Coffee

Parts used: Seeds (beans)

The next time one of your skeptical friends starts giving you a hard time about using medicinal herbs, hers’s the perfect comeback

Do You Drink Coffee?

The fact is, coffee is one of the most widely used herbal infusions.  It does more than wake us up in the morning.  It helps treat colds, flu, allergies and asthma.  It improves athletic performance.  It helps prevent kidney stones and jet lag.  It relieves pain and combats depression, possibly even reducing the risk of suicide.  It may also promote weight loss in some people who are seriously obese.

It can also produce significant side effects.  Caffeine is an addictive drug.  Overtime, regular users develop a tolerance and if they suddenly give up caffeine, they experience symptoms of withdrawal.  It’s main downsides — impaired fertility in women and increased risk of osteoporosis — have not been well publicized.  Caffeine is definitely not risk-free.  No drug is.  Authorities generally agree, however, that for most people, drinking a cup or two a day is safe.

Healing History

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Folk healers have used coffee for centuries to treat asthma, fever, headache, colds and flu.  Modern herbalists include it among healing herbs. Many use it as an enema for many reasons.

Therapeutic Uses

Caffeine, the stimulant in coffee (as well as in tea, cocoa, chocolate, cola, mate and guarana), is also an ingredient in many cold, flu, anti drowsiness and menstrual remedies.  The amount of caffeine depends on how it’s prepared.  A cup of instant container about 65 milligrams, a cup of drip or percolated has 100 to 150 milligrams and a cup of espresso delivers about 350 milligrams.

The media regularly report health problems linked to caffeine and coffee, many of which have been debunked, but they never discuss coffee’s many potential therapeutic benefits.

Fatigue and lethargy, enhanced athletic performance, colds, flu, allergies, asthma, pain, suicide prevention, kidney stones, gallstones, menstrual problems, jet lag, overweight.

RX recommendations

Coffee has a wonderful, rich, pleasantly bitter taste.  It is suggested to drink up to 3 cups a day.  Coffee flavored yogurt and other items do contain caffeine so that all counts towards your caffeine total. Do not give to children under age 2.  For older children and adults over 65 start with a low strength brew and increase the strength as needed.

Safety Factor

Coffee can be addictive and cause so many side effects.  Drinking more than 8 cups a day can lead to caffeinism that is similar symptoms as anxiety neurosis.  Many are misdiagnosed with anxiety neurosis when the problem is actually caffeinism. Over time you get use to the caffeine that you consume and slowly you consume more.

Coffee also increases the secretion of stomach acid.  People with ulcers or other chronic digestive disorders should drink coffee sparingly, if at all. Three cups of brewed coffee can boost blood pressure by as much as 15 percent.  If you already have high blood pressure, please discuss your intake with your doctor.

Coffee CAN make you sick

High blood pressure, high cholesterol, cancers (maybe), birth defects (not proven in humans but limit your intake), hyperactivity in children.  For women it could impair fertility, increase bone loss, higher risk of fibrocystic breasts, increased likelihood of PMS, elevated risk of stress incontinence.

You should use medicinal amounts of coffee only in consultation with your doctor.  If it causes insomnia, stomach distress, anxiety or any of the other problems discussed above, reduce or eliminate it.  Let your doctor know if symptoms do not improve within 2 weeks.