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Yerba mate extract is a nutritional supplement that is made from the leaves of the yerba mate plant. This plant is found in many areas of South America, notably Bolivia, Uraguay and parts of Brazil and Argentina. Some formulas for the extract also include the use of the stems or twigs of the plant, as well as the flowers. Often served as a tea or an infusion with different fruit juices, yerba mate extract is said to aid in reducing cholesterol levels, aiding with weight loss, and relaxing stiff muscles.
In most cases, yerba mate extract is somewhat tart while retaining a flavor that is somewhat reminiscent of green tea. The concentrated extract is ideal for adding the nutrient content of the yerba mate plant to various types of liquids. In fact, the extract can be used to create a pleasant cup of hot tea that can be sweetened with honey or some other natural sweetener if desired. It is also possible to prepare yerba mate tea by adding herbs like peppermint or some type of citrus rind to the extract, creating a pleasant tea that is considered helpful with indigestion or a sore throat.
A number of different medicinal benefits are claimed for yerba mate extract. Traditionally, the dietary supplement has been thought to decrease the potential for obesity. Along with the use of yerba mate for weight loss, the antioxidants in the plant are believed to aid in lowering the amount of bad cholesterol in the bloodstream, effectively helping to reduce the risk of heart disease. Herbalists sometimes point to the high content of potassium, magnesium, and manganese as one of the reasons that yerba mate has a reputation for helping to soothe cramped muscles, as well as serve as a tonic for the nervous system.
While the yerba mate plant is native to South America, it has been cultivated in a number of other countries that enjoy a sub-tropical climate. Today, yerba mate extract is sold in many nations around the world as a nutritional supplement. In recent years, the weight loss properties of the product have led to increased interest among people who normally do not utilize herbal extracts for health reasons.
While there is a great deal of anecdotal evidence supporting the efficacy of yerba mate extract in treating a range of ailments, only limited research into the benefits of the plant have been conducted. Users also claim that a few yerba mate side effects, such as nervousness or insomnia, may occur if too much of the product is consumed in any given twenty-four hour period. As with any nutritional supplement, it is important to consult a physician before combining the use of yerba mate products with prescription medication.