The Medicinal Herb Info site was created to help educate visitors about the often forgotten wisdom of the old ways of treating illnesses. Many of today's drugs and medicines were originally derived from natural ingredients, combinations of plants and other items found in nature.

We are not suggesting that you ignore the help of trained medical professionals, simply that you have additional options available for treating illnesses. Often the most effective treatment involves a responsible blend of both modern and traditional treatments.

We wish you peace and health!


Scientific Names


  • Coffea arabica L.
  • Rubiaceae
  • Madder family

Common Names

  • Java

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Parts Usually Used

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Description of Plant(s) and Culture

Coffee is an evergreen, large shrub to small tree, 15-40 feet tall, usually pruned down to a small to medium shrub.  It has 6 inch long glossy dark green leaves, pure white corolla-type flowers, and round deep red fruit.  Often grown as a houseplant, needs full sun.  Zone 10.

Fresh coffee seed, keep warm and wet, germinates well and grows quickly.

Start seeds singly in small pots in fall or winter, in slightly acid soil.  Grow in filtered sun or light shade, at moderate (65-80 degrees F) temperature.  Keep somewhat moist in spring and summer, slightly dryer, but never completely dry, in fall and winter.  Maintain humidity, and apply a balanced fertilizer regularly in spring and summer.  Tope pruning is often needed to control the height.

Coffee bushes are not hard to grow and are quite disease and insect resistant.  A really attractive plant needs close attention to temperature, light and watering.  Brown leaf edges are usually the result of fertilizer burn; too high a temperature caused by too much sun, causes burned spots.

Coffee bushes attract mealybugs.

People grow coffee bushes, not to supply the caffeine needs of the household, but as attractive potted plants with glossy green leaves, fragrant flowers, and red berries.
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Where Found

Native to tropical Africa and Ethiopia.  In the United States coffee is grown outdoors in the deep south; summer mulch helps.  Grown as a potted houseplant.  Easily withstands low light in northern greenhouse winters.
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Medicinal Properties

Vasodilator, stimulant
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Legends, Myths and Stories

These coffee substitutes were originally taken from A Cyclopaedia of Practical Recipes, by Arnold J. Cooley, London, 1856.  They were used alone or mixed with real coffee.  If larger than regular coffee-berries, they are cut into dice about the same size as coffee-berries before roasting.  All of the suggestions below are roasted before grinding, with a little fat or peanut oil.

Acorn coffee: from acorns, shelled, husked, dried, and roasted.

Almond coffee: rye or wheat roasted along with a few almonds; a very small amount of cassia buds improves it. (A good stimulant)

Bean coffee: Horse-beans roasted along with a little honey or sugar.  Add a small amount of cassia buds.  Also called Jack bean, Canavalia ensiformis.

Beech-mast coffee: from beech-masts or nuts. (very wholesome)

Beet-root coffee: from the yellow beet-root, sliced, dried in kiln or oven, and ground with a little foreign coffee.  (a good substitute)

Currant coffee: from the seeds washed out of the cask left in making currant wine.

Dandelion coffee: the roasted root, in England, was a popular substitute.  It is prepared like coffee.

(roasted dandelion root has almost a magic-like effect on milk.  Steep 1 heaping tsp. of the root in 1 cup of hot (not boiling) milk.  Steep for 5-10 minutes and strain.  Sweeten if desired.  The resultant liquid tastes like rich cream, of course with far less calories.  Try this on breakfast cereals, you will love it.  Also, try dandelion milk in your favorite recipes where milk is an ingredient.  An addition of 1/4 tsp. of powdered licorice gives dandelion milk a pleasant tang.)

Egyptian coffee: from chick-peas; called garbanzos by the Spanish.

German coffee: from roasted roots of chicory.

Gooseberry coffee: from gooseberry seeds.

Luppin coffee: from roasted lupine seeds.

Rice coffee: from roasted rice.

Rye coffee: Rye roasted along with a little butter, and ground to powder. (a good substitute)

Rosetta coffee: from fenugreek seeds moistened with lemon juice.

Sylvester’s coffee: Iris coffee; The seed of the gladiolus luteus, Iris pseudacornus, or yellow water flag.  Said to be the best substitute known.

