Coffea arabica

scientific name: 
Coffea arabica L.
Botanical family: 

Botanical description

Shrub, up to 7 m tall with stem branching; leaves opposite, petiole ca. 1 cm long, leaf blade dark green, shiny, obovate, oblanceolate or broadly elliptical, 10-40cm x 5-15 cm; inflorescence in axillary clusters, flowers white, fragrant, generally sessile; fruit a berry, oblong to globose 12-25 mm long, red when ripe.




after anger:

  dregs, applied on head1

intestinal parasites:

  ripe leaf, decoction, orally2

after anger:

  leaf, decoction with salt, orally1

bad blood” (enmity; vindictiveness):

leaf, decoction, orally3


  leaf, decoction, orally1

bad blood” (enmity; vindictiveness):

roasted seed, decoction with salt, orally1

after anger:

  roasted seed, decoction with salt, orally1


  roasted seed, decoction, orally2


  roasted seed, decoction, orally2


  seed, decoction, orally2

bad blood” (enmity; vindictiveness):

leaf, decoction with salt, orally1

The roasted and ground seeds of Coffea arabica are widely used for human consumption.

For asthma:

Prepare a decoction with 15-20 grams (2 hearts) of fresh leaf 1/2 liter (2 cups) of water, boil for at least 10 minutes in covered pot.  Leave to cool down, filter and drink 1 cup 3 times a day.

For pneumonia:

Prepare a decoction with 16 grams of roasted and ground seeds in 1.5 liter (6 cups) of water, boil for at least 10 minutes.  Filter, leave to cool down and drink one and a half cup 3 times a day.

To obtain beneficial effects on pneumonia and even bronchodilator effects, take one and a half cup of the traditional coffee preparation made with roasted and ground seed31.

For after anger, hepatitis, poor blood quality, intestinal parasites and vertigo:

There is no available information establishing a means of preparation and dosage other than that referred to by traditional use.

According to available information:

Use for asthma and pneumonia, asthenia and weakness is classified as REC, based on the significant traditional use documented in the TRAMIL surveys, toxicity studies, scientific validation, and available published scientific information.

Due to the health risks involved with asthma and pneumonia, an initial medical evaluation is recommended.  The use of this resource can be considered complementary to medical treatment, unless it is contraindicated.

Should there be a notable worsening of the patient’s condition, or should symptoms last more than 2 days, seek medical attention.

Use for hepatitis, intestinal worms and vertigo is classified as REC, based on the significant traditional use documented in the TRAMIL surveys and toxicity studies.

Should there be a notable worsening of the patient’s condition, or should jaundice or vertigo last more than 5 days, seek medical attention.

Use for after anger and poor blood quality is classified as REC, based on the significant traditional use (OMS/WHO)4 documented in the TRAMIL surveys and toxicity studies.

Not for use during pregnancy, during lactation or by children under 5 years old.

Not for use if gastritis, peptic ulcer and hyperthyroidism are present.

TRAMIL Research47

The lyophilized aqueous extract (decoction) from the fresh leaf, administered orally (5 g/kg) for 5 consecutive days to NGP mice (10 males, 10 females) caused neither mortality nor evident toxicity signs.  The animals were observed for 12 days.

The aqueous extract (decoction) from the seed (2.5 mg/mL) showed antimutagenic activity against t-butyl-peroxide-induced mutagenesis on Salmonella typhimurium TA100, TA10248, and at 3 mg/mL concentration, on Salmonella typhimurium TA153549.

The lyophilized extract from the seed (6.8 mg/mL) showed antimutagenic activity against 2-aflatoxin, MNNQ, ultraviolet light or 4-NQO –induced mutagenesis, on Salmonella typhimurium TA153550.  A concentration of 15 mg/plate was mutagenic and the addition of catalase decreased the activity on Salmonella typhimurium TA10051.

The aqueous extract from the seed at 6% of the feed ration of male and female rats caused neither evident signs of toxicity nor carcinogenic effects52-55.

The aqueous extract from the roasted dried seed in drinking water administered in various doses for 30 days did not modify fertility in male rats or fertility or ovulation in female rats, and had no embryotoxic effects in pregnant rats53.

The decoction of the dried seed administered orally inhibited genotoxicity induced by cyclophosphamide, N-nitrosodiethylamine, N-nitroso-N-ethylurea and mitomycin C, when administered for 90 minutes before the application of mutagens, in pregnant albino rats (15-16 days of gestation)54.

The dried seed in the diet of virgin female mice, SHN/MEI, a strain of high incidence in breast cancer, inhibited carcinogenesis56.

