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Chocolate: Modern Science investigates an Ancient Medicine

July 5, 2010

Chocolate: Modern Science investigates an Ancient Medicine

Theobroma Cacao Jungle Peanut

Sacred Chocolate Jungle Peanut

“The Word cacao is derived from Olmec and subsequent Mayan dialects, and the Nahuatl terms cacahuatl and xocoatl were borrowed from Mayan. The Badainus Codex identifies cacao used to treat emaciation and tuberculosis. Other manuscripts reveal that dark cacao bark was used to treat bloody stools and reduce abdominal pain; cacao fat to disinfect cuts, soothe burns, and treat liver and lung disorders; and cacao flowers to treat buts on feet. The flowers were also mixed with water and drunk to improve mental apathy and bravery; cacao fruit pulp was decocted and then drunk by pregnant women to facilitate delivery; cacao leaves were applied to wounds for their perceived astringent and antiseptic properties; and cacao oil was used to relieve cracked lips and sore breasts, hemorrhoids, and vaginal irritation. Cacao, drunk as a morning beverage, was perceived to be a talisman against the snake bite. A Florentine Codex prescription blended cacao beans, maize, and the herb tlacoxochitl to alleviate fever and “panting of the breath,” and it was administered to the “faint of heart.” Subsequent 17th and 18th century manuscript identify cacao as a useful ingredient when curing consumption, fever, indigestion, jaundice, lung disorders, kidney stones, and tremors.”

Journal of Medicinal Food. June 2000, 3(2): 121-125. doi:10.1089/109662000416311.

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