Coca Leaf Warriors

Editor’s Introduction:

It’s an open secret that the US military employs drugs to heighten the combat performance of its troops and to enable them to sustain long periods of stress, fatigue, hunger, thirst, and sleep deprivation in combat zones. But there’s a problem – a big one- with the drugs that the military employs.

 Beginning with the use of amphetamines by Nazi pilots to increase their ability to maintain a high state of readiness and alertness in air combat, and continuing through the widespread use of drug cocktails by US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan to enable them to perform at higher levels in combat and then to deal with its psychologically damaging aftermath, official drug use by military forces has been as much a part of combat as guns and bombs.

 And then of course there’s the ‘illegal’ but sanctioned use of drugs like Cannabis and Heroin in Vietnam, which we now know were made available to US troops by Chinese intelligence as part of a long-range plan to demoralize and decrease the combat efficiency of US units. It’s well documented that Heroin addiction rates were at 70% in some US units in Vietnam – and why not? The Chinese made sure that unlimited supplies of pure Heroin were available to American GIs at the low, low price of $20 an ounce – almost irresistible.

 But all this drug use, legal and illegal, really only has one purpose from the soldier’s point of view, and from the point of view of the military hierarchy that either endorses it or looks the other way. The basic reason is that combat is highly stressful, and that soldiers are called on to live and fight in conditions that almost no human being can possibly adapt to without chemical support.

 The remarkable thing about all this recent history is that in the 1800s military Generals and Admirals, as well as Army and Navy doctors, knew all about Coca Leaf and its extraordinary benefits to soldiers in difficult field conditions and in combat, but because of the anti-drug hysteria at the turn of the 20th Century all this incredibly valuable information has been lost and we’re left instead with zombified, brain-fried combat troops courtesy of Pig Pharma.

 In this post I’ll offer a few quotes from the 1800s that demonstrate that the knowledge of the benefits of Coca Leaf were well known, and my hope is that this will cause readers to ask – why has this information been suppressed, and why are those who serve in our military and suffer the horrible consequences of combat being denied this simple, natural healing medicine?

 Note: All the following quotes are from my eBook “The Coca Leaf Papers”.

“The especial influence of Coca upon the heart is alone sufficient to establish it as a remedy of phenomenal worth. Lieutenant Gibbs, U.S.N., from a personal experience with Coca in crossing the high passes of the Andes, considered the sustaining action of Coca in high altitudes due wholly to its enabling the heart muscle to perform the extra work when called forth. Similar observations have been made by many travelers who have remarked the influence of Coca upon themselves. Recently Captain Zalinski, U.S.A. – who rendered  the dynamite gun an effectual instrument of war – has been experimenting upon a concentrated ration suitable for the army. In pursuing his studies under a severe test he submitted himself to the hardships of Andean travel, and through the high altitudes used Coca Thé and Coca Pâte prepared by Mariani, the timely use of which, he assured me, had supported his life through a serious ordeal.”

“From what has been said of the nature and effects of Coca it will be seen that I do not regard this plant in the light of a drug, any more, at least, than coffee, tea, or tobacco can be so termed. Nor, indeed, is it as susceptible of application as a drug as those substances even; since its effects upon the body are marked by much less disturbance than those of any of them. To be of value as a drug, a substance must have pathogenetic power. It is, then, not as a drug that we should regard Coca, though its sphere in medical practice is destined to be a very wide, and an immensely important one. Its place is that of a food, or, if you please, supplemental or adjunct to food. Its economic uses in the community will be of a high grade, and its employment in the army, navy, and merchant marine will be still higher. It will sustain the life of many an exhausted soldier and ship-wrecked sailor. Had our army at Gettysburg been supplied with it, Lee and his troops need never have been allowed to re-cross the Potomac. A bale of it should form part of the supply of every ship, since, in case of shipwreck, it would sustain life much longer than a corresponding amount of food.”

Editor’s Note: Attention NASA – How about some Coca Leaf aboard the mission to Mars?

