Coffee

Name: Coffea arabica

Distribution: Tropical forests

Medicinal role: Used as a stimulant

Activity: The active ingredient is caffeine, a water soluble alkaloid. It is a central nervous system stimulant, and a metabolic stimulant.

Caffeine is a chemical with neuroactive properties that many people ingest every day. The caffeine contained in extracts of coffee or tea plants can help people feel more alert. Too much caffeine can cause some people to feel jumpy and have shaky hands. For people who are used to having a certain amount of caffeine every day, they can suffer from caffeine withdrawal symptoms—including headaches and shaky hands—when they have a sudden decrease in their usual amount of caffeine intake. What is the treatment for those withdrawal symptoms? Another cup of coffee!

Some plant extracts contain chemicals with neuroactive properties that may be useful in the prevention and treatment of neurological diseases and their symptoms. Parkinson’s disease (PD) is one such neurological disorder. In fact, the consumption of caffeine and coffee may lower a person’s risk for Parkinson’s disease (PD) and slow the progression of the disease.

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