Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Long-Awaited, Likely-Forgotten Answer this post...
CLICK HERE to know what I'm talking about

The question in the post three months ago, was "What that thing used for?!"

I can't say with complete confidence, but I'm pretty sure drinking "térere" is a national past-time, right up there on the list with soccer, appropriately known as "futbol."  This particular cup is hollowed out wood, but there are also silver or cups made out of cow hooves.  I don't mind the wooden or silver ones. :-)  This particular cup is for some friends back in the U.S.

From the picture above, you can see that the "bombilla" or straw has a filtered end.  This is very necessary, as the "yerba" is dried and cut, leaves.  The direct translation to English is "weed, herb, grass."  The yerba is harvested from the South American holly tree.  The flavor is a little bitter, but it grows on you after a while, and I'm getting to where I like it.  This is a staged picture, because there is no ice in the water.  Generally, when drinking térere, the more ice in the water the better.

Drinking térere is a group activity--using one cup, one straw, and one pitcher of ice water (or more depending on how long they'll be drinking!)  It's more of a social activity than anything else, I think.  One person is responsible for serving, so they pour the water into the cup, and pass it to the left. After each person drinks all the water in the cup, they hand it back to the server, only to pass it right along to the next person on the left.  It's very typical to see a group of Paraguayans sitting in a circle drinking térere.

So, what does térere do?  Here's a list I found on line of the benefits (note, this website was trying to sell the yerba, so I'm not sure of the true accuracy!)

•Strengthens the immune system
•Reduces fatigue
•Reduces blood pressure
•Breaks down fat (lipolytic)
•Balances sleep patterns
•Delivers oxygen to the heart and lungs during exercise
•A great diet aid
•Increases focus
•Increases creativity
•Increases strength, energy and endurance
Recent research has shown that Yerba:
•Reduces cholesterol
•Contains antioxidants
•Contains 15 amino acids
•Contains 24 vitamins and minerals
•Is a whole body tonic

The main effect I've noticed in just about everyone, is that soon after drinking a quantity of térere, everyone needs to use the bathroom!  It seems to be a diuretic.  I'm planning to get a termo (thermos), bombilla (straw) and guampa (cup) in the next few months.  I've got my eye out for a really good set!

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