The Coffee Bean and Chinese Medicine

Coffee as Chinese MedicineI’m a coffee drinker alas only in moderation.  Now, I’m re-thinking that moderation as I learn more about the benefits of the coffee bean. 


A cup of coffee is 2% caffeine and 98% other bioactive ingredients. To say the least, it is a complex beverage. People seem to forget that the coffee bean is an herb. Indeed, the coffee plant belongs to the Rubiaceae family, which is a source of several different Chinese herbs, including the gardenia fruit. The coffee beans medicinal effects have been well known since 1908, when the Indian Materia Medica was published.  


At the proper dosages, the coffee bean has the ability to improve health in several ways. Drinking coffee can increase cardiovascular health and lower the risk of colon cancer, gallstones, cirrhosis, and Parkinson’s disease A typical dosage for this type of herbal medicine is in the range of 6-18 grams per day, which translates to about 1-3 cups of coffee, depending on how many grams of ground beans are used. Roasting the coffee beans does not detract from the beneficial effects of this herb.


The primary active substances in the coffee bean are chlorogenic and caffeic  acids. These substances have been shown to have anti-depressant and anti-anxiety effects.  No wonder those local  Starbucks have  become our favorite pit stops.  Coffee also contains antioxidant phenols that can reduce the risk of cancer.


This blog idea was instigated by a study on the long-term coffee drinking on type 2 diabetes mellitus, it said “long-term coffee consumption is associated with a statistically significantly lower risk for type 2 diabetes,”  I added a study link at the bottom if you are interested. Coffee, just like any other potent herbal medicine, is not necessarily for everyone, as some people may be more sensitive to the effects of caffeine. But the coffee bean contains many beneficial vitamin ingredients including potassium, niacin and magnesium. 


Start your day with a freshly brewed cup of this herbal bean can have some wonderful health benefits. Enjoy, but don't use coffee for just for the caffiene and best use it in moderation.

Study Link
Am J Clin Nutr. 2001 Mar;73(3):532-8.Consumption of high doses of chlorogenic acid, present in coffee, or of black tea increases plasma total homocysteine concentrations in humans.  Olthof MR, Hollman PC, Zock PL, Katan MB.         

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