Coca & The Human Heart: Early Scientific & Medical Evidence
By the late 1800’s doctors were learning a great deal about the basic functioning of the body but were still reliant on observation of the living and autopsy of the dead for most of their knowledge. Obviously they had none of the technology that today’s physicians have at their disposal to examine the intricacies of organs, neither their living structure nor their dynamic functioning. The modern diagnosis of “Congestive Heart Failure” simply didn’t exist, although doctors had observed for many years that human hearts grow weak and give out over time, and that certain diseases weaken the heart and cause it to fail, and that some people are born with hearts that never function well and these unfortunates usually die at an early age.
Equally, by the late 1800’s the average lifespan of people in Europe and America was late forties to mid-fifties, so the degenerative processes that lead to CHF in today’s elderly never had a chance to develop in most people who died before they could develop CHF, while those few people whose strong constitutions allowed them to live into their 80’s or even 90’s also protected them from progressive heart failure and these stalwarts often simply died of “natural causes”.
These are all reasons why I find the references in the scientific and medical literature of the 1800’s on the medical applications of Coca Leaf to restoring heart health in people whose hearts were failing so fascinating – before the discovery of Coca by Western doctors there was absolutely nothing that could be done for sick hearts, and after its introduction the results obtained by those doctors enlightened enough to take advantage of Coca’s healing powers were often able to achieve what they viewed as miraculous results. In fact, they were able to achieve with simple infusions of pure, natural Coca Leaf what modern medicine still can’t achieve with all of its technology and pharmaceuticals – the healing of the human heart.
Even a cursory glance at the contemporary medical literature on Congestive Heart Failure will reveal that almost all “modern” doctors consider it a terminal condition that cannot be healed, and once it has been diagnosed doctors generally stop trying to heal and apply what they term “palliative care” – meaning that they try to make dying as painless as possible.
As the Church Lady used to say on Saturday Night Live – “Now, isn’t that special!”
If you’ve been following this blog for any time dear reader you already know how dismayed I am at the absolute refusal of “modern” medicine to consider and investigate the use of Coca Leaf for any of the dozens of diseases and conditions that 18th and 19th century doctors knew it could treat and often cure, so I’ll spare you the diatribe here. But as you read the following passages from the medical literature of those times please ask yourself why it is that such a simple, inexpensive, natural treatment and cure is not available to the tens of millions of elderly people in this country and around the world to give their failing hearts new strength and new life. Even if Coca Leaf didn’t add a single day to the lives of these people – our parents and grandparents, our friends and relatives, our spouses and ourselves – would it not be worthwhile to live one’s final days with a stronger heart and more alert brain than to lie in a hospital bed being given “palliative care” until all of your financial resources are completely drained into the pockets of doctors and the so-called “medical industry” and you are left lying in a pool of stale urine until your immortal soul is finally able to wrench free from your ruined body?
Think about it and, if you can find a way to do so, take action. Do not go gently into that dark night. Rage against the medical machine.
Speaking of the machine, here is the AMA Definition of CHF. Readers of previous posts in this blog will note that just about all of the symptoms in this definition are discussed in the Coca Leaf literature of the 1800’s as being treatable and/or curable with the leaf of the Divine Plant. You have to wonder if Pig Pharma is actively suppressing this knowledge because there is no way that they can control and profit from Coca Leaf, whereas it would virtually destroy a large part of their parasitical ‘industry’ if people were to finally awaken.
“Congestive heart failure is the inability of the heart to keep up with the demands on it, with failure of the heart to pump blood with normal efficiency. When this occurs, the heart is unable to provide adequate blood flow to other organs, such as the brain, liver and kidneys. The symptoms can include shortness of breath (dyspnea), asthma due to the heart (cardiac asthma), pooling of blood (stasis) in the general body (systemic) circulation or in the liver’s (portal) circulation, swelling (edema), blueness or duskiness (cyanosis), and enlargement (hypertrophy) of the heart. The many causes of CHF include coronary artery disease leading to heart attacks and heart muscle (myocardium) weakness; primary heart muscle weakness from viral infections or toxins, such as prolonged alcohol exposure; heart valve disease, causing heart muscle weakness due to too much leaking of blood or causing heart muscle stiffness from a blocked valve; hyperthyroidism, and high blood pressure.”
