Ilex paraguariensis A. St.-Hil. (Aquifoliaceae)
Mate leaves contain xanthine derivatives, mainly caffeine (0.2 to 2%) and theobromine, with minor amounts of theophylline. They also contain various flavonoids of the flavonol subclass (quercetin, kaempferol and rutin), and polyphenolics, tannins and caffeic acid derivatives. Others include triterpenoid saponins and volatile oil.
Use and indications
Mate leaves are used as a stimulant, diuretic and analgesic, effects that can be attributed to the caffeine content. Mate is used to make a tea-like beverage in South America. High consumption of this tea appears to be associated with a high incidence of cancers of the oropharynx and oesophagus.