, aroma and appearance of Mate products. Descriptors of those features that have been found to differentiate products are presented in  Table 8  (  Santa Cruz 2002  ;  Cruz et al. 2003  ). Consumer panelists have also been used to test for bitterness (  Calvino et al. 2004  ). Table 8—. Sensory descriptors of Yerba Mate. and

Appearance of dry MateMate infusion appearanceSmak i aromat
Stick and leaf sizeParts  Initial impact
Uniformity in the size of sticks and leavesTurbidity  Acid
Number of sticksbrown color  Humid
Amount of dust   Burn

Aromatic compounds found in Mate have also been characterized using gas chromatography/mass spectrometry; although it is not correlated with sensory analysis, it shows the chemical composition of Mate’s volatile components. Mate has been shown to contain over 250 ingredients, many of which are the same as green tea. However, a number of distinct components have been identified, namely 2-butoxy-ethanol (in high concentrations) and 3,3,5-trimethylcyclohexanone-related compounds. Of the 196 volatile chemicals found in Yerba Mate tea, only 144 are found in green tea (  Kawakami and Kobayashi 1991  ).

Mate tea infusions can be prepared from green mate, dried ground leaves, or roasted green mate, where the dried leaves are further roasted to enhance the flavor. This roasting process has been shown to have a dramatic effect on the flavor and aroma of the tea. Numerous studies have been conducted to investigate the volatile compounds found in Mate. Roasted Mate showed higher concentrations of furans, pyrazines, and pyrroles compared to green Mate, probably due to the Maillard reaction (  Kawakami and Kobayashi 1991  ). Bastos et al. (2006b) examined essential oil extracts from green and roasted mate and found that roasted mate contained significantly less of the compounds responsible for the green-floral aroma, i.e. limonene, which are characteristic of green mate. They also found an increase in compounds such as methylfurfural and furfural, which may be responsible for the smoky characteristics of roasted Mate. Table 9  shows the volatile compounds found in green and roasted Mate tea compared to black tea, identified by aroma analysis using Solvent-Assisted Aroma Evaporation – Solvent Extraction (SAFE-SE). (  Kawakami and Kobayashi 1991  ). Table 9—. Volatile compounds in green Mate and roasted Mate compared to  Camellia sinensis tea  (black tea). and

MixtureGreen friendRoast MateBlack teaMixtureGreen friendRoast MateBlack tea
(E)-2, (E)-4-heptadienaldihydroaktynidiolid
(E) -2-dekenaleugenol  
(E)-2-pentenalfurfuryl alcohol
(E) -2-depreciablegeraniol
1,3,5-trimethyl-2-(1,3-butadienyl)benzene heptanoic acid
2,10,10-trimethyl-6-methylidene-l-  heptanol
2,3-dihydro-2-metylobenzofuran hexanal
2,6,6-trimethyl-2-hydroxycyclohexanonehexanoic acid
2,6,6-trimetylocykloheks-2-enel,-4 –dionI-penten-3-01
2-butoksyetanol limonen
2 deanlinalol
2-ethylfuranlinalool oxide I (cis, furanoid)
2-methylo-2-pentenal linalool II oxide (trans, furanoid)
2-methylo-3-butene-2-01linalool III oxide (cis, pyranoid) 
2-methylbutanoic acidlinalool oxide IV (trans, pyranoid)
5,6-epoxy ionmethyl salicylate
6-methyl-S-hepten-2-oneoctanoic acid
acetic acidoctanol
Benzyl alcoholpropionic acid
butter acidvaleric acid
decanoic acidβ ion

Lozano et al (2007)  used 3 different methods to determine the volatile aromatic compounds present in Mate. SAFE-SE analysis identified the highest number of compounds, followed by adsorption column extraction with aroma extract dilution analysis (ACE-AEDA) and dynamic headspace dilution analysis (DHDA), which showed similar numbers of compounds. However, each method identified compounds that were not identified by the other method. Therefore, multiple methods are recommended for the analysis of volatile aromatic compounds. Table 10  shows the main aromatic compounds and their characteristic odor identified by 3 different methods for 1 Mate tea. Table 10—. Main volatile aromatic compounds in Mate found using 3 different analytical methods. and

