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Ilex paraguariensis (Aquifoliaceae)

MATE, PARAGUAY TEA, JESUIT'S TEA

 

The caffeine-rich leaves of this South American tree, used locally as a stimulant and appetite suppressant, have become a herbal remedy for nervous headache with fatigue and to suppress the appetite.

 

Contrary to popular belief, mate is rich in caffeine. It has been used since ancient times by South American Indians as a stimulating drink, particularly during arduous walks in the Andes. Native to South America, it is a tree growing to 6 m (18 ft) and has shiny serrated leaves and small white flowers that turn into red berries.

 

PARTS USED

Leaves.

 

ACTIVE INGREDIENTS

Alkaloids, including caffeine; tannins; volatile oil.

 

ACTIONS

Central nervous system stimulant; reduces muscle tension and spasm; increases urine production.

 

MEDICINAL USE

Given for nervous headaches associated with fatigue and to reduce the appetite in people who overeat.

 

PREPARATIONS

Infusion.

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