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Coffee and Healing

(excerpted and compiled from “Coffee Cantata! by Jan Stoltman)

Coffee has been lauded as a potent medicinal since the earliest ages. Over the centuries it has been prescribed for the treatment of an astounding variety of maladies, from kidney stones and gout, to small pox, measles, and a wide range of circulatory and digestive disorders.

A medical encyclopedia compiled by Rhazes, a follower of Galen and Hippocrates, referred to the coffee  bean (bunchum), which supports the belief that the healing properties of coffee were understood and in use well over 1000 years ago. Similar references appear in the writings of Avicenna (AD 908-1037).

In Europe, coffee beans were originally only of value to botanists. Before long, however, they became a staple in apothecary shops, as a vital component in treatments offered by 17th century herbalists, chemists and even housewives.

Today, the caffeine in coffee is a well-known stimulant and has been shown to increase mental functioning and even memory – when used in moderation.  Overuse can reduce concentration and cause nervousness or jitters. The caveat being, of course, that too much of anything good can lead to affliction.