Cocoa seed (Cacao semen)

Published February 27, 1991.
List of German Commission E Monographs (Phytotherapy)


Name of Drug

Cacao semen, cocoa seed.

Composition of Drug

Cocoa seed consists of the seeds of Theobroma cacao L. [Fam. Sterculiaceae], as well as preparations thereof. The seeds are freed from the testae, fermented and lightly roasted.

Pharmacological Properties, Pharmacokinetics, Toxicology

Cocoa seed can cause constipation due to its tannin content. The seeds contain methylxanthines, primarily theobromine. The action of methylxanthines is diuretic, broncholytic, vasodilator, stimulatory to the heart muscle action, mildly muscle relaxing.

Clinical Data Medical and clinical reports and various other empirical information on the application of cocoa seeds are not available.

1. Component in the Following Drug Combinations Combinations with up to 5 ingredients:
Cocoa seed, white clay, oak bark, apple. Combinations with more than 5 ingredients:
Cocoa seed, fennel, colt's foot leaf, linden flower, peppermint leaf, licorice root, thyme, rose hip, cornflower, sunflower ray florets Cocoa seed, arnica flower, colt's foot leaf, salvia leaf, plantain leaf, quebracho bark, cornflower, horsetail herb, cat's foot flower, calendula flower, Iceland moss, horehound herb, eucalyptus leaf, woundwort flower, elecampane root, red poppy petal, flores acaciae robiniae, star anise fruit, flores althaeae, flores malvae arboreae, sassafras root bark Cocoa seed, licorice root, cornflower, bladderwrack, horsetail herb, cat's foot bark, marshmallow leaf, woundwort flower, red poppy petal, flores acaciae robiniae, carrageenan, flores althaeae, red clover flower. 2. Claimed Uses of the Above Combinations
Infectious disease in the intestine, diarrhea. Bronchial expectorant, diaphoretic. Asthma, bronchial asthma, breathing difficulties, asthmatic symptoms, irritating cough, pulmonary congestion. For goiter and struma, regulates the function of endocrine glands, especially the thyroid, ease of breathing. Risks None known.


Allergic disposition to cocoa products.

Side Effects

Cocoa and cocoa products can cause allergic skin reactions and migraine headaches.

Use During Pregnancy and Lactation

Methylxanthines enter into the milk ducts; the concentration of methylxanthines in the mother's milk equals that of blood plasma levels. Effects and side effects in nursed infants have not been studied.


No dosage information is available.

Mode of Administration

Ground drug used for infusions as well as other galenical forms for oral use.


Since the effectiveness for the claimed uses has not been documented, a therapeutic application cannot be recommended.

There is no concern for its use as additive ingredient, e.g., as a flavor corrigent.