Updated: Dec 29, 2022
Cacao has always been considered a sacred plant, but it wasn’t until recently that we started to recognize its therapeutic benefits. From its antioxidant properties to its mood-boosting abilities, cacao offers many healthful benefits. And while its physical benefits are well known, recent studies show that cacao can be used as a spiritual tool as well - something that I experienced first-hand when I discovered my healing journey with mama cacao.
In 2015, a friend of mine recommended and highly spoke about cacao drinks. I tried cacao for the first time and didn't like the taste as its too bitter or took time to prepare it correctly or do a ritual around it. It wasn't until 2021, when I tried a ceremonial dose of Keith's Cacao in an online setting with a friend, that I truly understood the power of this amazing plant. Since then, I have been incorporating ceremonial cacao into my life almost daily and experiencing the benefits firsthand: everything from feeling more grounded to having breakthroughs in my healing, channeling, art and writing.
In March 2021, I was diagnosed with Cardiomyopathy, a genetic heart condition. During this trying period, drinking cacao has served as an emotional support system - helping me stay calm, balance out stressors, and heal both mentally and physically. Doctors were surprised as well how my minerals and vitamins were balanced in spite of multiple diuretics. Inspired by how cacao helped me stay centered during this challenging time, I decided to give back by hosting women's circles where we explored Art and Cacao, Akashic Reading and Cacao, Reiki and Cacao - all deeply soulful activities that allowed us to connect to our own inner wisdom and find peace within ourselves.
Through this process of opening up my home space for these kinds of workshops and ceremonies with mama cacao acting as our guide along with other practices such as painting, Journaling or mindfulness meditations, we found confidence and comfort in exploring our thoughts and feelings together safely in order to make sense of difficult situations.
Read on to find out more!
Cacao is the raw, unprocessed form of chocolate. It is made from the seeds of the cacao tree (Theobroma cacao), which grow in pods on the trunk and branches of the tree. The seeds are fermented, dried, and roasted to create cocoa beans, which are ground to produce cocoa powder and chocolate.
Cacao is known for its rich, chocolatey flavor and is often used in chocolate-based foods and beverages, such as chocolate bars, cakes, cookies, and hot cocoa. It is also used in some non-food products, such as skincare and beauty products.
Cacao is high in antioxidants, magnesium, and other nutrients and has been linked to various health benefits, including improved heart health, brain function, and mood. However, it is essential to remember that many chocolate products contain added sugar, fat, and other ingredients, which can negate some of the potential health benefits of cacao. To get the most benefits from cacao, choosing high-quality, minimally processed chocolate products is recommended.
Benefits of consuming cacao
Cacao is a powerful superfood that has been used for centuries to support health and wellness. From its antioxidant properties to its mood-boosting benefits, consuming cacao can be beneficial for both physical and mental health.
Here are a few examples:
Heart health: Some research suggests that consuming cacao or chocolate may help improve blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and other factors that contribute to heart health.
Brain function: Cacao is a source of flavonoids, an antioxidant that may help improve blood flow to the brain and support cognitive function. Cacao contains many minerals, vitamins that can offer protection against damage caused by free radicals and help reduce inflammation, while its high levels of magnesium have been known to ease stress and anxiety
Mood: Theobromine – one of cacao’s key compounds - helps to boost energy levels, enhance focus, and even improve overall cognitive function.
Weight management: The polyphenols found in cacao also help promote healthy cholesterol levels as well as improve digestive health. Some studies have found that cocoa intake may help with weight management by reducing appetite and increasing feelings of fullness.
Skin health: Cacao and cocoa-based products may have skin-protective properties and may be helpful in reducing skin sensitivity to the sun.
Spiritual benefits of cacao
Some people believe that cacao has spiritual properties that can help open the heart, clear the mind, and connect people with their higher selves and with others. Some of the potential spiritual benefits of cacao may include:
Increased openness and vulnerability: Some people report that consuming cacao helps them feel more open and vulnerable, which can facilitate deeper connection and intimacy with others.
Enhanced mindfulness and presence: Cacao is often consumed in a mindful, ceremonial way, which can help people become more present and aware in the moment.
Greater connection to the natural world: Cacao is a plant-based food that is often consumed in a way that honors and respects the cacao plant and its role in spiritual practices.
Increased creativity and inspiration: Some people report that consuming cacao helps them tap into their creativity and find new sources of inspiration.
It's important to keep in mind that the spiritual benefits of cacao can vary widely from person to person, and that the effects of cacao may be influenced by factors such as individual beliefs, expectations, and personal experiences. Cacao is not a cure-all and should not be used as a substitute for medical or psychological treatment.
What is "Ceremonial cacao" ?
Ceremonial cacao is a type of chocolate made from the seeds of the cacao tree (Theobroma cacao) that is consumed in a ceremonial or ritualistic way. It is often made from high-quality, raw, or minimally processed cacao beans and is prepared as a warm beverage.
Ceremonial cacao is often used in spiritual or healing practices, such as meditation, yoga, or energy work like Reiki. It is believed to have ceremonial properties that can help open the heart, clear the mind, and connect people with their higher selves and others.
