You've heard that green tea's antioxidants have been shown to help prevent cancer. With antioxidant levels far higher in traditionally consumed yerba mate, researchers have found yerba mate to contain many anti-cancer properties. Here is a short summary of the yerba mate research:
PAHs are common in a bunch of foods and beverages, such as coffee, tea, water, meats, and other foods. They are impossible to avoid, yet they are known to be carcinogenic in higher concentrations. Heavily smoked yerba mate's contain higher levels of PAHs than brands not heavily smoked. For this reason, one would be wise to avoid any roasted yerba mate, which we do not sell. Still, non-smoked yerba mate's have been shown to have 80% less PAHs than some more heavily smoked methods. We are proud to offer a variety of non-smoked brands, for those wishing to reduce PAHs in their diet. Check out our low PAH Unsmoked Kraus Yerba Mate and Unsmoked EcoTeas Yerba Mate brands.
The practice of Traditional Medicine, according to Subhuti Dharmananda, Ph.D., Director of the Institute for Traditional Medicine in Portland, Oregon notes that it does not reccommend drinking any teas at excessively hot temperatures (2005). There are studies that identify a connection between throat damage caused by any extremely hot liquids, which can then lead to an increased risk of cancer. Consumption of any drinks (coffee, tea, hot water) or soups at very high temperatures has been reported as a risk factor for esophageal cancer in Puerto Rico (30), Singapore (31), Iran (32), and China (33), (34), (35). Thus, drinking any liquid (coffee, tea), even Yerba Mate, at very high temperatures and in large quantities over time may increase the risk of esophogeal cancer. Unfortunately, a large number of Yerba Mate cultures drink it at too high of a temperature, and scold their throat over 5 times a day, taking more than just a few sips each time. In some Latin American cultures it is considered cool, or machismo, to drink the water at a very hot temperature. This type of abusive treatment of the body has been connected to an increase in cancer. The American Association for Cancer Research notes that consumption in larger quantities and at very hot temperatures is "associated with an elevated risk of esophageal cancer"(2003).
So, although Yerba Mate has been shown to inhibit and kill cancer cells, it is not amazing enough to protect your from constant burns to your throat. You can read more about safe yerba mate temperatures, so that you can imbibe the nutrients safely. Basically, don't drink scolding hot liquids! Turns out that burning your throat is not a wise way to treat the body. Fortunately, turns out that drinking yerba mate at the recommended temperatures is a wise way to treat your body!
Yerba Mate has Anti-Cancer Agents: Puangpraphant S, et al. Dicaffeoylquinic acids in Yerba mate (Ilex paraguariensis St. Hilaire) inhibit NF-κB nucleus translocation in macrophages and induce apoptosis by activating caspases-8 and -3 in human colon cancer cells. Mol Nutr Food Res. (2011)
Yerba Mate Antioxidants Fight Cancer: National Cancer Institute and National Institutes of Health
Yerba Mate Anti-Cancer Information: Burris KP, et al. Composition and Bioactive Properties of Yerba Mate (llex paraguariensis A. St.-Hil.): A Review. Chilean Journal of Agriculture. (2012)
Yerba Mate Has High Polyphenols: Chandra S., De Mejia G. Polyphenolic compounds, antioxidant capacity, and quinone reductase activity of an aqueous extract of Ardisia compressa in comparison to mate (Ilex paraguariensis) and green (Camellia sinensis) teas. Journal Agric Food Chemistry: 52:11 (2004)
Yerba Mate Attacks Cancer Cells & Supports Healthy Cells: Bixby M., et al. Ilex paraguariensis extracts are potent inhibitors of nitrosative stress: A comparative study with green tea and wines using a protein nitration model and mammalian cell cytotoxicity. Life Sciences (2004)
Anti-Cancer Tumor Activity of Yerba Mate: Ramirez-Mares M., et al. In vitro chemopreventitive activity of Camelia sinensis, Ilex paraguariensis and Ardisia compressa tea extracts and selected polyphenols. Mutat. Res. 554: 53-65 (2004)
Yerba Mate Destroys Colon Cancer Cells: Puangpraphant, S., et al. Dicaffeoylquinic acids in Yerba mate (Ilex paraguariensis St. Hilaire) inhibit NF-κB nucleus translocation in macrophages and induce apoptosis by activating caspases-8 and -3 in human colon cancer cells. Mol Nutr Food Res.55, 15091522 (2011)
Yerba Mate Prevents Colon Cancer: Puangpraphant, S.,et al. Saponins purified from Yerba Mate (Ilex paraguariensis St. Hilaire) leaves inhibit in vitro inflammation and induce caspase-3-dependent apoptosis in human colon cancer cells. Food Chem. 125:11711178 (2011)
Yerba Mate Prevents Colon Cancer: Puangpraphant, S., Dia, V. P. Gonzalez de Mejia, E. Garcia, G., Berhow, M. A. Wallig, M. A. Yerba mate tea and mate saponins prevented azoxymethane-induced inflammation of rat colon through suppression of NF-κB p65ser311 signaling via IκB-α and GSK-3β reduced phosphorylation. BioFactors. International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 39(4):430-440. (2013)
Yerba Mate Inhibits Oral Cancer Growth: de Mejia, E.G., et al. Effect of Yerba Mate (Ilex paraguariensis) Tea on Topoisomerase Inhibition and Oral Carcinoma Cell Proliferation. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry: 53 (2005)
Yerba Mate's Cancer Fighting Properties Summary, as well as suggestion that the anticancer properties of yerba mate are from something more than just the polyphenols: Heck, C.I, Mejia de, E.G. Yerba Mate Tea (Ilex paraguariensis): A Comprehensive Review on Chemistry, Health Implications, and Technological considerations. Journal of Food Science: 72 (2007)
"Saponins in leaves of mate prevent inﬂammation and colon cancer in vitro." - Yerba Mate Prevents Inflammation: Sirima Puangpraphant, et al. Mate (Ilex paraguariensis St. Hilaire) saponins induce caspase-3-dependent apoptosis in human colon cancer cells in vitro. Journal of Food Chemistry (2011)
"Yerba mate (Ilex paraguariensis) is rich in several bioactive compounds that can act as free radical scavengers. Since oxidative DNA damage is involved in various pathological
states such as cancer, the aim of this study was to evaluate the antioxidant activity of mate tea as well as the ability to inﬂuence DNA repair ... The regular ingestion of mate tea increased the resistance of DNA to H2O2-induced DNA strand breaks and improved the DNA repair after H2O2 challenge in liver cells, irrespective of the dose ingested. These results suggest that mate tea could protect against DNA damage and enhance the DNA repair activity. Protection may be afforded by the antioxidant activity of the mate tea’s bioactive compounds." Yerba Mate Antioxidants/Anti-Cancer: Daniel D. C. Miranda, et al. Protective effects of mate tea (Ilex paraguariensis) on H2O2-induced DNA damage and DNA repair in mice. Mutagenisis (2008)