About the Author
Conditions of Use
Common Names: Chocolate, cacao, criollo, cacaoyer, kakao
Parts Used: Fruit, Seed, Leaves, Bark
| PLANT DESCRIPTION |
|Antiseptic, diuretic, emmenagogueue, parasiticide, vulnerary
Acetic-acid, aesculetin, alanine, alkaloids, alpha-sitosterol, alpha-theosterol, amyl-acetate, amyl-alcohol, amyl-butyrate, amylase, apigenin-7-o-glucoside, arabinose, arachidic-acid, arginine, ascorbic-acid, ascorbic-acid-oxidase, aspariginase, beta-carotene, beta-sitosterol, beta-theosterol, biotin, caffeic-acid, caffeine, calcium, campesterol, catalase, catechins, catechol, cellulase, cellulose, chlorogenic-acid, chrysoeriol-7-o-glucoside, citric-acid, coumarin, cyanidin, cyanidin-3-beta-l-arabinoside, cyanidin-3-galactoside, cyanidin-glycoside, cycloartanol, d-galactose, decarboxylase, dextrinase, diacetyl, dopamine, epigallocatechin, ergosterol, ferulic-acid, formic-acid, fructose, furfurol, galacturonic-acid, gallocatechin, gentisic-acid, glucose, glutamic-acid, glycerin, glycerophosphatase, glycine, glycolic-acid, glycosidase, haematin, histidine, i-butyric-acid, idaein, invertase, isobutylacetate, isoleucine, isopropyl-acetate, isovitexin, kaempferol, l-epicatechin, leucine, leucocyanidins, linalool, linoleic-acid, lipase, luteolin, luteolin-7-o-glucoside, lysine, lysophosphatidyl-choline, maleic-acid, mannan, manninotriose, mannose, melibiose, mesoinositol, methylheptenone, n-butylacetate, n-nonacosane, niacin, nicotinamide, nicotinic- acid, nitrogen, nonanoic-acid, o-hydroxyphenylacetic-acid, octoic-acid, oleic- acid, oleo-dipalmatin, oleopalmitostearin, oxalic-acid, p-anisic-acid, p-coumaric-acid, p-coumarylquinic-acid, p-hydroxybenzoic-acid, p-hydroxyphenylacetic-acid, palmitic-acid, palmitodiolen, pantothenic-acid, pectin, pentose, peroxidase, phenylacetic-acid, phenylalanine, phlobaphene, phosphatidyl-choline, phosphatidyl- ethanolamine, phosphatidyl-inositol, phospholipids, phosphorus, phytase, planteose, polygalacturonate, polyphenol-oxidase, polyphenols, proline, propionic-acid, propyl-acetate, protocatechuic-acid, purine, pyridoxine, quercetin, quercetin-3-o-galactoside, quercetin-3-o-glucoside, quercitrin, raffinase, raffinose, reductase, rhamnose, riboflavin, rutin, rutoside, saccharose, salsolinol, serine, sinapic-acid, stachyose, stearic-acid, stearodiolein, stigmasterol, sucrose, syringic-acid, tannins, tartaric-acid, theobromine, theophylline, thiamin, threonine, trigonelline, tyramine, tyrosine, valerianic-acid, valine, vanillic-acid, verbascose, verbascotetrose, vitexin
From the King's American Dispensatory's Monograph on Chocolate:
"Botanical Source.—The genuine cacao tree is a small and handsome evergreen tree, growing in South America and the West
Indies, from 12 to 25 feet high, and branching at the top; when cultivated it is not allowed to grow so high. The stem is erect,
straight, 4 to 6 feet high; the wood light and white; the bark thin, somewhat smooth, and brownish. The seeds are numerous, compressed, 1 inch long, reddish-brown externally, dark-brown internally, and
imbedded in a whitish, sweetish, buttery pulp.
