Health Research on Mate Tea

15 Replies

Really? Those videos are painful to watch. They sound whoever is doing them sounds more like they are trying to get off the toilet rather than trying to make an informative video.

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SimplyJenW said

I agree that moderation is the key. From what I read in the studies, probably one steep is not nearly as bad as multiple, and places like David’s Tea and Teavana sell it in a blend, thus reducing the concentration even further. I usually drink it in a 1:3 ratio with some sort of black tea when I do.

Will it affect my purchase of mate in the future? Probably. I had stopped drinking it daily (in a blend) quite a while ago on my own, but this just gives another reason not to be as eager to restock.

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Geoffrey said

I’m not convinced on the basis of these very uninformative < 1min videos, nor from the research abstracts cited. There’s plenty of junk science (and bias-funded science) published all the time, and a very high proportion of it is in health and nutrition research. This reminds me of the hysteria surrounding Kava ten years ago.

Just consider for a moment the manner and tone with which the narrator starts this cartoon of a video. “Aromatic compounds that smell like urine, mothballs, sweaty, cheesy, animal dung, body odor…” Have any of you ever smelled mate like that? I sure haven’t. And in any case, it doesn’t sound or look like this video is really intending to educate anyone. It looks more to me like it’s trying to stir up a reaction of disgust and horror in people. Ugh, for me, presentations like this just come off as an insult to critical thinking.

I know people who drink mate all the time, and a huge majority of people in Argentina and Uruguay have been drinking mate like American’s drink coffee, or like the British drink tea, for centuries. The real acid test of this research would be clear evidence from statistical analysis of a dramatically higher incidence of the cancers listed among these populations (“Drinking mate has been associated with cancers of the esophagus, oropharynx, larynx, lung, kidney, and bladder”). I have not seen any convincing indication that this is the case, and until someone can prove it to me with solid and compelling data, I’m going to remain very skeptical.

As someone who’s studied ethnobotany and ethnopharmacology (how different cultures use and interact with plants, medicines and drugs) this is my two cents, for what it’s worth.

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I don’t care about maté one way or the other, but the guy in the video has credentials. His sources are nutritional and medical journals, and they should be linked to the video. If not, e-mail him and he’ll send you links to the sources.

Here’s his bio:

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