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Theobroma grandiflorum


Theobroma grandiflorum


No documentation

Vernacular Name

Theobroma , cupuacu, cupuassu, copoazu, pupu.


Theobroma grandiflorum is a member of the family of plants that produce chocolate.  In the South American rainforest area, T. grandiflorum is depended upon as a primary food source for both humans and animals.  This plant also serves as a home to many rare insects. The name Theobroma cacao translates into "Drink of the Gods" in Latin and was given to the tree in the 18th century.

T. grandiflorum is a small to medium-sized tree of the family Malvaceae.  Rarely growing to a maximum height of 20m, T. grandiflorum typically grows to just 10-15m in the understory of the forest in which it grows.  The bark is typically dark brown to grey in color and the tree displays trichomous branching.  The long, broad leaves of T. grandiflorum are alternate, ovate to lanceolate, and pubescent on the underside.  The leaves grow to be 35cm in length and up to 10cm in width, and are bright green on the topside and grayish on the underside.  T. grandiflorum produces few small, bright red flowers which grow in cymes of three to five on the stems of the tree.  Each flower grows from a light brown pod and, when it blooms, bursts from the pod to form a star-shaped flower with a bright red center.  The flower is small, and grows no more than 3cm in width.  The fruit of T. grandiflorum is large, oval, light brown and pubescent.  The fruit hangs drupe from the branches, and grows to be up to 20cm in length.

Origin / Habitat

T. grandiflorum is native to the Eastern Amazon region of Brazil.  It thrives in rainforest habitats with fertile, well-drained soil.  It grows best with some shade but can survive well in direct sunlight if the soil contains sufficient moisture.

Chemical Constituents

Theacrine (1,3,7,9-tetramethyluric acid); volatile compounds including ethyl butanoate, ethyl hexanoate and linalool sulfated flavonoid glycosides, including theograndins I and II; flavonoids including (+)-catechin, (-)-epicatechin, isoscutellarein 8-O-beta-d-glucuronide, hypolaetin 8-O-beta-d-glucuronide, quercetin 3-O-beta-d-glucuronide, quercetin 3-O-beta-d-glucuronide 6' '-methyl ester, quercetin, kaempferol, and isoscutellarein 8-O-beta-d-glucuronide 6' '-methyl ester small amounts of theobromine, and caffeine

The seeds of T. grandiflorum reportedly have a 62% fat content, including oleic, arachidonic, palmitic and stearic fatty acids.

Theophylline is only found in roasted fruit and seed.[1],[2],[3],[4],[5]

Plant Part Used

Fruit (pulp and seed)

Medicinal Uses


Food source



Immune enhancement


Cancer protection


Most Frequently Reported Uses

Food source



Dosage Range

Since the plant is used as a food source, the dosage range varies greatly.


Most Common Dosage 

An average portion of T. grandiflorum is equivalent to 100g.

Standardization Dosage 

No standardization known.



T. grandiflorum fruit pulp contains antioxidant flavonoids similar to that found in green tea (Camellia sinensis). A flavonoid glycoside called Theograndin II, has been reported to have antioxidant activity as well as weak cytotoxicity in the HCT-116 and SW-480 human colon cancer cell lines.[3]

Theacrine, an alkaloid reportedly found in T. grandiflorum fruit, is considered a sedative/hypnotic, although these are not reported uses for the T. grandiflorum fruit.[6] The amounts of theobromine and caffeine found in T. grandiflorum are one or more orders of magnitude lower than those from cacao (Theobroma cacao).


There are no human clinical studies available to support the traditional uses of this herb.

Interaction and Depletions

Interaction with other Herbs

No documentation

Interaction with Drugs

There are no known or theoretical drug interactions with the use of T. grandiflorum fruit. 

Precautions and Contraindications

Side effects

Capuacu has been reported safe in recommended doses.

Discontinue if allergy occurs.


Not to be used by pregnant or nursing women.

Age limitation

No documentation

Adverse reaction

No documentation

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  1)  South Central America Herbs


  1. Franco MR, Shibamoto T. Volatile composition of some Brazilian fruits: umbu-caja (Spondias citherea), camu-camu (Myrciaria dubia), Araça-boi (Eugenia stipitata), and Cupuaçu (Theobroma grandiflorum). J Agric Food Chem. Apr2000;48(4):1263-1265.
  2. Quijano CE, Pino JA. Volatile compounds of copoazú (Theobroma grandiflorum Schumann) fruit. Food Chemistry. 2007;104(3):1123-1126.
  3. Yang H, Protiva P, Cui B, et al. New bioactive polyphenols from Theobroma grandiflorum ("cupuaçu"). J Nat Prod. Nov2003;66(11):1501-1504.
  4. Lo Coco F, Lanuzza F, Micali G, Cappellano G. Determination of theobromine, theophylline, and caffeine in by-products of cupuacu and cacao seeds by high-performance liquid chromatography. J Chromatogr Sci. May-Jun2007;45(5):273-275.
  5. Alvaaro B, de Azevedo A, Ulram K, et al. Extraction of fat from fermented Cupuaçu seeds with supercritical solvents. J Supercritical Fluids. 2003;27(2):223-237.
  6. Xu JK, Kurihara H, Zhao L, Yao XS. Theacrine, a special purine alkaloid with sedative and hypnotic properties from Cammelia assamica var. kucha in mice. J Asian Nat Prod Res. Sep-Dec2007;9(6-8):665-672.

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