Citation: Gandalf the Grey. "Sticking with the Tea: An Experience with Yerba Mate (exp62301)". Erowid.org. Jun 12, 2007. erowid.org/exp/62301
I personally avoid any and all substances containing caffeine, as I usually find myself extremely sensitive to 'normal' doses of caffeine (if I drink a Pepsi or a glass of iced-tea), extremely sensitive being that I will become very jittery and unable to focus, also accompanied by unpleasant headaches. Recently, however, I really felt like I needed something to boost my faltering motivation with schoolwork. I turned to my mom to see if she had any sort of silver bullet hiding in her tea cupboard. She suggested I try Yerba Mate. 'Naturally caffeinated,' read the label. Naturally, I researched the stuff online, and came to the conclusion that the amount of caffeine was miniscule enough that I felt it was probably safe to assume I wouldn't experience many nasty side-effects.
I brewed the 3g bag of tea in boiling water for about ten minutes, and drank it as it cooled. I had just eaten a hearty lunch, and began noticing the effects as I worked on the computer, about a half-hour later. I haven't done any other psychoactives for going on three months (my past experiences include marijuana, salvia, and HB Woodrose), but I could still tell nonetheless that my mind was not becoming 'altered' in the sense of psychedelics. Instead, my mind felt very clear: many trivial thoughts that used to plague my head constantly and get in the way of my work were now gone. My work became the center of my attention. I didn't feel obsessive or unnaturally driven, just a sense of focus. Not to mention there was none of the jitteriness or headache that I had experienced with caffeine before.
I continue to work with renewed effort for about 2-3 hours, then I slowly feel a crash coming on. I just felt wasted, and somewhat depressed...no, more like empty. I was in this slump for an hour or two, then began to feel normal again. Still no other bad side affects I typically get with caffeine.
I haven't smoked marijuana for three months-ish, and I felt a calling just to smoke something. Around 11pm, same day as my first time with the tea, I snip open a teabag and pour half the contents into an old, wooden tobacco pipe my uncle had given me. By the way, my parents punished me very harshly when they figured out I smoked weed, hence not smoking for three months and no proper glass piece. The contents of the bag, I discovered, actually contained mint leaves as well, and the contents in general were like the finest shake I had ever seen, almost a powder, it was.
I began to puff on it tentatively, not pulling it straight into my lungs but into my mouth and then sucking it down. The taste, of course, was rather minty, which I really liked: it sort of gave the sensation of cooling my lungs and throat. Almost right away, I noticed that my cheeks started to tingle and feel slightly numb. Other than that, nothing to note. The smoke was super billowy, and I coughed a handful of times when I swallowed too much. Because it was so billowy, and also because I didn't have to worry about being wasteful, I had a lot of fun just puffing on it like one would tobacco: it was cool to watch the smoke swirl around. Another reason why I did this was because I was getting tired of trudging my way through a giant bowl of powdery herb that clearly wasn't doing anything that drinking the tea wouldn't. Plus, I hear lungs come in handy on occasion.
Upon finishing it, I washed up (by the end, the smoke was not as pleasant as in the beginning) and then took the remaining half of the bag to make tea. I drank it, and the cumulative effects of smoking and drinking the Mate were essentially the same as simply drinking the tea. And the tea tastes so much better. After smoking I cleared my throat several times, and it was quite gunky. Surprisingly, my lungs and throat feel none the worse for wear (I am writing this on the day after), it's as if I didn't even smoke at all. However, the taste of it remained in the back of my throat when I awoke this morning: it tasted very much like I had smoked nondescript, dry vegetation (duh...), not very nice.
I have had a cup of it today, and, yes, it has helped me focus again. Still no negative side-effects, and I hope not to experience a slump again. If I do, I wouldn't be surprised: I'm rather sensitive to psychoactives. All in all, I still don't like caffeine. As much as it is useful to me in small quantities, it's not my bag.
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