On this breezy, late summer morning, I can feel a change in the air as a new season steadily approaches. Hello fall. I’m looking forward to your clear, rich colors and letting the haziness of summer go.
As I watch the tree limbs bow and sway outside my window, I quietly sip an herbal infusion from the Yerba Mate plant.
Ilex paraguariensis is native to subtropical South America and is a member of the holly family. Like the tea plant, yerba mate is a shrub or small tree. Its name translates to “cup herb”, referring to its popularity for infusing and drinking.
Drinking yerba mate from a shared hollow gourd is a common social practice in many South American countries. A metal straw, called a bombilla, is inserted into the gourd for sipping.
I steeped my yerba mate for 8 minutes in just below boiling point water.
Interestingly, while all other herbs do not contain caffeine, this herb does. However, studies have shown that the components found in the yerba mate leaf produce a different effect on the body, working directly on muscle tissue instead of the central nervous system as caffeine usually does. Further studies have also shown that it lowers cholesterol and has an anti-obesity effect.
The golden yellow liquor is mild with a pronounced sweet, grassy flavor that is quite delicious. I also found it to be incredibly smooth with the sweetness lingering on in my mouth, leaving a refreshing taste.
I think that this is a great herbal drink to explore if you are caffeine sensitive and looking for a beverage to refresh but not overstimulate.
What are you drinking this weekend?
“Courage is the power to let go of the familiar.”