Natural cocoa ingestion reduced liver damage in mice infected with Plasmodium berghei (NK65)

Frederick Addai, Aidoo, Ahenkorah, Hottor, Gyan, Bugyei
  • Research and Reports in Tropical Medicine, September 2012, Dove Medical Press
  • DOI: 10.2147/rrtm.s33149

Natural cocoa powder minimized malarial damage in mice

What is it about?

Malaria-causing (plasmodium) parasites wreck damage on liver cells in which they hide from the body's immune system and multiply. The hepatocyte injury is effected mainly via inflammation and oxidative stress, both of which cocoa flavanols can control. So mice infected with plasmodium were given access to aqueous suspension of natural cocoa powder and compared with animals given drinking water. Structural analysis of liver tissue, and serum levels of surrogate biochemical markers for inflammation and oxidative sress confirmed modulation by cocoa ingestion.

Why is it important?

Our findings provide empirical support for anecdotal reports of absence of clinical malaria in people living in endemic areas who daily drink natural cocoa as beverage.


Frederick Addai
University of Ghana School of Medicine and Dentistry

Limitation of liver damage is malaria parasitaemia offers a better chance for antimalaria medication to work, should that become necessary. Thus, beyond prevention of parasitaemia daily ingestion of natural cocoa will facilitate curative treatment. Thus, in the allegory of Charles Spurgeon "a whetstone though it may not cut will sharpen the knife that will". So that natural cocoa has no proven curative effect against plasmodium, but the evidence of this work is that it can make medications work better by keeping the liver healthier in presence of parasites.

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The following have contributed to this page: Frederick Addai, ERIC AIDOO, and JOHN AHENKORAH