Yerba mate extract may provide ‘new raw material’ for dietary supplements

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Antioxidant, Coffee

An extract from yerba mate, a traditional drink from South America, may offer an antioxidant-rich alternative to the brewed tea for use in supplements, suggests a new study from Brazil.

According to findings published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry​, a spray-dried extract of yerba-mate (Ilex paraguariensis​ A.St.-Hill, Aquifoliaceae) is rich in polyphenols and displays high antioxidant activity.

“Yerba-mate or maté (​Ilex paraguariensis A.St.-Hill, Aquifoliaceae) leaves are typically used for their stimulant, antioxidant, antimicrobial, and diuretic activity, presenting as principal components polyphenolic compounds,”​ explained researchers led by Kleber Berté from the Federal University of Paraná.

“This trial demonstrated that the obtaining of spray-dried yerba-mate is promising in the generation of a new raw material for the industry,”​ they added.

Commenting on the findings, the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) said that the study shows that the spray-dried water extracts of herbs normally brewed as tea “may provide a tea alternative for herb use as a food or supplement ingredient”​.

Study details

The researchers, based in Southern Brazil, report their production of a spray dried yerba-mate dry extract. Subsequent analysis showed that the spray drying technique increased levels of certain polyphenol compounds, compared to the dry leaves. Specifically, increases in rutin, caffeic acid, and 5-caffeoylquinic acid were found following spray drying.

“The [DPPH antioxidant] test was performed with ascorbic acid, a well know antioxidant compound, [and this was found to be] 99.04 percent less effective than the yerba-mate extract,” ​wrote the researchers.

According to the Brazilian researchers, the Council of Europe lists yerba mate as a natural source of food flavouring, while in the US, it is listed as GRAS (generally recognized as safe).

Source: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1021/jf2008343
“Chemical Composition and Antioxidant Activity of Yerba-Mate (Ilex paraguariensis A.St. Hill., Aquifoliaceae) Extract as Obtained by Spray Drying”
Authors: K.A.S. Berté, M.R. Beux, P.K.W.D.S. Spada, M. Salvador, R. Hoffmann-Ribani

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