Cocoa Butter

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Chapter: Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry : Drugs Containing Lipids

It is obtained from roasted seeds of Theobroma cacao Linn., belonging to family Sterculiaceae.






Theobroma oil, cacao butter, cocao beans, semina theo-bromatis.


Biological Source


It is obtained from roasted seeds of Theobroma cacao Linn., belonging to family Sterculiaceae.


Geographical Source


Cocoa is cultivated in Brazil, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Curacao, Mexico, West Africa (Ghana, Nigeria), and some parts of India.




Cocoa seeds contain nearly 50% of cocoa butter. The seeds are separated from pods and are allowed to ferment. Fer-mentation process takes place at 30–40°C in tubes, boxes or in the cavities made in the earth for three to six days and during fermentation the colour of the seeds changes from white to dark reddish brown due to enzymatic reaction. If the seeds are not subjected for the process of fermentation and dried in sun, then they are more astringent, bitter tasting and of less value. After fermentation, the seeds are roasted at 100–140°C to remove the acetic acid and water present in the seeds and facilitate removal of seed coat also. The seeds are cooled immediately and are fed into nibbling machine to remove the shells followed by winnowing. The kernels are then fed into hot rollers which yield a pasty mass containing cocoa butter. The pasty mass is further purified to give cocoa butter




Cocoa butter is yellowish white solid and brittle below 25°C. It has pleasant chocolate odour and taste. It is insoluble in water but soluble in chloroform, petroleum ether, ether and benzene. Specific gravity ranges from 0.858 to 0.864, melting point between 30°C and 35°C, refractive index varies from 1.4637 to 1.4578, saponification value is 188–195, and iodine value 35–40.



Chemical Constituents


It consists of glycerides of stearic (34%), palmitic (25%), oleic (37%) acids, and small amount of linoleic acids and arachidic acid. Glyceride structure is responsible for non-greasiness of product.




It is used as an emollient, as a base for suppositories and ointments, manufacture of creams, and toilet soaps. It reduces the formation of stretch marks during pregnancy by keeping the skin supple. It is used as an ingredient in lotion bars, lip balms, body butters, soaps, and belly balms for expectant mothers.


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