Cacao. It evokes warmth, comfort, and passion doesn't it? Usually sweet passion. Many say that just thinking about cacao can evoke a pleasurable response. We crave it. But we crave lots of sensory feelings from things like music, aromatic smells, sultry tastes; because all of these senses bring out deep desires in us. Perhaps it’s the nature of the tree that gives chocolate some of its intense, exotic taste and pleasurable responses. The cacao trees flourish in the hot, drizzly, humid belt of the equator sheltered within the understory of the noisy evergreen rainforest. Their nature is hot, humid and energetically, a lot like our energized and passion-filled selves.
“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt.” ~ Charles M. Schulz
I was blessed to spend some time with the cacao tree during one of my herbal immersion weekends with Heidi Jarvis from the School of Natural Medicine at the Denver Botanic Gardens last year. I think the ability to commune with nature is embedded deep within our bones and we don't have to be in the depths of the wilderness to enjoy this; a tree in our backyard, in a greenhouse or even a little houseplant in a pot has something to say. We sat with a lot of different medicine plants and trees that day, but the time spent in the greenhouse with the cacao tree was truly ripening. It was hot, steamy and wet….alot like the bedroom! And as we sat to commune with the tree, there was this feeling of nourishment and excitement. It was both stimulating and relaxing at the same time. It’s a very loving tree with a bewitching nature. Just her presence makes you feel loved. She reminded me to love myself, to be strong with self reliance, to keep connection between women, and that when we nurture ourselves we can then nurture others. Her tastes and smells strengthen the light body and etheric endorphins leading to feelings of euphoria, the release of sex hormones and spiritual wellbeing.
The cacao tree, which is also known as Madre Cacao, would be fairly easy to grow if you were to provide her with the perfect environment. You would just need to live in a tropical climate, or have the ability to grow her indoors, preferably in a giant shady and humid greenhouse. Cacao is a relatively small tree with deeply gnarled bark and a twisting trunk that reaches out at you to showcase her glorious fruit. And when you split open her fruit, you'll find cacao seeds encased in a sort of gooey white pulp. And from this comes the beloved cacao powder and cacao butter.
Cocoa butter comes from the cacao bean which is found inside the pod and is a huge leathery gourd-shaped fruit filled with sweet, mucilaginous fleshy white pulp called 'baba de cacao' in South America. After the beans are harvested, they’re fermented, dried, roasted and pressed. This process releases the vegetable fat from the beans, which we know as cocoa butter. Composed of a combination of edible saturated fats that are solid at room temperature, but liquid at human body temperature, cocoa butter is the reason that chocolate literally melts in our mouth. It’s used to make lip balms and salves, lotions, and pharmaceuticals such as suppositories. Using cacao butter topically on the skin is a treat like no other – it smells divine and leaves your skin glowing, vibrant, revitalized, soft and supple. Taste it, smell it, feel it on your skin - it’s euphoria for your senses!
Cocoa butter vs cacao butter
Cacao butter is the pure, cold-pressed oil of the cacao bean. Raw cacao butter production doesn’t exceed 46 degrees celcius, whilst cocoa butter might undergo some heating during the pressing process. Raw cacao butter is more nutrient dense but otherwise they are fully interchangeable. Both are edible, stable vegetable fats that can be used in cooking and in preparations of skin and beauty products.
Unrefined: Unrefined cocoa butter is simply cocoa butter in its raw form. It’s a creamy yellow color and smells just like chocolate.
Refined: Refined cocoa butter is stripped of its scent and color, making it suitable for herbals and cosmetic recipes where one does not want a product with an aroma of chocolate. However, heavy processing to eliminate color and scent also strips the healing property of the product itself.
Cocoa butter melts at skin temperature, and by gently warming it in the palms of the hands and then gliding it onto skin it becomes a wonderful massage oil as well as a wonderful addition to products like lip balms and body butters. Below is one of my favorite body butter/oils to nourish the skin, ourselves and our lovers. It’s a gift from the flesh of the beautiful Madre Cacao. Enjoy
Make your own bedroom Body Dessert - something fun for the lovers.
Raw cocoa butter is the key ingredient that gives chocolate that yummy, creamy and satisfying melt-in-your-mouth quality and it will do the same in on your skin. Body Dessert is an edible cacao butter, coconut butter and vanilla bean kissing and licking balm, and it’s good enough to eat! It’s a simple delight for all you wild lovers out there. Massage this organic and orgasmic body dessert balm any where you want to kiss or be kissed. It could very easily be scooped into a cup of coffee or stirred into some porridge too, but it's much better as a kissing balm!
1/4 cup organic raw cacao butter
1/4 cup organic coconut butter
1/4 cup organic unrefined virgin coconut oil
1/2 tsp vanilla bean extract
Seeds from 1/2 of a vanilla bean
Scoop butters, oils, and vanilla into a double boiler and gentle melt ingredients together. Once blended, pour into a pretty jar and allow to cool. Then enjoy! This body dessert makes a wonderful sensual massage balm and is safe for breasts, nipples, lips and personal areas.