Caffeine: Friend of Foe?
Caffeine is a natural pesticide that attacks the nervous system
Caffeine is found in varying quantities in the seeds, leaves, and fruit of some plants, where it acts as a natural pesticide that paralyzes and kills certain insects feeding on the plants. It is most commonly consumed by humans in infusions extracted from the bean of the coffee plant and the leaves of the tea bush.
I want you to understand that caffeine is a strong pesticide that attacks the nervous system - kills bugs outright - and can cause disease and death in people. It puts a lot of strain on the kidneys and bladder, increasing the need to pass urine, and increases the acidity in your entire body, leading to drying (vata) diseases like arthritis, etc...
It does NOT improve mental performance rather it does the opposite - it makes mental performance worse by confusing the brain and nervous system. Knowing these two facts, a healthy person should severally restrict their intake of caffeine or best still - give it up. Your physical, emotional, and mental performance will improve and be brought back to a healthy, naturally state.
Caffeine reduces concentration and increases stress and error making
When we have taken caffeine we may feel that we are working more efficiently, but scientific studies (like the one below) show that caffeine reduces concentration and increases stress and error making.
Spiders On Drugs
Scientists at the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) have turned their attention from the mysteries of the cosmos to a more esoteric area of research: what happens when you get a spider stoned. Their experiments have shown that common house spiders spin their webs in different ways according to the psychotropic drug they have been given. Nasa scientists believe the research demonstrates that web-spinning spiders can be used to test drugs because the more toxic the chemical, the more deformed was the web.
Drug Free (sattvic) Spider Web
A fantastic, natural, normal, and beautiful web. The way it should be. Sattvic.
Web created while exposed to LSD
Web created while exposed to Mescaline\Peyote
Web created while exposed to Marijuana
Spiders on marijuana made a reasonable stab at spinning webs but appeared to lose concentration about half-way through.
Web created exposed to Caffeine
Caffeine, one of the most common drugs consumed in soft drinks, tea and coffee, makes spiders incapable of spinning anything better than a few threads strung together at random. CONSIDER THIS CAFFEINE DRINKERS!!
Web created exposed to Benzedrine/Speed
Those on Benzedrine - "speed" - spin their webs "with great gusto, but apparently without much planning leaving large holes", according to New Scientist magazine.
Web created exposed to Chloral Hydrat (sleeping pills)
On chloral hydrat, an ingredient of sleeping pills, spiders "drop off before they even get started".
Caffeine, Nicotine, and Ayurveda
Caffeine and Nicotine are often taken together and quickly increase Vata dosha to a dangerous, unpleasant, and extremely unhealthy level with accompanying symptoms of; fear, anxiety, mental confusion, shaking of the body, increased heart rate, and increased confusion and mistake making.
In terms of the Ayurvedic Gunas, Caffeine and Nicotine are Rajasic (increases nervousness) to begin with and within minutes becomes Tamasic (slothful, depressing, confused). Both are poisons and neither of them will give you the experience of health and balance (Sattva Guna).
Antidotes to unpleasantly increased Vata
Antidotes to unpleasantly increased Vata as follows:
- Sesame oil body massage (just do the face and neck if you are pressed for time).
- Drink at least one pint of fresh water.
- Rest for between 10 - 30 minutes until the unpleasant feeling passes.
It is recommended that you avoid caffeine and nicotine entirely. They are both unpleasant and dangerous poisons that have an unpleasant effect upon the human body, mind, and mood. Is it worth it? Just because others do it does not mean you have to.
Coffee mad westerners
Westerners' favourite beverages are herbal stimulants in the form of caffeinated drinks, including coffee, tea and cola.
Caffeine is an alkaloid that is a potent nervous system stimulant. It was first isolated from coffee, a shrubby tree native to Ethiopia (Coffea arabica), Saudi Arabia (C. robusta) and elsewhere, in 1821. Americans drink an average of 28 gallons of coffee annually, or approximately 10 fl.oz per day. They also spend more money on cola than on breakfast cereal or any other grocery item, according to the US Department of Labor. Caffeine from other sources, including a number of over-the-counter pain medications, boosts the average caffeine consumption in the USA to between 175 and 225mg per day.
Nor is caffeine the only potentially stimulating chemical in coffee and other caffeinated beverages. Tea is derived from the dried leaves and stems of an evergreen plant (Camellia sinensis) native to Asia. In Britain and many of its former colonies, where the drinking of tea is a national pastime, addictions to tea are not uncommon. Americans drink more iced tea (an estimated 95 million glasses a day) than hot tea. Most green tea is drunk in China and Japan, though green tea is beginning to become more common in Europe and North America as its potential health benefits are recognized.
A 5 fl.oz cup of tea contains less caffeine (an average of 50 to 75mg) than coffee (which contains anywhere from 75 to 150mg) but slightly more than a cola (which has 35 to 55mg per 12fl.oz). Note that actual caffeine content may vary considerably depending upon such factors as quality and amount of herb used, brewing time and brewing method.
Cola-flavoured soft drinks are something of a misnomer. Though some colas in their early formulations contained extracts from the kola nut, today most colas contain little of the bitter herb. The kola nut is a seed kernel from a tree (Cola nitida, C. vera, C. acuminata and other species) that is native to tropical Africa and is cultivated also in the Caribbean, South America and Indonesia. The plant is in the same family as the cacao tree and, like cacao, contains the stimulants caffeine (about 1 to 3 percent by weight) and theobromine. Theobromine is a chemical relative of caffeine that has similar (though less potent) effects on the body. People in some parts of the world chew the kola nut for its stimulant effect.
Most of the caffeine in colas is either synthetically derived caffeine or caffeine from coffee. Cola drinks also typically are extremely high in sugar, with some containing the equivalent of 10 teaspoons per 12fl.oz.
Another common source of caffeine in the Western diet is chocolate. Derived from seeds (called cacao or cocoa beans) of the tropical cacao tree (Theobroma cacao), chocolate is a bitter-tasting herb that is almost always combined with large amounts of fat and sugar to make it palatable. It contains a small amount of caffeine but a relatively large amount of theobromine. Americans each consume an average of nine pounds of chocolate per year.
Caffeine is undeniably an effective central nervous system stimulant. It stimulates the brain, increases the secretion of adrenaline (epinephrine) and boosts heart rate. Although relatively safe, long-term use in excess of 250 to 300mg daily may cause numerous health problems. Caffeine has been known to raise blood cholesterol levels, deplete B vitamins, irritate the stomach and bladder, exhaust the adrenals and possibly lead to breast and prostate problems.
In high doses caffeine can cause heart palpitations, headaches, anxiety, panic disorders and insomnia. In industrial societies, its use frequently results in dependence.
Andrew Weil, MD, an authority on psychoactive substances, says, 'I estimate that 80 percent of coffee users are addicted to it. The addiction is physical, with a prominent withdrawal reaction when use is suddenly discontinued.'
Withdrawal symptoms such as headaches and irritability usually start within twenty-four to thirty six hours of one's last caffeine dose.