Caffeine for Herbal Naturopathy: properties, benefits, uses, side effects

Caffeine is an alkaloid extracted from coffee beans. Acts as a powerful stimulant of the central nervous system, breathing and heart. Let’s find out better.

Where is caffeine found

Caffeine is an alkaloid. These molecules are generally toxic and used by plants for defense purposes. The alkaloids take their name from the fact that in the molecule there are amino groups such as to give it a basic character. All the most important poisons extracted from plants belong to this group: strychnine, morphine, atropine, hyoscyamine, nicotine, etc.

Caffeine is extracted from coffee plants, but not only. Other plants, such as guarana and mate, contain varying concentrations of caffeine.

The coffee plant is a small evergreen shrub that produces fruits, or rather berries, of an intense red color. The drug consists of roasted seeds, commonly called coffee beans. Lately, even non-roasted beans, which take the name of green coffee, are widely used and appreciated as adjuvants to lose weight.

Green coffee beans are roasted at approximately 220 ┬░ C to develop the characteristic aroma and smell of the coffee we use as a drink.

Roasted coffee contains more caffeine than raw, unroasted green coffee. In the latter, caffeine is linked to chlorogenic acid in a complex that takes the name of caffeine chlorogenate. This compound causes a slower and more prolonged absorption of the coffee throughout the day. Drinking roasted coffee, the peak of caffeine and therefore of excitatory effect is reached after 30-40 minutes; with green coffee, absorption is slow, prolonged and continuous throughout the day, in favor of the liver which is better able to metabolize caffeine and the body as a whole which benefits better from the characteristics of vigilance, attention and vitality typical of caffeine.

Properties of caffeine

The physiological activities attributed to coffee are attributable to the most important active ingredient, caffeine.

Caffeine works by stimulating the central nervous system, increasing respiration and the action of the skeletal muscles (the one controlled by our will and which allows us to perform movements). Furthermore, it stimulates cardiac activity, dilates the coronary arteries (arteries that supply the heart), relaxes the smooth muscles (responsible for involuntary movements such as the contraction of arteries and hollow organs) and promotes diuresis.

Green coffee has peculiar properties that have promoted it to the category of supplements with slimming effects. The action is specific and meaningful, but obviously without a good diet, exercise and healthy lifestyle, which can also be considered useless.

Green coffee acts by promoting a lipolytic action on the adipocytes of the adipose tissue, that is, it puts the fatty acids stored in the cells back into circulation. These fatty acids put into circulation in the blood must be oxidized, otherwise passing through the liver they will return to their original location. The specific action is determined by a series of methylxanthines contained in green coffee beans, including ceffein.

Furthermore, green coffee has a high concentration of chlorogenic acid, which as seen binds caffeine to caffeine chlorogenate. Chlorogenic acid is a powerful antioxidant, four times greater than green tea and works by blocking the action of free radicals, which would otherwise lead to the degeneration of complex molecular structures such as cells and proteins.

Caffeine extracts and green coffee preparations are commercially available in powder or tablet form, green coffee is also found in sachets with which it is possible to prepare infusions.


Caffeine is not recommended for those who are sensitive to it, caution also recommended for green coffee, although the absorption is different between this and roasted coffee.

In addition, caffeine can induce headaches, vomiting, nausea, insomnia, agitation, excitement, delirium, tachycardia, extrasystoles.

Coffee seems to increase gastric secretion, moreover, roasted coffee having a low pH and between 3 and 3.5, should be taken with caution by those suffering from gastric problems or heartburn, if not completely avoided.

Green coffee has a pH of around 5, certainly less aggressive than roasted coffee, but in any case to be avoided in case of accentuated gastric symptoms.

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