Cacao seeds come from the sacred tropical tree in Central and South America and are used to make paste, butter and chocolate. A potent natural plant medicine, they have been used for thousands of years by the Maya, Toltec, and Aztec people for medicinal purposes to heal physical, mental and spiritual illnesses, boost the immune system, and lower cholesterol and blood pressure.
Coveted for its extraordinary heart-opening ability, cacao was known for centuries as the "food of the gods”. Roasted, ground, and brewed into a bitter hot chocolate drink for religious ceremonies, it was used to lift the spirits of those sacrificed in the Aztec Kingdom and as an aphrodisiac. History tells us, that the 16th-century Aztec ruler Moctezuma II drank 50 cups of chocolate daily from a golden goblet to increase his libido.
With cacao beans requiring ideal environmental conditions, cultivating them was challenging, making them rare and fragile. Traders transported their seedlings along the coast, where the Mayans grew them in private orchards and prepared them into a paste by fermenting, dying, roasting, unshelling, and grinding their nibs.
Cacao was unknown to other civilisations until explorer Christopher Columbus took cocoa beans to Spain in 1502 after meeting an aboriginal Mayan merchant whose boat was carrying what Columbus believed to be almonds.
Several years later, when Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes landed in the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan to meet the Aztec emperor, Moctezuma II, Cortes was believed to be a god and offered the ceremonial drink of cacao sweetened with local spices.
In 1544, Dominican friars ushered Mayan nobles to the court of Prince Philip of Spain, who gifted the Spanish royalty with cacao. Four decades later, the first commercial shipment of cacao beans reached Spain from the New World. Here, to make it more palatable, spices such as nutmeg, cinnamon and anise were added to offset its bitter taste, and sugar was used to sweeten it.
A century later, chocolate spread across the rest of Western Europe. Colonial plantations, growing cacao and sugar, were established by the Europeans in equatorial regions around the world, and in Europe, it was particularly coveted by the upper classes for its deliciously sweet taste.
Today, this hallowed food-turned-wellness tonic is used to open the heart, improve cognitive performance and creativity and support overall health and well-being. With countless devotees worldwide, over 4.5 million tonnes of cacao beans are consumed annually for a diverse range of modern-day purposes:
For coffee’s energy (minus the jitters)
Look forward to your morning espresso? While coffee tastes great and wakes your body up for the day, its caffeine levels act as a central nervous system stimulant, so the more you drink, the more intense its effects are. It is also highly addictive, so trying to give or cut back on coffee comes with severe withdrawal symptoms.
Luckily, cacao tastes just as good as your favourite latte and provides the same buzz, thanks to high levels of theobromine, a mild, natural, non-addictive stimulant similar to caffeine. With every sip, it slowly releases focused energy, burns fat, boosts serotonin levels and supports cognitive function without the anxiety, crash, and side effects that come with caffeine.
With its high levels of flavanols, sipping a cup of Creation Cacao before working out can improve your endurance and performance. Rich in anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, flavanols are also found in some fruits, vegetables and plant products like tea, coffee, red wine and dark chocolate. Sipping a cacao 45-60 minutes before exercise gives your body enough time to absorb its flavanols, allowing oxygen and nutrients to reach muscle cells efficiently whilst removing toxins from your body.
Drink cacao post-training to improve muscle recovery. Just one tablespoon of cacao provides you with 15% of your daily magnesium requirements, optimising your ability to recover from a hard workout, reducing tiredness, and regulating normal blood pressure.
For more energy
Whether you are hard at work or up to your neck in textbooks, cacao can help improve brain function by increasing blood flow for improved cognitive performance thanks to its high levels of flavanols and PEA (Phenylethylamine), which is known for increasing energy levels, awareness and concentration. Studies show that it also increases the release of dopamine and serotonin, the “happy hormones” linked to mood and mental health.
For heightened creativity
Thanks to phenylethylamine and anandamide that occur naturally in cacao, the body’s 'bliss' molecules are sparked, assisting focus, attention, creativity, motivation, and drive that pushes us into a 'flow state'. When this occurs, the brain is showered with five chemicals of flow - dopamine, serotonin, norepinephrine, anandamide, and endorphins. Cacao is one of the few foods on earth that triggers these five brain chemicals of flow, and by sipping a cup of Creation Cacao, you can enter this state whenever you need to be creative, energised and imaginative.
For lowering inflammation
Cacao is known as a "super fruit" as it contains more antioxidants than fruit juice and 20 times more than blueberries! Taking antioxidants helps improve energy metabolism when we exercise, combats muscle damage and fatigue and enhances aerobic performance.
Oxidative stress, with symptoms such as fatigue, and muscle and joint pain, contributes to chronic inflammation, increasing the risk for diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease. The antioxidants in cacao help combat oxidative stress, decreasing inflammation and producing pro-inflammatory proteins that reduce the risk of further inflammation.
For gut health
The polyphenols in cacao beans are prebiotics that feed the gut's good bacteria, helping them grow and flourish, that promotes healthy gut flora. They also work against the bad bacteria that prevent them from growing. Combined, microbial balance in the gut is maintained, which supports stronger immune and digestive systems and metabolism.
This ancient superfood has been supporting humanity for hundreds of generations and still contains many benefits to help support, boost & improve our modern day lives.