Health Guide


What is it?

Mate is an herbal medicine used to treat headache, fatigue (tiredness), nervous depression, and rheumatism (sore aching joints).

Other names for Mate include: Ilex, Jesuit's brazil tea, Paraguay tea, and Yerba mate.

Ask your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist if you need more information about this medicine or if any information in this leaflet concerns you.

Before Using:

Tell your doctor if you

  • are taking medicine or are allergic to any medicine (prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) or dietary supplement)
  • are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medicine
  • are breastfeeding
  • have epilepsy (seizure disorder)
  • have any other health problems, such as high blood pressure or heart or blood vessel disease


Talk with your caregiver about how much mate you should take. The amount depends on the strength of the medicine and the reason you are taking Mate. If you are using this medicine without instructions from your caregiver, follow the directions on the medicine bottle. Do not take more medicine or take it more often than the directions tell you to.

To store this medicine:

Keep all medicine locked up and away from children. Store medicine away from heat and direct light. Do not store your medicine in the bathroom, near the kitchen sink, or in other damp places. Heat or moisture may cause the medicine to break down and not work the way it should work. Throw away medicine that is out of date or that you do not need. Never share your medicine with others.

Drug and Food Interactions:

Do not take Mate without talking to your doctor first if you are taking:

  • Clozapine (Clozaril(R))
  • Fluvoxamine (Luvox(R))
  • Linezolid (Zyvox(R)) (10)
  • Lithium (Lithonate(R), Lithobid(R))
  • Medicines used for depression or Parkinson's disease (monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), examples: linezolid (Zyvox(R)), phenelzine (Nardil(R)), selegiline (Eldepryl(R)))
  • Phenylpropanolamine


  • Before taking Mate, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Do not take Mate if you have heart disease, hypertension (high blood pressure), or epilepsy (uncontrolled shaking) (3)
  • Mate should not be used long term use (5)
  • Using too much Mate or using it for too long may cause esophageal cancer (8,9)
  • Do not drink alcohol when taking Mate

Side Effects:

Stop taking your medicine right away and talk to your doctor if you have any of the following side effects. Your medicine may be causing these symptoms which may mean you are allergic to it.

  • Breathing problems or tightness in your throat or chest
  • Chest pain
  • Skin hives, rash, or itchy or swollen skin
  • Increased (high) blood pressure (6,7)
  • Seizures (uncontrolled shaking) (6,7)

Other Side Effects:

You may have the following side effects, but this medicine may also cause other side effects. Tell your doctor if you have side effects that you think are caused by this medicine.

  • The caffeine in Mate may make you loose your appetite (hunger), or make your heartbeat or breathing faster. Mate can also cause you to make more urine, feel irritable, have problems sleeping, and feel nervous if large amounts are taken (6,7)
  • You may have a headache when you stop using mate (4)
  • Tingling in your face, arms, or legs. (10)


1. Anon: British Herbal Pharmacopoeia. British Herbal Medicine Association, Keighley, UK; 1983.

2. Bradley PR (ed.): British Herbal Compendium vol. 1. British Herbal Medicine Association, Bournemouth, UK; 1992.

3. Reynolds JEF (ed.): Martindale: The Extra Pharmcopoeia, 29th edition. The Pharmaceutical Press, London, UK; 1989.

4. Newall C, Anderson L & Phillipson J. Ginseng, Panax. In: Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health-Care Professionals. The Pharmaceutical Press, London, UK; 1996.

5. McGuffin M, Hobbs C, Upton R et al (eds): American Herbal Products Association's Botanical Safety Handbook: guidelines for the safe use and labeling for herbs in commerce. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL; 1997.

6. Leung AY: Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients Used in Food, Drugs, and Biologicals, 11th edition. Merck, Rahway, NJ; 1989.

7. Ohem N & Nolzl J: Some new investigations on Ilex paraguariensis - flavonoids and triterpenes. Planta Med 1988; 54:576.

8. Morton JF: The potential carcinogenicity of herbal tea. Envir Carcino Rev J Envir Sci Hlth 1986; C4:203-223.

9. Vassallo A et al: Esophageal cancer in Uruguay: a case control study. J Nat Cancer Inst 1985; 75:1005-1009.

10. Product Information: Zyvox(R) IV injection, oral tablets, oral suspension, linezolid IV injection, oral tablets, oral suspension. Pharmacia & Upjohn Company, New York, NY, 2008.

Last Updated: 7/4/2018
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