top of page

cacao contraindications
and other faqs

For most people, cacao is very safe! However, there are some specific contraindications so please check below. 

If you are booking onto a ceremony I will discuss contraindications with you before taking your booking.
Please note these ceremonies are for over-18s only.


Health factors to be particularly aware of are:
* if you are on antidepressants, SSRIs or other medication, have a heart condition or are pregnant:   Be aware that the theobromine in cacao is a vasodilator: it increases the heart rate and lowers blood pressure.  Cacao in the concentrated doses we consume in ceremony therefore increases blood flow to the brain & heart by at least 40% so you may be better off with a smaller dose. I usually offer a half-dose to people on SSRIs. Please see below for more info. 

* if you are taking 5-htp (5-Hydroxytryptophan) it's advisable to have a smaller dose of cacao.
* If you are taking St John's Wort, please refrain from taking it for a few days before & after the cacao circle.

* If you are on MAOI antidepressants, cacao (& all forms of chocolate) is contraindicated because it contains tyramine.

*If you take antipsychotic medication, (for any reason), consuming ceremonial cacao in this way is also contraindicated. (And if being treated for psychosis, I also don't feel it's wise to engage in practices which involve exploring how to tune into and hear an inner voice, the voice of a plant spirit or other guide.)

* if you have low blood pressure, be aware that although cacao is a stimulant, it lowers blood pressure. Depending on your condition, a smaller dose might be appropriate - in some cases it may be contraindicated eg if you have had epileptic fits triggered by low blood pressure (bear in mind that the whole ritualised experience of lying down & being guided on a nidra & deeply introspective journey is also likely to lower your blood pressure even without the cacao!). Please contact me if you want to ask more.

* some people are allergic or sensitive to theobromine - it can trigger headaches or migraines in some people. (You will probably already know if this is you.) In some cases, a smaller dose will be fine depending on how sensitive you are.

* if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, be aware that theobromine is a stimulant & increases heart rate & lowers blood pressure. Some western people advise avoiding it completely during pregnancy, others suggest a smaller dose (I can discuss this with you). However, I think it's also worth noting that for thousands of years, indigenous Mayan women have consumed cacao safely throughout pregnancy and even during childbirth (in the final stages of labour, to assist with the final big push!), as well as afterwards - in their culture, midwives know that cacao is such a nourishing, energising food that it gives women great strength. So if you are pregnant or breastfeeding this does not rule cacao out for you - I simply present this information so that you can make your own informed decision, and if you are new to cacao especially, I would certainly serve you a smaller dose so you can see how you respond. Cacao contains roughly a tenth of the caffeine found in coffee so depending on your stance on coffee during pregnancy you may be ok with the smaller dose of cacao. Similarly, some people prefer to avoid all sources of theobromine & caffeine while they are breastfeeding.
* if you are epileptic: high consumption of cacao stimulates the brain and there is also scientific research to suggest a possible connection between caffeine & cacao consumption and increased seizures.  Scientific research / evidence is still inconclusive, but I would err on the side of caution if you have a history of epilepsy. It is also important for the sake of other participants that we create a safe environment where there is little risk of disruption.
* if you are sensitive to caffeine, it can affect your sleep - though cacao contains far less than coffee - about a tenth of the amount. People often find they actually sleep really well and dream vividly after consuming ceremonial cacao.

The ceremonial-grade cacao licor/paste we share in ceremony is very different from, and more pure & potent than, the raw cacao powder you might use to make raw chocolate, a superfood tonic or smoothies, so although cacao is considered a gentler medicine it's still important to check health and other issues before I take your booking. 



If you've previously come to one of my ceremonies, I'm happy to discuss a one-to-one for you. Click here for more info.


I wish to create a safe space for women to explore healing, spirit and feminine empowerment; to address and heal some of the wounding that growing up in a patriarchal culture -which disrespects women, nature and intuitive wisdom paths -  brings. This aligns with my own personal path working with cacao. Sometimes the wounding which women wish to explore with cacao in ceremony is caused by harmful experiences with men, so this is another important reason I chose to create a safe-feeling women-only space.


It's a tricky question I am sometimes asked! But I share this medicine based on my own life experiences, studies and explorations. I can't teach that. It's vital to maintain integrity in how I work with cacao and share her.

However, if you're a previous participant in one of my ceremonies and you'd like to learn more about cacao, including preparation, ways to cultivate a personal practice etc, this is something I can teach you so if you'd genuinely simply like to go deeper into cacao with me then do ask about a 121 class

Participating in ceremonies with me does not equate to any kind of training; I have never trained anyone to share cacao as medicine, nor hold ceremonies.  

In this spirit, I ask that if you're coming to a ceremony, it's to participate, to surrender yourself to the experience of the medicine and ceremony fully, rather than observe and study how I work. This is also important in terms of respecting the other participants: the ceremonial space is intended to be a safe place for vulnerability and open-heartedness, not a place for performing. 

​ ​

What happens in a cacao medicine ceremony?



Anchor 1
bottom of page