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  • Writer's pictureGary Roth

Ceremonial Cacao & Valeric Acid, Is It Helpful Or Hype?


Ceremonial cacao, also known as ceremonial-grade cacao, is a specific type of cacao product that is used in cacao ceremonies. It is made from 100% pure cacao-bean paste that contains a much higher quantity of beneficial, health-restoring, and mood-elevating compounds than any other cacao-based product on the market (like cacao powder, non-ceremonial cacao paste, dark chocolate, etc). Ceremonial-grade cacao paste is usually sold in “block” or “saucer” form. Block cacao paste usually requires shaving/chopping for preparation. Cacao paste in saucer form is usually more practical since it doesn’t require chopping to prepare your ceremonial cacao drink.


Ceremonial-grade cacao paste is made from high-quality Criollo (“kri-o-yo”) beans. Criollo beans are a specific variety of cacao bean that are known for their mild taste and high concentration of health-restoring and consciousness-altering compounds such as theobromine, serotonin, proanthocyanin, anandamine, methylxanthines, tryptophan, phenylethylamine, and many others that when consumed generate a particularly potent heart-warming sensation in the body.


Valeric acid is one of the many compounds found in Criollo beans. It is thought to stimulate dopamine release which can lead to mood elevation.



Valeric acid, also known as pentanoic acid, is a straight-chain alkyl carboxylic acid with the chemical formula CH3(CH2)3COOH. It is found in the perennial flowering plant Valeriana officinalis, from which it gets its name. Valeric acid has an unpleasant odor and is used primarily in the synthesis of its esters. Salts and esters of valeric acid are known as valerates or pentanoates.


Valeric acid is a minor constituent of the perennial flowering plant valerian (Valeriana officinalis), from which it gets its name. The dried root of this plant has been used medicinally since antiquity. Valeric acid shares its unpleasant odor with isovaleric acid, and their chemical identity was investigated by oxidation of the components of fusel alcohol, which includes the five-carbon amyl alcohols. Valeric acid is one volatile component in swine manure. Other components include other carboxylic acids, skatole, trimethyl amine, and isovaleric acid. It is also a flavor component in some foods.


Valeric acid is produced by the oxo process from 1-butene and syngas, forming valeraldehyde, which is oxidized to the final product. It can also be produced from biomass-derived sugars via levulinic acid and this alternative has received considerable attention as a way to produce biofuels.


Valeric acid is thought to stimulate dopamine release which can lead to mood elevation 3. However, there is limited scientific research on this topic. Therefore, it’s best to approach these claims with a healthy dose of skepticism.


Valeric acid has been studied in the context of sleep disorders. A systematic review of the scientific literature identified nine randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trials of valerian and sleep disorders that were evaluated for evidence of efficacy of valerian as a treatment for insomnia. However, the evidence from clinical studies of the efficacy of valerian in treating sleep disorders such as insomnia is inconclusive.



Valeric acid has also been studied in the context of bone health. A study found that valeric acid suppressed NF-κB p65 protein production (pro-inflammatory), and enhanced IL-10 mRNA expression (anti-inflammatory), leading to suppressed maturation of osteoclast-like cells, and enhanced maturation of osteoblasts in vitro. B. vulgatus and valeric acid represent promising targets for osteoporosis prevention/treatment.


(That study is referenced here, if interested)


Valeric acid is a dietary supplement that has many health benefits. It is known to help reduce stress and anxiety, improve sleep quality, and reduce inflammation. It can also help improve cognitive function, reduce the risk of heart disease, and boost the immune system.


Valeric acid is also a component of valerian root, which is a popular herbal sleep aid available in tea, capsules, and tinctures. Valerian root might help with improving sleep and reducing anxiety, but is not advised as a treatment for long-term insomnia. Since dietary supplements are not closely monitored by the FDA, be sure to purchase reputable valerian root products. Valerian root side effects can occur, but are thought to be fewer than those associated with prescription sleep aids.



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