Source, History, and Preparation.—This tree was extensively cultivated in Mexico, Central and South America for many
years, indeed long before the discovery of America, and at one time formed the currency of the natives, who made an immense
consumption of it in various ways. At present it is chiefly cultivated in Brazil, Costa Rica, Guayaquil, Ecuador, Venezuela, Peru,
Guatemala, the. island of Trinidad, and most of the other West India Islands; also in Africa, Ceylon, Samoa, and other parts of
the globe. The cocoa or chocolate nuts of commerce are the seed taken from the fruit and deprived of a slimy covering. There
are many varieties of this seed brought into the market, named, according to the place from which they have been imported, e.
g., Puerto Cabello, Cauca, Maracaibo, Caracas, Surinam, Java, Domingo, Bahia, etc.
Cacao seeds are prepared for commerce either by simple drying, in which case they retain their bitterness and astringency; or
they are cured by a sweating process by which their bitter and astringent properties are much modified, and the color of the
seed changed. The seeds are placed into closed boxes for a certain length of time, or buried in the ground for a few days; the
best process is to allow the seeds to lie for a week in heaps covered with green leaves, such as plantain leaves, etc., after which
time they are dried. Also see directions given by W. Cradwick, of Jamaica, for curing cacao seeds on a domestic scale, in
Amer. Jour. Pharm., 1895, p. 530.
Chemical Composition.—Cacao seeds contain fat (40 to 50 per cent) (oil of cacao, cacao butter; see Oleum
Theobromatis), the base theobromine (C7H8N4O2), small quantities of caffeine (theine), starch (from 1.3 to 7.5 per cent,
Ridenour, Amer. Jour. Pharm., 1895, p. 209), a red coloring matter (cacao-red), albuminous matter (6 to 18 per cent), and
ash (2 to 4 per cent), etc.
In 18 commercial specimens of cacao, A. Eminger (Forschungsberichte über Lebensmittel, 1896, p. 275; also see Amer.
Jour. Pharm., 1897, p. 113) found theobromine to vary from 0.88 to 2.34 per cent, caffeine from 0.05 to 0.36 per cent.
According to E. Knebel (1892), the presence of cacao-red is due to the decomposition of a glucosid under the influence of a
diastatic ferment, resulting in dextrose, cacao-red. theobromine. and caffeine (compare Kola).
Action, Medical Uses, and Dosage.—CHOCOLATE, when scraped into a coarse powder, and boiled in milk, or milk and
water, is much used as an occasional substitute for coffee, and for a drink at meals. It is a very useful nutritive article of diet for
invalids, persons convalescing from acute diseases, and others with whom its oily constituent does not disagree, as is apt to be
the case with dyspeptics.
BUTTER OF CACAO is a bland article, rather agreeable to the taste, and highly nutritious; it has been used as a substitute for, or
an alternate with, cod-liver oil, and as an article of diet during the last days of pregnancy. It has also been employed in the
formation of suppositories and pessaries, for rectal, vaginal, and other difficulties (see Suppositories). It likewise enters into
preparations for rough or chafed skin, chapped lips, sore nipples, various cosmetics, pomatums, and fancy soaps; and has
also been used for coating pills.
Theobromine when absorbed acts powerfully as a diuretic, and has a stimulant or exciting action which is not possessed by
chocolate itself. It is, however, quite difficult of absorption, and is without effect upon the heart and circulation. It enters into the
compound known as Diuretin, which, in certain conditions, is an active diuretic."
ETHNOBOTANY: WORLDWIDE USES
||Antiseptic, Burn, Emmenagogueue, Eye, Liqueur, Parturition, Wound|
||Burn, Dry-Lip , Rheumatism|
||Antiseptic, Eye, Listlessness, Parasiticide, Pregnancy|
10. Theobroma cacao L. Sterculiaceae. "Cacao", "Chocolate". Cultivated. The pulp of
fruit edible. Food uses of chocolate, made from the seed, are well known (RVM). Not so
well known is the fact that much cocoa butter ends up in suppositories. Leaf infusion
widely used as cardiotonic and diuretic in Colombia (SAR). "Karijona" use toasted seed
with manihot squeezings for a scalp condition like eczema. "Ingano" use the bark
decoction as a wash for sarna (SAR). Theobromine and theophylline, like caffeine, all
found in this plant, used in modern medicine as antiasthmatic (JAD). We are cooperating
with one entrepreneur seeking a "lean green cacao bean" for renewable "organic low-fat
THE MAKING OF CHOCOLATE
Chocolate is made from the seeds of a plant called Theobroma cacao.
