Coffee (Coffea arabica)

Coffee (Coffea arabica)

Other names: Java, caffea

coffee bean

Diagram courtesy of Wikimedia Commons / http://www.plant-pictures.de

(There is another plant  that can be sold commercially as coffee, which is Coffea canephora – because of its high caffeine level it tends to have a more bitter flavour, so is not as popular as C. arabica.)

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Family: Rubiaceae

Actions:

Central nervous system stimulant, diuretic, circulatory stimulant, renal stimulant, GIT stimulant, aperient laxative, bitter, cholagogue.

Harvest:

Harvest takes place when the plant is about five years old, once the beans have changed colour from green to red.

Part used: Beans (also called “cherries”)

Constituents:

Caffeine, trigonelli and other alkaloids, tannic acid, gum, oils, waxes, sugar, protein and others.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Marcelo Corrêa

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Marcelo Corrêa

Indications:

Used to treat depression, poor appetite, physical exhaustion, constipation, postprandial hypotension, dizziness, mental fatigue, mental fog from fibromyalgia, low blood pressure, obesity, migraines (use caution, some migraines are in fact triggered by caffeine), and adult ADHD, among other uses. It has also been linked to the prevention of various cancers, Parkinson’s disease, type 2 diabetes and gallstones. Coffee can boost the absorption of some medications via the smooth muscle tissues in the stomach lining.

Medicinal preparations:

coffee bean structure

Diagram courtesy of Wikimedia Commons User:Y tambe

Internal

Coffee is a popular beverage, and this is primarily how it is internally administered. Some are using the raw “green coffee beans” as an extract taken in capsule form.

External

Ground coffee beans make an excellent addition to exfoliating scrubs and other cosmetic products. Coffee enemas and suppositories have been used as part of the Gerson Therapy for cancer. Keep in mind that this therapy is not approved for practice in North American conventional medicine, and cancer patients should not take part in this or any other herbal remedy without talking to their health care practitioners.

Contraindications:

coffee bean cherries

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Fernando Rebelo

Drinking unfiltered coffee in excess can cause elevated LDL and triglyceride levels. Excessive amounts (more than six cups daily) of any coffee can lead to caffeine addiction, agitation and anxiety. Some people are sensitive to caffeine and may experience anxiety and other unpleasant side effects even with small doses of coffee. Consult with a doctor before using coffee therapeutically if you are pregnant, nursing, taking any medications, or if you suffer from psychiatric disorders, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, glaucoma, IBS, a heart condition or any other underlying health condition. Do not administer to children or the elderly without the advice of a doctor. Because coffee is a diuretic, it can cause nutrients to be flushed out in the urine, particularly calcium. If you have a calcium deficiency or bone disorder you may need to take additional supplementation or avoid the use of coffee altogether.

I suggest consulting a pharmacist or physician before starting any herbal supplement if you are taking a prescription medication or have serious underlying health concerns.

Energetic/traditional use:

Coffee is a fantastic grounding aide, and even some Tibetan monks use it in their temples to help ground them before meditations. Throughout history and up to the present day, coffee is used to foster a sense of community, bringing people together and encouraging communication, stimulation of ideas and intellectual thought. Some recommend using it in a bath to help centre and balance oneself before interacting with others. It allows people to see things in perspective with a clear head. It also has been known to cleanse negative energy, in a manner akin to salt.

Disclaimer: The information on this website is intended as general education on herbs and is not intended to take the place of medical care. Please consult a health care professional before embarking on any health regime.

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