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Ishmael Fleishman

Cacao & Quetzalcoatl & Jonathan Ott & Actec Flavours

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Has anyone enjoy Cacao? Ritually, Recreational or Medicinal? Do you have anything to share?

 

I have never been a chocolate bar fan, and commercial drinking chocolate was always a kids drink. Then I discovered raw cacao and have developed a deeper appreciation for cacao.

 

I have been trying to find a copy of Jonathan Ott The Cacahuatl Eater: Ruminations of an Unabashed Chocolate Addict without luck. Anyone have a copy?

 

I really like Jonathan Ott - he seems to a lesser known figure but his knowledge, wit and intellect is mesmerizing.


I have been making raw Cacao with chili and vanilla. Still have not made the jump to ceremonial.

 

However I am interested in pre-Hispanic Mesoamerica potentiaters for cacao so far I have found:

 

 

I found this: https://www.mexicolore.co.uk/maya/chocolate/aztec-and-maya-chocolate - Need to dissect the content.

 

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Elite cacao drinks contained pure cacao, to which were added several subtle - and often highly prized - ground and roasted flavourings and spices, rendering them fit for nobles and the very rich.
For the Aztecs, the premier flavouring was hueinacaztli (pic 4, right), identified by the Coes as ‘the thick, ear-shaped petal of the flower of the Cymbopetalum penduliflorum, a tree of the Annonaceae or custard-apple family, which grows in the tropical lowland forests of Veracruz, Oaxcaca, and Chiapas’.
Shown alongside hueinacaztli in picture 4 (on the left, both growing together) are mecaxochitl (‘cord-flower) - with small orange flowers - and tlilxochitl (‘black flower’) or, to us, vanilla (Vanilla planifolia), whose seed-pods (it is these, not the flowers, that are black, when fermented and dried) were a key flavouring in Aztec chocolate.

Pic 5: ‘Izquixochitl’ (arrowed); Badianus Manuscript fol. 39r
Pic 5: ‘Izquixochitl’ (arrowed); Badianus Manuscript fol. 39r (Click on image to enlarge)

Another tree, ‘tall, fine-looking, with a white flower that looks like a dog-rose, and with a rose scent and flavour’ (Coe & Coe), whose scented flowers were used to flavour both chocolate and tobacco was izquixochitl (‘popcorn flower’) - probably the tree Bourreria huanita. Izquixochitl was specifically mentioned in Sahagún’s Florentine Codex as being important in the preparation of chilled chocolate drinks. In fact, Sahagún goes on to provide a detailed list of different-coloured chocolate beverages prepared for the Aztec ruler - green, honeyed, bright red, orange-red, rose-coloured, black, white...
The red-coloured chocolate was probably produced by adding achiote (the Bixa orellana tree), whose seed coats provide an important pigment, annatto or arnatto, still used today as a natural food dye (for example in Red Leicester and Cheshire cheeses). Achiote was also used ‘to provide sustenance’.

Pic 6: Trunk of the Castilla elastica (rubber tree), showing scar where a branch has been shed
Pic 6: Trunk of the Castilla elastica (rubber tree), showing scar where a branch has been shed (Click on image to enlarge)

We have yet to mention something of chocolate’s medicinal use in pre-Hispanic Mesoamerica. This would require an entire article on its own, but suffice to give one example here, quoting Louis Grivetti (whose source is Sahagún): ‘Chocolate (unmixed with other products; very bitter) was drunk by the Mexica/Aztecs to treat stomach and intestinal complaints; when combined with liquid extruded from the bark of the silk cotton tree (Castilla elastica [the source of rubber]), this beverage was used by traditional healers to cure infections.’ Note that the only purpose of consuming ‘neat’ chocolate was as a medicine, reflecting its original ancient use (in South America) - a practice that resonates in many traditional societies in the belief that ‘the more bitter the taste, the stronger the medicine.’

