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MEDICINAL COCOA





Woman with loose wavy brown hair, eyes closed, wearing white blouse and colorful necklace, holding a reddish brown cocoa bean
Image courtesy of Sunderta Kaur

Medicinal cocoa came to me through a dream where I ran through arid mountains that suggested the end of a world with no prospects for humanity. But as I ran through them, my gut pointed to a path of possibility of active regeneration and hope. The morning after the dream I came across some information about medicinal cocoa on a social network and instantly felt something magnetic. At that time my heart was ill and while I was looking at the images of cocoa my heart was beating and there was an immense urge in me to learn all about this medicine and experience it. I performed my initiation into the art of sacred cocoa, becoming a ceremonialist, guardian of sacred cocoa. Since then I have been experiencing and surprising myself with the qualities that this ambrosia has provided me in the physical and spiritual spheres of my life.





About Cocoa


Hand holding in palm dark roasted cocoa beans, below hand many dark roasted cocoa beans
Image courtesy of Sunderta Kaur

Cocoa is a tree originally from the Amazonian forest and, according to research, has existed for about 7,000 years in the upper Amazon basin. Its social use (consumption) began 5,500 years ago. Archaeological research was able to date its social use through excavations carried out in regions of the Peruvian and Ecuadorian forest. In 2012 in the city of Cajamarca in northern Peru, researchers found a spiral-shaped architectural construction called Huaca Montegrande, buried under an abandoned modern Catholic church, which in itself is very symbolic and tells us a lot about the processes of colonial domination that subjugated, exterminated and erased peoples of Latin America and their memories. In the excavation artifacts were found that, when undergoing carbon 14 tests, presented a fermented drink of theobroma cacao, scientific name of cocoa, revealing that performing ceremonies with the use of cocoa are pre-Mayan.


Cocoa takes us back to times so old that in Popol Vuh, genesis of the Mayan people, the name IX Cocau is quoted in the chant of a woman who is going through a rite of initiation where she cries out in a devotional folk song "Ôh IX Cacau, my Goddess, help me". This is the only record of goddess IX Cocau in the Mayan holy scriptures, dating its existence to a social context that precedes the Mayan civilization and suggests possibilities for historical erasures, as many other gods have been erased and fragmented by patriarchy.


As a millenary power plant, as described, cocoa has been and is still appropriated by the patriarchal and capitalist system, having already been the subject of great conflicts and perpetuation of oppressive relations. In a global context, there have already been complaints made through documentaries, for example, in the documentary The Dark Side Of Chocolate, which demonstrates that large multinational chocolate cocoa manufacturers, such as the famous Nestlé, Hershey, among others that dominate the sector, use raw materials whose production system includes trafficking and enslavement of miserable children from regions of Africa, where the world's largest cocoa production currently comes from.


The word “medicinal” accompanies cocoa in virtue of its alchemical process, composed of various steps until it reaches its form and indicating the physical benefits it can manifest. In its purest form it is considered one of the richest foods, nutritionally speaking. The alchemy that precedes it is composed of harvesting the fruit, managing the seeds that are placed in fermentation ponchos for 7 days followed by another 7 days of drying, going through the fire and grinding process to finally become a cocoa bar (liquor). In addition, to be considered medicinal it is also necessary to ensure that this food’s production process is fair and dignified, which includes the working conditions and payment of the people involved in the process of turning it into a product, so that we can break with exploratory systems that use this raw material. The use of medicinal cocoa in a ceremonial act speaks of being in the presence of the sacred - our own being; speaks of sharing and multiplying in circles - facing our internal and external mirrors; to be open to stimulate and cultivate our bodily and spiritual sensitivities through this ambrosial drink.


One of the myths that connect to the history of the goddess Ix Cacau says that whenever there is disconnection between humanity and nature, IX Cacau comes from the forest to open people's hearts and return the planet to a state of harmony. By consecrating medicinal cocoa, we can connect with the feminine wisdom of a Goddess who roams the forests for millennia, with this plant spirit, whose intelligence of a teaching plant can be embodied and expressed through ourselves by closely relating to this sacred food.



Cocoa: a super nutritional food


Yellow saucer and cup containing hot chocolate, a delicate bouquet of small flowers and roses crossing the circumference of the cup. This cup and saucer are on a wooden table and in the background, on the same table, there are two yellow and red books
Image courtesy of Sunderta Kaur

Cocoa is part of the adaptogen foods category, which are vegetables with medicinal properties that help the body cope with stressors, whether physical, chemical or biological, much like Peruvian Maca, Ginseng, Golden Root and Goji Berry. It is also rich in good quality protein and fat, minerals and vitamins such as chromium, iron, vitamin C, sulfur, magnesium, that are usually deficient in contemporary food.


Another quality of cocoa is the ability to provide energy to our body in a healthy way. Like coffee, cocoa also has caffeine, but provides energy to the body differently. Caffeine is a vasoconstrictor, which decreases the caliber of our blood vessels, making the heart need to make more effort to pump blood into our "tighter" veins, generating stress and muscle tension. Cocoa has a stimulating vasodilator effect on the body, provided by theobromine which is also present in this fruit, allowing oxygen to flow better in our body, empowering greater energy to cells and, consequently, to the whole body. In addition, theobromine is an energetic, mildly stimulant alkaloid that does not cause dependence like caffeine. It has anti-depressive function, regulates blood flow, bringing physical well-being.


Cocoa also has great oxidizing power, as it has flavonoids, bioactive compounds with antioxidant, antiviral, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. In this way, cocoa influences oxidation processes in our body, helping cleansing and removing toxins. In addition, cocoa is richer than wine in flavonoids and has 3 times more flavonoids than green tea. It is also a natural MAO inhibitor, containing Anandamide (a cannabinoid endorphin, a substance known as happiness chemistry), which stimulates the production of serotonin (happiness hormone) and dopamine, among many other qualities.


There are numerous benefits of cocoa, but it is necessary to establish an intimate connection with self-awareness in this relationship. Here are some tips for an initial step:


- To take advantage of all the benefits of cocoa, we need to consume it in bars. The cocoa powder, for example, even if organic, due to its processing, loses much of the nutrients, such as cocoa butter itself.


- It is also not recommended to mix cocoa with animal proteins, as they cancel out the nutritious effects of the fruit.


- When preparing it, you must take care not to overheat it because several of its components are sensitive to high temperatures.


But attention: Cocoa is not recommended if you have a diagnosed heart condition or previous heart surgery, if you are pregnant or lactating, have kidney stones or kidney problems, serious cases of hypertension, epilepsy or are consuming antidepressant medications with MAOI in their composition.


By Sunderta Kaur/Brazil


Image of an Ix Cacao figurine from the National Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Guatemala City, Pintrest - Brown ceramic image , bust of a woman with seeds on the skin of her arm and lap, holding a cup with cacao , coming out of a mountain of brown seeds
Image of IX Cocoa available at pinterest.com


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