Chocolate (Theobroma cacao).Plant Part Used: Leaf, seeds.Dominican Medicinal Uses: The seeds are traditionally prepared as a tea by decoction (i.e. hot chocolate) taken orally for fatigue and weakness. The leaf decoction is used for kidney and urinary tract disorders.Safety: Chocolate is widely consumed and generally regarded as safe. No data on the safety of the leaf has been identified in the available literature.Contraindications: Avoid use in individuals with a history of heart disorders (due to cardiac stimulant effects) or hypersensitivity (due to potential skin reactions or migraines).Drug Interactions: Avoid concomitant use with phenelzine due to potential for high blood pressure. The following medications may inhibit caffeine metabolism or clearance: oral contraceptives, cimetidine, furafylline, verapamil, disulfiram, fluconoazole, mexiletine, phenylpropanolamine, numerous quinolone antibiotics (i.e. enoxacin, pipemidic acid, ciprofloxacin, norfloxacin), idrocilamide and methoxsalen.Clinical Data: The following effects of the seed extract have been investigated in human clinical trials: anti-ulcer, antioxidant and decreased platelet function.Laboratory & Preclinical Data: In animal studies the seed extract has shown anti-ulcer effects. In vitro the seed extracts and/or constituents have shown antibacterial, antioxidant, anti-tumor, cardio-protective, dopaminergic, immunomodulatory and red blood cell production stimulant effects.* See entry for Cacao in “Part 3: Dominican Medicinal Plant Profiles” of this book for more information, including references.
Article Categories:Medicinal Plants