Ceremonial cacao is often consumed in small amounts, like 28g or ceremonial dose 43g, as it can be high in caffeine and other stimulants. It is also often consumed with intention or in a mindful, ceremonial way, such as by setting an intention before drinking the cacao or offering gratitude to the cacao plant.
Ceremonial cacao is not the same as ordinary chocolate, as it is made from raw or minimally processed cacao beans and is often prepared and consumed in a particular way. It is not intended to be a food product but rather a tool for spiritual or healing practices.
Major difference between cacao and cocoa
This is the most common question I get asked when I mention Cacao.
Cacao and cocoa are both made from the seeds of the cacao tree (Theobroma cacao), but there are some important differences between the two.
Cacao refers to the raw, unprocessed form of the seeds, which are harvested from the cacao tree, fermented, dried, and roasted to create cocoa beans. Cacao is often sold in the form of cocoa beans or cocoa nibs, which are small pieces of the broken cocoa beans. Cacao is known for its rich, chocolatey flavor.
Cocoa, on the other hand, refers to the processed form of the seeds, which are ground to create cocoa powder and chocolate. Cocoa is often sold in the form of cocoa powder or chocolate bars. Cocoa products may be made from cocoa butter, cocoa solids, or a combination of both.
In general, cacao is considered to be a healthier form of chocolate, as it is made from raw, unprocessed cocoa beans and has a higher concentration of antioxidants, magnesium, and other nutrients.
Many cocoa products, on the other hand, are made from processed cocoa beans and may contain added sugar, fat, and other ingredients, which can negate some of the potential health benefits of cacao. To get the most benefits from cacao, it is recommended to choose high-quality, minimally processed chocolate products.
How to make a cacao drink
Here is a simple recipe for making a cacao drink:
1 cup of water
2 tablespoons of cacao powder
1 teaspoon of honey or other sweeteners (optional- as its bitter)
A pinch of cinnamon, Cayenne Pepper or other spices (optional)
Heat the water in a small saucepan over medium heat until it is hot but not boiling.
Add the cacao powder, honey (if using), and cinnamon (if using) to the saucepan and stir until well combined.
Reduce the heat to low and continue to stir the cacao mixture for an additional 2-3 minutes, or until it is smooth and well combined.
Remove the saucepan from the heat and pour the cacao mixture into a mug.
I prefer to mix Dry and wet ingredients and Nutribullet as the texture comes smooth.
Serve the cacao drink warm and enjoy!
You can adjust the sweetness and flavor of the cacao drink to your preference by adding more or less honey or spices. You can also try adding other ingredients, such as vanilla extract, coconut milk, or almond milk, to give the cacao drink a different flavor.
Below is the video, I show how to make a Cacao drink
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What others felt about the circle:
The women's circle was such a wonderful experience. I felt instantly welcome being surrounded by a supportive loving community sharing stories and insight about one another’s healing journeys and the many phases of life. It is amazing what can be gained by women being vulnerable and expressing themselves. We are all so connected and it’s great to be around likeminded individuals. I look forward to attending another circle in the future!
I had a Reiki, recording, cocoa ceremony with Srimanju and every time it was an eye-opening and such an experience! I also booked my husband to have this amazing experience and we also ended up with a couple cocoa ceremony. When she says the energy is shifted, it really is.
Tanantha P. Couilliard
I have worked with 3 different Reiki healers in the past year, and I have to say that Srimanju is by far the most impactful and skilled!
The results I had with her after only 2 sessions were mind-blowing and really educational to help me realize just how powerful Reiki sessions can be.
I now have weekly sessions with her and I also attend her Cacao ceremonies, which I find very powerful and relaxing. I can't recommend her highly enough!
The Full Moon ritual and cacao ceremony hosted by Srimanju was extremely heart warming and soul touching. I had a fantastic time connecting with such strong women in the spiritual community. Srimanju knows how to wonderfully cultivate a loving and supportive environment that makes the hard exteriors we put on for the world melt away. The sacred space and the cacao ceremony were beautiful, restorative and lovingly intentional. We gave our full attention to the beautiful Mother Cacao and meditated with Srimanju’s guidance. I felt a deep connection to Mother Gaia, Mother Cacao and to my soul throughout the whole ritual. It was so refreshing to take a moment to breathe and be in the presence of such wonderful women. I highly recommend this event as it is an amazing way to connect with beautiful souls and with ourselves. - Blessings, Hannah H
I enjoyed the full moon circle that I attended that Srimanju held. It was so nice to be surrounded in love and feel so welcomed in this space.
Thank you so much for holding the space!!
Below are some workshops and 1:1 sessions I hold in combination with cacao.
Please note :
For those taking anti-depressants, mood altering medication, are pregnant or breastfeeding, or have a heart condition, it is still safe to consume cacao as long as you start with a slightly lower dose. While the main ingredient in cacao, MAOIs, can create an unpleasant migraine when interacting with some medications, the effects of drinking cacao are much more beneficial than detrimental. Start slow and be mindful of your body's reactions - you may find that this amazing heart medicine can bring you countless health benefits.
Disclaimer: Please note that all information on this site is not medical advice and should not be taken as such.