The dense tropical regions of the Americas are home to the cacao plant. The cacao tree is assumed to have been primarily cultivated approximately in AD 250–900 by the ancient Mayan civilization in Mexico and Central America.
The elites of the Aztec civilization, from the 12th through the 16th century, drank chocolate derived from cocoa beans and also offered this chocolate to the Aztec gods.
These beans also served as currency to these early traditions and were acknowledged for its medicinal values. This article talks about the difference between raw cacao and cocoa, the science of the cacao tree, the significance of cacao in ceremonies, and the myriad of benefits that cacao offers.
The Difference Between Raw Cacao and Cocoa
Raw cacao and cocoa are derived from the same plant. So, besides the pronunciation, what is the difference between the two? There is substantial confusion if the two substances are organically the same; the answer is no.
They are not, cocoa is the average cocoa that is bought in a grocery store, which is made by roasting the cacao beans and then grounding them whereas raw cacao is made by cold-pressing fresh beans, this process is found to retain all the living enzymes in the cacao and removes all the fat; making it healthier and more nutritional.
The Science of the Cacao Tree
For centuries, the fruit of the cacao tree has been used to heal the mental, physical, and spiritual body. The medicinal benefits attached to it are entirely natural and have centuries of ancient history.
Filled with a high concentration of vitamins, minerals, and powerful antioxidant properties, the Cacao increases blood flow to the brain; furthermore, it stimulates the neural fluids that increase your feel-good factor.
What Can You Expect from a Cacao Ceremony?
The cacao ceremonies are known to have been practiced for thousands of years; it was prominent in the indigenous tribes of Central America. Cacao was considered to be “food of gods,” giving raise its name ‘Theobroma’ (Theo- God; broma-drink).
Since then till date cacao ceremonies are conducted worldwide, the product of this fruit has been part of a sacred rite that is believed to offer the practitioner a spiritual awakening and inner healing.
The rituals of the ceremony might vary according to the shaman, who is the facilitator of the ceremony. However, in most cases, the people gathered for the ceremony sit in a circle and take turns to set intentions by letting the group know what they wish to release and/or desires.
As that is done, they drink a frothy cacao beverage that is made with raw cacao beans, cacao butter, water, and a dash of some preferably organic sweetener. Soon after this, the members of the gathering in unison pray, sing heartfelt music and dance. While not entheogenic or psychedelic, the ceremony can often induce trance, and many shamans choose to capitalize on this mindset with ecstatic dance or shamanic journey.
The Shamanic Healing ceremony can deliver a heart opening experience and can extend new opportunities for growth in personal life and relationships. The process can also stimulate your higher chakras. This allows you to enter altered states of consciousness which heighten the potential of the life force energy, making it a spiritual platform for accessing unexpected states of reality and euphoria.
Why Is Cacao Used in These Ceremonies?
As mentioned above, for centuries, cacao has been used as a sacred plant medicine to heal the mental, physical, and spiritual body. Cacao naturally has multiple health benefits that can freshen the mind and relax the body, which in turn elevates the spiritual experience.
However, consumption of cacao does not make you hallucinate or offer a psychedelic experience; instead, it is used to gently soothe the heart and guide the spirit on a deep journey into the emotional core of the body.
Why Do Women Gravitate Towards the Use of Cacao?
Although cacao’s nutritional values are mutually beneficial for both men and women, it is noted that the use of cacao is more prevalent by women in comparison to their sexual counterparts. On studying over the possible reasons for women to indulge highly in the consumption of this ancient fruit, is because cacao can alleviate stress to significant levels.
- Women have to bear high levels of pain on regular intervals during their menstrual cycles, and consumption of cacao can decrease discomfort and pain.
- It is known in psychology that women have mood swings and experience emotional stress stronger than men do, and cacao can stimulate happy brain fluids, inducing a sense of euphoria.
- The pure and raw nature of cacao may conquer pregnancy cramps, and this may be another reason for women to consume this fruit.
Health Benefits of Cacao
Cacao extracts contain relatively high concentrations of polyphenols, lipids, minerals, vitamins, and fibre, which affluently improve your standard of living.
- Cacao can increase levels of certain neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin, which stream a sense of well-being. And the same brain fluids that are released when we experience deep emotions of love, phenylethylamine, is a component in cacao.
- Iron, potassium, calcium, zinc, copper, magnesium and manganese are exceedingly evident in cacao.
- As a potent antioxidant, cacao repairs the damage caused by free radicals and reduces the risk of certain cancers. Cacao constitutes far more antioxidants per 100g than acai, goji berries, and blueberries. Antioxidants are highly responsible for 10% of the weight of raw cacao.
- The antioxidants found in cacao help in maintaining necessary levels of Nitric Oxide (NO) and these antioxidants in cacao flush out the toxins present in the body, therefore, protecting your heart and preventing it against diseases.
- Cacao carries high levels of resveratrol, which is a potent antioxidant that can be found in red wine also, can cross your blood-brain barrier concludingly protecting your nervous system.
- Helps in keeping the skin rejuvenated and moisturized.
Cacao is an excellent source of minerals and vitamins that can aid in elevating physical, mental, and spiritual health. A fruit that contains millennia of historical value, Cacao attests its value as a medicinal wonder even today, and is a powerful ally in shamanic ceremony.