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Coffea arabica (Rubiaceae)

COFFEE

 

Coffee was introduced to Europe in the 17th century and has since been a commonly used stimulant. Given by herbalists for narcotic poisoning, it is also added to painkillers and is used homeopathically.

 

Coffee has been viewed variously as panacea or poison throughout its history. However, remarks about its dangers have often met with comments such as Voltaire's: "I have been poisoning myself for more than eighty years and I am not yet dead". A native of Ethiopia, coffee is named after the province of Caffa, where the fruit used to be chewed as a stimulant. It was introduced to Europe via Arabia in about 1650 and plants were also taken to the Far East and South America, which now supplies most of the world's crop. The tree has shiny, dark-green, oval leaves and small white flowers that turn into green berries. These ripen to a deep red and contain two kernels, the coffee beans.

 

PARTS USED

Seeds, leaves.

 

ACTIVE INGREDIENTS

Caffeine; tannins; fats; sugars.

 

ACTIONS

Stimulant; increases urine production; anti-narcotic; suppresses nausea and vomiting.

 

MEDICINAL USE

Used as a stimulant in narcotic poisoning to stop sleep. A common ingredient of many pharmaceutical painkilling preparations, added to increase their effect. In homeopathic doses (Coffea), it is given for sleeplessness due to mental activity, tension, and anxiety.

 

PREPARATIONS

Infusion of roasted beans or dried leaves, tablets, injections, homeopathic remedies.

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