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Family Rubiaceae
Coffea arabica Linn.

Xiao guo ka fei

Scientific names Common names
Coffea arabica Linn. Cafe (Span.)
Coffea corymbulosa Bertol. Kahana (Sul.)
Coffea laurifolia Salisb. Kape (Tag.)
Coffea moka Heynh. Kapi (Ilk., If., Tag.)
Coffea sundana Miq. Arabian coffee (Engl.) 
Coffea vulgaris Moench  
Coffea arabica L. is an accepted name The Plant List

Other vernacular names
ARABIC: Kawa, Elive, Qahwa.
CHINESE: Ka fei, Ka fei dou, Ka fei shu, Xiao guo ka fei, Xiao li ka fei.
DANISH: Kaffe.
DUTCH: Arabicakoffie, Koffie, Koffiestruik.
FRENCH: Café arabica, Caféier commun, Caféier d'Arabie.
GERMAN: Arabicakaffee, Arabischer Kaffeebaum, Arabischer Kaffeestrauch, Bergkaffee, Kaffe.
GREEK: Kafes.
ITALIAN: Albero del caffè, Arbusto del caffè, Caffe, Caffè.
JAPANESE: Arabika koohii, Koohii noki.
KOREAN: K'eo p'i na mu.
MALAY: Kopi.
PERSIAN: Gehve, Tochem keweh.
PORTUGUESE: Cafe, Café, Caféeiro.
RUSSIAN: Kofe arabica.
SHONA: Muhubva.
SPANISH: Arbol del café, Cafeto, Cafeto arábico, Cafeto de Arabia.
SWAHILI: Kahawa.
TAMIL: Capie cottay.
TELUGU: Chaabe.
THAI: Kafae.
TURKISH: Kahvé oghadji.
VIETNAMESE: Càphê arabica.
ZULU: Ikhofi, Ilikhofi.

Kape is a small, smooth tree reaching a height of 3 to 5 meters. Leaves are elliptic-ovate to elliptic-oblong, 8 to 15 centimeters long, shining, and pointed on both ends. The flowers are white, borne in fascicles in the axils of leaves. Corolla is 1.5 centimeters. Fruit is red, ovoid or ellipsoid, 1 to 1.4 centimeters long.

Besides Coffea arabica, other species have been introduced in the Philippines: C. robusta, C. excelsa, C. liberica, C. canephora and C. ugandae.

- Widely scattered in distribution.
- Introduced by the Spaniards.

• The alkaloids of coffea arabica are caffeine, adenine, xanthine, hypoxanthine, guanosine and proteids.
• Leaves contain an alkaloid, caffeine, 1.15 to 1.25 percent.
• The pericarp of the fruit contains caffeine, mallic acid, mannite, invert sugar and saccharose.
• The seeds contain caffeine 0.72 to 2.43%, gallic acid, citric acid, proteids, sugar, legumin, glucose, dextrine, coffeo-tannic acid, fat, and volatile oil (caffeol).
• Caffeine is medically known as trimethyl xanthine, C8H10N4O2.
• Study on fresh Coffea arabica flowers yielded about 150 different chemical substances. n-Pentadecane (20-37% relative peak area, RPA) was the most abundant compound in the HS fractions from fresh flowers, followed by 8-heptadecene (8-20% RPA) and geraniol (6-14% RPA). (see study below) (7)
• Study on composition of Coffea arabica seeds yielded in g/100g—CARBOHYDRATES/FIBER: sucrose 6.0-9.0, reducing sugars 0.1, polysaccharides 34-44, lignin 3.0, pectin 2.0; NITROGENOUS COMPOUNDS: protein/peptides 10.0-11.0, free amino acids 0.5, caffeine 0.9-1.3, trigonelline 0.6-2.0; LIPIDS: coffee oil (triglycerides with unsaponifiables, sterols/tocopherols) 15-17.0, diterpenes (free and esterified) 0.5-1.2; MINERALS, 3.0-4.2, ACIDS AND ESTERS, chlorogenic acids 4.1-7.9, alipathic acids 1.0, quinic acid 0.4. (13)
• Lipid fraction of coffee is composed mainly of triacylglycerols, sterols, and tocopherols, typical components found in common edible vegetable oils. Coffee oil also contain diterpenes of the kaurene family, as 20% of total lipids. (16)

