Evidence

These uses have been tested in humans or animals.  Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven.  Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.

Key to grades

A
Strong scientific evidence for this use
B
Good scientific evidence for this use
C
Unclear scientific evidence for this use
D
Fair scientific evidence against this use (it may not work)
F
Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likely does not work)

Grading rationale

Evidence gradeCondition to which grade level applies
A

High blood pressure

Since chocolate contains caffeine, eating large amounts may increase blood pressure. However, research has shown that dark chocolate or chocolate with high flavonols decreases blood pressure by a small amount in people with elevated blood pressure.
B

Cirrhosis (chronic liver disease)

Early research has shown that dark chocolate decreased high blood pressure and improved blood flow in the liver. High blood pressure in the veins of the liver is commonly associated with cirrhosis. Further research is needed in this area.
C

Aging

Chocolate may be beneficial for elderly people living in nursing homes. Research in area is limited and further study is needed to draw conclusions.
C

Anxiety

Early research produced mixed results for the effects of chocolate on anxiety and stress levels. Further research is needed in this area.
C

Chronic fatigue syndrome

Limited research suggests that chocolate decreased tiredness in people with chronic fatigue syndrome, a condition of severe tiredness unaffected by rest. High-quality research is needed in this area.
C

Constipation

The fiber found in cacao husk may be a noteworthy source of dietary fiber. Early evidence suggests that cacao husk fiber may be helpful in treating constipation in children. More studies are needed in this area.
C

Dental conditions

Early evidence shows that using mouthwash with a cocoa product decreased bacteria in the mouth of children. Further research is needed in this area.
C

Diabetes

The effects of chocolate on diabetes and diabetes risk are unclear. Further research is needed.
C

Exercise recovery

Research has shown benefits of drinking chocolate milk for exercise recovery. The effects of chocolate alone are unclear. Further research is necessary.
C

Heart disease

Research suggests that a diet high in cocoa flavonoids may help protect against heart disease. However, more studies are needed before a conclusion can be drawn.
C

High blood sugar/glucose intolerance

Cocoa flavonols had mixed effects on high blood sugar levels. Further research is needed in this area.
C

High cholesterol

Consuming cocoa butter or chocolate had mixed effects on cholesterol levels. More study is needed in this area.
C

Insect repellant

Early research suggests that cocoa oil may be an effective insect repellant. However, additional studies are needed in this area.
C

Mental performance

In early research, a drink with cocoa flavonols improved mental performance in people with mildly impaired mental abilities. Further research is needed to draw conclusions.
C

Mood

Limited study suggests that chocolate may improve mood for a short period of time. Further research is needed to draw conclusions.
C

Parkinson's disease

Early research has shown that chocolate lacks an effect on Parkinson's disease. Additional study is needed in this area.
C

Pregnancy support

Early study shows that chocolate may benefit pregnant women. However, due to the caffeine content, large amounts of chocolate should be avoided as they may have adverse effects on the pregnancy. Further research is needed to draw conclusions.
C

Skin conditions

Research has suggested that flavonols, which are found in chocolate, may protect the skin from sun damage. Additional study is needed in this area.
C

Weight loss

The effects of chocolate on weight loss are unclear. Further study is necessary to draw conclusions.
C

Wound healing

Early research shows that cocoa butter may help with burn scars. However, more research is needed before firm conclusions may be made.

Uses based on tradition or theory

The below uses are based on tradition or scientific theories. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.

Acne, Alzheimer's disease, antibacterial, antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiviral, aphrodisiac (improves sex drive), asthma, blood thinner, bone loss, bronchitis (airway inflammation), cancer, childbirth (inducing labor), cough, dementia, diarrhea, diuretic (increase urine flow), eating disorders, energy enhancement, eye problems, fever, food uses, fragrance, hair loss, immune system regulation, kidney and bladder disorders, lactose intolerance, liver conditions, malaria, menstrual flow stimulant, migraine, myopathy (muscle disease), nephrosis (kidney disease), neurodegenerative diseases (nervous tissue disease), pain, rheumatism (joint problems), sensory stimulation, snakebite, stimulant, stroke, tonic.

This evidence-based monograph was prepared by The Natural Standard Research Collaboration

www.naturalstandard.com