The first excerpt I would like to present is from “Erythroxylon Coca: A Treatise On Brain Exhaustion As The Cause Of Disease” By William Tibbles, MD (1877)
“Coca-leaf when taken during prolonged mental or physical exertion, is capable of materially reducing the waste of tissue, and consequently maintaining equilibrium longer than would otherwise be maintained. For a short space let us enquire into the effects produced in the body by work, physical or mental, including voluntary muscular action, voluntary action of the brain, and the involuntary action of the internal organs – heart, lungs, &c. All work necessarily implies a transformation or transmutation of energy. In other words, work of the brain or the muscles implies waste, or transformation of the force or energy pent up or conserved in the body, and consequently implies consumption of the substance composing the body. And unless this waste is constantly replaced and the force as constantly transmuted from the food we eat, labour or work would be impossible to us, that, finally, we should die. But to supply this continuous drain upon our bodily resources we take into our bodies a certain amount of vegetable and animal food to supply what has become deficient. The average force-value of the food consumed daily by a working man is equal to about 5,000 foot-tons. The average daily work of a labourer is equal to 350 foot-tons. But, frequently with our ordinary work a much greater amount of the body’s energy and tissue is consumed than is actually necessary to accomplish a certain amount of work. Thus, a man, at one time, will perform an amount of work with a much less sum total of expenditure of the bodily forces than at another time. A man will be more easily fatigued at one time by a given amount of work than at another time. This is obvious from the fact that the man possesses, within his body, a greater amount of governing force than at another time; or, his powers may become exhausted, not from the amount of force he exerts in accomplishing his labour, but, because of the unequal or non equipoise in the action of the various internal organs. For instance, a man may be doing a piece of work which requires a certain definite amount of force to accomplish it and the force expended in maintaining the action of the internal organs, we will say, for the sake of illustration, is equal to (a); at another time the same man shall do a piece of work requiring the same definite amount of force, but the force expended, during that period, in the maintenance of the action of the internal organs may be very much increased, and even become equal to (b).
The heart under some conditions does an amount of work over and above its natural work, equal to 15, 20, or even 24 tons weight lifted one foot high, in 24 hours. In such cases the body becomes unnaturally weakened. What we have to establish here, is that coca-leaf prevents a too rapid waste of nervous force and tissue substance.
This is evidenced in three ways: 1, in the diminution in the production and excretion of urea, among other waste products; 2, in the maintenance of an equilibrium in the action of the heart and circulation; and 3, in the regulation of the respiratory movements and internal temperature of the body.
As all work implies waste, those waste products, the result of decomposition of the tissues into new compounds, which are of themselves injurious to the body, are eliminated or excreted through various portals, from the body. It is found that, when the body is in a healthy condition, the product of the excretions other than the alvine – bears a direct relation to the amount of force exerted in the body, and as the whole of the nitrogen of disintegrated tissue is excreted per kidneys, in the form of various chemical compounds, the most important, and the one which is always produced in the greatest proportion is Urea, it is obvious that if we determine the amount of this urea excreted in a given time we may calculate the amount of the body’s force expended in a given time.
Now it is found by experiment that the action of coca-leaf tends to lessen the waste of tissue substance, to diminish the amount of solids excreted in the urine – diminishes the amount of urea produced (this is a nitrogenous compound and is a constant production of the decomposition continually going on in the body, and the amount of it proportionate to the waste).
M. Bouchardat, a professor in a noted French University, terms it a “substance de epergne” or that which prevents waste of tissue substance. Sir Robert Christison, performed a series of experimental walks, a description of which has been given, and regularly during these walks he determined the amount of solids (waste products) eliminated from his body, per kidneys.
The following is a table by that gentleman of the respective amounts, determined from urine voided under three conditions; namely, first nearly at rest; second, under hard exercise without coca-leaf; and third, hard exercise with coca-leaf or cuca:
Thus the total amounts eliminated during equal periods of time and under the three varying conditions: namely, at rest, 215.5 grains; exercise, 250.3 grains; exercise under influence of coca-leaf, 197.2 grains. This shows a great diminution in the production and excretion of solid waste products.
Coca regulates and greatly assists in maintaining that equilibrium of action of the heart and capillary circulation, which is so necessary to the maintenance of an un- exhausted state of the body. The muscles brought into action during the performance of manual labour are frequently eager for a greatly increased supply of arterial blood. To supply this increased want of blood necessarily entails an increase of vaso-motor action; thus in persons who have to make a little extra muscular exertion, the capillary vessels will necessarily dilate excessively, and if the action of the heart does not correspondingly increase in frequency and force, the tension of the vessels will fall, and if, in such a case, the pulse be felt, the artery conveys the sensation of a double or rebounding pulse. If, on the other hand, the heart be working excitedly, as when an individual receives some exciting impressions during the time he is performing simple labour which does not require a great increase in the supply of blood to the muscles; or, in other words, while the muscles do not require a supply of blood much greater than on ordinary occasions, the tension of the arteries, or the force of the blood contained in them, may be greatly raised, and the amount of heart-work further increased in order to force the circulation of the blood at the increased speed.