- Respiratory, gastric and renal stimulant; diuretic, antilithic, digestive, peristaltic, febrifuge.
- Increases reflex action and mental activity. More stimulating than cocoa.
- Roasted coffee believed to have disinfectant and deodorant properties.
- A strong infusion of coffee is antisoporific.

Parts used
Seeds and leaves.

• Infusion or decoction of roasted coffee leaves as a stimulant. Some prefer the leaf to the berry.
An important alkaloid used as a stimulant for the nervous system and circulation.
• In traditional Indian medicine, coffee is a palliative in spasmodic asthma, whooping cough, delirium tremens. Roasted coffee considered as disinfectant and deodorant.
• Used in the early stages of typhoid fever.
• Roasted coffee used for disinfectant and deodorant properties.
• Strong infusion of black coffee used as antisoporific in cases of poisoning by opium, alcohol, and other stupefying or narcotic poisons.
• Used as vehicle for administration of quinine and sulfate of magnesia, concealing the bitter and nauseous tastes of the medicines.
• Used as a tonic to offset the effects of malaria.
• Used as a diuretic in dropsy.
• In the raw state, berries are used for hemicrania and intermittent fevers.

Gastrointestinal: (
1) Gastroesophageal reflux: Coffee promotes gastroesophageal reflux, stimulating gastrin release and gastric acid secretion and slow gastric emptying. The effects on esophageal sphincter effects. (2) In some, it increased rectosigmoid motor activity within 4 minutes of ingestion.
Nervous system effects:
Caffeinated beverages acutely stimulated the autonomic nervous system, affecting alertness, heart rate and energy arousal.
Extract shown to have antioxidant activity attributed to chlorogenic acid.
Dental Caries / Anticariogenic:
Streptococcus mutans has been implicated as the primary causative agent of dental caries in humans. The organisms also produces an adherent glucan that contributes to the formation of dental plaque. Roasted coffee extract possesses a wide range of antibacterial activity that includes S aureus and Strep mutans. The study suggests coffee has an anticariogenic action but no antiadhesive action.
Study showed potent lectin activity in the fruit extract.
Cafestol / Hypercholesterolemic:
A diterpene molecule in coffee, said to be the most potent cholesterol-elevating compound in the human diet. A typical bean of Coffea arabica contains 0.6% cafestol by weight, and is highest in unfiltered coffee drinks. Regular consumption of boiled coffee increases serum cholesterol by 8% in men and 10% in women. In drip brewed coffee, it is present in only negligible amount. Study suggests that cafestol can directly regulate expression of genes involved in cholesterol metabolism through activation of nuclear receptors FXR and PXR. Cafestol is also an intestine-specific activator of PXR and direct regulation of FXR and PXR genes in the intestines contribute to its choleraterol-raising effect in humans.