The aqueous extract in drinking water (6000 ppm) proved to be hepatocarcinogenic in rat57.

The aqueous extract from coffee seed, with or without caffeine, administered orally in a cohort study of 85.747 women, did not sustain the correlation between beverage intake and coronary disease58.

A retrospective study reported a reduced risk of colon cancer in those drinking 4 or more cups of the aqueous extract of seed per day.  However, it did not report any variations in the risk of rectal cancer59.  There was no evidence of a relationship between colorectal adenomas and the consumption of this beverage in humans60.

A case-control study (818 patients) found that the relationship between daily consumption of coffee (total methylxanthines) and breast or pancreas cancer was not significant61.

The decoction of the dried seed (0.96 L/day) administered orally to women has been described as contributing to infertility62.

The aqueous extract and the powder of the dried seed applied on human adult skin caused dermatitis63.

The external application of the dried seed (5%) in the form of cream caused skin de-pigmentation.  Skin-lightening cosmetics contain seed extracts with chlorogenic acid, as inhibitor of melanin formation64.

There is no available information documenting the safety of medicinal use in children or in women during pregnancy or while breast feeding.

The seed before roasting has been extensively studied and contains, among other components, aldehydes: acetaldehyde5, acetal6; amines: dimethylamine and derivatives, N-propylamine, ethylamine7; amino acid: glycine20; alkaloids and nitrogen heterocyclics: trigonelline (2.9%)19, caffeine8; benzenoids: arbutin, benzaldehyde, hydroxyquinone9, 3’,4’-dihydroxy-acetophenone10, benzoic acid and derivatives; diterpenes: atractyligenin and derivatives11, cafestol12; steroids: 5-dehydro-avenasterol, campesterol, fucosterol13; phenylpropanoids: coumaric acid, ferulic acid14, caffeic acid15, chlorogenic acid16, A, B and C isochlorogenic acid17; lipids: arachidonic acid18.

The roasted seed contains the following substances: organic acids: acetic acid, crotonic acid21, citric acid22, 2,3 dimethyl acrylic acid and derivatives, 2-methyl-2-buten-1-al acid; aldehydes: 2,3 dimethyl-2-buten-1-al: ketones: acetone, 2-butanone; alicyclics: cyclopentanone and derivatives,; alkaloids and nitrogen heterocylics: pyrazine and derivatives, caffeine, theophylline; benzenoids: guaiacol and derivatives, ortho-cresol21, benzoic acid and derivatives, 3,4 dihydroxy-benzaldehyde23; sulfur compounds: carbon disulfide , ethanethiol; oxygenated heterocycles: 4-(2’-furyl)-3-buten-2-one, furan and derivatives, furfural and derivatives; lactones: ɣ-butyrolactone; lipids: linoleic acid21.

The leaf contains alkaloids and nitrogen heterocyclics: allantoic acid, allantoin24, caffeine, theophylline25; terpenes: cafestol26, ursolic acid27; amino acids: histidine24, hydroxyproline, pipecolic acid28; flavonoids: quercetin-3-O-glucoside29.

The leaf, the root and the seed of the young plant contain: acids: p-hydroxybenzoic, vanillic, p-coumaric, ferulic, chlorogenic and caffeic acids; phenolics and derivatives, scopoletin and purinic alkaloids30.

Depending on the concentration of the alkaloid in the coffee bean, the degree of roasting and the method of preparation, it is noted that 1 cup of coffee has 65-175 mg of caffeine31.

Proximate analysis of 100 g of leaf32: calories: 306; water: 6.4%; protein: 9.3%; fat: 5.5%; carbohydrate: 66.6; fiber: 17.5%; ash: 12.2%; calcium: 1910 mg; phosphorus: 170 mg; iron: 96.6 mg; carotene: 2360 µg; thiamine: 0 mg; riboflavin: 0.21 mg; niacin: 5.20 mg.

Proximate analysis of 100 g of seed32: calories: 203; water: 6.3%; protein: 11.7%; fat: 10.8%; carbohydrate: 68.2%; fiber:22.9%; ash: 3%; calcium: 120 mg; phosphorus: 178 mg; iron: 2.9 mg; carotene: 20 µg; thiamine: 0.22 mg; riboflavin: 0.06 mg; niacin: 1.30 mg.

Research TRAMIL33

The aqueous extract from the dried leaf administered orally (10, 20 and 80 mg/kg) to anesthetized rabbits diminished respiration rate, while doses of 20 and 80 mg/kg increased minute volume.  The tracheal flow of air and the respiratory volume decreased with 20 mg/kg and increased with 80 mg/kg; these fluctuations were not significant.

