The Almighty Cocoa Bean
When you feel low and depressed, what do you eat to comfort your sorrow? You lament about your problems as if the world just ended followed by a wide sea of tears. How do some of us deal with it? Chocolate!
Chocolate comes from the cacao bean known to possess a psychological allurement. The word ‘choc-co-lat’ said slowly even has the ability to capture someone’s attention. Did I hear chocolate? Repeat it one more time and watch the tears dissipate!
The name Theobroma cacao translates as the “food of the Gods.” The Mayans called it ‘bitter water’ and treated themselves by preparing hot chocolate drinks during ceremonies. Dated some 4000 years ago, the Aztecs and Mayans considered cocoa beans extremely valuable similar to having a large sum of money. In essence, the beans literally grew on trees and would serve as a currency used to make payments such as taxes, clothes, and bargaining for fruits and legumes.
There is an actual reasoning behind the fact that chocolate makes us feel good. They stimulate the production of pheromones – in particular, one called phenylethylamine which creates a sense of wellbeing and excitementRawligion
The value came from the discovery that chocolate is noted for its many stimulants. The feel-good-factor in dark chocolate comes from the psychoactive natural drugs our bodies are known to produce such as serotonin, tryptophan, caffeine, and anandamide which boost morale and acts a mood enhancer.
Linked to happiness, chocolate is a good source of energy and can enhance confidence to overcome those unexpected relationship break-ups. The cocoa flavor and aroma combined with a hard silky smooth texture instantly melts in your mouth sending you to an aphrodisiac-induced state.
Aside from consuming chocolate for pleasure, this important commodity has many benefits. When the oil/fats are extracted from the cocoa beans it forms into a butter, producing various uses in cosmetics.
Somewhat of a health paradox, cocoa is also recognized for a plethora of health and skincare benefits. Mostly associated with chocolate in the modern day, be aware that it lost its virginity to ancient civilizations long ago for having incredible properties, however, ranked today in the same classification as gold.
Cocoa beans are encapsulated in an elongated pod that grows on the cacao tree which typically originates from Central and South America. By-products of these bitter cocoa beans include cocoa powder, cocoa liquor, cocoa butter enriched with a robust chocolatey flavor and aroma. Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon and Ivory Coast contributes to 65% of the world’s chocolate production.
It sparked popularity with its versatility and extremely fresh and clean texture with some charming effects on the body.
Throughout history, cocoa has significantly been instrumental in many different ways. Research has proven that the cocoa bean is rich in flavonoids, a phytonutrient containing polyphenols celebrated for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. Flavonoids assist in increasing blood flow, reduces memory loss, stimulates the nervous system, aids in digestion, minimizes stress, attenuates cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and chronic diseases. Furthermore, regulating bowel movement notwithstanding treating anemia, mental fatigue, tuberculosis, fever and sexual performance documented for the last three millennia.
It’s hard not to appreciate the compelling evidence found in cocoa bearing its health and medicinal treatment and aphrodisiac properties. Aside from its consumption as food or drink, in ancient times the leaves, bark, and butter from the cacao tree were effective and therapeutic for treating various skin diseases. So it’s no surprise why cocoa butter has many applications including lotions, creams, soaps, and ointments based on its benefits for improving skin health and hair quality.
Cocoa butter has been widely used to treat dry, cracked, rough, scaling, pigmented and scraped skin boosting health and reducing the appearance of scars. Its wound healing and anti-aging properties can reduce the onset of various skin infections on the body and defend the skin against UV light radiation.
Unrefined cocoa butter is very popular for its outstanding benefits as a natural skin moisturizer but also excellent at penetrating and hydrating the skin for several hours. For sensitive skin, cocoa butter is perfect for trapping in moisture by retaining it with a protective film, preventing sun damage and acting as an insulator during cold temperatures making this an impeccable sealer for chapped lips.
Research has shown that applying cocoa butter on your hair reduces dandruff and promotes a healthier scalp, strengthening and uplifting its overall appearance which slows down the rate of hair loss.
Elsewhere, cocoa pods, butter, and beans are used to make black soap. Very famous in West Africa, this helps to clear blemishes, dark spots, hydrates the skin, removing dirt and bacteria, leaving a clean and radiant skin complexion.
Skincare Benefits of Cocoa Butter
- Improves and lightens scars
- Accelerates wound healing
- Enhances skin health
- Strengthens hair
- Reduces baldness
- Anti-dandruff properties
- Protects against sun damage
- Eliminates cracked, peeled and dry skin
- Removes blemishes and spots
- Soothes burns and swollen skin and rashes
- Fights sign of aging such as wrinkles
- Reduces skin irritation from shaving
Quick Facts of Cocoa Butter
Anti-aging properties. Cocoa beans have twice the amount of antioxidant compounds than grapes which help fight skin degeneration, increase collagen production, skin elasticity and toning.
Anti-inflammatory. The fatty acids found in cocoa butter soothe the skin and reduce inflammation for people suffering from dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, rashes, and acne.
Anti-cicatrizant. Repairing and replenishing burned skin reducing stretch marks after pregnancy.
Rich in minerals. Including iron, calcium, phosphorus, copper, manganese, and magnesium.
Leverage Nature’s Beauty
Using cocoa butter during those winter months are a good time to say goodbye to dry knees, elbows, dry skin and cracked heels and begin to feel sexy and comfortable in light clothing attire come summer.
Using a cocoa chapstick from Pureté Nature will do just the trick. We promise whoever crosses your path will be fixated on your gorgeous smooth skin.
The raw unrefined cocoa butter may not smell heavenly compared to perfume or flowery fragrances but its power to heal the skin is beyond phenomenal. The most expensive cream may be packaged well and heavily advertised on television, yet may contain a fraction of cocoa butter or Theobroma cacao and loaded with unnecessary ingredients.
Pure unrefined cocoa butter will always rank as the best as anything less could dilute its efficacy.
Every day our skin is constantly exposed to pollutants in the air and effects from sunlight, two very common extrinsic factors which speed up skin aging. On the contrary, physiological changes naturally occurring as we age are responsible for the skin to lose its flexibility, elasticity and the ability to self-repair are inevitable intrinsic factors. Therefore the quest for anti-aging skin care methods is in prevention and will continue to be a lucrative market.
Nature is best at providing necessary food as solutions for health benefits, medicinal treatment, and topical usage. In some indigenous places, fats from cocoa are used to cook with the same way we use coconut oil or grapeseed oil. As you can see, one tree alone can nourish the body and perform skin care miracles.
We recommend using unrefined cocoa butter for people suffering sensitive skin problems such as eczema and psoriasis but always do a patch test at night.
We at Kale + Coco firmly believe cosmetics must come from an edible source of food as your skin should absorb anything you apply within 30 seconds. Cocoa butter wraps your skin and beautifies your skin in minutes.
Photo Credit: Cocoa Pod Shop