“The wonderful endurance of the guides and mail carriers travelling through passes of the Cordilleras where a mule could not go, has been a frequent topic for comment by many writers, and though so often repeated is still wonderful. Stevenson, who was for twenty years in Peru, during which period he held many political appointments under the captain- general of Quito, in describing the customs of the people, refers to the runners, or chasquis, carrying letters from Lima, a distance of upward of a hundred leagues, without any other provision than Coca, just as did their predecessors centuries before in the time of the Incas. The attention of the English people was particularly directed to this sustenance of the Andeans by the fact that one of their countrymen, who became a prominent participant in the Peruvian war of independence, boldly announced his belief in the support which his troops derived from the chewing of Coca. General Miller not only employed Coca in his army during the campaign of 1824, but so freely acknowledged the benefit he derived from its use that he established a warm sympathy with the natives, and it became desirable for any Englishman travelling through the interior to announce himself as a countryman of Miller, when he was sure to receive “the best house and the best fare that an Indian village could afford.”

“When the malarial-bone-racking accompaniment of influenza known as grip raged, Coca was found the most serviceable supporter of the organism during an attack. The use of a grog made from “Vin Mariani” and hot water taken at bed time was recommended abroad by Dr. H. Libermann, surgeon-in-chief of the French army, and in the United States by Dr. Cyrus Edson.

Dr. Libermann, Surgeon-in-Chief, French Army, communicates his experience, as follows:

“I have the honor to inform you of the results which I have obtained in my long career of military practice from the use of Vin Mariani.

“I have used it with great success for profound anaemia resulting from long and tedious campaigns in hot countries, and accompanied, as is nearly always the case, by gastro-intestinal irritation with loss of appetite and dyspepsia.  Two or three Bordeaux-glasses of Vin Mariani daily, removed that condition quite rapidly, by restoring the appetite and the tolerance of the stomach for a tonic aliment.

“I have also employed it in cases, happily rare in our army, of chronic alcoholism resulting from the abuse of brandy, absinthe or strong liquors. The Vin Mariani produced all the excitement sought by drinkers, but had at the same time a sedative influence on their nervous systems. I have frequently seen hardened drinkers renounce their fatal habit and return to a healthy condition.

“I have also used Vin Mariani to save smokers of exaggerated habits, from nicotinism. A few glasses of Vin Mariani taken in small doses, either pure or mixed with water, acted as a substitute for pipes and cigars, because the smokers found in it the cerebral excitement which they sought in tobacco, wholly preserving their intellectual faculties.

“I have also employed it with success for chronic bronchitis and pulmonary phthisis. Vin Mariani increases the appetite and diminishes the cough in these two morbid states.

“To combat the cough I give it mixed with water in the form of tisane, a Bordeaux-glass of Coca wine in a glass of water.

“Besides I have used it to the greatest advantage in convalescence from typhoid fever, when no wine, not even Bordeaux, was retained by the stomach on account of gastric irritation which is the rule after fevers of this nature.

“Although I have confined myself to giving but a rapid glance at the results that I have obtained, I have the statistics, which I keep in reserve should they be needed.  I can certify that Vin Mariani is the most powerful weapon that can be put in the hands of military physicians to combat the diseases, the infirmities, and even the vicious habits engendered by camp life and the servitude of military existence.”


GIBBS, BENJAMIN F., M.D. (Surgeon U. S. N.): Report on Coca; Sanitary and Medical Report, U. S. Navy, p. 675, 1873-74; Washington, 1875.

HERNDON, WILLIAM LEWIS and LARUNER GIBBON, Lieutenants, U.S.N. Exploration of the Valley of the Amazon; made under Direction of the Navy Department; 2 vols., 8vo.; Washington, 1853-54.

 Editor’s Note: When you visit this link to, simply put the word Coca into the “Search Inside This Book” box to explore what the leaders of this US Navy expedition thought of Coca Leaf and its potential military benefits.

14 thoughts on “Coca Leaf Warriors

  1. The more you look into it, the more uses there seem to be for the sacred leaf. There is a movement in Europe called ‘Friends of the Coca Leaf’ that is pushing for legalisation. There are also more places popping up in Bogota selling coca leaf products now, some run by indigenous Nasa people who have a brand called Coca Nasa. Together with the push from Bolivia, there seems to be a growing momentum to lift prohibition.


    1. Hi Kate – there is absolutely NOTHING better than smart boots on the ground. Thank you so much for this information. It’s good to know that somehow the same spirit that moved me to start this blog is synched with other people who are on the same trail. Thank you.


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