Pure, Natural Coca Leaf – A Healing Gift Of The Divine Plant

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Historical Insights Into Hashish

Courtesy of 420 Magazine

Before getting to the promised insights, dear reader, please indulge me for a few paragraphs.

Readers of this blog know that I am fascinated by lost knowledge, and by the phenomenon of history repeating itself for new generations who believe that their experiences are unique in the history of the human race.

So it is with the current “Opioid Crisis”. The historical reality is that absolutely none of this current “Crisis” is new – not in kind, not in scale, not in consequences, not in causes, and certainly not in the ineffectual “solutions” that are (once again) being proposed.

I am in the process of editing and preparing to re-publish a lengthy and complex book from 150 years ago by a New York doctor, Alonzo Calkins, who wrote the book for members of the medical profession of his time. His objective was to make clear the deep historical roots of the love affair between people and mind/body altering substances. Although it is clear that Dr. Calkins disapproved – to put it mildly – of any kind of mind-alteration with the possible exception of vigorous exercise and (Christian) prayer, he was also clearly a person with a deep grasp of world history and human nature.

The book is: “Opium And The Opium-Appetite: With Notices Of Alcoholic Beverages, Cannabis Indica, Tobacco And Coca, Coffee And Tea, And Their Hygienic Aspects and Pathologies Related” by Alonzo Calkins, MD, New York, 1870. (I will have this ebook available on Amazon in a week or so and will post a link in the sidebar of this blog.).)

Dr. Calkins lived near the end of the great Age of Exploration. For centuries before he wrote this book thousands of explorers, adventurers, writers, physicians and entrepreneurs of all kinds had been ranging the earth sampling all of the many and varied ways that people use mind-altering natural substances.

As far as Dr. Calkins was concerned, using drugs outside of a medical context is a destructive and immoral activity, so his book was not written in praise of all of those discoveries of colorful and imaginative ways that people of the world have found to get high. He was, however, a competent and observant physician, and he understood that in addition to people seeking to alter their minds in order to just plain have a good time, most people who use mind-altering substances are seeking ways to deal with misery, pain, disease, poverty, hopelessness and the general brutality of their existence.

This acknowledgement of the legitimacy of the human need for drugs, and the extensive documentation he offers, should give Dr. Calkins’ book a place in the library of anyone today who seeks to learn the lessons of the past in order to better understand the profound dilemmas we face today – dilemmas like 60,000+ Americans dying of pharmaceutical overdose. These numbers, so alarming to the breathless media, hypocritical politicians, parasitic “professionals”, and privileged classes, are really nothing new. Not at all. They are, however, absolute proof that people never learn, and especially that people who fancy themselves to be “in charge” never learn.

As long as societies that can well afford to change do not, and as long as a tiny minority keeps all the wealth and power of the society to themselves and continues to allow pain, disease, poverty, hopelessness and brutality to dominate the lives of the majority, the “drug problem” will never, not ever, be solved. Violent revolutions, however, can and do occur with regularity, and they are always about the same evils that “cause” the “drug problem”.

That is because, as Dr. Calkins’ book makes so clear although the author himself does not realize that he is making this point, in the end the “problem” is not drugs. It is the life that so many people are forced to lead by the cruelty, ignorance and selfishness of others.

So, that said, here is one of the many interesting chapters in Dr. Calkins’ book, chock full of those historical references I promised. Although I have been an avid investigator of the history of both Cannabis and Opium for many years, some of the following observations on Hashish were brand new to me, as I hope they will be to you as well. Keep well in mind the limitations of the time in which Dr. Calkins wrote, and have fun!

Chapter XXV: Opium And Cannabis Indica Contrasted

“Fallax Herba veneni.” – Virgil.

“That juice – the bane, And blessing of man’s heart and brain – That draught of sorcery, which brings Phantoms of fair forbidden things.” – Moore

The authorities upon Cannabis besides those to be specified are Rhases, Kaempfer, D’Herbelot, Herault, Mantegazza, and others. The solid extract (which is procured from the summitates of the herb) is called Hashisch in Arabia, Gunjah and Chumts in India (where it is also familiarly known as the “Herbe des Fakirs”), Bust or Shoera in Egypt, El Mogen by the Moors, and among the Hottentots Dacha or Dagga (Von Bibra). Bangue (Bang) or Bendji is the spirituous extract.

