The Guarani people who live in the hinterland of South America, have used guarana seeds powder for drinks, stimulants, painkillers, or for the treatment of diarrhea and headaches since ancient times. Modern science met guarana in the 17th century and the German botanist Theodore von Martius isolated the guaranine from the guarana seed extract, later identified as caffeine. And it was 1819 that the German chemist Friedlieb Ferdinand Runge succeeded to isolate caffeine from coffee.
Galanine was discovered earlier than caffeine but it is not well known much as caffeine, why? It is said that Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, the literary titan, was a key person in the success of Runge’s examination. Goethe loved coffee and he thought that coffee had “eye-opening stimuli,” and urged Runge to analyze coffee beans, and then, Runge found caffeine and this discovery was widely disseminated to the world. The greatest poet and writer Goethe may have had strong influence on the world of science as well.
(to be continued)