Caffeine and Plants
It is probably significant
that the most widespread words in the world - borrowed into virtually every
language - are the names of the four great caffeine plants: coffee, cacao, cola, and tea.
Worldwide, 120,000 tons of caffeine are consumed annually. Coffee is the source of 54% and tea the source of 43%, with cocoa pods, cola nuts, mate leaves and guarana making up the remainder. This works out at 1.3 trillion cups of coffee and tea per year.
For this reason the link between caffeine and the plants that produce them is of great importance, and this section takes a quick look at a few interesting sections of this complicated and fascinating subject.
Why do plants contain caffeine? It gives humans a buzz... but why did plants evolve the ability to produce caffeine in the first place?
Where do we find caffeine? The major natural sources of caffeine...
is not the only stimulant alkaloid which is produced by plants and consumed
for the 'kick'...
Images used without permission from
the following sources:
Tea picking in China www.china.org.cn/ch-xizang/tibet/serie_book/english/pure_land/ xi48.htm
Coffee harvest in Ethiopia http://www.mocca-coffee.com/abymocca.html
The Cacao Tree http://www.erowid.org/plants/show_image.php3?image=cacao/theobroma_cacao1.jpg
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