Pic 7: Detail from the ‘Princeton Vase’, showing a palace servant woman pouring chocolate from one vessel to another - ‘the earliest depiction of the froth-producing process’. Kerr K0511
Pic 7: Detail from the ‘Princeton Vase’, showing a palace servant woman pouring chocolate from one vessel to another - ‘the earliest depiction of the froth-producing process’. Kerr K0511 (Click on image to enlarge)

The range of native American ingredients added to cacao before the arrival of Europeans is surprisingly extensive: Grivetti lists 22 (most of which are the ground leaves of different flowers and seeds, but he also mentions one or two fruits, nuts and [chilli] peppers), plus two sweeteners (bee honey and the syrup of the maguey cactus). We have every reason to believe that the ancient Maya prepared an equally wide variety of chocolate drinks; though less well documented, we have evidence from Maya ceramic vases decorated with recently deciphered ‘recipe’ glyphs, such as ‘honey cacao’, ‘chilli cacao’, ‘fruity cacao’, ‘foamy cacao’, etc.
This last reference is central to the ritual of Mesoamerican chocolate consumption. By pouring chocolate - from a considerable height - from one vessel to another (and later by using a wooden whisk known by its Spanish name molinillo) the cocoa butter rises to the surface and a froth is obtained. Not only do you get the best taste from the bubbles bursting in the mouth, but you enter into an important performance...

 

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I've never been able to afford a chunk of ceremonial grade cacao. I used to drink mine with chilli, or (once upon a time) grains of paradise. I just drink the cheap stuff from the supermarket as one would instant coffee - for the mood enhancers, minerals and phytonutrients, with (probably) a little cadmium. But only about a teaspoon per day. Nothing heroic. I used to munch on the nibs, which I don't see around much these days. Cacao is great for cannabis edibles, synergistic effects may have been documented. 

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Yes I also just drink the instant stuff - that is the raw cacao powder from the super market. The price is $5.5 for 250g. I am taking larger doses in the 40g per serve once a day sometimes twice a day. I compare the cost to coffee I can easily pay $6.5 or more for a single coffee so for less then a $1 for a far more mood enhancing drink. I used to drink coffee regularly however now I dislike it - cacao is far less anxiety inducing.

 

The ceremonial grade stuff is not easy to get were I am and I have just not been able to justify the cost at this time - however I am keen to try if their is any difference.

 

ALDI sells nibs as a regular product in the dried fruit section. I have tried it and occasionally have a nibble from the bag I bought a while back.

 

Cacao and cannabis makes sense.

Cacao and mushrooms makes sense and I am keen to try this combination next mushroom season.

Cacao with rosewater or rose petals not traditional but it is amazing flavor and roses are viewed to open ones heart.

 

I am interested in cacao and its MAOI's - I have experience with β-carboline alkaloids (MAOI's) as a way to ameliorates my depressive symptoms. Harmala in small doses is very effective however Cacao is 100% legal and easier to get. Cacao is far less potent and that is a good thing. Not everything has to be mega doses ultra-concentrated all the time. However.

 

The MAOI in cacao Tryptoline, also known as tetrahydro-β-carboline and tetrahydronorharmane

 

Their are lots of warning of combining MAOI's with all kinds of food - however further research has open me to the idea that this only holds true for non reversible pharmaceutical MAOI's in contrast reversible The β-carboline alkaloids of the harmala have been combined with San Pedro (a source of mescaline and other derivatives of phenethylamine), for example with no ill effects according to Keeper Trouts bioassay and I believe that the same will hold true for cacao.

 

The fact that MAOI's are everywhere in nature and humans have been combining all kinds of MAOI's with derivatives of phenethylamine and that we are still here is worth noting.

 

It would be interesting to conduct a bioassay of cacao and harmala. The mood enhancing and relaxing stimulant qualities of cacao with minute incremental doses of harmala would be worth exploring as a micro-dose regiment for mood and depressive disorders.

 

EDIT - Obviously difference in potency will be huge but I found this list of MAOI foods https://www.botanical-online.com/en/medicinal-plants/depression-natural-mao-inhibitors -

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Ishmael Fleishman

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On 22/10/2023 at 7:20 AM, Ishmael Fleishman said:

The ceremonial grade stuff is not easy to get were I am and I have just not been able to justify the cost at this time - however I am keen to try if their is any difference.

