Stimulating Beverages

Stimulating Beverages
Humans cannot survive without water and over time humans have developed different forms of beverages to quench their thirst and break the monotony of drinking water. Just as plants are main suppliers of our food source, humans have found ways to use plants to make beverages. In particular, humans have found that a variety of plants are rich in caffeine and that they can be used to create beverages with stimulating effects.
Explore more about the following stimulating beverages:
Coffee, Tea, Hot Chocolate(Cocoa), Energy Drinks(Guarana), Soft-Drinks(Kola Nut)

Plants and Caffeine

Tea Plant
Tea Plant
Coffee Plant
Coffee Plant

Cocoa Tree
Cocoa Tree
Guarana Plant
Guarana Plant
Kola Nut
Kola Nut

Plants Containing Caffeine

Plant Part
Approx. Caffeine by % of weight
Major sites of cultivation
Popular mode of consumption
Coffee bean
(Coffea arabica and Coffea robusta)
1.1 (arabica) - 2.2 (robusta)
Brazil, Columbia
Tea (Camellia sinensis)
Leaf, Bud
India, China
Cacao (Theobroma cacao)
West Africa, Brazil
Cocoa and chocolate products
Cola nut (Cola acuminata, Cola nitida)
West Africa
Chewing cola nuts and cola tree
Mate (Ilex paraguariensis)
South America
Terba mate
Yaupon (Ilex cassine, Ilex vomitoria)
Leaf, Berry
(Not cultivated)
Guarana (Paullinia cupana)
Soft drinks and guarana bars
Yoco (Paullinia yoco)
South America
Yoco tea

Physiological Effects of Caffeine
Main side effects of Ceffeine
Main side effects of Ceffeine

Caffeine is a stimulant that affects the central nervous system and is part of the class of chemicals called alkaloids. Caffeine is most commonly used to produce alertness, overcoming fatigue and drowsiness. Additionally, it speeds the heartbeat, increases blood pressure, stimulates respiration, and constricts blood vessels. It is also an appetite suppressant and a mild diuretic and thus is used in diet pills. Caffeine is also found in pain relieving medicines such as aspirin, as it constricts blood vessels and headaches are commonly caused by dilated blood vessels.
Along with all the positive effects of caffeine, there are also negative side effects that one can experience from caffeine. Among those side effects are insomnia, nervousness, and irritability. Since caffeine affects the cardiovascular system, people with heart conditions should limit their consumption of caffeine. Research has also shown that caffeine can adversely affect pregnant women and their fetus, often causing birth defects. In addition, it is advised that women trying to become pregnant should limit their caffeine intake in order to maximize their chances of getting pregnant. A cup of coffee for one person may lead to them having extreme neurological effects whereas for another person one cup may have no physically evident effects. There is no specific amount of caffeine that can be said to induce a certain effect because of the countless factors that contribute to the effects of caffeine intake.

Caffeine: An Addictive Substance
Caffeine has proved to be an addictive substance. People that regularly use caffeine may experience severe withdrawal symptoms upon reducing caffeine intake. Withdrawal symptoms include headaches, drowsiness, lethargy, irritability, trembling, restlessness, and reduced concentration. (Pegasus NLP)
It is recommended that people trying to overcome caffeine addictions do so in gradual increments. Reducing caffeine to quickly can cause a drastic drop in blood pressure, which can lead to migraine headaches. Additionally it can cause muscle cramps, giddiness, excessive fatigue, and lack of concentration.

Chemical Structure of Caffeine
Chemical Structure of Caffeine

Interesting Facts about Caffeine

1) Caffeine is actually a white, bitter tasting, crystalline substance, despite the fact that most caffeinated beverages have a dark color.
2) 10 grams of caffeine is considered a lethal dosage.
3) Caffeine is most widely used in headache medication and other pain relievers.
4) Caffeine can effect reproductive processes, including congenital abnormalities and reproductive failures, reduced fertility, prematurity, and low birth weight.
5) Consuming 650g (8-9 cups of coffee) of caffeine per day regularly can lead to chronic insomnia, persistent anxiety, and depression. Consuming 350g (4-5 cups of coffee) of caffeine per day regularly will likely lead to withdrawal symptoms if the amount is lessened.

See more facts at:

1. see reference page
2.( taken from Weinberg and Bealer, The World of Caffeine, Routledge, London 2001, p236.
3. Leventin, Estelle and Karen McMahon. Plants and Society Fifth Edition. McGraw-Hill, NY 2008