My favorite strategy for the winter blues (also known as Seasonal Affective Disorder) has always been a hearty dose of exercise, preferably outside in nature.
But recently I took a tumble in the ocean and ended up breaking my leg (ouch!). I can see sunlight pouring through breaks in the clouds outside. I'd love to go play in the snow that fell on the mountains last night. Unable to do so, I find myself looking for other ways to beat the winter blues...
- I'm taking a vitamin D supplement.
- I made a cozy reading nest by my favorite sunny window.
- I've been inviting friends over for visits.
- I'm eating lots of tryptophan-bearing leafy greens like kale and chard.
- And, to top it all off, I've added a few new herbs to my morning yerba mate blend. Here's my yerba mate recipe to beat the winter blues:
Yerba Mate + Chamomile + Passionflower + Lavender
Yerba mate raises energy and mood, supplying loads of nutrition and antioxidants along with stimulation. Yerba mate is traditionally used in South America as a catalyst. It is believed to amplify the healing effects of other medicinal herbs.
Chamomile has mild sedative properties. It may seem counterintuitive to add a sedative to a yerba mate drink, but this combo is well-tested in Argentina as a mildly energizing tension tamer.
Passionflower reduces inflammation as well as anxiety.
I round this blend out with just a pinch of lavender. This strongly aromatic flower is said to improve mood and promote healthy sleep patterns.
Seasonal Affective Disorder strikes millions of people every winter. The best strategy to stay positive is to keep feeding your body, heart, and soul with all the things that fill you up. I hope this recipe for yerba mate to beat the winter blues helps you keep it light!
The Trees are Growing Strong!
For the last ten years, we have been working with our farm partners in Argentina to plant a variety of native trees on their yerba mate lands. We are proud to report that many of these trees are growing tall, providing shade and habitat for biodiversity. Thank you so much for your support of our company over the years. Your business makes our green mission possible!
There are actually three varieties of tulsi commonly used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine: Vana, Rama, and Krishna Tulsi.
Vana Tulsi has a lemony flavor. In Ayurvedic medicine, Vana Tulsi is thought to moderate the wind principal, Vata, which governs breath, blood flow, and mental clarity.
Rama Tulsi's flavor has subtle notes of licorice and clove. In Ayurvedic medicine, Rama Tulsi is thought to moderate the earth principle, Kapha, which governs weight, growth, and joint health.
Krishna Tulsi has purple leaves and a peppery taste. In Ayurvedic medicine, Krishna Tulsi is thought to moderate the fire principle, Pitta, which governs digestion and metabolism.
ECOTEAS tulsi is an equal blend of these three tulsi varieties, making it a versatile and well-rounded choice for maintaing overall wellness.
The heart of yerba mate culture is the ritual of sharing a gourd with friends and family. The details of the ceremony can seem complex at first. But it's easy if you take it slow...
To share a yerba mate gourd with a circle of friends and family, you'll need a thermos or pitcher, some loose yerba mate, a tea straw, and a gourd.
- First, fill a thermos or pitcher with hot (but not boiling) water and set it aside.
- Next, fill a cured gourd about ⅔ with loose yerba mate.
- Tap the yerba mate to one side of the gourd to create a “little mountain” and a “little valley” inside.
- Moisten the “little valley” with cool water. Just a splash. Don’t flood the “little mountain.”
- Gently insert the filter tip of the tea straw into the “little valley.”
- Pour hot water into the “little valley” about halfway up the gourd, still keeping the tip of the “little mountain” dry.
- Sip this first pour right away. Make sure the tea straw is flowing well. Make sure the water is the right temperature. Drink until there is no more water left in the gourd.
- Now you are ready to pour sips for the friends and family in your yerba mate circle. Each person receives a half-full gourd. They sip right away, drinking all of the tea until the straw gurgles. Then they pass the gourd back to the pourer for refilling.
- Traditionally, only one person does all the pouring for the group. This person is called the “cebador.” She will keep pouring for each person in turn until the hot water runs out or the herb runs out of flavor, then replace them as needed.
Avoid touching the straw! Stirring makes all the herb steep at once, and it can also make the straw clog. One of the cebador’s most difficult jobs is to gracefully discourage newcomers to the yerba mate circle from touching the straw.
Looking for ECOTEAS Yerba Mate in a bottle? Look no further! We now supply Big Island Organics with the yerba mate they use to brew their delicious Gingerade Maté caffeinated ginger lemonade.
Here are three things that make Gingerade Maté special:
100% Unsmoked Organic Yerba Mate: With their use of ECOTEAS Unsmoked Organic Yerba Mate, Big Island Organics ensures a smooth, clean taste that is free of residues and byproducts.
Cold-Steeped: Big Island Organics cold-steeps their yerba mate. This creates a smoother flavor, provides for a balanced extraction of nutrients and stimulants, and protects the vital constituents of the finished beverage.
