The Celestial Food aka Cocoa
The scientific or Latin name of the plant is Theobroma cacao, the genus name means 'Food of gods' which I simply termed as 'Celestial Food'. Peculiar, but it seems that the ancient Mexican that encountered this plant, treats it as a heavenly food as well. Royalties often savour their chocolate drinks unsweetened in the same ways as us nowadays. In addition to this, they have their chocolate drinks occasionally flavoured with Vanilla pods and sweetened with honey. Anyway, we do enjoy our hot chocolate from time to time and not to mentioned, our after dinner nibbles usually consist of chocolates 'spiked' with mint.
We are all too familiar with the calming and pleasurable effect the Chocolates bring to us when we indulge in them. The feeling of being in love, some says, manifest itself at the very same time your every taste buds being excited by the flavourful yet beneficial 'Celestial Food'. However, chocolate is quite fattening, partly due to the amount of sugar they contain and also the fat they possess naturally. Anyhow, one research suggest that Milk Chocolate doesn't elevate body fat level drastically and the research also forward the idea that this is the unique effect of Stearic Acid (a kind of saturated fatty acid) it contains (in lay man term, this means it might not be fattening).
Before I forget, Cocoa beans are called also called Cacao, a much less familiar name.
Its usage as a herb comes to a surprise to many, in fact one of my special friend proclaim that such good tasting snack had hardly any benefits on health. Well, herbs are suppose to heal and most of them are derivatives from either the plant kingdom or the fungi kingdom (however, some even suggest the usage of bacterial (from the kingdom prokaryotae as herbal, I loosely disagree on this but my stance is quite shaky actually).
Cocoa bean and chocolate (the yummy snack) can be of help to the digestive system, facilitates blood circulation, and ease chest congestion. It is a vascodilator in a sense and also helps in bronchial spasms. This means it is quite useful as a symptomatic relief caused by asthma and allergic reactions.
The 'Celestial Food' contains caffeine, theobromine, trytophan (one of the precursor for serotonin), and amandamides (humorously, this is the substance that activate the same receptor in the brain that marijuana does).
You might ask, how to take advantage of this nice and nutritious herb? I didn't like to endorse commercial chocolate as they are too fattening (However, they make great Valentine's Day gift, well, they are suppose to make people happy. However, love for this herbalist wannabe is just a trivial matter). So what I endorse? See the following;
Two and a half teaspoon of Van Houten Pure Soluble Cocoa Powder
A dash of ground Cinnamon (optional)
A dash of ground Nutmeg (optional)
Honey to taste (optional)
Stevia to taste
A cup of hot boiling Soy Milk (can be substituted with a cup of boiling hot water mixed with two tablespoon of Soy Bean Milk Powder)
Put the Cocoa powder into a cup, put in the Cinnamon and Nutmeg. Mix well with a spoon.
Then pour in the Soy Milk slowly while mixing.
Lastly, put in the Honey and Stevia.
This drink is a healthy alternative to conventional hot chocolate which is laden with fat. Opt for organically grown Soy Beans. Cocoa is definitely useful for a little mood elevation.
**Image Retrieved From http://www.tradinorganic.com/images/photos/cocoa.jpg