Who doesn’t love a little chocolate?
Theobroma Cacao is a much loved and very powerful food living up to its ancient name as the food of the gods. On the average, we Americans each indulge in about 12 pounds of the dark treat yearly. That stretches out about 100 pounds of chocolate being consumed a second–whew–and that’s just Americans who rank 4th in consumption of chocolate worldwide. Not surprisingly, the Swiss rank first in the world for individual consumption of chocolate.
The history of chocolate–in five paragraphs
Use of the cacao tree dates back at least 5,000 years to Brazil and the Amazon. Images of the cacao pods have been carved into Mayan stone temples dating back to as early as 300 C.E. A symbol of fertility, vitality and life, the Mayans revered and used cacao extensively. By 600 C.E. the Mayans had expanded and were cultivating crops of cacao from the Yucatan Peninsula to the Pacific Coast.
The Mayans mixed cocoa with peppers, cornmeal and other foods to create a strong drink that was used for religious ceremonies and a wide variety of medicinal purposes. This wasn’t the sweet confection we are so familiar with now, rather this was a very bitter and thick “bitter water” or xocoatl–which we derived the word chocolate from. The Mayans brewed xocoatl to treat everything from an upset stomach, low energy and libido, to lowering fevers, expectorating phlegm, treating blood in the stools and diarrhea. It was also used to regulate sleep–by either encouraging it or prohibiting–a dynamic little trait of chocolate. Woman used it treat patterns of deficiency including […]