Cacao is one of the gentlest but yet profoundly powerful plant medicines. Besides being a superfood full of beneficial nutrients, it also has psychoactive compounds that can help us deepen our connection to ourselves and further our healing process. It is known by indigenous cultures to be a "heart opening" medicine that helps us drop out of our minds and deeper into our hearts and bodies.
What are the benefits and effects of Cacao ?
Cacao has a multitude of health benefits as it contains high levels of anti-oxidants, magnesium and Iron. It is also a great source of four bliss chemicals – serotonin, tryptophan, tyrosine and phenylethylamine. These neurotransmitters are associated with cosy feelings of wellbeing, happiness, and are proven to alleviate feelings of depression.
Cacao is also a gentle stimulant: its main active ingredient theobromin stimulates the cardiovascular system and can give you the feeling of a warm and uplifting buzz in your body without making you feel as jittery or "wired" as caffeine usually does.
This is the reason Cacao is often described as a "heart opening" medicine. It also hightens our sensitivity and introspection and ability to drop out of our minds and into our bodies.
What is a Cacao Ceremony ?
A Cacao ceremony is a ritual in which the "spririt" of Cacao is honoured and Cacao shared with an intention of healing and support.
Cacao has been used by indeginous cultures of South and Central America for many hundreds, if not thousands of years. In our Cacao ceremonies we tap into some of this ancient wisdom to help and support us in our present, every day lives.
Cacao Ceremonies are usually not a stand-alone ritual but usually embedded into different modalities or sacred activities. We therfore offer many different modalities such as breathwork, guided meditations, gentle bodywork, music and dance, etc. alongside our cacao ceremonies to deepen and expand the beautiful effects of Cacao.
Is Cacao a psychedelic ?
Cacao is a plant medicine, but not a psychedelic. It doesnt have any psychedelic properties so it doesnt alter conciousness in a deep or profound way. However, Cacao is considered "psychoactive", meaning it contains chemical substances that change a person's mental state by affecting the way the brain and nervous system work. The main pyschoactive ingredient is therobromine, which acts as a cardio vascular stimulant. Cacao also leads to temporary higher levels of serotonin in the body.
Is Cacao safe to use by everyone ?
Cacao is generally very safe and tolerated well by most people. We never administer more than the the recommended "ceremonial" dose of 44gr.
However, as Cacao has psychoactive properties and acts as a cardio vascular stimulant, people who are on heart medication or anti-depressant or anti-psychotic medication are recommended to work with only lower doses of Cacao. The same applies for pregnant and breastfeeding women. While it is totally safe to consume cacao during pregnancy and breastfeeding, working with lower doses is highly advised.
At the Heart of Cacao we modify and select the doses for every participant individually so everyone can enjoy the benefits of cacao without any adverse effects.
Known adverse effects from too high doses are usually headaches and nausea.
What is the difference between ceremonial Cacao and other Cacao ?
"Ceremonial Cacao" refers to 100%, minimally processed Cacao, that is organically grown and fairly or directly traded with farmers from the rainforest of South America. It is grown, harvested and handled conciously for the purpose of medicine work.
"Regular" cacao usually has either elements removed (such as cacao butter) or elements added (such as sugar, starch, emulsifiers, etc) and is heavily processed and often exposed to fertilisers and pesticides.
At the Heart of Cacao we mainly work with peruvian ceremonial Cacao and
ceremonial Cacao from Guatemala ("Keiths Cacao").