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CaffeineCrystals Fibrous 10xDarkField-1-

Caffeine crystals under a microscope

Caffeine is a bitter, white crystalline xanthine alkaloid and psychoactive stimulant. Caffeine was first isolated from coffee in 1820 by the German chemist Friedlieb Ferdinand Runge and in 1821 by French chemists, Robiquet as well as the team of Pelletier and Caventou, working independently. Pelletier first coined the word "cafeine" from the French word for coffee (café) and this term became the English word "caffeine".

Caffeine is found in varying quantities in the seeds, leaves, and fruit of some plants, where it acts as a natural pesticide that paralyzes and kills certain insects feeding on the plants. It is most commonly consumed by humans in infusions extracted from the bean of the coffee plant and the leaves of the tea bush, as well as from various foods and drinks containing products derived from the kola nut. Other sources include yerba maté, guarana berries, guayusa, and the yaupon holly.

In humans, caffeine acts as a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant, temporarily warding off drowsiness and restoring alertness. Caffeine is the world's most widely consumed psychoactive substance, but, unlike many other psychoactive substances, it is legal and unregulated in nearly all jurisdictions. Beverages containing caffeine, such as coffee, tea, soft drinks, and energy drinks, enjoy great popularity; in North America, 90% of adults consume caffeine daily. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lists caffeine as a "multiple purpose generally recognized as safe food substance".

Caffeine has diuretic properties when administered in sufficient doses to subjects who do not have a tolerance for it. Regular users, however, develop a strong tolerance to this effect, and studies have generally failed to support the common notion that ordinary consumption of caffeinated beverages contributes significantly to dehydration.

Caffeine in "King of All"Edit

Caffeine was the latest trendy drug used by affluent upper middle class addicts. As was typical, it went under a number of names such as: "Caff", "The Fiend", "Dust", "Ups", "Buzz" and "Sleep-no-more". The refined, uncut drug was a white powder with a street value of $80,000 per kilo.

Caffeine originated in the Arabian Peninsula and was still produced there and Ethiopia but the main source for the U.S. came from Colombia. Farmers grew cafe plants (an evergreen bush) with impunity and received $300 for a ton of berries. These berries were then pulped, dried and ground. This powder was then treated with either dicloroethylene or trichloroethylene to extract the caffeine. The one ton of berries would be reduced to a single kilo of white powder which would then be smuggled to the U.S. and elsewhere.

Editorial noteEdit

This article exists primarily because of caffeine's role in "King of All". In every other Harry Turtledove work, characters quite legally consume coffee, tea, soda, energy drinks, and all other foodstuffs that have caffeine as an ingredient.

A bit similar plot device is Ginger in the Worldwar series, where something which humans consider a normal foodstuff turns out to be a powerful narcotic for members of The Race.

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