The seeds are dried and roasted and then processed to form cocoa, the
basic ingredient in chocolate and chocolate products. The use of cocoa
for eating and drinking probably dates back several thousand years. The
first evidence of cocoa use comes from cooking vessels containing cocoa
residue. Scientists have determined these pots to be from at least 460
to 480 A.D.
Columbus discovered cacao beans in America and sent samples back to
King Ferdinand. However, the beans didn't become popular in Europe at
this time. Several years later, Cortes discovered that the Mexican
Aztecs enjoyed a type of bitter chocolate drink containing burned and
ground cacao beans, maize, water, and spices. Cortes sent cacao beans
and recipes back to King Charles V. The Spanish refined some of the
recipes -- adding sugar and heating the ingredients to improve taste and
texture. But because of the high cost of imported cacao, chocolate
beverages were enjoyed mostly by the wealthy.
By 1828, the cocoa press was developed. The press enabled workers
to extract cocoa butter from the cacao bean. Ground roasted beans
and sugar were added to the cocoa butter to produce dark "eating"
(solid) chocolate. The first commercially prepared dark chocolate was
produced in about 1847. Milk chocolate, made with the addition of dried
milk solids, was developed by the Swiss in about 1876.
Some brands of imported and domestic chocolate contain very refined
chocolate and fillings and are very expensive. Still, less expensive
varieties of chocolate are widely available -- making chocolate a very
popular confection. The average American consumes nearly 11 pounds of
chocolate each year. Men aged 12 to 19 consume the most amount of
chocolate. Women aged 30 to 39 are the next largest group of chocolate
THE LURE OF CHOCOLATE
For some people, the lure of chocolate can be overwhelming. Cocoa
contains certain chemicals and sensory properties that make the product
very appealing. Cocoa contains theobromine (a chemical related to
caffeine). The sugar in chocolate releases serotonin (a brain chemical
related to a positive sense of well-being). The smooth, rich taste of
chocolate (and sometimes the fillings) provides sensory pleasure to the
taste buds. In addition, many people use chocolate as a reward and
learn to associate the product with positive self-esteem. In spite of
its physical properties, chocolate is not a physically addictive food.
However, some people may find themselves psychologically addicted to
Chocolate does have some downsides. A single ounce of chocolate
contains about 150 calories and 9 to 10 grams of fat; 65 percent of the
calories in chocolate come from fat. But there are ways to reduce the
amount of fat and still enjoy chocolate. Cocoa powder can be
substituted for chocolate in many recipes. A tablespoon of powdered
cocoa contains only about 16 calories; less than 30 percent of its
calories comes from fat. Use three tablespoons of cocoa and one
tablespoon of a healthy cooking oil for each ounce of chocolate needed
in a recipe. A chocolate glaze can be made with some cocoa powder,
confectioner's sugar, and skim milk. Manufacturers have even developed
some good quality low-fat chocolate desserts.
"Chocolate: Just Say Yes," University of California at Berkeley Wellness
Letter, February 1996, Vol. 12, No. 5, pp. 2-3.
Hoskin, Jonathan, "Sensory Properties of Chocolate and Their
Development," American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, December 1994,
Vol. 60, No. 6, Suppl., pp. 1068S-1070S.
Morgan, Jeff, "Chocolate: A Flavor and Texture Unlike Any Other,"
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, December 1994, Vol. 60, No. 6,
Suppl., pp. 1065S-1067S.
Patterson, Robert, M.D. "Recovery From This Addiction Was Sweet Indeed,"
Canadian Medical Association Journal, March 15, 1993, Vol. 148, No. 6,
Seligson, Frances, et al., "Patterns of Chocolate Consumption," American
Journal of Clinical Nutrition, December 1994, Vol. 60, No. 6, Suppl.,
* The statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the
Food and Drug Administration. The information contained in this plant
database file is intended for education, entertainment and information purposes only. This information is not intended to be used to diagnose, prescribe or replace proper medical care. The plant described herein is not intended to treat, cure, diagnose, mitigate or prevent any disease. Please refer to our Conditions of Use for using this plant database file and web site.
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Last updated 12-17-2012