Anti-obesity effects of Yerba Mate (Ilex Paraguariensis): a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial

BMC Complement Altern Med. 2015 Sep 25:15:338. doi: 10.1186/s12906-015-0859-1.


Background: Obesity is a major health problem. A food field research that has recently aroused considerable interest is the potential of natural products to counteract obesity. Yerba Mate may be helpful in reducing body weight and fat. The aim of this study was to investigate the efficacy and safety of Yerba Mate supplementation in Korean subjects with obesity.

Methods: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was conducted. Subjects with obesity (body mass index (BMI) ≥ 25 but < 35 kg/m(2) and waist-hip ratio (WHR) ≥ 0.90 for men and ≥ 0.85 for women) were given oral supplements of Yerba Mate capsules (n = 15) or placebos (n = 15) for 12 weeks. Subjects take three capsules per each meal, total three times in a day (3 g/day). Measured outcomes were efficacy (abdominal fat distribution, anthropometric parameters and blood lipid profiles) and safety (adverse events, laboratory test results and vital signs).

Results: During 12 weeks of Yerba Mate supplementation, decreases in body fat mass (P = 0.036) and percent body fat (P = 0.030) compared to the placebo group were statistically significant. WHR was significantly decreased (P = 0.004) in the Yerba Mate group compared to the placebo group. No clinically significant changes in any safety parameters were observed.

Conclusions: Yerba Mate supplementation decreased body fat mass, percent body fat and WHR. Yerba Mate was a potent anti-obesity reagent that did not produce significant adverse effects. These results suggested that Yerba Mate supplementation may be effective for treating obese individuals.

Trial registration: (NCT01778257).

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / drug effects
  • Adult
  • Body Composition / drug effects
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Capsules
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Ilex paraguariensis*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / drug therapy*
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use
  • Waist-Hip Ratio


  • Capsules
  • Plant Extracts

Associated data