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Mate, Guarana and Cola
There are also other plants, which contain methylxantines. In South America the tea Mate is very popular. It is used by the native population from immemorial time. The Mate prepared from the leaves of the evergreen homonymous tree “Llex paraguanariensis”; the twigs of the tree wither on the fire very fast and after that tea can be prepared, from its leaves. Sometimes this tea is called “Paraguayan” tea or Jesuitical tea, because the first Europeans, who encountered it, were the Jesuitical missioners, who launched numerous missions in the land of the Red Indians – the Guaranas. The Jesuits recommended to their newly converted congregation to drink Mate, in order to preserve them from the new scourge, which their own countrymen brought to the New World, namely alcohol. After World War II the Mate gradually sunk into oblivion, but it is still popular in its country; there it is drunk very hot through special straws.
The Guarana (Paullinia cupana) is still held in respect in Brazil today, where it is drunk as tea or mixed with the home beer. Here and there in Europe beverages, prepared from it, are still sold; in Germany different drinks, which are produced from an extract of Guarana. Are very popular; some of them have recently arisen in Bulgaria, too.
In Western Africa grows the, as high as 20 m., tree “Cola acuminata”, which walnuts contain caffeine. The fresh walnuts are bitter, but after they stay, they become sweet; in Africa they’re chewed or are used for preparation of drinks. The extract of Cola is an unalterable component of Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola, but as a matter of fact, the basic part of the caffeine in these drinks is added in addition. Many medicines also contain caffeine.
It is considered that caffeine stimulates considerably the intellectual abilities, but the precise experiments have shown that this sensation is a result more of the high spirits than of anything else. Caffeine actually increases the sensory sensitiveness and the mood, but its effects as a stimulant refer mostly to the increased physical efficiency, especially if the man is tired. The caffeine is a diuretic.