JAMA 100 Years Ago Section Editor: Jennifer
Reiling, Assistant Editor.
Some months ago a request was made in the Journal
of Tropical Medicine that some reader in South America give information
in regard to maté or Paraguay tea. In response to this it publishes
in its October number a communication from a South American resident who points
out certain special advantages of this as a stimulant.
. . . The correspondent asserts that maté is far superior in
its invigorating powers to tea, coffee or cocoa and that it fits one as well
for mental as for physical work. It is prepared, as is tea, by pouring boiling
water on the leaves, and it should be drunk immediately or sucked through
a metal tube, the latter being the preferable way. The stimulating effect
of three or four ounces will last for as many hours. The bitter taste is soon
tolerated and even relished. The small amount of caffein as compared with
tea or coffee is rather notable; less than one-half the amount in tea, and
the lack of volatile oils which often disagree with digestion is another point
in its favor. The correspondent thinks that from a hygienic point of view
maté ought to be preferred to other beverages that contain caffein,
as its stimulation is not at all debilitating. In only very rare instances
has he ever seen it produce any untoward symptoms. Some very neurotic and
neurasthenic individuals bear it badly and have their symptoms aggravated
if they take it in excess. He admits that a maté habit may be acquired
and may become persistent, though no very evil effects, he says, seem to follow.
Taken cold, as is the habit with some of the laborers in South America, it
seems to have a bad effect, but since they subsist almost entirely on it for
days at a time it is not remarkable that they should be anemic and emaciated.
They are, moreover, usually subjects of malaria, and it is claimed that taking
cold maté in excess makes them more subject to the malarial infection.
DANGER FROM SLEEPING CARS.. JAMA. 2003;290(17):2340. doi:10.1001/jama.290.17.2340-a