I'm referring to mate (mah-tay), a South American tea cultivated in tropical forest of the lower countries, and which is extraordinarily rich in nutrients. This tea is thought to have more antioxidants than white, black or green tea, and is loaded with macrominerals like magnesium and potassium. When drunk from a gourd (or "calabaza") and a closed-ended metal straw with holes, as is the custom in South America, the tea is exceptionally potent and satisfying.
When I lived as an exchange student in Argentina I didn't care much for it, and frankly, I didn't understand the Argentine culture's fascination with this tea.
But ten years later and with Lyme disease symptoms striking me full-fledged, I discovered huge bags of this tea at a Mexican supermarket in Denver (where it was being imported from Argentina) and tried it again, this time falling passionately in love with it for the effects that it had on my body.
How could it be that I hadn't noticed before the amazing benefits of this tea?
I began drinking it regularly in the A.M., and within a half-hour of consuming the beverage, my aches and stiffness would be massaged away, the fog in my head would dissipate, my energy would rise, as would my mood.
For nearly a year, I craved the stuff like crazy, and I believe it supplied my body with much-needed nutrients, especially magnesium, which is a mineral deficient in most Lyme-disease sufferers. It has also been known to stimulate detox reactions in some Lyme disease sufferers, which suggests its usefulness as a detoxifying agent.
I would still be drinking it every day were it not for its caffeine content, which is hard on the adrenal glands. Yes, mate can be as bad as coffee, especially when drunk South American style. However, if taken in moderation, the tea can be beneficial to the body, and especially for those with relatively healthy adrenal glands.