During the sixteenth century the Arab people spread the habit of consuming coffee. In the United States
United Statesalone, more than one million tons of coffee grains are consumed annually.
Coffee as grown on the tree undergoes a process of fermentation and roasting before its use.
The constant consumption of coffee provokes physical and psychological dependence, and also has toxic effects, thus coffee is regarded as a drug.
Just like other drugs, such as opium, coffee’s active ingredients (caffeine) may be useful in the treatment of certain afflictions on a one-time basis. However, its regular use produces addiction and in many cases, several disorders.
The most important active component of coffee is an alkaloid: trimethylxanthine, or caffeine, which constitutes between 1% and 2% of the grain. It also contains an essential oil which gives coffee its typical aroma, and whose action on the digestive system is irritant, as well as cafeic and chlorogenic acids, with a diuretic effect, and diverse fatty and nitrogenated substances which oxidize and denature during the fermentation and roasting process.
Caffeine is an alkaloid of the xanthine group, chemically very similar to purine. And responsible for most of the effects of coffee.
After an intake of caffeine, more intellectual effort is possible; however the ability to comprehend and assimilate that which has been learned diminishes. When typists drink coffee they work quicker, but make more mistakes. The mental agility and dynamics which are achieved are followed by a sensation of tiredness and dejection some hours later which induces the person to take another dose. A cup of coffee does not contain any of the nutritive substances the brain requires to work adequately, such as glucose, B vitamins, lecithin, or mineral salts (phosphorous, calcium, etc.). Coffee excites but does not nourish, and in high doses it irritates and tires the nervous system.
Coffee increases heart contractions and slightly increases blood pressure. However, one must bear in mind that continuous doses cause irritability of the coronary nerves, which causes tachycardia and alterations of the heartbeat (arrhythmia). Caffeine, by increasing the level of adrenaline in the blood, predisposes the body to heart attacks.
Coffee causes an increase in the secretion of gastric juices, which may ease digestion at certain times. But continuous use produces excessive acid, gastritis, and favors the appearance of gastric ulcers as well as colitis, due to the irritant action of the essential oil coffee contains. The liver also suffers overloading when coffee is taken continually.
The continuous use of coffee has been related to bladder and colon cancer, as well as to the increase of cholesterol in the blood.
However, coffee does have some therapeutical use whenever there is no other treatment with fewer side effects.
Coffee may neutralize, though only incompletely, the depressing effects of alcohol on the nervous system. It may be used as a home remedy to partially wake up people intoxicated by alcoholic beverages.
Due to physical exhaustion and tiredness. Coffee may provide a provisional stimulus, though it never cures. It is better to apply suitable treatment in these cases.
Coffee clears the head and produces a subjective easing of influenza symptoms. In these cases, correct treatment consists of applying the natural agents which stimulate organic defenses and have preventive action. It can also ease the effects of migraines and headaches.
Even though coffee has beneficial effects, it must never be used endlessly, not even as a purpose for medicine.