Last update Nov. 11, 2023



Safe substance and/or breastfeeding is the best option.

Tree, bush. Dried leaves are used in infusion (social consumption of mate). Highly consumed in Uruguay, Argentina, Paraguay, southern Brazil, Bolivia and Chile. Contains alkaloids, xanthines (caffeine 2%, theobromine 0.2%, theophylline 0.05%), tannins, flavonoids. Attributed properties are: mood stimulant, diuretic, bronchodilator, and vasoconstrictor. Indication of Commission E of the German Ministry of Health (Blumenthal 1998): physical and mental fatigue.

One 500 ml chimarrão (mate) "cuia" (gourd bowl) contains 135 mg of caffeine. One cuia of tererê contains 85 mg of caffeine. One cup of 182 ml of tea ("cooked mate") contains 13 mg of caffeine (Markowicz 2005). An average consumer of mate eats 100 to 200 mg of caffeine a day, although consumption can be as high as 1 gram a day. (Pepino 2004, Vázquez 1986)

At the date of the last update, the authors did not find any published data on its excretion in breast milk.

During the Covid-19 pandemic (2020-21) in Argentina, women during the postpartum period increased their consumption of caffeinated beverages; yerba mate intake was associated with a better psychological state and greater self-efficacy in breastfeeding, as opposed to coffee intake. (Miranda 2023)

Neonatal withdrawal syndrome has been published after chronic maternal consumption of mate. (Martín 2007)

Excessive consumption (more than 300 mg of caffeine per day) has been associated with irritability and insomnia in infants (Santos 2012, Martín 2007, Clement 1989, Rustin 1989), low levels of iron in breast milk with anemia in infants (Muñoz 1988) and Raynaud's phenomenon of the nipple in the mother. (McGuinness 2013)

One study found no problems in infants whose mothers consumed 500 mg of caffeine daily for 5 days (Ryu 1985). There is not enough evidence on what the maximum recommended amount of caffeine is during breastfeeding. (McCreedy 2018)

There is no evidence of its effectiveness as a galactogogue; due to its caffeine content it seems prudent to moderate its consumption during breastfeeding (Pepino 2004). The best galactogogue is breastfeeding on frequent demand and with correct technique. (ABM 2018 and 2011, Mannion 2012)

Precautions when taking herbal teas or plant preparations (Anderson 2017, Powers 2015, Posadzki 2013, Efferth 2011, Kopec 1999, Hsu 1995):

Make sure they are from a reliable source. Poisonings have occurred due to confusion of one plant with another with toxic properties (Hsu 1995), poisonings due to containing heavy metals extracted from the soil and food poisoning due to contamination with bacteria or fungi.

Do not take in excess. Follow the recommendations of professional experts in herbal medicine. “Natural” products are not good in any quantity: plants contain active substances from which a large part of our traditional pharmacopoeia has been obtained and can cause poisoning or act as endocrine disruptors because they contain phytoestrogens (Powers 2015) if they are consumed in an exaggerated quantity or time. An excessive consumption of mate (more than one liter a day) increases the risk of oro-pharyngeal-laryngeal-esophageal cancer. (Mello 2018)

Suggestions made at e-lactancia are done by APILAM team of health professionals, and are based on updated scientific publications. It is not intended to replace the relationship you have with your doctor but to compound it. The pharmaceutical industry contraindicates breastfeeding, mistakenly and without scientific reasons, in most of the drug data sheets.

Jose Maria Paricio, Founder & President of APILAM/e-Lactancia

Your contribution is essential for this service to continue to exist. We need the generosity of people like you who believe in the benefits of breastfeeding.

Thank you for helping to protect and promote breastfeeding.

José María Paricio, founder of e-lactancia.

Other names

Chimarrão is also known as Mate. Here it is a list of alternative known names::

Chimarrão in other languages or writings:


