Theobroma Cacao, Linne'. The fat obtained from the roasted seeds.

Habitat. S. America (Brazil, C. America, Mexico, W. Indies; cultivated in the tropics, largely in some of the W. Indies.

Syn. Semen (Fabae) Cacao; Ol. Theobrom., Butter of Cacao, Cacao Butter, Oleum Theobromae; Fr. Cacao, Feves du Mexique, Beurre de Cacao; Oleum Cacao' Ger. Kakaobohnen; Kakaobutter.

The-o-bro'ma. L. fr. Gr., ..., a god, + ..., food, food of the gods -- i.e., its delicious qualities.

Ca-ca'o. L. Sp. From Mexican kakahuati -- i.e., its native name.


Handsome tree 9-12 M. (30-40 degrees) high, round branches, bark gray, smooth; leaves 20-22.5 Cm. (8-9') long, 6 Cm. (2 2/5') wide, lanceolate, acute, round base, entire, veins prominent beneath, petiole 2.5 Cm. (1') long, thickened at both ends; young leaves pink; flowers pale pink, calyx and corolla 2.5 Cm. (2') broad, alike in color; fruit large, 15-17.5 Cm. (6-7') long, broadly fusiform, with 10 shallow furrows and blunt ridges, tuberculated, pendulous, single or 2-3 together, at first yellow, then red, purple, pericarp thick, tough, 5-celled; seed many, closely packed in tiers, size of almonds, angular from pressure, immersed in copious sweet buttery pulp, seed-coats 2, brownish.



Fixed oil 50 p.c., starch 16 p.c., theobromine 1.5-4.5 p.c., caffeine, proteins 18 p.c., sugar .6 p.c., cacao-red 5-6 p.c., volatile odorous principle, ash 3.6-4.6 p.c.

Oleum Theobromatis. Oil of Theobroma. -- This fat (concrete fixed oil) is a yellowish-white solid (lighter colored with age), faint, agreeable odor, bland, chocolate-like taste, usually brittle below 25 degrees C. (77 degrees F.), soluble in ether, chloroform, petroleum benzin, benzene, boiling dehydrated alcohol, slightly in alcohol, sp. gr. 0.973, melts at 30-35 degrees C. (86-95 degrees F.); contains stearin 40 p.c., palmitin, laurin, small amounts of glycerides of acetic, butyric, formic, linoleic, and arachidic acids. Test: 1. Dissolve 1 Gm. in ether 3 cc. in test-tube at 17 degrees C. (63 degrees F.), immerse test-tube in ice-cold water -- liquid not turbid nor does it deposit white flakes in less than 3 minutes, and after congealing should clarify at 15 degrees C. (59 degrees) F. (abs. of wax, stearin, tallow). Dose, 3ss-1 (2-4 Gm.).


Wax, stearin, tallow, etc.


The seed when taken from the fruit (size of cucumber but with pointed ends, consisting of shells 12 p.c. and kernels 88 p.c.) and dried, still retain astringency and bitterness (kernel), which may be overcome by roasting, or sweating and fermenting in heaps for 1 week, or burying in a box in clayed soil ("clayed," (claying"--best and yellowish) for 3 days, then throwing seed into heaps, covering with leaves for a week, thereby destroying tannin and bitter principle, and developing the derivative constituents on which the properties of chocolate partly depend, then drying. The oil is extracted afterward by: 1, Expression; 2, Decoction; 3, Solution (benzin, carbon disulphide, chloroform, ether), the first process being considered best, and consisting in roasting, discarding shells, grinding kernels, heating at 70 degrees C. (158 degrees F.), subjecting mass to hydraulic pressure between hot iron plates or rollers, then running oil into rectangular molds, where it soon congeals. The residual dryish, oleaginous pulp (expressed cake, oil cake), still containing variable amounts of oil, is utilized as cocoa or chocolate--the former containing the least oil, and both darkened in color and lightened in flavor by an alkali. Chocolate (fr. Ind. chocolat), as a confection consists usually of expressed cake finely ground, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, annatto, etc., molded into varying shapes. Either cocoa or chocolate may be boiled with milk, or milk and water, sweetened, to form a valuable nutritive drink in convalescence from acute diseases. Both are subject to much adulteration with starch, rice flour, barley flour, sassafras nuts, chestnuts, clove, butter, lard, cocco-nut shells, etc.


