Last update Nov. 28, 2021


Very Low Risk

Safe. Compatible. Minimal risk for breastfeeding and infant.

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

It should not exceed the amount equivalent to 300 mg of caffeine a day (200 cc = 50-100 mg) during lactation. Average ingestion of Yerba mate by consumers is around 100-200 mg of caffeine a day, though it can reach 1 gram daily. It was published neonatal abstinence syndrome following chronic maternal consumption of mate.

At last update, there were not found published data on excretion in breast milk but it is known that xanthines are excreted in breast milk; however and since there is no proof of their effectiveness as galactagogue, it seems prudent not to increase but instead moderate the intake during lactation (Pepino 2004). A best galactagogue is a frequent and on-demand breastfeeding together with a proper technique. (ABM 2018 y 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, and are based on updated scientific publications. It is not intended to replace the relationship you have with your doctor but to compound it.

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

Mate is also known as

Mate in other languages or writings:


  1. 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)
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. Anderson PO. Herbal Use During Breastfeeding. Breastfeed Med. 2017 Abstract
  5. 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)
  6. 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)
  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. 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)
  9. 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)
  10. 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)
  11. 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)
  12. Efferth T, Kaina B. Toxicities by herbal medicines with emphasis to traditional Chinese medicine. Curr Drug Metab. 2011 Abstract
  13. EMA. Community herbal monograph on Ilex paraguariensis St. Hilaire, folium. Committee on Herbal Medicinal Products (HMPC) 2010 Full text (in our servers)
  14. 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
  15. 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)
  16. 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)
  17. Kopec K. Herbal medications and breastfeeding. J Hum Lact. 1999 Jun;15(2):157-61. Review. No abstract available. Abstract
  18. Zava DT, Dollbaum CM, Blen M. Estrogen and progestin bioactivity of foods, herbs, and spices. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med. 1998 Abstract
  19. Blumenthal M. The American Botanical Council. The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Ed. Integrative Medicine Com. Boston. 1998
  20. Hsu CK, Leo P, Shastry D, Meggs W, Weisman R, Hoffman RS. Anticholinergic poisoning associated with herbal tea. Arch Intern Med. 1995 Abstract
  21. Clement MI. Personl view: Caffeine and babies. Br Med J. 1989;298:1461. Full text (link to original source)
  22. Rustin J. Caffeine and babies. Br Med J. 1989;299:121. Full text (link to original source)
  23. 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)
  24. Vázquez A, Moyna P. Studies on mate drinking. J Ethnopharmacol. 1986 Abstract
  25. Ryu JE. Effect of maternal caffeine consumption on heart rate and sleep time of breast-fed infants. Dev Pharmacol Ther. 1985 Abstract

Total visits


Help us improve this entry

How to cite this entry

Do you need more information or did not found what you were looking for?

   Write us at

e-lactancia is a resource recommended by IHAN of Spain

Would you like to recommend the use of e-lactancia? Write to us at corporate mail of APILAM