(E)-2-dekenal Green, sharp
(E)-2-Nonenal Let them be
(E)-2-octenalRaw peanut
(E,E)-2,4-hexadienal Oily, metallic
(Z)-1,5-octadien-3-one Metallic
(Z)-2-Nonenal Melon, let them be
(Z)-3-Hexenal Green cut leaf
(Z)-4-heptenal Rancid
1,8-Cineol Mint, eucalyptus
1-Witches-3-Jews Plastic
1-penten-3-jedenPlastic, rancid
2,3-butanodion Buttery, creamy
2,3-metylobutanal Chocolate
2,3-pentanodion Buttery, creamy
2-acetyl-1-pyrrolineBaked popcorn
2-acetylo-2-tiazolina  Baked popcorn
2-acetylotiazol Baked popcorn
Butanoic acidSweaty, cheesy
Cytronellol Fruit
eugenolCloves, spicy
furaneol Burnt sugar
GeranianFruity, floral
GuayacolFuming, medicine
hexanal Green mown grass
Hexanoic acid Sweaty, body odor
Maltol  Burnt sugar
metionalBoiled potato
β-Damascenone Boiled apple
nonalactoneCoconut, sweet
o-cresol  Phenol, medicine
octalactone Fruity, floral
Octanal Orange oil
p-crezole Phenolic, animal, dung
Pentanoic acid Sweaty, cheesy
p-vinyl guaiacol Cloves, spicy
Skato Urine, mothballs
Wine lactone Plastic
β-Damascenone Boiled apple
β ionFloral

One of the characteristic features of Mate teas is the feeling of bitterness. This feature can be attributed to caffeine (  Ley et al. 2006  ;  Keast and Roper 2007  ), as well as tannins (  Drinkine et al. 2007  ) and saponins (  Ma et al. 1989  ). It should be noted that the presence of stems, often found in most cultivars, can significantly reduce the concentration of bitterness compared to stemless cultivars (  Calvino 2005  ).

Complex extraction

Although mate is primarily consumed as a beverage, made by soaking the leaves of the plant in hot water, its high concentration of beneficial compounds makes it an interesting subject for extracting and purifying these compounds for use in the nutraceutical industry. It has been shown that the use of sonication effectively eliminates high concentrations of compounds from Mate, i.e. caffeine and theobromine. However, this method is influenced by the polarity of the solvent, as well as the extraction time and the ratio of solvent to sample mass (  Jacques et al. 2007  ). The sonication method also requires the use of organic solvents, methanol and hexane, which can be problematic when the extracts are intended for human consumption. For this reason, supercritical CO2  extraction seems to be more promising for this extraction purpose. Thanks to the use of supercritical CO  2 extraction  , the concentrations of extracted methylxanthines are much higher compared to other extraction methods. The use of supercritical CO2 was investigated  and  found to be an effective method of extracting caffeine, with an yield of 98% of total caffeine. This method also showed that theobromine extraction was possible. It has also been shown that   supercritical CO 2 has a greater affinity for caffeine than theobromine. When ethanol is also used for extraction, extraction efficiency is improved by reducing solvent and energy requirements (  Saldana et al. 1999  ;  Saldana et al. 2002  ).

