Interesting facts about Erythroxylum coca


Many archeological artifacts found from the remains of the Incan and the pre-Inca Empires depict the use of the coca bush in their various civil and religious rituals. Exquisite ornaments, worked metals containing pictures and symbols, and sculptured wood are some of the ways that the "Divine Plant of the Incas" has been portrayed.


Close-up of a coca plant. Used with permission from recipe for Coca-Cola did not always contain de-cocainized leaf extracts. The original 1886 recipe of John Styth Pemberton, the inventor of Coca-Cola, contained a "pinch of coca leaves". Thought the actual amount of cocaine that went into Coca-Cola is not known, twenty years later in 1906, the company began using de-cocainized leaves after the passage of Pure Food and Drug Act. 


The coca plant is an incredible source of nutrients. The coca leaves contain more protein than meat and contain more calcium than milk, as well as several important minerals and vitamins.


Contrary to popular belief, chewing coca leaves is actually quite beneficial for our bodies. Studies have shown that the consumption of coca leaves protects the body from cardio-vascular diseases, colon cancer, and tooth decay, as well as being a good source of nutrients. Some of the other helpful uses of the coca leaf are its effects in overcoming altitude sickness, depression, high blood pressure, asthmatic bronchitis, stomach and colon problems, obesity and diabetes.


An interesting phenomenon has been observed occurring in the regions of the Andes that experience severe electrical storms. After the lightning strikes through the atmosphere, nitrogen gas is released into the atmosphere, which then falls to the earth in the forms of nitric acid. Once in the soil it is converted into nitrate, which along with other minerals gets absorbed by the roots of the coca plant. This is significant because nitrogen is an essential element in the formation of alkaloids in the plant, i.e. more cocaine is produced within those coca plants.


The chemical Substance of coca                                                             % out of 100               
Cocaine and other alkaloids                                                                      0.5 to 1.5
Sugars                                                                                                      11.46
Starch                                                                                                      36.19
Protein                                                                                                     7.80
Crude Fiber                                                                                              28.57
Dextrine                                                                                                   1.12
Coloring matter and similar substances                                                     .25
Volatile Oils                                                                                              1.82
Ash                                                                                                           6.00
Moisture                                                                                                   6.50                       




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