One of my favourite yerba mate traditions is adding medicinal herbs to my gourd or teapot mate. As a long time lover of tea blending and drinking, it was very natural for me to pop a little bit of this herb and that herb into my yerba brew. I must say, however, when I learnt that in various parts of Argentina your local naturopath or herbalist would prescribe herbs medicinally to be taken in your yerba mate gourd, I embraced the practice on a whole new level. Unlike coffee which many advise drinking separately to some supplements and vitamins because it inhibits their absorption, this cultural practice suggests that yerba mate is the perfect delivery system for the medicines of other plants.
Adding medicinal herbs to your daily mate, feels very aligned with one of the foundations I learnt studying raw food nutrition years ago – the idea that every meal is an opportunity to add as much value as possible… and this includes drinking coffee, if that’s what you’re going to be doing. Rather than depleting us nutritionally and overstimulating the nervous system, how can we make drinking coffee work for us? for some, mould-free Bulletproof coffee emerged as the solution. And with the cacao revolution, a similar philosophy is present. David Wolfe – one of the leaders in the superfood movement – talks about cacao as a vehicle in which to deliver other medicinal foods into our body. Chocolate becomes a health-promoting substance when using raw cacao and adding other nutritionally dense foods. And this perspective continues… cacao is not a good delivery system just because it appeals to the palette and is high in antioxidants, but because of the way cacao works in our bodies on a chemical level…it’s unique ability to open certain pathways, allowing the nutrients to be received and integrated.
I wonder if yerba mate has similar properties and whether this is one of the reasons it has been traditionally used as a vehicle to take thy medicine? I haven’t found the research to support this, but I value the language of traditional practices and personal experience rather than industry trends. We are only our own experts at the end of the day. It is wonderful to be inspired by new insights and learn about new foods and ways of eating, but the real test is experiencing how our unique chemistry responds… being in tune with our bodies so we can feel these insights. I love chocolate for the euphoria and inspiration I feel. But I also know cacao can be a complete nightmare, triggering migraines in some and leaving others in a jittery mess. I share a similar passion for yerba mate as I do chocolate. Both are part of my daily practice. Adding herbs to my mate is a creative part of this ritual, every cup becomes a unique experience.
So how can I inspire your own medicine mate experimentations? We are limited only by imagination! There is so much space for play, and there are also real planetary energies to align with. For example, during winter the warming herbs like cardamom, ginger and cinnamon become allies. There’s also the antibacterial and antimicrobial herbs like thyme, rosemary, lemon verbena and lemon grass. Herbs can be fresh or dried. I use organic herbs or ones picked fresh from the garden and pop them into my teapot infusion or gourd along with my pure leaf yerba mate.
And I know there are those who love this idea but do not have the space in their lives to incorporate medicine mate practices… if this is you, your Bombisheros have some beautiful blends to offer 🙂
Our Abundance blend has an abundance of warming herbs like cinnamon, cardamom and liquorice root.
Mate for the heart of winter, who needs mittens!