Today Culturalmente Imparando flies overseas, to the southernmost lands of the world, to the knowledge of one of the most iconic drinks of the Cono Sur: the Mate.
Made famous all over the world thanks to the traditional image of the Gaucho, the Mate is today a faithful companion also of sportsmen (not only South Americans), musicians and actors. But let's find out more about the history and properties of this drink.
Mate is an infusion of leaves of the llex paraguariensis plant (in Spanish, Yerba Mate, in fact). It is served inside a cup-like container (Mate or Porongo), complete with a straw (bombilla), and is filled from time to time with hot water.
The Mate represents, especially in Argentina and Uruguay, a real cultural custom: it is a central element in every home, it represents a moment of sharing and, for many, a real life partner, so much so that they can take it with them everywhere.
Although the idea that its origins date back to the 16th century is widespread, when the first Spanish soldiers arrived in the lands of South America, in the absence of tea, they decided to infuse the leaves of this particular plant and to drink them by means of a straw, the true origin of this ritual is much older: in fact, they are the guaraníes, a people native to the region of the Paranaense Forest, the first to tomar mate inside a pumpkin container (still today widespread among consumers), with the only difference was that the water used was not heated.
But mate is not only an excellent companion, a perfect life partner: consuming yerba mate is also good for your health! In fact, the leaves of Ilex paraguaguariensis contain 90% more antioxidants than common green tea, thus contributing to the improvement of the body's natural defenses and protecting it from cellular damage.