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Maté (Ilex Paraguayensis)

This is also called Paraguay tea or Yerba, and is a stimulating drink made from the dried leaves of a South American oak and is very popular in Latin America. The dried leaves are also exported and are available in many health food stores.

The 'tea' has a high caffeine content and is renowned as a tonic and stimulant, increase in alertness and mental acuity.

It contains iron and is useful in the treatment of iron-deficiency anaemia. Once made the tea should be drunk fresh, orit becomes black and bitter if allowed to stand.

Caution: Maté shouldn't be drunk by people with cardiovascular or nervous conditions, or those allegic to caffeine. Excessive consumption can cause diarrhoea. For more information on nutrition see 'Nutrients A to Z' by Dr. Michael Sharon (Prion Books)

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