Mental labour is frequently productive of such arterial tension – an exhausted Brain, whereby its influence over the heart’s action is diminished, will give rise to it; the diminution of nervous influence over the excretory organs whereby an increased amount of urea is produced and collected in the blood will give rise to it; as will also abnormal nutrition during exertion. These variations are abnormal and give rise to ill effects. In extremely low tension of the arterial and capillary vessels, the increased supply of blood to the muscles causes anemia of (being a deficiency of supply of blood to) the brain, and there is produced a feeling of fatigue, giddiness, or fainting. In this condition there is abnormal rise in the internal temperature. On the other hand, if the arterial tension be increased, then the strain will fall upon the heart, which will become overtaxed, dilated, and in some cases entire failure will be produced, either by over-distention and paralysis, or, by gradually increasing signs of dilatation, producing breathlessness, a sensation of lightness in the head, coldness of the extremities, pallor of face, anxious expression, and the temperature is abnormally decreased. These are the results of discordant action of the circulatory system, produced by exertion or excitement.
It may be asked, what has all this to do with the action of coca-leaf? Well, it is found by experiment that coca-leaf regulates the action of the heart and circulatory system and thereby nearly altogether preventing such results as above recorded as the consequence of muscular exertion or mental excitement. I, myself, have made experimental walks and performed other forms of exertion, physical and mental, and during which I have observed various functional differences, and of these observed experiments many might be quoted, but let my own observations be exemplified by the following:
My pulse, normally are 70 per minute, and at the end of a sharp walk of two hours’ duration, had risen to 92 pulsations per minute, and did not subside until after a period of six hours had elapsed. A walk performed under like conditions of distance, speed, and with like dietary as before, but during which twenty-five drops of a concentrated preparation, representing twenty-five grains of coca-leaf, was twice taken; the first dose before starting and the second at the end of the first hour. At the end of this walk the pulse beat eighty-four per minute, and, in less than two and a half hours, subsided to a normal condition.
Sir E. Christison testifies to this very explicitly: After a walk of fifteen miles, he says, “The pulse naturally 62 at rest, was 110 on my arrival at home; and two hours later it was still 90. I was unfit for mental work in the evening.” After a walk of sixteen miles during which Sir E. Christison used coca-leaf, he “Had no sense of fatigue or uneasiness whatsoever On arrival at home, the pulse was 90, and in two hours had fallen to 72; the excitement of the circulation being thus ninth less, and its subsidence more rapid, than after the same amount of exercise without coca.”
Coca-leaf influences the system whereby the respiratory movements and internal temperature of the body are regulated. During any severe exertion the respiratory movements are considerably increased in frequency. Thus in walking up a hill the breathing is quickened and great difficulty is frequently experienced in the performance of that function. But it has been found that coca-leaf enables a person to perform various forms of exercise without that abnormal symptom which usually denotes a certain condition of exhaustion. Von Tschudi observes that coca-leaf is found to be a preventative of the difficulty in breathing experienced during the rapid ascent of the Andes. Clements R. Markham, says “It enabled him to ascend the mighty passes of the Andes with ease and comfort.” And more recently, Dr. Walter Bernard during the ascent of Mamore hill, 1381 feet high, in Ireland, after a long walk, observed that, “Hurried breathing and fatigue began to be felt when about half way up.” He then took a few grains more of the coca-leaf, and, he says, “before I arrived at the top though I still continued my rapid pace, … my breathing was considerably relieved.”
Where by slight exertion of the muscles the tension of the arteries becomes low, we have an increase in the internal temperature. Where the reverse occurs – where there is strain upon the heart, then the temperature of the body is abnormally decreased. If a dose of the coca-leaf be taken before or during physical or mental exertion, the temperature will be kept in a more equipoise state, and will subside to its natural condition much quicker than without coca- leaf. Usually the temperature of my body is 97.5° F., but after a walk of two hours duration is raised to 99.50. However after a walk of a like distance and occupying the same time, during which I have taken coca-leaf, the temperature at the end of that journey was 98.50 and when at rest, its subsidence to normal was very quick. On the other hand, I have administered preparations of coca- leaf to persons whose temperature has registered over 100° F., and by its use brought the temperature down to a more normal degree, and the patient’s condition marvelously improved. And we have it on the authority of Dr. Bennet, of Edinburgh, “that it (coca-leaf) possesses the power of regulating the temperature of the body.”
