BackgroundCocoa and chocolate are derived from the cacao bean (Theobroma cacao ). Cacao is native to South America and has been grown in the tropics for at least 3,000 years. Today, the African country Ivory Coast is the largest supplier of raw cocoa.
Cocoa products have been considered delicacies by many cultures. Cocoa products have recently been recognized as a significant source of a number of compounds, such as flavonoids, that may have valuable health benefits. For this reason, and because it is so popular, chocolate is the focus of intense research.
Chocolate has been studied to investigate its effectiveness in the treatment of a variety of conditions, including heart disease, skin conditions, and constipation. However, there is a lack of studies to support the use of chocolate to treat any conditions in humans. Dosing NB! The below doses are based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, or expert opinion. Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. The below doses may not apply to all products. You should read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting therapy. Adults (18 years and older)
- For use as an antioxidant, one serving of the flavanol-rich drink CocoaVia® taken by mouth has been used.
- For cardiovascular disease, one flavanol-rich chocolate bar and cocoa drink taken by mouth once daily for six weeks has been used. One CocoaVia® drink for two days has also been used.
- For high cholesterol, one CocoaVia® Crunch snack bar daily for six weeks has been used. One high-flavanol cocoa drink daily for six weeks has also been used.
- For high blood pressure , 100g of dark chocolate taken by mouth daily for 15 days has been used.
- For skin conditions, a high-flavanol cocoa powder dissolved in hot water taken by mouth daily for 12 weeks has been used.
- For wound healing, cocoa butter rubbed on a burn scar for 30 minutes twice a week for five weeks has been used.
- As an insect repellent, cocoa oil applied to the skin has been used.
Children (under 18 years old)For constipation, a supplement containing 4g of cocoa husk dissolved in 200mL of milk taken by mouth twice daily for four weeks in children 3-6 years old has been used. A larger dose of the same supplement, containing 8g of cocoa husk dissolved in 200mL of milk, taken by mouth twice daily for four weeks in children 7-10 years old has been used. Safety NB! There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.
Avoid with known allergy or hypersensitivity to chocolate, cocoa, any of its components (including caffeine), or members of the Sterculiaceae family. Migraine headaches and eczema have been reported.
Side Effects and Warnings
General: Some side effects and warnings are based on the relatively high levels of caffeine in chocolate.
- Use with caution in patients with addictive tendencies, anemia, cardiovascular disease, endocrine disorders, gastrointestinal disorders, nervous disorders, respiratory disorders, and skin disorders. Use with caution in patients prone to migraine headaches or kidney stones.
- Use with caution in patients who are overweight or obese and in those trying to become pregnant.
- Use with caution in patients using agents that affect the cardiovascular system, antimicrobials, ergot derivatives, painkillers, birth control pills, and stimulants.
- Use cautiously in children, due to the risk of developing habits that could lead to obesity and poor health.
- Chocolate may raise blood sugar levels. Caution is advised in patients with diabetes or hypoglycemia, and in those taking drugs, herbs, or supplements that affect blood sugar. Blood glucose levels may need to be monitored by a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist, and medication adjustments may be necessary.
- Chocolate may increase the risk of bleeding. Caution is advised in patients with bleeding disorders or those taking drugs that may increase the risk of bleeding. Dosing adjustments may be necessary.
- Chocolate may increase blood pressure. Caution is advised in patients with high blood pressure and in those taking drugs, herbs, or supplements that affect blood pressure.
Pregnancy and BreastfeedingUse with caution and avoid excessive doses of chocolate during pregnancy and breastfeeding, due to the relatively high level of caffeine in chocolate. Chocolate also contains two compounds that may cause birth defects. source: http://www.mayoclinic.com