Research TRAMIL34

The aqueous extract (decoction) from the fresh leaf (7.31, 14.28 y 27.27 mg/mL) in the isolated guinea pig trachea model induced dose-dependent relaxation of the trachea.  The contraction agent used was potassium chloride, 80 millimoles/mL.

Research TRAMIL35

The aqueous extract from the dried leaf administered orally (20, 40, 80 y 160 mg/kg) 48 hours after induction of gastric ulcer by the pylorus ligation method in rat increased the number of ulcers, particularly at 20 and 160 mg/kg doses; evaluated 18 hours after treatment.

The ethanolic extract (95%) from the dried seed (1 mg/disk) showed in vitro activity against Bacillus subtilis10.

The decoction of the roasted seed showed antimicrobial activity in vitro against Staphylococcus aureus (3-17 mg/mL) and Escherichia coli (23-57 mg/mL) on agar plate36.

The dried seed (0.1 mL/plate) showed weak antibacterial activity in vitro against Enterobacter cloacae, Aeromonas sobria, Staphylococcus aureus, S.epidermidis, Vibrio cholerae (strains 0-1, 569B but not 0-1), V.fluvialis, V.parahemolyticus and Pleisomonas shigelloides but not against Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Escherichia coli, Salmonella enteritidis, S.typhi, S.typhimurium, Shigella dysenteriae, S.flexneri, Vibrio mimicus andYersinia enterolítica37.

The aqueous extract from the seed administered orally stimulated work capacity in the human adult38.

Caffeine, theophylline and theobromine are methylxanthines present in the aerial parts that share pharmacological action.  Their relaxing effect on the smooth muscle has been extensively documented, particularly as a bronchodilator; stimulant of the central nervous system and the cardiac muscle, and diuretic31.

The pharmacological properties of caffeine, which are shared with theophylline and theobromine, although with less power in theobromine, can be summarized as follows:

Smooth muscle

Methylxanthines relax several smooth muscle fibers of the bronchus, the intestine and the ureter.  Theophylline is the most powerful, followed by caffeine31.

Central nervous system

Caffeine (85-250 mg) is a stimulant; it increases the capacity for sustained intellectual activity and reduces reaction time.  At high doses, it affects fine muscular coordination and arithmetic accuracy or ability.  It stimulates medullar centers relating to respiration and emesis.  At high doses, it may cause nausea and vomiting, as well as signs of nervous excitation ranging from nervousness to insomnia and even convulsions.  Uninterrupted use may cause tolerance and physical dependence, as well as modification of sleeping patterns39-40.

Cardiovascular system

Caffeine (250-350 mg) can cause a discrete increase in systolic and diastolic blood pressure, with a slight reduction of the heart rate in individuals that do not use methylxantines.  However, it has no effects in regular consumers of caffeine.

Theophylline causes a slight decrease of peripheral vascular resistance, cardiac stimulation and increases the perfusion of most organs.  High doses of caffeine or theophylline induce tachycardia and may cause arrhythmias.  The effects of caffeine are complex, as it directly affects the myocardium (increased contraction strength, cardiac frequency and blood flow), which implies increased cardiac effort and dilation of coronary and other blood vessels31.

Striated muscle

Caffeine stimulates muscle work capacity.  Ingestion of caffeine (6 mg/kg) improves performance of cross-country runners, particularly in high altitudes.  Caffeine and theophylline increase diaphragm contractibility while reducing fatigue in this muscle in normal individuals with chronic obstructive lung disease31.

Metabolic functions

Caffeine causes 0% increase in the basal metabolism of humans41 and does not affectthe content of fat acids in blood42, although its overall activity on cholesterol is unclear43.

Digestive tract

Caffeine (250-500 mg) significantly stimulates secretion of hydrochloric acid and pepsin in humans, probably due to the inhibition of phosphodiesterase in the cells of the gastric mucosa44-46.


Methylxanthines, particularly theophylline, have a diuretic effect, and the increased pattern of volume and electrolyte excretion is similar to that of tyacids31.




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The information provided is for educational purposes only for the benefit of the general public and health professionals. It is not intended to take the place of either the written law or regulations. Since some parts of plants could be toxic, might induce side effects, or might have interactions with certain drugs, anyone intending to use them or their products must first consult with a physician or another qualified health care professional. TRAMIL has no responsibility whatsoever towards the user for any decision, action or omission made in relation to the information contained in this Pharmacopoeia.