 The use of supercritical CO  2 has now been used to analyze Mate samples to determine qualitative differences. Mate samples were analyzed by CO  2 extraction  to examine changes in the concentrations of caffeine, theobromine, phytol, vitamin E, squalene, and stigmasterol as a result of differences in light exposure, drying method, and leaf age (  Esmelindro et al. 2004 ). The data showed that when the products were protected from light, there was a dramatic increase in the concentrations of caffeine, theobromine, phytol, and, on steroids, stigmasterol, especially caffeine and theobromine, approximately 3 times higher. Light exposure did not appear to affect vitamin E concentrations. Leaf age had an effect on the amounts of all compounds; younger leaves showed the highest concentrations of all compounds. When alternative methods to air drying are used, microwave drying allows for the greatest retention of compounds compared to vacuum drying. These findings are important because they show that light conditions during growth, leaf age, and drying method may play a role in Mate composition, which would be important in selecting extraction products to obtain a high-quality extract ( Esmelindro et al. 2004  ).

Final remarks

When comparing Mate to other teas, such as green and black tea, there are several differences. First of all, the taste and aroma, clearly bitter Mate is often described as an acquired taste. Roasted/smoky aromas are also often a very desirable characteristic that sets it apart from other teas. It is not only the external properties that distinguish it from other teas, but also the varying concentrations of biological compounds that cannot be easily found in other teas. The most famous of these compounds are xanthines, theobromine and theophylline, which are attributed to its ability to increase energy levels. The concentration of saponins is also noteworthy, as they are not found in high concentrations in other teas; saponins contribute to flavor and can also be attributed to the anti-inflammatory and hypocholesterolemic properties inherent in Mate as a medicinal herb. It is also important to mention that although Mate is rich in many compounds not found in other teas, it does not contain catechins like green tea, and is not as rich in flavonoids as black tea.

Mate’s most notable biological activity is its high antioxidant capacity, which has been found to be higher than that of green tea, which is advertised as having a very high antioxidant capacity. This high antioxidant capacity is attributed to and is directly proportional to its high concentration of polyphenols, namely caffeoyl derivatives. Due to Mate’s high biological activity and high concentration of known active compounds, it is an ideal material for extracting these compounds for use in other food products and supplements. There are several products on the market today that contain certain derivatives of Mate. Most of them are aimed at weight loss, as Mate has shown correlation with weight loss and weight management. Future research will likely reveal more precise mechanisms behind Mate’s actions in these areas.

Contrary to reports of Mate’s carcinogenic properties, there are scientifically confirmed reports of anti-cancer effects. Mate tea has been shown to have high cytotoxicity against cancer cells, which is even higher than that of green tea. Mate has also been shown to be highly effective in inhibiting topoisomerase II, which is responsible for cell division, and by inhibiting the proliferation of cancer cells. It has been shown that oral cancer cells can be completely inhibited by treating them with 375 μg/ml of Mate extract. It should also be noted that although Mate does not contain catechins, or EGCG, it does contain compounds with a similar effect, such as 3,5-dicaffeoylquinic acid. This compound has been shown to be a potent proteasome inhibitor, comparable to EGCG, which has known proteasome inhibitory activity and is being investigated for the treatment of cancer.


Yerba Mate has been consumed for centuries, but has only been scientifically studied in the last 20 years. The growing interest in Mate around the world has made research into this herbal tea of ​​great importance as it has demonstrated extraordinary potential not only as a consumer beverage but also in the nutraceutical industry. In terms of carcinogenicity, recent information suggests that the link between mate consumption and cancer may not be due to raw mate itself, but to contaminants that may be present in processed mate. The high temperature at which Mate tea is consumed may also play a role. Therefore, post-harvest technologies must be improved – especially the drying process must be optimized to completely eliminate contaminants. Additionally, good quality control, including during analytical tests,

The content on the website comes from   the International Journal of Food Science  and has been translated into Polish.

Link to source –  https://ift.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1750-3841.2007.00535.x?vis=107973391.14074560005139_


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Null urn nibh, dictum own libero vitae, pharetra porttitor metus. No condiment course orci, id egestas need nursery in. You have an elite vestibule, sodales tortor id, pellentesque urn. Two consecutive free tempers. Mauritius about erat a lacus rhoncus fig tree.

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Number of citations according to CrossRef: 480

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