Your heart starts to beat faster, your palms are sweaty and the butterflies in your belly are all over the place. Yes you are in love! But did you know that cacao can give you the same feelings? Yes really!!! Cacao contains LOVE chemicals providing arousing feelings similar to those that occur when you are madly in love!

Even science calls cacao “The Love Drug”  …because when you start to digest raw cacao, it releases several neurotransmitters that positively affect us. Cacao promotes the brain chemistry of being in love. It’s like you are high and can’t stop thinking about that one particular person and even science says that when you’re in love, you really are in a mind-altered state. One study done by Dr. David Lewis of the Mind Lab, used scalp electrodes and heart monitors in the romantic environment of a lab to find out that cacao provides  “a buzz, that in many cases lasted 4x longer as the most passionate kiss”! .Thanks to Dr. David Lewis we can now say it’s official: cacao beats kissing.

When you consume cacao, it helps your brain naturally send more “feel-good” chemicals. Here is a list of these amazing feel-good chemicals unique to cacao! We are going to get a little scientific here, but that’s all for you to understand what’s going on inside of you when you are all loved up and / or consume cacao.

Cacao stimulates the release of oxytocin, known as the “love hormone.” which is naturally produced in the human body when we fall in love! Oxytocin is the same hormone responsible for the close psychological connection you feel with your loved ones, whether it is a romantic partner or your mum or dad. Hugging a child, your friend, your partner and even having an orgasm, all release oxytocin. 

cacao love

PEA – (Phenethylamine) – The “love chemical” PEA is naturally produced in the human body when people fall in love. PEA naturally helps to trigger psychoactive effects, which release pleasurable compounds known as dopamine and norepinephrine. Dopamine is a neurochemical directly associated with pleasure and triggers feelings of intense pleasure, whilst the norepinephrine is behind the sweaty palms and butterflies.

PEA becomes accessible in cacao after the fermentation process. This is one of the reasons why it’s so important that the fermentation process is done properly.

The way PEA stimulates parts of our brain is the same way various stimulants do that produce feelings of “love” like MDMA or amphetamine. However, they contain side effects whilst cacao can give you these feelings naturally and more controlled. Even though PEA breaks down very quickly in our body, the effect is felt almost immediately … Large quantities of PEA increase both physical and emotional energy.

So, it seems like this is the true magical molecule in our body. Like everything in life, there is a positive and a negative and so for our love chemical. The PEA in cacao may trigger migraines in some people. That’s why it’s always good to start with a little bit and see how your body is reaching, We are not all the same.

Anandamide – taken from the Sanskrit word for “bliss” promotes feelings of happiness, pleasure, joy, and delight.” Scientists call this chemical the “bliss molecule” because it helps promote feelings of pleasure and wellbeing. You might have felt this bliss molecule rushing through your body after a good gym session, also know as the “runners high”

Anandamide is a neurotransmitter that binds to the same brain receptors as THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and stimulates areas of the brain the same way cannabis does, in relation to pain, mood, memory, sleep, pleasure enhancement and eating patterns.

Normally when anandamide is naturally produced in the body, it is broken down very quickly by the enzyme called; hydrolase. Cacao actually contains two compounds (N-oleoyl ethanolamine and N-linoleoyl ethanolamine) that inhibit hydrolase activity and thus prolong the effects of anandamide and the euphoric feeling it can give us. And, as far as I know, cacao and black truffles are the only food sources in the world to contain anandamide.

The combination of oxytocin and anandamide is what I would so super cute. Social interactions, like hugging actually increase the release of this amazing bliss molecule

Theobromine – Is a bitter alkaloid (an organic compound containing nitrogen), belonging to the everyday chemistry of the plant world. You can also find small amounts of theobromine in tea and coffee, though cacao is the richest known source.  This stimulant also happened to be the same molecule that makes cacao poisonous to dogs.

Theobromine is named after the cacao tree called the Theobroma cacao Tree (Read more about this in my previous blog post: cacao Food of the gods) – This stimulant improves our focus, concentration, and visual processing of information. It can make you feel calm, alert and at ease at the same time.

Theobromine is actually coming from the same family as caffeine and has many of the same stimulant effects on the human brain when given in equal doses, known for the energy boost or lift we feel when consuming cacao, tea, or coffee. However, Theobromine works more subtle and without the major crash and can produce a relaxing effect on the body that might even help with reducing anxiety. One study even suggested that Theobromine lowers the risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease and decrease the risk of stroke in humans.

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Tryptophan is an essential amino and is converted in the human body into serotonin, known as the happy hormone.

Tryptophan It is also the precursor of melatonin, making you sleep better and better able to deal with stress, provides relief from depression and anxiety, helps modulate pain thresholds, and generally increases emotional well-being.

It might not induce the love feelings like PEA and anandamide, but it does make you a nicer person and you attract what you are, so if you are looking for your lucky someone? At least try to attract it from your happy vibes right?!

Serotonin – Serotonin helps to regulate our mood. Our body needs proper amounts of serotonin to have a positive outlook on life, sleep well, calm our nerves, and even to digest the foods that we eat.  Serotonin is the same pleasure chemical your body naturally releases after eating carbs.

Serotonin helps to regulate our mood and naturally helps produce a sense of calm and well-being to promote a positive mood. Low levels of serotonin lead to obsessive thinking and can even lead to feelings of depression.

As you can see cacao is unique in its proposition of a boundlessly full of love molecules making us extremely happy and loved up. This is one of the reasons cacao ceremonies/parties are on the rise! Cacao is a beautiful and safe alternative for party drugs without the harmful side effects and induces these euphoric feelings of heart-centered love. And isn’t that just what our world needs? A little bit of extra love…

all5 Herbal Cacao blends no background (1)
Shop your favorite cacao blend to indulge in the love: https://herbalcacao.com/eng/cacao-blends/

Each blend is unique in its extra health benefits and flavor profile. Raw, unsweetened, min processed, high vibrational. to really get those love chemicals working for you

Thank you for reading my blog post in our Herbal Cacao Journal. 

Feel free to share this post with anyone who you might think can benefit from reading this.

Sharon Fernie (Founder of Herbal Cacao)

With love, 

Sharon Fernie, Founder Herbal Cacao