The following guidelines are suggestions only. We do not offer medical advice. If you have any concerns regarding your personal health and the use of cacao, please consult a doctor.
Very High Blood Pressure & Serious Heart Problems
Cacao is a cardiovascular stimulant and a vasodilator. It increases the heart rate and opens the blood vessels. When taking a full ceremonial or shamanic dose, cacao can increase blood flow around the body, to the brain and digestive tract, by up to 40%.
As a vasodilator, cacao can drop blood pressure quickly, potentially causing complications for those with very high blood pressure or serious heart problems. If you have these conditions, please check with your doctor first before drinking cacao. If they give the thumbs up, go with a maximum 25g dose. If you haven't consulted a doctor, don’t risk it!
The MAO (Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors) in cacao can react with antidepressants and antipsychotic pharmaceuticals. Reactions range from mild to extreme nausea, depending on the dose of your medication. The efficacy of antidepressants can also be affected. Cacao stimulates the release of several brain chemicals. And MAO inhibitors slow the re-uptake of brain chemicals in the nerve synapses. This means taking cacao could either make the antidepressant’s effects much stronger or it could have the opposite effect of what the medication is intended to do.
Search your medications online to see if cacao is contraindicated and consult your doctor. If you get the okay, start with a low dose of 20g or less and see if there are any reactions. Work up to a maximum of 25g.
You may feel the effects of cacao more strongly for several reasons. These include fasting, smaller body weight, sensitivity to caffeine, low alcohol tolerance, high toxicity levels in the body, and drinking too much before strong physical activity.
If you feel nauseous, we suggest you lie down, rest it out and drink water. Eating is usually out of the question when you have full nausea but if you’re just feeling wobbly, munching on something can help ground your energy.
Be wary of nausea with doses above 45g, even up to 5 hours after drinking cacao. We always say, if you’re feeling the effects of cacao, that means you’ve had enough! Having a double shot just because it’s delicious will not equate to you feeling twice as good.
Drink lots of water! Cacao is a natural diuretic that can make you thirsty. Keep this in mind, especially in summertime. Always stay well hydrated during a ceremony or any time you’re drinking cacao.