If I wanted to answer the question of, “Why is Yerba Mate so necessary today?” in the quickest way possible, I could simply tell you to turn on the television to any mainstream news channel. What you would immediately see are dozens of negative stories about politics, terrorism, the latest abduction / kidnapping, celebrity gossip, and a list of people murdered near where you live. In short, you would be bombarded with story after story about how our world is crumbling and only falling into disrepair, when, in reality, that isn’t the case.
As a species, we are improving. Never before in the history of mankind have we had the ability to access information at our fingertips, travel to almost any land no matter how distant, drastically reduce death by disease and extend the mortality rate. Now, that’s not to say that we don’t have a long way to go. People still die from starvation, homelessness continues to exist and humans have found new and deadlier ways of killing each other over oil and politics. But, we are still only learning faster and getting better with each day that passes.
Now, the question is, “Okay, what does Yerba Mate have to do with all of this?” The role Yerba Mate can play in our world is a critical one if we allow it to. In the same way that coffee, tea and, unfortunately, alcohol has become seamlessly integrated into our daily lives, doing the same with Yerba Mate will benefit us, as a species (I know, bold claim), in endless ways.
Yerba Mate forces you to slow down
If you prepare Yerba Mate in the traditional way, with a gourd, bombilla and loose leaves, you’re forced to stop whatever you’re doing, or thinking about, and focus for a handful of minutes; like a meditation. The filling of the gourd, shaking of the leaves, pouring of the water and placing of the bombilla all take care and attention, and it’s this undivided focus that affords you a few minutes to slow down and forget about all of the noise that constantly pollutes and harms our lives.
When you share Yerba Mate with others, you’re typically seated in a circle and passing it amongst friends or strangers. Conversation flows, laughter enters the circle and a general feeling of camaraderie is formed, which, at first, can feel strange to many people, but becomes second nature as you share it more. Someone once said that “drinking Yerba Mate is the opposite of television,” because it’s more engaging and interactive than mindlessly watching a screen.
Drinking Yerba Mate brings down barriers
Sharing Yerba Mate with a stranger is one of the most exciting and worthwhile things out there. It’s very much like sharing a meal with someone you don’t know.
Drinking from the same cup and straw brings a certain kind of intimacy with the act itself, but when the cebador (“server” in Spanish, which is whoever prepares the mate), takes care to prepare a gourd and literally serve it to someone else, all sense of the ego and “Me, me, me!” breaks down, allowing people to more easily bond with one another.
There have been countless times when sitting in a park, anywhere from New York City to Nepal, drinking Mate by myself, and a stranger approaches me and asks, “What is that?” with a quizzical look. I always pat the closest spot next to me and ask them to sit. The crazy thing is that they always sit. We end up sharing mate, getting to know one another, and walk away more educated and open than before. But, what’s even better is that these interactions often result in new friendships.
Yerba Mate is one of the healthiest drinks in the world
Another bold claim, I know. But, it’s completely true. The fact is that Yerba Mate is one of the healthiest drinks in the world. And, in the same way we, as a species, have become better at living longer, we have also, ironically, become much more advanced in the amount of junk food we produce and consume. If you enter a supermarket in any “developed” nation, you’re likely to find sugary sodas, cereals, juices and a host of other goods that taste delicious, but are harmful to your health.
Yerba Mate, on the other hand, contains an insane amount of antioxidants, natural stimulants, vitamins and minerals, making it one of the most complete and healthiest drinks known to man. It helps you breathe better, makes you feel a bit more euphoric and happy, lowers cholesterol, opens up your blood vessels for better circulation, increases focus, inspires creativity and countless other positive affects on your body.
If you’re interested in learning more about Yerba Mate and its health benefits, head here.
While there are a multitude of reasons that Yerba Mate is so important today, these are only a few of the more practical applications. The only way you’ll know is by experience it yourself. And, reaping the benefits of this all is as easy as grabbing yourself a Yerba Mate kit (gourd, bombilla, loose leaves) or tea bags from your closest Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods or online.
If you have any comments or questions, please don’t be shy and leave them below. The more the merrier.