Thus Erythroxylon Coca may be regarded as a preventative of exhaustion, as evidenced by the absence or diminution of the usual symptoms attendant upon exhaustion. This is also shown in the reports of coca-leaf given by various Peruvian travelers: Mr. Whittingham gives an account in Dr. Thompson’s Cyclopedia of Chemistry, of two men who had been buried in a mine for eleven days and when they were got out it was found that they had subsisted during that long period on a few coca leaves they happened to have with them. This brings us to point the Second. When administered during conditions of exhaustion, caused by mental or physical labour or disease, Coca-leaf is capable of restoring the body to a normal or equipoise state quicker than by ordinary food or medicine alone.
Seeing that the action of Erythroxylon coca is such as to greatly diminish the disintegration of tissue, as evidenced by diminished production and excretion of urea, and retards the progress of exhaustion, as evidenced by the diminution or increase (as the case may be) in the action of the heart and respiratory movements, and the retardation in the rise of the internal temperature on exertion, we may for a moment enquire in what manner these effects are accomplished.
Another excerpt from Dr. Tibbles:
“The action of coca tends to diminish the amount of solids in the urine – to diminish the amount of urea produced. This urea is a constant production of the body, and under the influence of bodily or mental exertion a greater amount is produced, and the amount of this urea is in proportion to the waste of tissue. Coca regulates and greatly assists in maintaining that equilibrium of action of heart and capillary circulation which is so necessary for the maintenance of an unexhausted and unfatigued state of the body. Exertion of the muscles frequently draws an increased supply of blood to the parts exercised, as in persons who have to make a little extra muscular exertion the vessels will necessarily dilate excessively, and if the action of the heart is not correspondingly increased in frequency, there will be an alteration in the arterial tension, it will fall, and the pulse will give rise to a sensation as though it were a double pulse. If, on the other hand, the heart’s action is excited and increased abnormally, while the muscles do not require a supply of blood much greater than ordinary, then the tension will be increased, and the great amount of obstruction caused by arterial contraction will throw a still greater amount of work upon the heart.”
And here are two excerpts from “History of Coca” (1901) by William Golden Mortimer, MD
From Chapter 14
“Dr. Bauduy, of St. Louis, early called the attention of the American Neurological Association to the efficiency of Coca in the treatment of melancholia, and the benefit of Coca in a long list of nervous or nerveless conditions has been extolled by a host of physicians. Shoemaker, of Philadelphia, has advocated the external use of Coca in eczema, dermatitis, herpes, rosacea, urticaria and allied conditions where an application of the Fluid Extract of Coca one part to four of water lends a sedative action to the skin. The influence of Coca on the pulse and temperature has suggested its employment in collapse and weak heart as recommended by Da Costa, and it has been favorably employed to relieve dropsy depending on debility of the heart, and for uraemia and scanty secretion of urine. In seasickness Coca acts as a prophylactic as well as a remedy. Vomiting of pregnancy may be arrested by cocaine administered either bv the mouth or rectum. In the debility of fevers Coca has been found especially serviceable, and in this connection Dr. A. R. Booth, of the Marine Hospital Service, at Shreveport, Louisiana, has written me that he considers cocaine one of the most valuable aids in the treatment of yellow fever. By controlling nausea and vomiting, as a cardiac stimulant, as a haemostatic when indicated, to hold in abeyance hunger, which at times would be intolerable but for the effect of cocaine. One who has seen a yellow fever stomach, especially from a subject who has died from “black vomit,” must have been impressed with the absolute impossibility of such an organ performing its physiological functions. Dr. Booth makes it an inflexible rule, never to allow a yellow fever patient food by the mouth until convalescence is well established. In cases of fine physique he has kept the patient without food for ten or twelve days, and in two cases fourteen and fifteen days respectively, solely by the judicious administration of cocaine in tablets by the mouth. Of two hundred and six cases of yellow fever treated in this manner there was not one relapse.”
from Chapter 15
“The mechanical act of respiration is eminently a muscular one, of considerable effort – though nominally performed unconsciously. The cycle being put in action involuntarily by a double nerve centre supposedly situated in the medulla; normally automatic in its action, though, it is capable of being influenced through the will and of being excited reflexively. This centre is stimulated by a venous condition of the blood, under which it may become so active as to excite the extraordinary muscles of respiration. Such labored breathing – due to deficient aeration of the blood – is called dyspnœa; while, if the blood be too highly charged with oxygen, as may occur in artificial respiration, the centre is not stimulated, and breathing ceases under the condition termed apnœa. The cycle, or rhythm of respiration, consists of inspiration, expiration and pause.
