Why Cacao Is Good For You – The Spiritual and Physical Benefits of Ceremonial Cacao + Recipe

cacao benefits recipe how to prepare ceremonial

Cacao is used as a ceremonial drink to open the heart, release your inner creativity and connect with the Third Eye Chakra. It’s a perfect cup full of nutritional goodness and spiritual magick that will fill you up with creativity, focus and good mood. 

It also provides inspiration if you’re ever stuck for ideas on the creative side. 

As it opens the heart, it brings you closer to your true self and dissolves past traumas or negative energies that were holding you back. 

It’s a lovely detox of bad energy. 

It’s beneficial on both a spiritual and nutritional level, because:

  • Cacao releases dopamine and endorphins in the body, soothing PMS symptoms depression and boosting our mood
  • Cacao contains anandamide AKA the bliss molecule you release when you workout and you feel a rush of good energy

As well as cleansing your mental health, opening your heart, boosting your mood and releasing endorphins (happy hormones) it has medicinal benefits on your physical health too. 

It can help balance blood sugar levels and enhance blood flow to the brain, enhancing our focus and awareness.

Cacao contains antioxidants which are beneficial to your cardiovascular and nervous systems.

Cacao is effective for lowering high blood pressure, and can been used to treat high cholesterol, heart disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, bladder and kidney disorders, asthma, low weight, poor digestion, and many other conditions. 

Cacao History

Cacao has been used for centuries, dating back to 4000 years ago, originating in Native America. Cacao wasparticularly popular among the Incas, Aztecs and Mayans, who used it as a ceremonial drink to heal the mind, body and spirit.

Aztecs used cacao in ceremonies and rituals, as a bitter drink of the gods

To make things even more interesting, they used to add a psilocybe mexicana mushroom to their cacao drink (a psychedelic mushroom) for expanded consciousness, awakening and to stimulate the mind, heart and soul.

I would gladly take up an invitation to that ritual!

In 16th century, Spain brought the cacao beans back to Europe, which resulted in development of chocolate and cocoa (rather than cacao) as we know it today. 

Cacao beans were so valuable, that at one point they were used as a currency. 

cacao benefits recipe how to prepare ceremonial

Cacao Components and their Benefits

What is it about cacao that makes it a mood altering and a magickal, potion drink from the gods that was good enough to use in ceremonies and rituals? 

There are actually 3 main effects of cacao on our mind, body and soul and these are:

  1. Enhances the mood and the mind
  2. Cardiovascular and heart-enhancement
  3. Sex, love and bliss

The different components within the cacao, contribute to the above effects on our mind and wellbeing, enhancing our mood and feelings. 

They are broken down follows:

  1. Enhancing the Mood and the Mind:

    Caffeine – found in small amounts in cacao, the alkaloid caffeine is a potent stimulant to the nervous system.

    Theobromine – the primary, bitter alkaloid found in the cacao plant – a cardiovascular stimulant, increasing heart function and blood flow 

2. Cardioviscular and Heart-enhancing Effects: 

Antioxidant polyphenols – protective chemicals to reduce the bad cholesterol in our body

3. Sex, Love and Bliss

Serotonin – a happy brain chemical, which releases a boost of relaxation, giddiness and sensation of love and bliss. Balances stress, improves our mood and sexual excitation, desire. 

Magnesium – relaxes the muscles 

PEA (phenylethylamine) – the love molecule released when we are in love. 

Anandamide – another brain neurotransmitter, when released produces the feeling of euphoria. Stimulates the brain’s pleasure centers, producing feelings of attraction and giddiness

All of the above components are found in a block of cacao – so no wonder that it can make us feel happy, giddy and lovey-dovey. It’s a drink of the gods that makes us happy. 

Some might wonder if the cacao can make us feel high?

cacao benefits recipe how to prepare ceremonial

Essentially it’s not a drug, like magic mushrooms, they are not stimulants, or psychedelics – they are a natural ingredient, a plant (bean to be more precise) that happens to have a lot of components that boost our mood and make us feel good. 