 

 

If I get the chance, I'll grab you some. I think it's easy enough to get decent effects with the cheap powder but it's not as 'in' as having Peruvian ceremonial grade cacao
 

I did a lot of experimenting with Cacao. It seems quite a useful medicine particularly for cognitive stuff, and in the shorter term as a mood lift. I was playing around with lots of fermenting and other things trying to boost effects but in the long run, simple seems best. Some popular blends were Sceletium, Saffron and Cacao and a few others
 

 

 
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The broader cognition-enhancing effects seem dose-dependent, sustained, cumulative and in part, due to cacao flavonols and other constituents that act in a more long-lasting way.
 
Cacao is an interesting nutraceutical tool to protect human cognition and counteract different types of cognitive decline - research investigating the relations between cacao and cognition shows dose-dependent improvements in general cognition, attention, processing speed, and working memory [1]. The CNS effects of cacao have been divided into several components by various authors [2].
 
There is a large amount of scientific evidence that the flavonoids, more in particular cacao flavonols, are involved in the cognition-enhancing effects. Epicatechin, the most abundant flavanol in cacao, displays various beneficial effects on the CNS by stimulating perfusion (via a nitric oxide mediated pathway), angiogenesis, and neurogenesis (BDNF-TrkB). It induces changes in neuron morphology, especially in regions involved in memory and learning. These effects should be cumulative. The metabolites of the larger polyphenols also likely stimulate BDNF mediated processes.
 
At the second level, the methylxanthines caffeine and theobromine have additive and maybe synergistic effects on cognition and alertness, although the role of theobromine remains unclear. That said, it seems the theobromine improves working memory [3] via upregulation of BDNF, also an effect that likely builds over time, rather than being acute.
 
At the third and gradually more specific level, the tetrahydroisoquinoline alkaloids, more in particular salsolinol, may exert additive or synergistic activities.

 

 



The β-carbolines are so common in foods as they form in condensation reactions between tryptophan and carbonyl compounds/breakdown products of sugars, which condense in a Pictet-Spengler reaction (often undergoing decarboxylation on roasting). Practically fermenting and roasting many foods will form some (and this seems to be their origin in Cacao), the main ones that seem to be often seen are (nor)harman, which results in measurable MAO-A inhibition from repeated coffee drinking, and tobacco use, which likewise results in significant MAO-A inhibition over long-term use "coffee is the most important exogenous source of these alkaloids in addition to cigarette smoking." [1]. 

 

 

Edited by Alchemica
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@Alchemica - I have looked at sourcing ceremonial grade and it is in all honestly perplexing. What is genuine and what is marketing, so many of the brands are trading on their authenticty but as a consumer on the other side of the world I cannot know.

 

Can you recommend a supplier of ceremonial grade cacao?

 

Cacao does not seem to get much traction as a psychoactive drug. Our cultural consumption of hyper processed diluted and sachrine chocolate maybe blinding us to the possible potential of cacao.

 

@Alchemica what are your thoughts of mixing cacao with harmala?

 

 

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Can you recommend a supplier of ceremonial grade cacao?

I've used two, one that was sold as 'ceremonial grade cacao' was nothing particularly noteworthy. The other, more expensive, was a bit richer and nicer and available at the local market in whatever quantity one wants https://houseofhealthcollective.com.au/lines/ceremonial-cacao-chunks but it comes with the price-tag

 

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Cacao does not seem to get much traction as a psychoactive drug. Our cultural consumption of hyper processed diluted and sachrine chocolate maybe blinding us to the possible potential of cacao.

I agree, particularly initially I had some quite profound experiences using high dose cacao powder/paste

 

5 hours ago, Ishmael Fleishman said:

@Alchemica what are your thoughts of mixing cacao with harmala?

Haven't tried it but would guess it could be rather potent

More on the β-carbolines in Cacao [1]

 
Quote

 

We have previously reported that several foods and fermented alcoholic beverages contain appreciable amounts of two of those THβCs found in chocolates, THCA and MTCA, reaching up to several mg/kg (Herraiz et al., 1993, Herraiz, 1996-2000). Interestingly, the concentration of THCA and MTCA in chocolate and cocoa is comparable to that of alcoholic beverages such as wine, beer, and liquor, which contain a relatively high amount of those compounds.
 