Unoff. Emulsion. Ointments. Suppositories.


Nutrient, demulcent, emollient.


Seldom internally, only as suppositories, when it acts as an excipient or carrier for other medicine. Externally in cosmetic ointments, pill coating, abraded or inflamed surfaces.

Derivative Products

1. Theobrominae Sodio-Salicylas. Theobromine Sodio-Salicylate, CHONNa + NaCHO, U.S.P. -- (Syn., Theobrom. Sodio- Sal., Diuretin; Fr. Theobromine et Salicylate de Soude; Ger. Theobrominnatriumsalicylate.)  Obtained by mixing aqueous solutions of equal molecules of sodium theobromine and sodium salicylate, evaporating to dryness.  It is a white, odorless powder, sweetish, saline, somewhat alkaline taste, gradually absorbs carbon dioxide liberating theobromine, becoming incompletely soluble in water, frequently develops a characteristic odor, soluble in water (1), slightly in alcohol; contains, when dried to constant weight, theobromine 46.5 p.c., salicylic acid 35 p.c., losing water 10 p.c.  Tests: 1. Ignited--residue produces intensely yellow flame and effervesces with acids.  2. Aqueous solution (1 in 20) colorless, clear, opalescent; aqueous solution (1 in 100), slightly acidulated with acetic acid, + ferric chloride T.S. -- violet.  3. .05 Gm. Theobromine (separated in assay), + hydrochloric acid 1 cc. + potassium chlorate .1 Gm. Dry on water-bath -- reddish-yellow residue which becomes purple when moistened with 1 drop of ammonia T.S.  4. Dissolve .1 Gm., in sulphuric acid 2 cc.--no effervescence (abs. of carbonate); produces only slight color (abs. of readily carbonizable substances).  5. Dissolve 1 Gm. in water 10 cc., add a few cc. sodium hydroxide T.S., shake with chloroform 10 cc., separate chloroform layer, evaporate to dryness (constant weight) -- residue does not exceed .005 Gm. (abs. of caffeine).  Impurities: Caffeine, sodium carbonate, water, readily carbonizable substances.  Should be kept in well-closed containers.  Dose, gr. 5-15 (.3-   1 Gm.), 5-6 times daily, in dilute solution, capsule, wafer, followed by water.

Properties And Uses

Diuretic, nervous stimulant; cardiac dropsy, nephritis (chronic acute), dyspnea, coughs; very slight action on heart and circulation; may produce headache, irregular pulse, vomiting, diarrhea, gastric irritation (avoided by small doses and weak solutions); owing to greater solubility far superior to theobromine.  Incompatibles: Acids, fruit syrups (decomposing and precipitating theobromine), bicarbonates, borates, phosphates, ferric salts, chloral hydrate, wines, etc.

2. Theobromine (dimethylxanthine), CHON. -- This is obtained by exhausting the kernels with hot water, straining, precipitating with lead acetate, filtering, removing lead with hydrogen sulphide, filtering, evaporating, and treating residue with hot alcohol, from which whitish, bitter crystals deposit.  It is a weak base (alkaloid) not altered by solution of potassium hydroxide, slightly soluble in water, alcohol, ether, forms salts (hydrochloride, nitrate, salicylate, etc.), and is related to caffeine, this latter being its methyl derivative--methyltheobromine, into which theobromine may be converted by treating theobromine silver with methyl iodide.

3. Cacao Praeparatum, Cocoa, Prepared Cacao (Chocolate), N.F. -- A powder prepared from the roasted, cured kernel of the ripe seed.  It is brownish-red; numerous oil globules, protein grains, starch grains; odor and taste chocolate-like, free from sweetness; yields 6 p.c. of crude fiber, 15 p.c. of starch, and when extracted with ether, 18-25 p.c. of fat--the fatty residue shows not more than 3 p.c. of cocoa shells, and is without spicy odor and taste.  Dose ad libitum; 1. Syrupus Cacao, 5 p.c., + tr. vanill. 1/5 p.c., alcohol 5, sucrose 80, aq. dest. q.s. 100-2.  Tabellae Santonini, 1 gr. (.06 Gm.); 3. Tabellae Santonini Compositae, 1 gr. (.06 Gm.).