Daily Herbal Habit #1, Yerba Mate


Yerba Mate Plant

I don’t just use herbs in my Shepherd’s Alchemy products; I also have a range of herbs that I use daily for good health that I’d like to share.

These are herbs and health tips that picked up from my wanderings around the globe that I’ve integrated into my daily habits and rituals.  Not everything turns into a habit, sometimes I try something and it doesn’t really do it for me, so I drop it.  I continually redefine my healthy herbal habits – using what works best for me.

One of my favourite herbal habits is one that I picked up in Argentina. ‘Yerba mate’ the ‘drink of the gods’ named so as apparently a white bearded foreigner /god (perhaps the same Quezequatal who introduced other Ancient South American civilisations to Pyramids and sky charts) introduced them to Yerba mater and taught them how to chop, dry and drink this tea.  He told them it would quell hungry and allow them to work all day. And hence it is both a great ritual in the way you drink it, a special gourd, as well as a great health tonic.

It has a great list of benefits:

  • Increases Energy
  • Mental Stimulant: Keeps you alert and mentally agile
  • Decreases Appetite/ great for weight management
  • Laxative/ keeps you regular
  • Antioxidant
  • Strengthens the heart
  • Lowers the bad Cholesterol
  • Fights Cancerous cells
  • Boosts the immune System
  • Full of vitamins: A. C, E, B-1, B-2 and B

While it’s an acquired taste due to its bitterness, I love it.  Even the ritual of drinking it out of a gourd, which gets me some strange glances here in Australia.  Of course, in Argentina and Uruguay, it’s the order of the day. In Southern Latin America, it also has a real social aspect,  you’ll often find people in parks, beaches or even while visiting friends sharing a yerba mate with some lively banter.

Yerba_mateYet the benefits exist no matter how, where or with whom you drink it, I see most health food shops even sell it in tea bags now, which makes it more convenient.  I highly recommend you give it a try.

I personally buy it from Chili Mojo, a store local in Adelaide, who specialise in some of the best sauces and Latin food you can find in Australia.  If in Australia, this is the best online shop to buy it in.

From Gaucho Gourmet: The Plant is called Yerba Mate (flex paraguariensis) and is an member of the holly family. And is classified as aromatic, stimulant, bitter, aperient (laxative), astringent, diuretic, purgative, sudorific (sweat inducing), and febrifuge (fever reducing). It also contains  carotene, vitamins A. C, E, B-1, B-2 and B-complex, riboflavin; nicotinic acid; pantothenic acid, biotin, magnesium; calcium; iron; sodium; potassium; manganese, silicon, phosphates, sulfur; hydrochloric acid, chlorophyll, choline, and inositol. In 1964 one group of from the Pasteur Institute and the Paris Scientific Society said that Mate contains practically all of the vitamins necessary to sustain life.

Sources & Further Reading:
Gaucho Gourmet
Be Brain Fit

Health Secret # 3, Going Alkaline

alkalinedrinkIt was years ago that I was so energetically drained that my multi-vitamins and weekly massages just weren’t cutting it any more – that I started looking into my diet and came across the book by Dr. Young about the Alkaline diet. And hence thought I would give it a try, while it is hard to eat Alkaline the whole time, it did make me more conscious of adding more raw salad and vegetables to my food, eating more nuts and less processed food.  On top of this I have tested and tried all the Green Alkaline drinks on the market before settling on my favourite, for me this was a huge short cut to getting more off all the good greeness without having to just eat salad all day everyday – the one I love is the Orca Energy Greens, but feel free to go out there and find one that suits you.
As I said I do eat a healthy diet and I do wish and dream of having access to organic food all the time, that is high in their own mineral / vitamin content, however due to our soils and mass farming our food today has a much higher chemical component and lacks many of the nutrients and minerals that it used to have – which is why I decided to try the green powder – I am always happy to try something new, and then drop it if I don’t see or notice a difference. With going Alkaline I noticed it immediately in both my energy levels, and my skin that now has a much more even and healthy tone to it.   I also recommend The Acid-Alkaline Diet for Optimum Health: Restore Your Health by Creating pH Balance in Your Diet – for me it all made perfect sense, and I especially love him saying just add what you can to you diet, the more green and fresh it is the better – to be 100% Alkaline is hard to do, however any small incremental steps we can take to improve our diet and way of life, and these small steps and a bit of conscious living/ eating does make a difference.  I also think it helps when we are aware of our bodies and how the food and drink we ingest makes us feel, did that salad energize or did the burger add to or drain our energy… How does what we are doing make us feel, and as I believe all diets and foods affect us and our genetic history a little differently it’s worth noting and taking the effects on our bodies into account – working in harmony with our body is one of the first steps in being in harmony with life, and for me going alkaline was something that made and continues to make a difference.

I don’t normally recommend products, only when I know or feel and have tested the difference and quality it has made to my own life, if you’d like to try it at a discount, you can get a coupon via this link.  IHerb Orca Energy Greens

If not, just adding more greens and alkaline foods to your diet while cutting out acidic food (coffee, soft drinks, processed foods, dairy etc) will also help make a difference.

If you’d like some more information I recommend this book as a reference: The Acid-Alkaline Diet for Optimum Health: Restore Your Health by Creating pH Balance in Your Diet