Certain anti-depressants are worth extra consideration. MAOI based anti-depressants are contraindicated with the tyramine in chocolate, so a larger dose of cacao is not recommended. MAOI based anti-depressants are first generation anti-depressants and are less common these days. People taking them are on a restricted diet that includes limiting or avoiding chocolate, so they should know if they can consume or not. Side effects could include more serious headache and nausea, so make sure to check medications first. Additionally, there has been some concern with larger doses of cacao and SSRI type anti-depressants, because of the MAOI’s in cacao. Specifically, the tryptophan, a type of MAOI which is a pre-cursor to serotonin has been cited by some as a possible contraindication. The research about this interaction is minimal, but studies on both the amounts of tryptophan in chocolate and how that might cause ‘serotonin syndrome’ don’t indicate any problem. However, to be on the safe side, for those on SSRI’s, we suggest consulting with your doctor and/or pharmacist regarding higher doses of cacao and to consider starting with low doses. Serious heart conditions. The theobromine in cacao increases heart rate significantly and is a vasodilator, lowering blood pressure. If you have such a condition, consider consulting a physician and certainly go lighter on amounts. Pregnancy & breastfeeding. Like coffee or tea, it is important to reduce the intake of stimulating foods. The theobromine in cacao, which is very similar to caffeine, has a stimulating effect. Thus, we recommend using lower dosages (ex. a maximum of 1oz in a ceremonial drink).
If any of this concerns you are you are worried, please get in touch with me at Info@gardenofalchemy and I can create a lighter dose or an alternative medicinal brew so you can still be part of the ceremony.