Compounds Isolated from Flowers: Extraction techniques isolated about 150 different chemical substances from the flowers of Coffea arabica. n-Pentdecane was the most abundant compound, followed by 8-heptadecene and geraniol. Hydrocarbons and terpenoids were predominant compounds in the sorptive extractions. Caffeine, the distinctive component of coffee fruits and beans, was also found in relative high amounts in the CO2 extraction of arabica flowers. (7)
Seed Oil / Skin Protective Property: Study evaluated the in vitro effects of green coffee oil on the synthesis of collagen, elastin, and glycosaminoglycans and the release of transforming growth factor beta1 and GM-CSF by human skin fibroblasts. Results showed seed oil might improve physiological balance in the skin, allowing the formation of new connective tissue, and preventing dryness by increasing AQP-3 levels. It suggests a potential for CGO as adjuvant for use in dermocosmetic formulations. (8)
Anti-Diabetic Effect: Study evaluated the anti-diabetic effect of extracts of Coffea arabica in diabetic rats. Results showed significant lowering of blood glucose levels compared to control. Findings suggest the extract of coffee can alleviate diabetic hyperglycemia. (9)
Stimulatory Effect on Cellular Immune Function / Immunostimulant: An alcohol extract of coffee showed a immunostimulatory effects on cell-mediated immune response and cyclophosphamide-induced immunosuppressed mice. The activity could have been due to cell-mediated and humoral antibody-mediated activation of T and B cells. Results suggest Coffea arabica is a potent immunostimulant against cytotoxic drugs. (10)
Coffee Berry Pulp / Antibacterial: Study evaluated the antibacterial potential present in Hawaiian Arabica coffee berry pulp. Results showed antibacterial compounds present in the pulp. A water extract of coffee pulp showed potential antibacterial effect against E. coli 1472. A higher antibacterial activity was provided by 80% methanol extract. Listeria monocytogenes strains were most susceptible to chloroform fractions. Results suggest the berry pulp has a potential as food preservative. (11)
Effect on Bone Morphology and Biomechanics: Study evaluated the effects of coffee on femoral morphology and biomechanics resistance in Wistar rats. Results confirm coffee consumption interferes negatively with material and bone properties, diminishes trabecular and cortical bone density, increasing fragility and possibly increasing risk for fractures. (12)
Mangiferin / Coffee Leaves: Survey reports the phenolic composition of Coffea leaves show that mangiferin and HCE (hydroxycinnamic acid esters) accumulation corresponds to lineage recognition and species delimitation, respectively. The potential health benefits of coffee-leaf tea, and beverages and masticatory products from fleshy parts of coffee fruits, are supported by phenolic quantification. (14) Arabica coffee leaves have been found to have the highest levels of mangiferin, with anti-inflammatory, hypolipidemic, and antidiabetic effects.
Anticariogenic: In-vitro study showed coffee has antibacterial action to Streptococcus mutans. The anticariogenic action is related to its capacity of altering the biosynthesis of extra cellular polysaccharides (mainly mutans), avoiding the adhesion of streptococci. (15)
Neurochemistry International
Attenuation of PTZ-Induced Seizures / Antioxidant Effect: Study suggests the neuroprotective effect of low long-term caffeine exposure to epileptic damage and suggest that the increase in the cerebral GSH content caused by caffeine supplentation may provide a new therapeutic approach to the control of seizure. (17)
Comparison of Organic and Conventional Coffea arabica: In-vivo study compared organic and conventional coffee powder 4% (w/w) and infusions 5%, 10%, and 20% (w/v) incorporated in a commercial diet. Organic coffee showed higher levels of chlorogenic acid, caffeine, and trigonelline than conventional; however, the difference did not sigificantly affect behavior. Infusions showwed an antioidant effect, reducing the levels of malondialdehyde, with no alteration of serum biochemical parameters and no induction nor prevention of preneoplastic lesions. (18)

See: Caffeine / Studies reporting on the benefits of caffeine / InformationXchange

Tinctures and seeds in the cybermarket.

Godofredo U. Stuart Jr., M.D.

Last Update December 2015

Photos ©Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange
Also read: Caffeine / StuartXchange

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Medicinal plants of the world / Ivan A. Ross
Can Coffee Prevent Caries? - An In-Vitro Study / P. Namboodiripad & K. Srividy / The Internet Journal of Dental Science. 2009 Volume 7 Number 2
Studies on Lectins from Thai Plants / Sopit Wongkham et al / J. Sci. Soc. Thailand, 24 (1995) 27-36
The Cholesterol-Raising Factor from Coffee Beans, Cafestol, as an Agonist Ligand for the Farnesoid and Pregnane X Receptors / Marie-Loouise Ricketts et al / Molecular Endocrinology, doi:10.1210/me.2007-0133
Cafestol / Wikipedia

