New Moon Cacao Ceremony – May 11 2021, 7 – 9pm PT
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Symptoms and Contraindications
Before consuming cacao, be sure to understand it’s contraindications and what to expect in working with it. Cacao is a plant medicine. Like any potent medicine, it is important to be mindful in its use. If in doubt about any serious contraindications, check with your doctor about how a higher dose of cacao might interact with medications or medical conditions. In most cases, there are no concerns to be aware of. The pieces listed below are mainly a concern in higher doses, like when we use a full ceremonial dosage (1.5-2oz +). In these cases, the combination of potent cacao and a higher dose warrants some additional mindfulness. To be clear, if you have not already been sitting with cacao and building a tolerance, I recommend starting with a lower dose (i.e. 0.5-0.8oz) and working your way up. Read more about this here. Cacao is a strong bitter and stimulant, so there are some side effects to be aware of, as well as certain specific contra-indications. Since cacao is consumed in higher doses in ceremony, people might experience symptoms such as light-headedness, sweaty palms, headache or nausea. Simply slow down, drink water and practice self-care as needed until symptoms subside. Cacao is also mildly laxative in higher doses. In some cases, cacao can also stimulant detox symptoms. If this happens, take it as a blessing and drink plenty of water as your body lets go of whatever it didn’t like. This will likely be accentuated for people on a raw diet or who are fasting. Go with lower doses in this case. Cacao works with your heart and your mind, so if you are taking any medications for heart and/or mental health, it is important to consider the interactions that these two medicines might have with one another. For example: MAOI based anti-depressants are contraindicated with the tyramine in chocolate, so a larger dose of cacao is not recommended. Side effects could include more serious headache and nausea, so make sure to check medications first. Additionally, there has been some concern with larger doses of cacao and SSRI type anti-depressants, because of the MAOI's in cacao. Specifically, the tryptophan, a type of MAOI which is a pre-cursor to serotonin has been cited by some as a possible contraindication. The research about this interaction is minimal, however, to be on the safe side, for those on SSRI's, we suggest consulting with your doctor and/or pharmacist regarding higher doses of cacao and to consider starting with low doses. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, like with coffee or tea, it is important to reduce the intake of stimulating foods. The theobromine in cacao, which is very similar to caffeine, has a stimulating effect. Thus, we recommend using lower dosages (ex. a maximum of 1oz in a ceremonial drink). Pure cacao can be fatal to dogs (and possibly horses and parrots) so be sure to keep it away from pets. If any symptoms do present, drink lots of water, get some rest and it will pass. This information is provided by Heartblood Cacao! Find them here: https://www.heartbloodcacao.com/