Coffee: Friend or Foe Part II

The main reason people love coffee is for it’s uplifting, energizing, and mind clearing abilities, but what about the side effects? And how much is enough?

As mentioned in part one of this post, coffee is a medicinal substance, not a food, and as such should be enjoyed in moderation based on an individual’s age, weight, health status, and constitution.

Coffee is bitter, sweet, and warming, but what does that mean?

  • Bitter substances are drying and cause energy to move downwards. Therefore, coffee is classified as a diuretic and can be dehydrating. It is also a laxative, increasing peristalsis or movement in the bowels.
  • Sweet substances have a tonic effect and tend to hold energy in place – they can help us feel centered and satiated. This partly explains coffee’s ability to decrease appetite.
  • Warming substances cause energy to expand, to move upward and outward. This directionality combined with its effects on the heart and liver (energetically) explain the stimulative effect that we all enjoy.

Traditional herbalism teaches that seeds and beans are typically dosed at 6 – 18 grams per day for medicinal purposes. This is considered a safe range to both achieve the desired effects and to avoid most unwanted side effects. Many premium coffee producers recommend a range of 14 – 21 grams (2 – 3 tablespoons) of ground beans per 6-8 oz cup. Following these guidelines suggests that a single 6 – 8 oz serving of coffee per day is optimal for most people. Anything beyond this dose for extended periods of time could become problematic and invite unwanted side effects.

Next time I will answer the questions everyone wants to know: Who is coffee good for and who should avoid it and how one can minimize the negative side effects.