  1. Miranda AR, Cortez MV, Scotta AV, Soria EA. Caffeinated non-alcoholic beverages on the postpartum mental health related to the COVID-19 pandemic by a cross-sectional study in Argentina. Human Nutrition & Metabolism 2023 (33) sept. 200198 Consulted on Nov. 11, 2023 Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  2. Mello FW, Scotti FM, Melo G, Warnakulasuriya S, Guerra ENS, Rivero ERC. Maté consumption association with upper aerodigestive tract cancers: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Oral Oncol. 2018 Jul;82:37-47. Abstract
  3. McCreedy A, Bird S, Brown LJ, Shaw-Stewart J, Chen YF. Effects of maternal caffeine consumption on the breastfed child: a systematic review. Swiss Med Wkly. 2018 Sep 28;148:w14665. Abstract
  4. ABM: Brodribb W. ABM Clinical Protocol #9: Use of Galactogogues in Initiating or Augmenting Maternal Milk Production, Second Revision 2018. Breastfeed Med. 2018 Jun;13(5):307-314 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  5. Anderson PO. Herbal Use During Breastfeeding. Breastfeed Med. 2017 Abstract
  6. Powers CN, Setzer WN. A molecular docking study of phytochemical estrogen mimics from dietary herbal supplements. In Silico Pharmacol. 2015 Mar 22;3:4. Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  7. Posadzki P, Watson L, Ernst E. Contamination and adulteration of herbal medicinal products (HMPs): an overview of systematic reviews. Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 2013 Abstract
  8. McGuinness N, Cording V. Raynaud's phenomenon of the nipple associated with labetalol use. J Hum Lact. 2013 Abstract Full text (link to original source)
  9. Mannion C, Mansell D. Breastfeeding self-efficacy and the use of prescription medication: a pilot study. Obstet Gynecol Int. 2012;2012:562704. Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  10. Santos IS, Matijasevich A, Domingues MR. Maternal caffeine consumption and infant nighttime waking: prospective cohort study. Pediatrics. 2012 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  11. Efferth T, Kaina B. Toxicities by herbal medicines with emphasis to traditional Chinese medicine. Curr Drug Metab. 2011 Abstract
  12. ABM. Comité de Protocolos de la Academia Médica de Lactancia Materna. ABM Protocolo Clínico #9: Uso de Galactogogos para Iniciar o aumentar la tasa de secreción de Leche Materna. Breastfeed Med. 2011 Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  13. ABM. Academy Of Breastfeeding Medicine Protocol Committee. ABM Clinical Protocol #9: Use of galactogogues in initiating or augmenting the rate of maternal milk secretion (First Revision January 2011). Breastfeed Med. 2011 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  14. EMA. Community herbal monograph on Ilex paraguariensis St. Hilaire, folium. Committee on Herbal Medicinal Products (HMPC) 2010 Full text (in our servers)
  15. Martín I, López-Vílchez MA, Mur A, García-Algar O, Rossi S, Marchei E, Pichini S. Neonatal withdrawal syndrome after chronic maternal drinking of mate. Ther Drug Monit. 2007 Abstract
  16. Markowicz Bastos D, Fornari AC, Queiroz Y, Manolio Soares RA, Torres EA. Contenido de acido 5-cafepoilquínico y cafeína en bebidas de yerba mate (Ilex paraguariensis). The chlorogenic acid and caffeine content of yerba maté (Ilex paraguariensis) beverages Acta Farm. Bonaerense 2005; 24 (1): 91-5. Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  17. Pepino MY, Mennella JA. Advice given to women in Argentina about breast-feeding and the use of alcohol. Rev Panam Salud Publica. 2004 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  18. Kopec K. Herbal medications and breastfeeding. J Hum Lact. 1999 Jun;15(2):157-61. Review. No abstract available. Abstract
  19. Zava DT, Dollbaum CM, Blen M. Estrogen and progestin bioactivity of foods, herbs, and spices. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med. 1998 Abstract
  20. Blumenthal M, Busse WR, Goldberg A, Gruenwald J, Hall T, Riggins CW, Rister RS, editors. The American Botanical Council. The Complete German Commission E Monographs. Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. 1st ed. Integrative Medicine Com; Boston, MA, USA: 1998
  21. Hsu CK, Leo P, Shastry D, Meggs W, Weisman R, Hoffman RS. Anticholinergic poisoning associated with herbal tea. Arch Intern Med. 1995 Abstract
  22. Rustin J. Caffeine and babies. Br Med J. 1989;299:121. Full text (link to original source)
  23. Clement MI. Personl view: Caffeine and babies. Br Med J. 1989;298:1461. Full text (link to original source)
  24. Muñoz LM, Lönnerdal B, Keen CL, Dewey KG. Coffee consumption as a factor in iron deficiency anemia among pregnant women and their infants in Costa Rica. Am J Clin Nutr. 1988 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  25. Vázquez A, Moyna P. Studies on mate drinking. J Ethnopharmacol. 1986 Abstract
  26. Ryu JE. Effect of maternal caffeine consumption on heart rate and sleep time of breast-fed infants. Dev Pharmacol Ther. 1985 Abstract

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