Mate Folia. Mate.
Maté consists of the dried leaves of Ilex Paraguayensis, Hook:, and other species (N.O. Ilicineae), shrubs indigenous to Brazil and the Argentine Republic. After collection, they are dried by artificial heat and reduced to coarse powder, which is packed in hide serons or in sacks for transportation. The leaves are ovate or oblong-lanceolate in shape, 5 to 15 centimetres long, with distantly crenate-serrate margin; coriaceous, pale or dark green and nearly glabrous; lateral veins depressed on the upper surface. Odour, aromatic; taste, bitterish astringent, and somewhat empyreumatic. As the commercial drug is always in coarse powder the following structural characters aid in its identification:—Upper epidermis of small polygonal cells with thick striated cuticle; stomata, on under surface only, very numerous, each surrounded by four or five cells; numerous prismatic and cluster crystals of calcium oxalate, particularly in the cortex of the midrib, which is provided with a sheath of pericylic fibres.
Constituents.—The chief constituents of maté are 0.2 to 2 per cent. of caffeine, and from 10 to 16 per cent. of tannin.
Action and Uses.—Maté is largely used in South America, in the form of infusion, as a refreshing drink.