In accordance with their ancient beliefs, the Guarani people looked forward to the coming of a God who had promised their ancestors He would someday visit them. After a long time, the tall, fair-skinned, blue-eyed, bearded God (Pa’i Shumé) finally descended from the heavens and taught the Guarani people. He instructed them in the principles of religion and agriculture, including the healing benefits of certain plants that grew in their land.
According to the legend, one of the most important things He taught them was how to harvest and prepare the leaves of a tree that eventually came to be known as Yerba Mate tree. The yerba (leaves) were to be dried, ground and cured for a long period of time and then placed into a gourd (mate), after which hot water was added. The frothy brew was to be sipped through a bombilla (bamboo straw-like device). The rich, highly nutritious beverage was meant to ensure health, vitality and longevity, but it was bitter to the taste.
The Guarani learned, however, that when stevia leaves were added to the brew, it became sweet, delicious and highly desirable. Stevia and Yerba Maté became the sacred herbs of the Guarani. Dried and cured Yerba Mate leaves became the most common ingredient in the household cures of the Guarani people and lately extended to Argentina, Uruguay and Chile.
“The Miracle of Stevia” Discover the Healing Power of Nature’s Herbal Sweetener – James May –