The Arabs spread the habit of consuming coffee to the known world in the 16th century. Despite the effects of coffee on the body, today, more than one million tons of coffee grains are consumed every year in the United States alone.
Green coffee, as grown on the coffee tree, undergoes a process of fermentation and roasting before its use. The habitual consumption of coffee provokes physical and mental dependence (an urge to take it) and has toxic ramifications; hence, coffee is viewed as a drug.
As with other drugs, such as opium, coffee’s active components (caffeine) may be helpful for a short time to treat certain conditions. Nonetheless, continual use produces addiction and, in many cases, several disorders.
Effects of Coffee on The Body: Properties and Warning
The most crucial active component of coffee is an alkaloid: trimethylxanthine, or caffeine, which constitutes one and two percent of the grain. It also contains an essential oil that gives coffee its typical aroma. Its action on the digestive system is irritant, as well as caffeic and chlorogenic acids, with a diuretic effect, and distinct fatty and nitrogenated ingredients oxidize and denature for the duration of the roasting and fermentation procedure.
As we all know, the effects of coffee on the body are the result of caffeine, an alkaloid in the same family as the xanthine group, similar to purine. Here are some adverse effects of coffee consumption:
- Nervous system stimulant: After consuming caffeine, there is an increase in intellectual effort. However, on the downside, the ability to comprehend and put into practice what was learned sharply decreases. For example, after drinking coffee, typists were able to work quicker, but they made more mistakes. The gained mental agility and dynamics are followed by a sensation of tiredness and melancholy hours later, which most people follow up by drinking another cup.
This is because the stimulus of caffeine on the nervous system is excitant and superfluous. Consuming a cup of coffee does not provide anything nutritious required by the brain to operate at optimal levels, such as mineral salts (phosphorus, calcium, etc.), B vitamins, glucose, and lecithin. Therefore, it is safe to say that coffee does not nourish, but it does excite. Also, in very high doses, it can irritate and tire the nervous system.
- Circulatory system: Another one of the effects of coffee on the body is that it increases heart contractions and slightly increases blood pressure. Nevertheless, remember that continuous consumption results in the irritability of the coronary nerves that can cause an abnormal heartbeat (arrhythmia). Caffeine overuse increases adrenaline levels in the blood, which can leave you susceptible to heart attacks.
- Digestive system: Coffee causes an increase in the secretion of gastric juices, which may ease digestion at certain times. Because of the irritant action of the essential oils contained in coffee, it produces excessive acid, gastritis, gastric ulcers, and colitis. Habitual use of coffee also affects the liver by overloading it.
- The chronic use of coffee has been related to bladder and colon cancer and increased cholesterol in the blood.
Therapeutical use of coffee may be justified, especially in the following cases, whenever there is no other treatment with fewer effects:
- Acute alcoholic intoxication. Coffee may counteract the harmful impact of liquor on the nervous system, though only to some extent. You can use coffee as a natural remedy to partially revive individuals suffering from alcohol intoxication. However, alcohol intoxication requires suitable treatment with high doses of B vitamins, among other nutrients, which coffee lacks.
- Blackout, fainting as a result of tiredness or physical exhaustion. Coffee may provide a short-term benefit, though it does not cure. It is better to apply appropriate remedies in these cases.
- Headaches, migraines, head congestion due to influenza or catarrh afflictions, fever. Coffee “clears” the head and creates a particular easing of influenza symptoms. The best treatment consists of applying the natural agents that stimulate organic defenses and have preventative action in these cases.
WARNING! Coffee must never be used continuously, not even as a medicine, because it contains caffeine, which provokes addiction (urge to keep using it) and tolerance (need to increase the dose), as with any other addictive drug. When used as a medicine, no more than two or three cups daily should be taken.
The use of coffee is not recommended in the following cases:
- Gastric and duodenal ulcer.
- Stomach acidity.
- High blood pressure.
- Heart dysfunctions.
- Pregnancy (retards fetal growth).
- Breastfeeding (caffeine passes to the milk of the mother).
Coffee Tree Scientific Facts
- French: Cafetier, café.
- Spanish: Café.
- Environment: Native to Ethiopia and Sudan, it still grows widely there, though it is now farmed in tropical and subtropical areas of America and Africa, with multiple species of the coffee genus.
- Description: Shrub of the Rubiaceae family, growing up to five meters high. White flowers, red berries with two seeds: the coffee grains.
- Parts of the plant used medicinally: Seeds.
How to use Coffee
- Infusion of green or toasted fruits.
George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. “Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants.” George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. Ed. Francesc X. Gelabert. Vols. 1 San Fernando de Henares: Editorial Safeliz, 2000. 178, 179. Print.[effects of coffee on the body]