What is the Cold Herbal Tea Paraguayans Drink?

Yerba Mate (Ilex paraguariensis) is the signature drink of Paraguayans and an integral component of their culture. Guarani indigenous people of South America traditionally used dried leaves and twigs from yerba mate plants as a daily tonic to promote well-being; during colonization, Spanish adopted this ritualized infusion practice, and today its popularity can be found all around the globe. For an authentic experience, hot water should be poured over a pile of dried leaves/twigs before being drunk using metal straw called bombilla in gourd called guampa; often additional medicinal plants may be added and enjoyed in company of friends or family resulting in what’s referred to as Terere.

Paraguayans currently utilize 97 medicinal plants with their yerba mate beverage. Of these plants, approximately half are used for terere and the rest in hot yerba mate; there is an obvious connection between certain medicinal plants and specific types of yerba mate (terere or hot), because their properties (e.g. bitterness or sharpness) match those associated with its consumption – specifically medicinal plants used with terere are likely more astringent or bitter than their counterparts in hot yerba mate use.

Some mate servers add sugar for taste; usually just a spoonful is added. When cold yerba mate is served, ice should also be included with it and sometimes, an accompanying piece of bread is eaten alongside.

Traditional cold terere involves mixing yerba mate with other medicinal herbs like boldo or mint. The mixture is then placed in a thermos (typically made of cow horn or cylindrical metal gourd called a guampa), mixed with ice and zesty herbs before being poured over yerba and enjoyed through a special medial straw known as bombilla which features something like a tea filter/strainer on its tip.

Cebadors are responsible for creating and administering terere. As it’s always bitter, the person in charge of creating it also drinks the initial infusion as part of this ancient practice. According to many practitioners, drinking terere can cleanse one’s body of impurities while also helping regulate blood sugar levels, thus eliminating or decreasing diabetes and high cholesterol levels – Sorocea bonplandii, Maytenus ilicifolia and Allophylus edulis are popular medicinal plants used in treating these conditions.

Paraguayans use the term hakupora (meaning it’s hot) as a common expression, from weather forecasts to awkward conversations. This popular saying also serves as a greeting when passing someone on the street and visiting their homes – great way to break the ice and connect with neighbors while showing your concern and care for their health and wellbeing! Plus, this herbal tea beverage is always readily available year round! So if you want a refreshing and invigorating beverage then give Terere a try – guaranteed!

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