The origin of these tetrahydro-β-carbolines is a reaction involving L-tryptophan and aldehydes that are present or otherwise released during the processing of foods and beverages. Its chemical formation depends on the amount of precursors, storage time, pH, temperature, and processing conditions (Herraiz and Ough, 1993; Herraiz, 1996).

The same reaction is likely to occur in chocolates that suffer a fermentation from cacao beans and heating processes. Then, it is expected that serotonin, L-tryptophan, and tryptamine afford the corresponding THβCs (6OHMTHβC, MTCA, and MTHβC) through a Pictet-Spengler condensation with acetaldehyde

The biological significance of tetrahydro-β-carbolines and β-carbolines is related to their potential pharmacological actions on the nervous system, playing a role as neuromodulators via effects on monoamine oxidase (MAO), biogenic amine (serotonin) uptake/release, and benzodiazepine receptor binding. Then, these compounds exogenously supplied, or hypothetically produced in vivo, might become bioactive, exhibiting behavioral and/or toxicological implications. In this regard, it is very likely that part of the β-carbolines found in the human tissues and fluids have a dietary origin.

 

 

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once you star talking about 100% of something does the grading really matter?

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Confirmation that a decoction of P. harmala seeds is massively potentiated by addition to a drink made of large amounts cacao.

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Alchemica Thanks for the link price is reasonable compared to other brands.

 

1kg at $77 dollars equals 20 doses of cacao. Which means a 50g dose cost of $3.85. Not that bad in my books.

 

 

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thats very good work...

i'm always interressted in maoi's as potentiater.

i suggest to experiment with caapi or even better passiflora incarnata.

i think ther could be a version of this idea, which could taste nice as well (adding passion fruit juice to the preparation.

 

i agree that food warnings, when taking maoi's are over cautious, however over the years we had many stories where, people forgot they took, take an maoi, and than ended up with serotonin symptom.

i further like to expand, that a plant based, combo with nsri's could be very interessting.

i remember a bio essay, mixing melatonin, with harmala, and it got scary, never to be repeated.

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A kind member on this community gifted me some ceremonial cacao to compare to the supermarket bought raw cacao.

 

I made the ceremonial cacao in the same way I would the raw - 50g of cacao, milk, sugar and chilli.

 

In short the difference between these two items not comparable.

 

The raw cacao is a kids drinks the ceremonial cacao is an entheogen.

 

The ceremonial cacao started within 30 minutes as a tingle in the arms and body and a slight stimulating buzz but nothing edge after an hour or two gave way to a deep relaxation almost a feeling of floating in water. I could definitely feel that it made me more in touch with my emotions, not emotional just they I could feel more - maybe this is the opening of the heart people speak about. As the day wore on I could feel the effect, I not sure how to describe it however the best I can describe in the relaxation akin to a small to moderate amount of alcohol a feeling that has stayed with me and I could definitely feel it working its way through me throughout the day. I have noted that my stomach is unsettled and a little sensitive maybe not used to so much Theobromine. 10 hours post consumption and I can still feel it, relaxed ready for sleep. Maybe I am more sensitive or not used to the medicine.

 

I did not do a full ritual, just centered myself with a prayer before ingestion. No real set setting and the like however I could see how ceremonial cacao could be a very effective entheogen. I feel that combined with another entheogens it could be a great part of a come up phase. I can see why traditionally ceremonial cacao was mixed with magic mushrooms the likes of Maria Sabina. Combining it with Wachuma is definitely worth considering. From  my limited third-hand understanding cacao is a central Peru entheogen were Wachuma is more associated with northern coastal Peru. However it seems to that they would really go together so well. Maybe even smoking mapacho and drinking cacao would be interesting.

 

While ceremonial cacao is four time the price of raw cacao I feel its like comparing a Honda to a Maserati. Its price would limit daily use but I do not think that any entheogen should be used daily.

 

I will comment on the taste. The raw cacao taste much more akin to commercial chocolate the ceremonial cacao is earthier, less bitter then expected, less chocolate, it is just different to chocolate or raw cacao.  Ceremonial cacao was no were as intense in flavor as I thought it would be. Possible because it is not as refined/processed and still contains all the cocoa fat which could possible dilute the chocolate flavor.

 

I defiantly will be exploring ceremonial cacao again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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