Turner’s coffee: broom coffee. from broom seeds roasted with a little butter.
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Some researchers believe there is a connection between coffee and glaucoma.  Therefore, some doctors forbid coffee to glaucoma patients.  Coffee has been suggested in relieving the pain of migraine headache.  Migraine or any other type of throbbing headache usually stems from engorged blood vessels.  Strong coffee helps to shrink the vessels.  1-2 cups of strong coffee has enough of a good effect to offset the jitters from the caffeine.  In severe attacks with nausea and vomiting, sometimes relief can be obtained by cooling a cup of coffee and taking it very slowly as an enema, retaining it as long as possible.

As absurd as it may sound: if sleep disturbance is attributable to overly low blood pressure and flow of blood to the brain is reduced, a cup of coffee, sweetened with honey and taken just before bedtime, will help!  (not recommended for diabetics)  Coffee improves the cerebral blood supply, and honey provides plenty of glucose.  Glucose deficiency in the brain can be a cause of sleep disturbances.

Older people who wake up at night and can’t go back to sleep for hours, also find eating a piece of chocolate helpful, or even better, a piece of hard (sugar) candy; sleep will not be long in coming (not recommended for diabetics).

Coffee can damage your health.  The caffeine is a vasodilator and people living on the edge of their nerves already, can push their bodies too far and create a health hazard to themselves.  The coffee can be prepared in a much less harmful way than the coffee made and used in Europe and America.  Coffee served in Arabic lands reduce the stimulating and insomniac effects.  They do not keep it roasted and ground but prepare it when the guests arrive.  They roast the beans and grind them shortly before use, bring the ground coffee rapidly to a boil, let it bubble briefly, and pour a little cold water over the froth to settle.  Then it is served very strong and thick with plenty of sugar.

Use coffee only if your nervous system is in good working order; sensitive or nervous people should leave coffee alone.
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Resource Links Amount of Calories in Coffee

CalorieKing: Coffee

USDA Nutritional Database: Coffee Brewed from Grounds

Old Farmer’s Almanac: 15 Uses for Coffee and Coffee Grounds

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Buy It! Eastern/Central Medicinal Plants, by Steven Foster and James A. Duke., Houghton Mifflin Company, 215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10000

Buy It! The Healing Plants, by Mannfried Pahlow, Barron’s Educational Series, Inc. 250 Wireless Blvd., Hauppauge, NY 11788, 1992

Buy It! Back to Eden, by Jethro Kloss; Back to Eden Publishing Co., Loma Linda, CA 92354, Original copyright 1939, revised edition 1994

Buy It! The Herb Book, by John Lust, Bantam Books, 666 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY. copyright 1974.

Herbal Gardening, compiled by The Robison York State Herb Garden, Cornell Plantations, Matthaei Botanical Gardens of the University of Michigan, University of California Botanical Garden, Berkeley., Pantheon Books, Knopf Publishing Group, New York, 1994, first edition

Buy It! Indian Herbalogy of North America, by Alma R. Hutchens, Shambala Publications, Inc., Horticultural Hall, 300 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, 1973

Buy It! Indian Uses of Native Plants, by Edith Van Allen Murphey, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, copyright 1958, print 1990

Buy It! The Magic of Herbs in Daily Living, by Richard Lucas, Parker Publishing Co. (1988).

Buy It! The Nature Doctor: A Manual of Traditional and Complementary Medicine, by Dr. H.C.A. Vogel; Keats Publishing, Inc., 27 Pine Street (Box 876) New Canaan, CT. 06840-0876. Copyright Verlag A. Vogel, Teufen (AR) Switzerland 1952, 1991

Buy It! Old Ways Rediscovered, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, published from 1954, print 1988

Buy It! Planetary Herbology, by Michael Tierra, C.A., N.D., O.M.D., Lotus Press, PO Box 325, Twin Lakes. WI 53181., Copyright 1988, published 1992

Buy It! Webster’s New World Dictionary, Third College Edition, Victoria Neufeldt, Editor in Chief, New World Dictionaries: A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., 15 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10023

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