No Extracts or Concentrates: Most yerba mate beverages on the market artificially bump their caffeine contents by loading their drinks with extracts. (Big Island's caffeine content, at 50 mg, will give you a nice boost but it won't make you all spun out afterward like most energy drinks). What's more, Big Island Organics uses only whole-plant yerba mate in their drink, mixed with lemon juice, agave, and fresh-pressed ginger. You can't get more pure than the Big Island ingredient list. And with less than 70 Calories in a serving, they don't overload you with sweetness.
Gratitude to the folks at Big Island Organics. We feel honored that they've chosen to brew Gingerade Maté with our organic yerba mate. Click here to find a store where you can try one.
People often ask us, "Is organic yerba mate really that much better for you? I can pop into a Latin grocery store and get a bag of conventional yerba mate for way less than what your organic yerba mate costs."
A lot of "mainstream" shoppers will buy organic milk for their kids to ensure the absence of hormones and antiobiotics. But they may balk at paying premium prices for organic yerba mate, since they figure that this leafy tea probably doesn't require a lot of pesticides or fertilizers.
It's true that yerba mate doesn't require much fertilization. It grows in a lush environment. As a consequence of this region's natural fertility, the moment you turn your back on a yerba mate grove, it is thick with weeds. There are two ways to deal with this constant weed pressure. The industrial solution is to apply heavy doses of chemical herbicides. When you buy certified organic yerba mate from us, you are ensuring that weeds are controlled without the use of agro-chemicals. Organic yerba farmers control weeds with cover crops, organic mulch, and mechanical means, much of the weeding being done by hand with machetes. The price of our organic yerba mate reflects the higher cost of controlling weeds without using herbicidal sprays. It also reflects the costs of organic certification and fair trade practices.
Beyond the issue of what happens to herbicides once the rain washes them into the nearby rivers, or the issue of whether the workers who produce yerba mate are receiving a living wage to work in a safe environment, let's pause to think about our personal yerba mate consumption practices. If you're a regular yerba mate drinker, there's a good chance that you use a big scoop of loose yerba mate in a gourd or French press every day. You're not just having a cup of mate with a tea bag once in a while, right? Over the course of a lifetime, a little bit of residue on a lot of yerba mate starts to add up. This residue, mixed with hot water, is getting pumped through your bombilla into your mouth every day. Conventional yerba mate may not have the chemical load of a conventionally farmed apple, but you're not eating apples the way you're drinking mate.
Of course, we genuinely believe that our family farm partners grow the best organic yerba mate you can find anywhere. It is flavorful, frothy, and full of life. When you drink ECOTEAS organic yerba mate, you know exactly where your yerba mate is coming from. You know it was grown with respect for the land and the workers. And you know that it's free of smoke byproducts and herbicidal residues.
We started ECOTEAS as true believers in the organic agriculture movement. We are grateful that you, our customers, align with this vision and choose to support us. Thanks again, and enjoy our organic yerba mate!
- Fill a big mug halfway with ice.
- Add a teaspoon of lime juice,
- A tablespoon of maple syrup,
- And two tablespoons of ECOTEAS Loose Yerba Mate.
- Fill the mug with good clean water, stir, and let sit ten minutes.
- Insert a bombilla and sip the best iced yerba mate you've ever tasted!
Most people know us as a yerba mate company. If so much of what we do revolves around loose yerba mate, why did we name ourselves ECOTEAS?
For years, we've wanted to provide other teas in a similar format to our loose yerba mate. If you check out our "Organic Loose Teas" and "Tea Bags" sections, you'll get an idea of our evolution. It's really simple, after all...
What's an "ECO" Tea?
Minimal, green packaging.
Nothing fancy. We want to be on your shopping list, right next to bread and butter.
Bulk quantities. "More is more."
Direct relationships with farmers.
Organic and fair trade.
Sustainable farming and processing techniques.
Fair trade is a circle.
Everyone pays and receives a fair price.
Affordable for all.
The days are getting longer and warmer. As I work up a sweat in the garden, or play outside with my family in the lingering dusk, I start to get excited for tereré.
Tereré (say tay-ray-ray) is an iced yerba mate tea from Paraguay. It's refreshing, invigorating, and delicious. Best of all, unlike regular iced tea which takes hours to make, you can make tereré in a minute.
Here's the gear you need:
- A pitcher or wide-mouthed thermos
- A bombilla
- A small glass or metal cup
And here are the ingredients:
- Loose yerba mate
- A fresh lime or lemon
- First, fill your small cup with loose yerba mate.
- Next, insert your bombilla filter-end-down into the cup, all the way to the bottom.
- Now put the cup aside for a moment.
- Fill the pitcher with ice.
- Squeeze in a fresh lime or two.
- Fill the pitcher with fresh water.
- Finally, stir in some of your favorite sweetener to taste.
That's it! Easy peasy. Pour little sips from the pitcher into the cup, then sip until it gurgles. Pass it around in a circle with your friends, just like hot mate.
(In case you're wondering, you don't need hot water to extract caffeine or nutrition from the herb. The cold water will slowly extract yerba mate's goodness with repeated pours.)
Do you have your own favorite tereré recipe? Like to use soda water for a bit of fizz? Like to use orange juice, crushed raspberries, or pear juice instead of lime? Let us know in the comments thread below.