Cacao (Theobroma cacao L.) is a native species of the rain forest region of tropical South and Central America. 18 , 27 In the English language the name “cocoa” is commonly used as a synonym of cacao, but most authors employ “cacao” to designate the plant, while “cocoa” is used more frequently to refer to its product, as cocoa bean, cocoa powder, cocoa butter, etc.