Yerba Mate

Yerba Mate is a traditional Argentinean tea. Although very popular in other countries, Argentina has a specific, stylized way of drinking/preparing it (Roland Soong). The Argentines use the mate, a hollow gourd, a bombilla (metal-filter straw), and hot water. The mate are green dried leaves and stemlets of the tree Ilex paraguarensis, which is grown in Northern Argentina, and contains around 1% of caffeine (Soong). The gourd can be made out of anything, and the bombilla has a strainer at the end of it, and is crafted either elaborately or plain.

The Argentines have a special way of drinking the tea: They start by filling the gourd with the mate leaves, then adding the water. They drink from the gourd through the bombilla, and when they finish, it is passed to the next person as they add more water (Soong). Having it passed around like this symbolizes the “intimacy” of the tradition. It is believed by the people that the Yerba Mate tea will stimulate the mind, reduce fatigue, reduce stress, eliminate insomnia, help with appetite control, detoxify the blood, help with body immunization, tone the nervous system, restore hair color, and preserve youth (Soong)