The Green Yerba Mate Herbal Tea is an herb prepared from the leaves of a South American evergreen shrub, Yerba Mate is also known as Paraguay Tea. The shrub, Illex paraguayensis, is related to the common holly; the leaves are oval and about 6 inches long, the flowers are small and white, and the fruit grows in tiny clusters of red berries that are close to the stems of the plant. Much like guarana and yopo, mate is our only herbal tea that contains caffeine - and it is actually rich in it - the content is comparable to that of Arabica coffee.
Sometimes called "The Drink of the Gods" by many indigenous people of South America, this tea has been brewed for centuries. First cultivated by Jesuit missionaries, the first mate plantations were founded in the mid 1600's. The leaves are processed similarly to tea leaves - the tips of the branches are cut just before the leaves reach full growth, and are steamed and dried. The dried leaves are then sifted and allowed to age to enhance flavor.