Did you know…that bio-active compounds in yerba mate tea have been shown to cause cancer cells in the colon and liver to die?
Colorectal cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths in the United States. One of the reasons colorectal cancer is so deadly is that it has no symptoms until the advanced stages—so it can be exceptionally difficult to diagnose.
However, when caught early enough, this cancer can be quite curable. Doctors recommend regular screening as a preventative measure, but what if you could simply kill any developing cancer cells from the comfort of your own kitchen?
According to a recent study conducted by scientists from the University of Illinois, one of the best possible ways to prevent colon cancer could be by drinking a cup of yerba mate tea.
What is Yerba Mate?
Yerba mate is made from the leaves of a tree (Ilex paraguariensis) native to South America. The people indigenous to that region have long been aware of yerba mate benefits for medicinal applications. Now, researchers worldwide are beginning to investigate—and confirm—the tea’s healing powers.
Stopping Colon Cancer at Its Cellular Source
The University of Illinois study is just one exciting example of scientific validation of yerba mate benefits. Elvira de Meja, an associate professor of food chemistry and food toxicology at the University, headed the research team. For the study, de Meja and her colleagues isolated and purified caffeine derivatives—including caffeoylquinic acid, or CQA—of yerba mate tea.
The team then used those derivatives to treat colon cancer cells in vitro (in a laboratory vessel, such as a test tube). As the team increased the concentration of CQA, cancer cells began to die away as the result of a process known as apoptosis.
“Put simply, the cancer cell self-destructs because its DNA has been damaged,” de Meja explains. She and her fellow scientists believe yerba mate benefits induce apoptosis and cancer cell death makes it a promising treatment option for all types of cancer.
The results of de Meja and her team’s work were published in Molecular Nutrition & Food Research in 2011. Considering the implications of those results, more inquiries into yerba mate benefits potential as an anti-cancer weapon are sure to be forthcoming.
Fighting Cancer by Reducing Inflammation
Not only do the caffeine derivatives from yerba mate benefits kill cancer cells, but they also reduce cellular inflammation. Inflammation can trigger cancer’s onset and progression. The tea’s anti-inflammatory capabilities are one of the major reasons de Meja sees it as such a viable cancer-fighting agent.
Benefits Include Heart Health, Fat Loss, and More
In addition to fighting cancer, yerba mate benefits potent caffeine derivatives may be helpful in combating other disease associated with inflammation. And separate studies have also suggested a host of other benefits obtained from drinking yerba mate, showing that it…
- Reduces oxidative stress on the heart and liver
- Protects DNA from damage
- Kills liver cancer cells in humans
- Improves the flow of blood
- Lowers risk of heart disease
- Reduces fat accumulation
90% More Antioxidants than Green Tea
Aside from the caffeine derivatives, yerba mate benefits are rich in several important vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Some blends of yerba mate have 90% more antioxidants than green tea. Some of the other significant compounds found in yerba mate include:
- B vitamins
- Vitamin C
A Beginner’s Guide to Drinking Yerba Mate (Just One Cup Kills Cancer Cells!)
When prepared traditionally, it is brewed and served in a hollowed-out gourd. A metal straw with a filter on one tip is used to prevent drinkers from sucking up the leaves.
The tea is available in a more convenient, pre-bagged form at most health food stores. It can be found at some of the larger supermarkets as well.
The beverage’s flavor is typically described as smoky…bitter…and woody, which may explain why many American consumers have had to acquire the taste.
If the first sip doesn’t go down smoothly, just think of all the disease-fighting powers you’re drinking in. When you remember that yerba mate benefits far outweigh the effort it takes to tolerate the taste, the medicine goes down more easily.
The University of Illinois study showed that the concentration of bio-active compounds contained in just one cup of yerba mate tea is sufficient to kill off colon cancer cells.
“We believe there’s ample evidence to support drinking yerba mate tea for its bio-active benefits,” says de Meja.