Coffee

Latin:  Coffea arabica

Family:  Rubiaceae

Parts Used:  Fruit seeds/aka beans

Taste/Energetics:  Acrid, Stimulating, heating, bitter

Properties: Diuretic, diaphoretic, stimulant, promotes persistalsis,

Actions:  Ah coffee.  Its the substance of life for some.  The reason to get up in the morning.  Vroom vroom medicine.  A jolt of pleasure and instant energy.  On the downside it has long been noted for increasing anxiety, restlessness, jittery feelings and insomnia for some.

Coffee is stimulating and moving, promoting digestion and elimination.  With a preponderance of the alkaloid caffeine, coffee excites the nervous system, increases diuresis, improves circulation, raises the metabolic rate and improves cognitive function and memory.   A number of studies point to coffee being helpful for reducing the symptoms of asthma, lowering cholesterol and even reducing the potential for stroke.

From a Traditional Chinese Medicine persepctive, coffee can deplete the adrenals and the kidney essence (jing) which leads to feeling of exhaustion, burnout and depletion in some.  This seems to affect those who are already excitable, prone to anxiety and more stressed out and weak in nature.  I think of this in terms of Ayurvedic medicine.  Coffee is best for those who are a tad lethargic, heavy, slow with difficulty waking (kapha type) and not as good for those who are strongly fiery, forceful and at times angry (pitta) and strongly airy, excitable and nervous (vata).

Dosage:  Hmmm.  how much coffee?   While there are general recommendations that suggest that 400 mg of caffeine (3-4 cups of coffee) is safe for healthy adults, that would be an absurd amount for many folks, causing an extreme rush of energy and associated mania and anxiety.   I have seen those prone to mania pushed towards more extremes of energy just under the influence of coffee and energy drinks.  The dosage is really variable per person and depends on one’s tolerance level and personal constitution.   An average 8 oz. cup contains about 100 mg and is often enough of a daily dose  for many consumers.

Contraindications:   Avoid if prone to anxiety, hypertension, insomnia and mania.

Further Reading:

Coffee monograph  by Rosalee de la Foret