Theobromine in Chocolate


Theobromine comes from “Theobroma”, the genus name for the cacao plant.

It is Greek for “food of the gods”.

Commonly mistaken for caffeine, it is one of the pharmacologically active compounds in cacao, making up less than 1.3% of it by weight. Also known as xantheose, itis found in coffee, tea, yerba mate, kola nut and a few houseplants.

In cacao, it has is found to significantly increase energy. Interestingly enough, the stimulating effect is increased when the cacao is cooked.

Fresh, unsprouted cacao seeds taken directly from the fruit contain very low amounts or none at all. But, unless you live near a cacao tree you will likely not taste this cacao. All commercially available cacao is “sprouted”, aka fermented.

A cousin of caffeine, it is also classified as a methylxanthine. It’s chemical structure is similar to caffeine, but not its effects or properties.

“Though still habituating, theobromine is milder and has about a quarter of the stimulating power of its sister molecule caffeine. It gently stimulates the nervous system, relaxes smooth muscles and dilates blood vessels.”

(from Naked Chocolate by David Wolfe and Shazzie)


Other benefits:

• An effective cough medicine – better than codeine and without the side effects!

• Used to treat asthma – broadens the smooth bronchial tubes for better breathing.

• A mild diuretic – increases urination.

• A cardiac stimulant – can be used to treat high blood pressure.

• Has cariostatic effects – destroys the bacteria that cause tooth decay. Is antibiotic and antibacterial.

• Contributes to chocolate’s aphrodisiac effect.

According to a wikipedia article,it was used in the early 20th century as a treament for edema (excessive liquid in parts of the body), syphilitic angina attacks, and degenerative angina. (



Is there caffeine in chocolate?

There are also minute percentages of caffeine in cacao (0.05-0.36%), mainly in the shell and the skin, which is typically discarded before use.

The Biochemist, (Apr/May 1933, p 15) did chemical composition tests where they specifically distinguished between caffeine and theobromine.

They found it to make up only 1.3% of the weight of chocolate. They also found other pharmacologically active compounds including up to 2.20% phenylethylamine, up to 1.54% telemethylhisamine, and occasionally up to 5.82 serotonin.

They could not detect any caffeine at all.”

(from Naked Chocolate by David Wolfe and Shazzie)

Chocolate is not recommended for dogs, since they do not have the enzyme that digests theobromine. 100-200 mg per kilogram of a dogs body weight can cause cardiac and central nervous system distress.


Pure Raw &
Medicinal Chocolate:

Lulu's Maca Chunk Bar - Best Chocolate Ever!

Naked Chocolate

Cacao beans



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