More than thirty years ago I was introduced to a strange and curious drink by my friend Nancy, who had grown up in Montevideo, Uruguay. The drink was called “matï,” and it was meant to be shared with friends. Dried leaves of the yerba matï plant were steeped in a dried, hollowed-out gourd and sipped through a metal straw (the bombilla) that filtered out the leaves and stems of the matï brew. As we passed around the drink, among our group of North American friends, most of us thought that it tasted like stewed hay or even the ashes of a campfire and most us were able to tolerate only a few sips.
You can imagine my surprise, therefore, to learn that yerba matï has now become all the rage in the USA and many other parts of the world. It is the new designer drink, following in the footsteps of green tea and chai. Recently, the USA Today ran a story on the drink noting the following health benefits:
- Yerba matï has more immune-system boosting antioxidants than wine, green tea, or blueberries.
- It is also high in B-vitamins, which support cardiovascular health and other vital systems.
- It contains mateine rather than caffeine, a gentle stimulant that can elevate moods and relax muscles without jitteriness.
Anecdotal claims for yerba matï include allergy relief, mental clarity, digestive comfort, weight loss, and energy boosting. Because of the chemical differences between mateine and caffeine, it is not chemically habit forming or addicting and most people can drink it in the evening without disrupting their sleep patterns. I know that has been true for me. I now like to start the day with a pot of green tea and end the day with a pot of yerba matï.
Matï (pronounced mah-tay) is made from the holly shrub of the South American rain forest and it has long been a beverage of choice in not only Uruguay, but also Paraguay, Argentina, Chile, and Mexico. As it becomes more popular around the world, more scientific research will be conducted on the health benefits and more ways of brewing the herb will make it increasingly tasteful.
My own favorite brew is Yerba Matï Chai, which mixes cardamon, cloves, and cinnamon in with the matï. The matï chai mix does not even require a bombilla, since the leaves and spices sink to the bottom of the cup when fully brewed. Whatever your pleasure when it comes to taste, there’s no reason to not make yerba matï a regular part of your diet.
Coaching Inquiries: Other than fresh, clean water, what do you drink on a regular basis? Do you know how much caffeine you are drinking? Would you like to replace some of your caffeinated drinks with yerba matï? Who could you share a cup of yerba matï with today?
May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.
President, LifeTrek Coaching International, www.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformation, www.SchoolTransformation.com
2010-2011 President, International Association of Coaching, www.CertifiedCoach.org
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