To say that coffee is mind-altering would not surprise any devoted coffee drinker, and certainly not me, as I consume a fair amount.
But the following passage in Uncommon Grounds, The History of Coffee and How it Transformed our World,* might.
“Plants containing mind-altering alkaloids such as caffeine and cocaine almost all grow in the tropics. Indeed, one of the reasons the tropical rain forest provides so many unique drugs is that the competition for existence is so fierce, there being no winter to provide a respite from the battle for survival. The plants developed the drugs as protective mechanisms. The caffeine content of coffee probably evolved as a natural pesticide to discourage predators.” (p.41)
I had no idea. Isn’t nature grand. To think that the jolt I enjoy every morning is a result of the evolution of an alkaloid to protect a plant.
- Mark Prendergast, Uncommon Grounds, The History of Coffee and How it Transformed our World, Perseus Books, New York, 2010.
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