We could go as far as saying that cacao is a superfood, nature’s medicine and provides benefits to the physical health as well as spiritual benefits, even helping with depression and anxiety. 

Cacao vs Cocoa Powder

Cacao powder is a lot more potent, stronger and bitter than cocoa powder. Your standard tub of cocoa powder, what you put into your cakes or to make hot chocolate with is sweetened and with additives added – unless you are buying good quality cocoa powder, but the standard bournveille/cadbury cocoa is not what the mayans and Aztecs used. 

Cacao normally comes in a block, or is sometimes grated into a powder and has streaks of lighter brown bits, and when you chop it, the inside of the block looks a little bit like it’s got bubbles – a bit like the Aero chocolate.

cacao block ceremonial how to recipe meaning
Cacao block

Cacao is basically raw cocoa bean. 

The active ingredients and butter of cacao are preserved in the original cacao block, in its original form. These highly beneficial ingredients are however lost when transformed into cocoa powder and then into chocolate with fat and sugar added in. 

Where Do Cacao Trees Grow?

Cacao comes from a theobroma cacao tree, which originated from Brazil, but now is grown in over 50 countries across the world. Some of the cacao growing countries include Nigeria, Ecuador, Colombia, Mexico, India and Guatemala.

cacao benefits recipe how to prepare ceremonial

Cacao Ceremony

Although a cacao ceremony might sound overwhelming and like a lot of effort, it can actually be as small as time out to yourself to reconnect with your soul and instincts. 

No human sacrifices or blood involved 😉 just a cacao block and a mug needed and your mindful attention. 

It can take from as little as 10 minutes, and last as long or as short as you like. 

The key to cacao ceremony are: mindfulness, gratitude, intention and of course a cup of hot cacao:

Be mindful and present during the experience. 

Be grateful, stating 3 – 5 things you’re grateful for. 

Set an intention for this ceremony and feel whatever comes up for you – normally it’s a heartwarming sensation making you feel happier. 

Prepare a cacao using my below, tried and tested method: 

Here’s what you’ll need: 

  • Cacao block – 50 grams per person/cup
  • Vanilla extract 
  • Water – 250 ml per person/cup
  • Dash of milk
  • Sage smudge stick


  • Instead of water, you can use milk if you prefer a thicker texture of the cacao 
  • Maple syrup
  • Honey or sugar – cacao on its own is quite bitter so depending on your personal taste, you may want to take the bitter edge with some sweetness

The key to the ceremonial cacao is: 

  • A relaxing environment
  • A set intention
  • A clear mind and a focus on your cacao as a cup of magickal liquid


To prepare it, take the block of cacao and chop it into smaller chunks – the smaller chunks you cut, the quicker it’ll melt in the pot. I like to cut them almost into flakes, but how you chop it doesn’t change the flavour. 

Light some sage, cleanse your kitchen, your space, yourself and even the saucepan in which you will prepare your ceremonial cacao. 

Set an intention for the cacao – you can do this by simply thinking it. 

For example: 

“Let this cacao awaken my spirits and my creativity, opening my heart to love.”

Or something similar. 

Put the chopped cacao into the saucepan, along with the water and turn the heat on medium. 

Grab a wooden spoon, and stir continuously. The cacao will start to melt into the water, creating a brown-looking liquid. 

As you’re stirring, keep thinking of your intention, return to your ancestors in thoughts, call in their wisdom and reconnect with them. 

As it’s an indigenous tradition originating from South America, you may also want to reconnect with their traditions and call on their wisdom to be present during your ceremony.

If the water is bubbling/boiling, turn it down a touch, and keep stirring until all the chunks have melted and you’re left with just liquid.

Add a drop of vanilla extract and if you’re using sweetener such as honey, add it in now and stir. 

Take off the heat, and pour into your cup – and enjoy. 

If you’d like to delve into the experience, you can take a journal and keep it next to you, to write down what you’re feeling, thinking and anything that comes to mind in relation to your set intention.  


Cacao Block – Cacao Lab

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