Cacao: Scientific & Historical Significance, And 6 Amazing Health Benefits
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
calcium, zinc, copper, magnesium and manganese are exceedingly evident in
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.
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
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.