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Alternative medicine: Coffee
Thu, 27 Dec 2007 17:25:27
By Patricia Khashayar, MD., Press TV, Tehran
Coffee, the widely consumed stimulant brew made from roasted beans reduces the risk of
Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and liver cirrhosis.
Botanical: Coffea arabica (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Rubiaceae
The two most commonly grown coffee species, Coffea canephora (Coffea robusta) and Coffea
arabica are cultivated in Latin America, Southeast Asia, and Africa.
Coffee is a stimulant drink made from roasted coffee beans.
The coffee plant has evergreen leaves, and white and very decorative flowers in dense
clusters at the base of its leaves.
Part Used Medicinally:
Seeds, leaves, caffeine
Depending on coffee type and preparation method, the caffeine content of a single serving
varies. A cup of coffee, depending on its strength, may contain some 20-100mg of caffeine.
Apart from caffeine, it contains oil, wax, aromatic oil, tannic acid, caffetannic acid, gum,
sugar, and protein.
The major physiologically active substance in coffee is the alkaloid caffeine (C8 H10 O2
N4·H2O), also called guaranine or methyltheobromine, which acts as a mild stimulant.
Some types of coffee may contain significant amounts of the B-vitamin niacin.
Green coffee consists of caffeine, trigonline, clorogenic acid, caffee oil, carbohydrate, protein,
free amino acids, poly amins, tannin and vitamin B
Roasted coffee contains less caffeine than green coffee. Apart from the above mentioned
compounds it is a rich source of niacin and vitamin PP.
Coffee is a mild stimulant of the central nervous system (CNS), and helps reduce drowsiness
and fatigue. However, regular use may lead to addiction.
While drinking coffee improves alertness and the ability to focus, it does not improve mental
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Coffee is believed to reduce the risk of Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and heart diseases, diabetes
mellitus type 2, liver cirrhosis, and gout.
The high content of antioxidants in coffee prevents free radicals from causing cell damage.
Coffee's large amount of antioxidants such as chlorogenic acid, quinines and tocopherols and
minerals like magnesium improve insulin sensitivity, glucose metabolism and reduce the risk
Caffeine temporarily increases heartbeat, increases the blood pressure, and stimulates the
performance of the lungs.
Caffeine increases basal metabolic rate (BMR), promotes urine production and relaxes smooth
muscles, notably the bronchial muscle.
It reduces the risk of colon cancer and gallstones.
The amount of caffeine in two cups of coffee cut exercise-induced muscle pain in half.
In the absence of medication coffee can help control asthma attacks, alleviate headaches,
improve the mood, fight depression and prevent cavities.
Trigonelline which gives coffee its aroma and bitter taste is believed to possess antibacterial
and anti-adhesive properties which helps prevent dental cavities.
Coffee consumption has been scientifically proven to reduce suicide rate by 13%.
There is no evidence that caffeine has any harmful effect on bone status or calcium economy
and causes osteoporosis.
Caffeine is good for heart disease, ascites and pleuritic effusion and combines well with
It is also a powerful diuretic, but loses its effect over time.
It is believed that drinking three (236 ml) cups of coffee per day (considered average or
moderate consumption) does not have significant health risks for adults.
Coffee's negative health effects are mostly due to its caffeine content.
Drinking caffeinated coffee can cause a temporary increase in the arterial wall stiffening. It
also raises cholesterol levels in some individuals and contributes to artery clogging.
Excess coffee doses can increase nervousness, hand trembling, and cause rapid heartbeat.
It may lead to a magnesium deficiency or hypomagnesaemia, and may be a risk factor for
coronary heart disease.
Consuming too much decaffeinated coffee can result in genito-urinary tract cancer and heart
Some studies suggest that coffee may have a dual effect on short-term memory by improving
memory when the recalled information is related to the current train of thought and making
recalling unrelated information difficult.
Too much caffeine can produce restlessness, nausea, headache, tense muscles, sleep
disturbances, and cardiac arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats).
Because caffeine increases the production of stomach acid it may worsen ulcer symptoms or