The number of respirations in one resting quietly varies greatly and it is difficult to fix a fair average, the frequency being greater in children than in adults. For a healthy adult at rest the normal may be from fourteen to eighteen per minute. This has been found to correspond relatively to the pulsations of the heart in the ratio of about one to four. In cases of diseased lungs the respiratory act increases beyond this proportion, while in affections in which the heart is more directly influenced the pulse relation becomes more rapid. An exact control of the respiratory muscles is of decided advantage to the best vocal effort, though it should be recalled that the breath must be delivered to the larynx in a quantity sufficient merely to set the vocal cords in appropriate vibrations, any excessive effort occasioning the fault known as “breathiness.” When the abdominal organs are distended there is necessarily an oppression in the chest, because the diaphragm is not afforded a free opportunity for descent. It is spasm of this muscle which constitutes the annoying factor in the sudden inspirations of hiccough, sobbing and laughing.
Each portion of the respiratory tract is liable to its particular derangement, the most common of which results from the congestive trouble commonly termed catching cold. In the upper tract this condition is frequently manifest through annoying catarrhal troubles, probably resulting from a persistent relighting of chronic local derangement in the nose or throat, or from an acute congestion. As a consequence the mucous membrane is swollen and gives out an increased secretion, a condition which may even be conveyed through continuity of tissue to the larynx or bronchial tubes. Here the effect of Coca is marked in lessening the profuse secretion by constringing the blood vessels while the muscular system is toned to favor repair.”
And to conclude, here is an excerpt from “Heart Strain and Weak Heart” by Beverley Robinson, MD published in “The Medical Record”, Feb. 26, New York, 1887.
These are Dr. Robinson’s observations regarding “Weak Heart”:
1. There is a class of cardiac disease to which the names of “heart-strain,” “heart over-strain,” or “weak heart” may be properly given at the present time, and until this class has been more carefully subdivided. 2. In this class are now included cases in which there are no marked physical changes, and in which the symptoms alone indicate cardiac weakness. 3. In many cases the physical cardiac changes are more or less marked, and usually show some dilatation, joined or not with slight or moderate thickening of the ventricular walls, and accompanied or not with mitral or aortic incompetency. 4. There are cases in which the heart is obviously somewhat enlarged, although there never have been any morbid symptoms which showed cardiac weakness. 5. The causes of these affections are numerous; among them, however, prolonged or excessive physical exertion is often, although not always prominent. 6. In some cases the disorder seems to be one more of neurosal than muscular deficiency, and may affect the function of the pneumogastric, the sympathetic or the intracardiac ganglia. 7. In several instances the causes for cardiac disorder are very obscure or wholly unknown; and in such instances we must admit the existence of a weak heart primarily, that is sometimes first recognized suddenly and without premonitory indications which shall enable as to foretell such condition of cardiac debility. 8. Absolute or relative repose, appropriate diet, change of scene, chalybeates, cardiac tonics, counter-irritation, etc., employed judiciously, will do much in most cases to restore real or apparent cardiac vigor for a shorter or longer period.
After noting the symptoms of “Weak Heart” Dr. Robinson’s overall conclusion regarding treatment with Coca Leaf is pretty clear:
“Among well known cardiac tonics and stimulants for obtaining temporary good effects, at least, I know of no drug quite equal to Coca. Given in the form of wine or fluid extract, it does much, at times, to restore the heart-muscle to its former tone. I have obtained the best effects from the use of Mariani’s wine. From personal information given me by this reliable pharmacist, these results are attributable to the excellent quality of the Coca leaves and of the wine which he uses in its manufacture.”
When I was a child I moved around the world with my military family, always traveling by ship in the days before aircraft could cross oceans. I would spend hours on deck writing messages, sealing them with candle wax in bottles I snagged from somewhere on board, and then consigning them to the sea knowing in my heart that they were on their way to someone, somewhere who would read them. Sometime replies arrived at my grandparents’ house years later, and they would forward them to me wherever I was living. From these contacts I developed pen-pals who I stayed in touch with for many years. I was fortunate to develop, very early in my life, a sense of the network that invisibly but seamlessly connects us all.