Ilex paraguariensis, Maté, Yerba maté.

Ilex paraguariensis, Maté, Yerba maté is native to South America, common in southern Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina and area of Uruguay. The tree is up to 40± feet tall, though is usually kept smaller in production systems for ease of leaf harvest. The leaves, like a few other members of the genus Ilex, including the North American, yaupon holly (Ilex vomitoria) contain appreciable levels of central nervous system stimulating xanthine alkaloids including caffeine, theobromine, theophylline, and other components, such as polyphenols which are responsible for antioxidant activity. It was maintained in cultivated, managed plantations as early as 1670 by Jesuit missionaries, and was used by the Guarani Indians before European invasion. In addition to being a central nervous system stimulant, liver-protectant, diuretic, antioxidant and cholesterol-lowering activities have been described.



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