Yerba Mate drink may be linked to Cancer

Lauren Lee, Staff Writer

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The trendy tea many college students have been drinking, Yerba Mate, may not be as healthy as you think.

As advertised, the “Magical” tree in which Yerba Mate is derived from is said to have the power to unite and energize. Yet with only around 140 milligrams of caffeine in a bottle, how do the mysterious Mate leaves give off this energy? To get into the nitty-gritty, Yerba Mate is Ilex paraguariensis, which falls into the same family as holly and is typically found in South America. It is boasted to be chocked full of beneficial antioxidants, ease depression, aid weight loss, and even alleviate headaches. Although these claims are not backed by any scientific evidencee, the list is impressive and intriguing for anyone.

On the Yerba Mate label, the following is in bold: “These statements have not been evaluated by the food and drug administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.” It also suggests that children and pregnant women should avoid ingesting the drink, though this is common for all caffeinated beverages.

However, when ingested in large quantities, the beloved Yerba Mate poses possible health threats. Increased risk of cancer of the mouth, esophagus and lungs are all diseases that have been associated with prolonged consumptions of Yerba Mate. Mate contains polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which is a carcinogenic contaminant also found in tobacco. Smoking in combination with drinking Yerba Mate is reported to greatly increase the risk of cancer.

Although there are no specific cases of this drink being the sole cause of cancer, the topic is still widely discussed and debated. From the data that is currently reported, it is best to ingest this tea-like drink in moderation and stick to drinking regular tea!


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