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Coffee – (Coffea arabica)


Coffee comes from the Coffea arabica tree that grows in warm regions of the world like Latin America, Africa and Southeast Asia. The evergreen trees grow on the cooler mountain slopes. The seeds, or beans, are picked when they ripen. The seeds are then sorted and processed before being sent to be roasted. The beverage made from them is popular all over the world and I could write a whole website on this herb alone!


Key Medicinal Uses

Internally – Coffee is primarily taken due to its caffeine content, which is a mild stimulant. It helps reduce fatigue and drowsiness. One downfall is that people can become addicted to this herb with regular use. Some studies are showing that this herb may help reduce the risk of Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease, as well as heart disease, liver cirrhosis, gout and type 2 diabetes. It is high in antioxidants and prevents free radicals from causing cellular damage. These antioxidants help improve insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism in people who are prone to developing diabetes.

Coffee increases the heart rate temporarily, raises the blood pressure and stimulates the lungs. It increases the body's metabolic rate, promoting the production of urine while relaxing smooth muscles like the bronchial muscles. It can reduce the risk of gallstones and colon cancer. Having two cups can reduce the amount of muscle pain from exercising in half. If someone is without medication, this herbal remedy can be used to help control an asthma attack, to get rid of headaches, to lift the mood as well as prevent depression.

Externally – It can help prevent dental cavities due to its antibacterial and anti-adhesive qualities.

Other Uses – According to a study published in the March 11 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, it may have beneficial effects on the the suicide rate.

Parts Used

Seeds, leaves – The seeds and leaves are used medicinally.


Caffeinated coffee can create a temporary increase in the stiffness of the arterial walls. It can raise cholesterol levels in some people and can contribute to clogging of the arteries. Excessive use can cause nervousness, trembling of the hands and a rapid heartbeat. It can cause magnesium deficiency and may be a risk for coronary heart disease. Too much coffee can result in genitor-urinary tract cancer and heart attack over time. Some studies suggest that there may be memory problems associated with coffee.

Side effects may include nausea, restlessness, muscle tension, headache, sleep disturbances and irregular heartbeat. It may make ulcers worse or cause heartburn. Drinking coffee at night may cause insomnia. This herb is not recommended for people with ocular hypertension or glaucoma. There is some controversy whether caffeine levels may cause miscarriage or not. Either way, the caffeine does cross the placenta into the fetus, so consumption should be monitored.

Preparation and Dosage

Coffee is prepared commercially and can be found in almost any grocery store. While formal dosages do not exist, most people will do fine with three or less cups per day depending on their own personal circumstances and reactions to the herb.

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