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(kăfēn`), odorless, slightly bitter alkaloid found in coffeecoffee,
a tree, its seeds, and the beverage made from them. The coffee tree, a small evergreen of the genus Coffea, has smooth, ovate leaves and clusters of fragrant white flowers that mature into deep red fruits about 1-2 in. (1.27 cm) long.
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, teatea,
tree or bush, its leaves, and the beverage made from these leaves. The plant (Camellia sinensis, Thea sinensis, or C. thea) is an evergreen related to the camellia and indigenous to Assam (India) and probably to parts of China and Japan.
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, kola nuts (see colacola
or kola,
tropical tree (genus Cola) of the family Sterculiaceae (sterculia family), native to Africa but now grown in other tropical regions. The fruit is a pod containing seeds from which is obtained caffeine, an alkaloid that functions as a stimulant.
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), ilex plants (the source of the Latin American drink matématé
, yerba maté
, or Paraguay tea,
evergreen tree (Ilex paraguariensis) of the family Aquifoliaceae (holly family). From ancient times Native Americans and now millions of Argentines and others in South America have made a tea (also
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), and, in small amounts, in cocoa (see cacaocacao
, tropical tree (Theobroma cacao) of the family Sterculiaceae (sterculia family), native to South America, where it was first domesticated and was highly prized by the Aztecs. It has been extensively cultivated in the Old World since the Spanish conquest.
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). It can also be prepared synthetically from uric aciduric acid
, white, odorless, tasteless crystalline substance formed as a result of purine degradation in man, other primates, dalmatians, birds, snakes, and lizards. The last three groups of animals also channel all amino acid degradation into the formation of glycine, aspartic
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. While relatively harmless, it is the most commonly used mind-altering drug in the world. When used in moderation, caffeine acts as a mild stimulantstimulant,
any substance that causes an increase in activity in various parts of the nervous system or directly increases muscle activity. Cerebral, or psychic, stimulants act on the central nervous system and provide a temporary sense of alertness and well-being as well as
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 to the nervous system, blocking the neurotransmitter adenosine and resulting in a feeling of well-being and alertness. It increases the heart rate, blood pressure, and urination and stimulates secretion of stomach acids; excessive intake can result in restlessness, insomnia, and heart irregularities. The effects of caffeine vary from person to person, as people excrete it at different rates. Physical dependence and unpleasant symptoms upon withdrawal (headache, fatigue, depression) are common in regular caffeine users.


See B. A Weinberg and B. K. Bealer, The World of Caffeine (2001).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a central nervous system stimulant; trimethylxanthine, an alkaloid found in tea leaves, coffee beans, and kola nuts and obtainable synthetically.

Caffeine is administered in tablet form in cases of central nervous system depression, weak cardiac activity, narcotic intoxication, hypotonia, and migraine. A solution of caffeine and sodium benzoate, containing 38 percent pure caffeine and administered subcutaneously, has similar pharmacological properties and indications.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


(organic chemistry)
C8H10O2N4·H2O An alkaloid found in a large number of plants, such as tea, coffee, cola, and mate.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


, caffein
a white crystalline bitter alkaloid responsible for the stimulant action of tea, coffee, and cocoa: a constituent of many tonics and analgesics. Formula: C8H10N4O2
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
/ La cafeine modifie la cinetique ventilatoire et des echanges gazeux lors de l' exercice.
Il est recommande a cet effet de ne pas depasser 400 mg de cafeine / jour pour un adulte, soit a peu pres l'equivalent de 4 expresso, moins pour les femmes enceintes (200 mg/jour) et juste 3 mg /Kg / jour pour les mineurs qui bien que non ferus de cafe, consomment beaucoup de cafeine contenue dans les Sodas et les boissons energisantes.
[beaucoup moins que] Dans la mesure du possible, il leur est egalement preconise de prendre plusieurs douches par jour, de boire suffisamment et d'eviter les boissons tres sucrees ou a forte teneur en cafeine [beaucoup plus grand que], a ajoute le communique.
Consommer quotidiennement du cafe - cafeine reduirait nettement la recurrence de cancer du colonet accroitrait ainsi les chances de guerison, selon les resultats d'une etude americaine dont les resultats ont ete publies lundi 17 Aout dans la revue medicale Journal of Clinical Oncology .
En outre, dans la mesure du possible, le ministere conseille aux citoyens de prendre plusieurs douches par jour, de boire suffisamment et d'eviter les boissons tres sucrees ou a forte teneur en cafeine et eviter aussi les activites exterieures comme le sport, le jardinage, le bricolage.
Ces facteurs peuvent etre psychologiques (stress, contrariete, anxiete...), alimentaires (fromage, chocolat, charcuterie, alcool, cafeine ou manque de cafeine), hormonaux et bien d'autres.
Il recommande aussi de boire ou faire boire suffisamment les personnes concernees tout en evitant les boissons tres sucrees ou a forte teneur en cafeine. Il est egalement imperatif d'eviter de sortir aux heures les plus chaudes, de prendre dans la mesure du possible plusieurs douches par jour et d'eviter les activites exterieures (sports, jardinage...).
Parfois, d'autres problemes peuvent provoquer des troubles du sommeil, tels que les ronflements, les douleurs, une mauvaise literie, des exces de cafeine ou d'alcool.
Elle renferme aussi de la cafeine, du ginseng et de la taurine.