Native to Central America, Cacao (Theobroma cacao) was used as a medicinal and religious beverage by the Aztecs and Mayans. Spanish conquistadors were responsible for its spread to Europe in the 1600s. The plant has long been beloved and valued. Swedish taxonomer Carl Linnaeus gave it the genus Theobroma, or “food of the gods,” and cacao was so valuable that it was used as currency in Mexico until the late 19th century. Cacao is a relative of cola and cotton, and it historically was considered to be an aphrodisia.