Triterpene Saponins from Maté, Ilex Paraguariensis

  • Eloir P. Schenkel
  • Jarbas A. Montanha
  • Grace Gosmann
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 405)


Ilex paraguariensis St. Hil. is a South American native perennial tree belonging to the holly family (Aquifoliaceae). It has been historically used by the Guarani indigenous tribes as a source of a mildly stimulant beverage, called maté, “erva-mate”or “yerba-mate”, prepared by infusion of its dried leaves and twigs. The cultivation of Ilex paraguariensis started during the XVI century in the Jesuitical settlements, giving origin to the denomination “Jesuits tea”. Since then, the agronomic importance of the culture has increased, and it is nowadays an important traditional crop, having a significant economical impact in the southern countries of the South America, with a potential to grow. The yearly production of maté is estimated to be around three hundred tons. In southern Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina the leaves are also used in popular medicine and included in medicinal herbal products as a tonic, stimulant to the central nervous system, diuretic, and antirheumatic. Knowledge of its chemical composition has remained up to now rather poor. Known secondary metabolites are the xanthines (mainly caffeine), flavonoid glycosides (rutin), and caffeoylquinic acid derivatives (chlorogenic acids).


Chlorogenic Acid Ursolic Acid Oleanolic Acid Triterpenoid Saponin Medicinal Herbal Product 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eloir P. Schenkel
    • 1
  • Jarbas A. Montanha
    • 1
  • Grace Gosmann
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculdade de FarmáciaUniversidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul90.610.000 Porto AlegreBrasil

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