Cacao is a very strong plant medicine with lots of benefits for people. It can be used as a tool to release emotional blockages, open our hearts and connect with ourselves. Cacao has been used as a medicine for thousands of years in cultures like Mayans and Aztecs and the new age practitioners embrace these benefits by following the traditions of cacao ceremonies as well. Cacao ceremonies are a kind of shamanic healing used for spiritual and medicinal purposes for “inner awakening and creative guidance”. Pure cacao is used for this sacred ritual where people set their intentions and open euphoric states when they consume the ceremonial cacao. Usually, groups pray, sing and dance together in these ceremonies.
It is important to clarify that cacao and cocoa are two different terms but they are commonly confused. Cocoa powder refers to the roasted form of raw cacao which you can easily find in stores. When you roast and/or process cacao, molecular structures dramatically change and nutritional value lowers radically. Cacao on the other hand is that raw form.
Theobroma is “the name of the genus of the cacao tree”. It is a combination of the Greek word theo which means god and broma which means food, so it is the food of the gods. Theobroma cacao contains theobromine which is a bitter alkaloid found in the cacao plant. Theobromine is similar to caffeine but while caffeine stimulates the nervous system, theobromine operates on the cardiovascular system by opening up blood vessels. Some of the physical benefits of theobroma cacao include: reduced inflammation, boosting a healthy respiratory system and a healthy heart, and increasing energy.
Theobroma Chocolate contains: protein; fibre; heart-healthy fat (oleic acid); vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B9, E; fundamental minerals including magnesium, calcium, sulfur, zinc, iron, copper, potassium, and manganese.
Aside from these benefits for the body, you can use cacao for facilitating a healthy spiritual and mental life. Here are some of the benefits you can experience with theobroma cacao:
- The release of “bliss molecules” which are dopamine, anandamide and the endorphin phenylethylamine are triggered by cacao. It also contains tryptophan which is known to increase serotonin, a chemical that promotes positivity, good mood and happiness. A natural antidepressant effect is boosted by cacao as a result of these chemicals. As cacao helps ease the stresses and worries of daily life, it pushes us to connect with our optimistic side. Thus it is a useful tool for our journey to find inner peace. Another substance cacao contains is anandamide, the chemical produced by the body after workouts and is known to give you a “rush of good energy”. Cacao can fill your soul with joy and excitement.
- According to the latest research, theobromine helps with boosting short-term improvements in cognitive function. You feel more alert, aware and focused. The sharpened focus can help you live in the moment fully and experience peace.
- Cacao’s benefits related to mental, physical and spiritual health help improve yourself in practices like yoga by boosting focus and clarity. Cacao ceremonies can help you get in touch with your inner spirit and deepen the meditation experience.
- A benefit of the cacao ceremony is facilitating mental clarity; you connect with your skills, talents and creativity. Cacao is sometimes used for inspiration and creativity by consumers. It can help with inner blocks and inspire you to get connected with your creative side. You can experience lots of aha moments! Your purposes in life can get clear in your head with this induced state of clarity and you might realise some things you need to let go of. With the clarity your passions and goals will show themselves.
- Another contribution of cacao to spiritual well-being is claimed to be balancing male and female energy within. Everyone has these energies and when they are harmonised you can reach your full potential.
- Cacao is believed to promote the shamanic journey. This journey leads you to ancient wisdom and connects you with your spiritual guides. You can reach a state of bliss or flow so that you can manifest your goals. Cacao is famous for opening the heart and increasing your connection with others and your inner self. Love and joy can be experienced.
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Gerri. (2013, August 24). The 13 Spiritual Benefits of Chocolate – Cacao Ceremony Time! Soul Discovery Academy.
Martínez-Pinilla, E., Oñatibia-Astibia, A., & Franco, R. (2015). The relevance of theobromine for the beneficial effects of cocoa consumption. Frontiers in pharmacology, 6, 30.
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TCHO Chocolate. (2018, May 4). 8 Potential Health Benefits of the Theobromine Found in Chocolate. TCHO Chocolate.
Teobromin nedir ve insanlar üzerindeki etkisi nedir? Food. (n.d.)
What is a Cacao Ceremony? Ritual Cacao. (n.d.).