Sorting Coffea names / Maintained by: Michel H. Porcher / MULTILINGUAL MULTISCRIPT PLANT NAME DATABASE /
GC-MS study of compounds isolated from Coffea arabica flowers by different extraction techniques
Stashenko EE1, Martínez JR, Cárdenas-Vargas S, Saavedra-Barrera R, Durán DC. / J Sep Sci. 2013 Sep;36(17):2901-14. doi: 10.1002/jssc.201300458. Epub 2013 Jul 30.
Effect of green Coffea arabica L. seed oil on extracellular matrix components and water-channel expression in in vitro and ex vivo human skin models. / Velazquez Pereda Mdel C1, Dieamant Gde C, Eberlin S, Nogueira C, Colombi D, Di Stasi LC, de Souza Queiroz ML. / J Cosmet Dermatol. 2009 Mar;8(1):56-62. doi: 10.1111/j.1473-2165.2009.00425.x.
Anti-diabetic effect of Coffea arabica, in alloxan-induced diabetic rats / Julio Campos-Florián*, Jessica Bardales-Valdivia, Liliana Caruajulca-Guevara and Deisy Cueva-Llanos / Emir. J. Food Agric. 2013. 25 (10): 772-777 / doi: 10.9755/ejfa.v25i10.16409
Coffea arabica Seed Extract Stimulate the Cellular Immune Function and Cyclophosphamide-induced Immunosuppression in Mice / Mohammad Rafiul Haque, Shahid Hussain Ansari, Azhar Rashikh / IJPR, Iranian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research, Volume 12, Issue 1, Winter 2013, Page 101-108
Study and characterization of antibacterial compounds of Arabica coffee berry pulp / Dissertation / Baiq Rien Handayani / ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, 2009
Effects of coffee (Coffea arabica) consumption on the femoral morphology and biomechanics in rats / Santos, MP., Pagani, JCM., Silva, TD., Garcia, JAD., Romão, MOC., Fernandes, GJM. and Soares EA / J. Morphol. Sci., 2014, vol. 31, no. 1, p. 42-47 / http://dx.doi.org/10.4322/jms.ao062513
Coffee Constituents / Coffee: Emerging Health Effects and Disease Prevention / Adriana Farah
A survey of mangiferin and hydroxycinnamic acid ester accumulation in coffee (Coffea) leaves: biological implications and uses. / Campa C, Mondolot L, Rakotondravao A, Bidel LP, Gargadennec A, Couturon E, La Fisca P, Rakotomalala JJ, Jay-Allemand C, Davis AP. / Ann Bot. 2012 Aug;110(3):595-613. / doi: 10.1093/aob/mcs119. Epub 2012 Jun 13.
Can Coffee Prevent Caries? - An In-Vitro Study / P Namboodiripad, K Srividya / The Internet Journal of Dental Science. 2008 Volume 7 Number 2.
The lipid fraction of the coffee bean / Karl Speer and Isabelle Kölling-Speer / Braz. J. Plant Physiol., 18(1):201-216, 2006
Antioxidant activity elicited by low dose of caffeine attenuates pentylenetetrazol-induced seizures and oxidative damage in rats / Mauren Assis Souza, Bibiana Castagna Mota, Rogério Rosa Gerbatin, Fernanda Silva Rodrigues, Mauro Castro, Michele Rechia Fighera, Luiz Fernando Freire Royes / Neurochemistry International, Volume 62, Issue 6, May 2013, Pages 821–830
Organic and conventional Coffea arabica L.: a comparative study of the chemical composition and physiological, biochemical and toxicological effects in Wistar rats. / Carvalho Ddo C1, Brigagão MR, dos Santos MH, de Paula FB, Giusti-Paiva A, Azevedo L. / Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 2011 Jun;66(2):114-21. / doi: 10.1007/s11130-011-0221-9.

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