Coffee: Biological Source,Morphological features,Chemical constituents and Medicinal Uses

Coffee: Biological Source,Morphological features,Chemical constituents and Medicinal Uses


1. Biological source:

• The biological source of coffee is its dried ripe seed.
• The botanical name of coffee is Coffea Arabica Linn.
• It belongs to the rubiaceae family.
• It is deprived of most of the seed coat.
• It is also known as coffee bean and coffee seed.

2. Morphological features:

• Plant of coffee is an evergreen shrub.
• It is upto 5 m tall when unpruned.
• Leaves are opposite, dark green in colour.
• Leaves are glossy, elliptical in shape.
• Leaves are acuminate-tipped, short-petioled.
• The size of leaves are 5-20 cm long, 1.5-7.5 cm broad.
• The flowers of plant are white in color and in axillary cluters.
• Flowers are fragrant.
• The corolla of flower tubular in shape and calyx is small and cup-shaped.
• Fruits on ripening yellow in color and then become crimson and black upon drying.
• It contain drup type fruit and the shape of fruit is ellipsoidal or spheroidal.
• In each fruit 2 locules are present and it contain 1 seed in each chamber.
• Seeds are green in colour while sperating from the plant.
• The inner surface of seed is deeply grooved .
• Seed contain green corneous endosperm and small embryo.
• Seeds are 8.5-12.5 cm long.

3. Chemical constituents:

• Caffeine is the main chemical constituent of coffee present in coffee bean.
• Other chemical constituents are tannins, fixed oils and proteins are also present in coffee bean.
• The amount of caffeine present in coffee bean is 2-3 % .
• Amount of tannin is 3-5%.
• 13% proteins and 10-15% fixed oils are present in coffee bean.
• The coffee contain sugars in the form of dextrin, glucose and chlorogenic or caffeotannic acid.
• The seed contain caffeine as the salt of chlorogenic acid and combined with potassium.
• Also contain nicotinic acid.
• The agreeable smell of coffee seed during roasting is due to caffeol oil.
• It also contain pentosans.
• It also contain phenol ,pyridine and valerianic acid.
• Wax is also a chemical constituent of coffee.

4. Uses :

• It is used to stimulate diuretic action due to presence of caffeine.
• It also have toxic effect due to CNS depressant drugs.
• It is used as flavoring agent as in ice cream, pastries, candies.
• It has action on kidneys, heart and muscles.
• On snake- bite, it is used to prevent from terrible coma.
• It has soothing action on the vascular action which prevent a too rapid wasting of the tissues of the body.
• It is a brewed drink.
• Coffee show analgesic, anaphrodisiac, anorexic and antidotal properties.
• It has cardiotonic action.
• It work as counterirritant, hypnotic and lactagogue.
• Coffee is used in the folk remedy for fever, gout, diarrhea, cough and headache.
• it is also a folk remedy for asthma, atropine-poisoning, jaundice, malaria, migraine, nacrosis, opium- poisoning, sores and vertigo.
5. Adulterants:
• Most common coffee husks and sticks during processing byproducts.
• Other adulterants are barley, maize, soybean, chicory ,rye and triticale.


1. What is the botanical name of coffee?
(a) Pyrus malus
(b) Ribes nigrum
(c) Solanum melongena
(d) Coffea Arabica Linn.

2. What is the biological source of coffee?
(a) Root
(b) Seed
(c) Leaves
(d) Bark

3. Match the following with respect to the chemical constituents of plants.
I. Nux vomica                                           A. Vincristine
II. Vinca                                                     B. Caffeine
III. Coffee                                                  C. Strychnine
IV. Vasaca                                                  D. Flavinoids

4. Choose incorrect statement with respect to the morphological features of coffee shrub.
I. Leaves are opposite and dark green in color.
II. Coffee shrub contain needle shaped leaves.
III. Flowers are fragrant.
IV. Seeds are green in color while separating from the plant.
(a) Both I and II
(b) Only II
(c) Only III
(d) Both II and IV

5. What are the common adulterants of coffee?
(a) Soybean
(b) Barley
(c) Coffee husks
(d) All of the above

6. Coffee contain properties of
(a) Analgesic
(b) Anaphrodisiac
(c) Anorexic
(d) All of the above

7. Coffee belongs to which family?
(a) Loganiaceae
(b) Rubiaceae
(c) Solaneacea
(d) Asteraceae

8. Properties of seed of the coffee shrub are
(a) 8.5-12.5 cm long.
(b) Inner surface of seed is deeply grooved.
(c) Seed contain green corneous endosperm.
(d) All of the above

9. Which is the not a chemical constituent of coffee?
(a) Protein
(b) Fixed oil
(c) Alkylglycerol
(d) Nicotinic acid

10. Amount of caffeine present in coffee is
(a) 4-5%
(b) 2-3%
(c) 3-4%
(d) 1-2%

7. Answers:
1. (d)
2. (b)
3. (d)
4. (b)
5. (d)
6. (d)
7. (b)
8. (d)
9. (c)
10. (b)

8. Reference:
Evans W.C, Editors. Trease and Evans Pharmacognosy. New York, Saunders Elsevier; 2009, p. 410.

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