Composition and bioactive properties of yerba mate (Ilex paraguariensis A. St.-Hil.): A review.

Kellie P. Burris1, Federico M. Harte1, P. Michael Davidson1, C. Neal Stewart Jr.2, Svetlana Zivanovic1

Yerba Mate is a popular tea beverage produced and consumed in the South American countries of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay, and is processed from the leaves and stems of Ilex paraguariensis A. St.-Hil., a perennial shrub from the Aquifoliaceae family. Production occurs in six stages: harvesting older leaves and small stems, roasting by direct fire, drying under hot air, milling to specified size, aging to acquire optimal sensory attributes, and final packaging. While grown and consumed for centuries in South America, its popularity is increasing in the United States because of demand by consumers for healthier, more natural foods, its filling a niche for a different type of tea beverage, and for Yerba Mate’s potential health benefits—antimicrobial, antioxidant, antiobesity, anti-diabetic, digestive improvement, stimulant, and cardiovascular properties. Cultivation, production and processing may cause a variation in bioactive compounds biosynthesis and degradation. Recent research has been expanded to its potential use as an antimicrobial, protecting crops and foods against foodborne, human and plant pathogens. Promising results for the use of this botanical in human and animal health has prompted this review. This review focuses on the known chemical composition of Yerba Mate, the effect of cultivation, production and processing may have on composition, along with a specific discussion of those compounds found in Yerba Mate that have antimicrobial properties.

Keywords: Antioxidant, antimicrobials, natural products, Yerba mate, tea.
1University of Tennessee, Department of Food Science and Technology, Knoxville, 2605 River Drive, Knoxville, TN 37996-4591, USA. *Corresponding author (fede@utk.edu).
2University of Tennessee, Department of Plant Sciences, Knoxville, 252 Ellington Plant Sciences, 2431 Joe Johnson Drive, Knoxville, TN 37996-4561, USA.