Theobroma Cacao

Theobroma Cacao

Theobroma Cacao, or Cacao, is cultivated in the tropical regions around the world. The tree grows between 13 and 20 feet high. Cacao, or coco, is the main ingredient in chocolate. Cocoa was exported to Europe in 1585 but the first chocolate bar was not made until 1848. The purine alkaloids theobromine and caffeine are responsible for the stimulant effect of cocoa and chocolate and contribute to bitter cocoa flavor. It has a few health benefits as well. It contains compounds that expand airway passages, dilate blood vessels, flush excess water from the body, strengthen the heartbeat, and relax the muscles. However, mostly, the amounts are too small for any practical effect. Cacao has been used for diarrhea, urinary tract infections, and liver and gallbladder disorders.

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Cautions If you suffer from migraine, it's best to avoid chocolate. It carries compounds that can trigger attacks.