Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Mate, or Paraguay Tea, the dried leaves of Ilex paraguagensis and allied species of holly growing in Paraguay and south Brazil, furnishes the chief non-alcoholic drink of South America. Though used immemorially by the Indians, the tree was first cultivated by the Jesuits. The dried leaves are packed in serous or raw hides containing about 200 lbs. each. The infusion is prepared in a calabash or mate, usually silver-mounted, boiling water and sugar, with milk or lemon-juice, being added to the leaves (gerba), and the beverage taken very hot through a metal or reed tube or bombilla with a strainer at one end. Mate contains 1-85 per cent, of caffein, acting as a restorative, much as tea does; but, being bitter, the taste for it has to be acquired.