Cannabis as a stimulating narcotic has for some centuries at the shortest been known and familiarly used in India, Persia, Bokhara, and other countries, and in some of the Islands. In Egypt, particularly among the lower orders, it takes precedence of opium, and is chewed or sometimes smoked from the gozeh (Lane). Bhang – the more active preparation – is conspicuous for its inebriative and delirative operation.

The Massagetce (as is related by Herodotus), a people on the Araxes, had a seed (conjectured to have been this same seed of Indian Hemp or perhaps of the Datura), which thrown upon hot stones sent forth a vapor that excited boisterous mirth and shouting. Davis the navigator on visiting Sumatra found such a seed, a little only of which being eaten gave to every object a metamorphosed appearance and turned the man for the time into a fool. Dampier observed among the natives of this island an herb which produced exhilaration and then stupefaction, making the eater lively or dull, witty or foolish, or merry or sad, according to the predominant temperament.

Hashisch far surpasses opium in relative power. A dose of twenty centigrammes of the resinoid repeated three or four times shows activity in half an hour, but the full effect is not attained short of three times this space. The duration of action is three to four hours (Steeze of Bucharest). Irregularity and uncertainty in action are doubtless to be ascribed to adulteration (Schroff).

The full impression once produced the brain is speedily affected with a sensation of extraordinary elasticity and lightness and the senses become wondrously acute, a tingling as from an electric shock is felt shooting from the spinal centre to the periphery of the body, the vault of the cranium is lifted off as it were by the expansive force within, the skull seeming as if enlarged to the dimensions of a colossus; and now with one impetuous rebound the experimenter rises above this low commonplace of terrene existence to soar in a purer ether above.

If still conscious of a lingering upon the confines of earth he sways himself along in a balancing gait as though he were under a sort of ivresse. External impressions as from the pricking of a pin or a stroke from the hand may perchance pass unheeded. Objects in the immediate range seem invested with an unwonted splendor, human faces take on a seraphic lustre, and the man for the time feels himself to be possessed of the power of ubiquity. According to the varying humor things around may seem to have assumed a fantastic dress, when peals of laughter will break forth; or suddenly a change will have come over the spirit, when under the impressions produced by lugubrious images and depressing apprehensions the mind will be wrapped in cloudiness and gloom (Polli).

The appetite is assisted by moderate doses but made ravenous for the time by large ones, and the digestive function is correspondingly aroused while constipation is obviated, and the various secernent processes go on in their normal way (Dr. Teste). Not until after long-continued and excessive use does appetite decline, as is observable of the Arabs, says Auber, who finally get fleshless and withered as the general tendency to decay becomes more distinct and progressive.

An excessive dose hinders the approach of sleep; a moderate one brings on a sopor speedy and irresistible. This sleep may be profound and stertorous, or it may partake more of the dreaminess of ecstasy. In the story of Mahmoud lord of the Black Isles, the wife, to cover up her absence for the night, administers just before going out a powder that soporizes him immediately and effectually for the time, or until she shall return again to awaken him with a perfume placed under the nostrils.

This powder there is reason for believing was some preparation (simple or compounded) of the hemp. In another of the stories of the “Nights,” that of the Jew Physician, is a similar incident described. So the chamberlain of Ala-ed-Deen is suddenly thrown into a profound sleep by the use of a powder which Ahmed Kamakim an arch-thief throws upon his face. Unlike that after the opium-sleep, the sensation on awaking is one of refreshing.

The mental condition is an ideal existence, the most vivid, the most fascinating. Time and space both seem to have expanded by an enormous magnification; pigmies have swelled to giants, mountains have grown out of molehills, days have enlarged to years and ages. De Moria in wending his way one evening to the opera house, seemed to himself to have been three years in traversing the corridor. De Saulcy having once fallen into a state of insensibility following upon incoherent dreamings, fancied he had lived meanwhile a hundred years. Rapidity as well as intensity of thought is a noticeable phenomenon. De Lucca after swallowing a dose of the paste saw as in a flitting panorama the various events of his entire life all proceeding in orderly succession, though he was powerless in the attempt to arrest and detain a single one of them for a more deliberate contemplation. Memory is sometimes very singularly modified nevertheless, there being perhaps a forgetfulness not of the object but of its name proper, or the series of events that transpired during the paroxysm may have passed away into a total oblivion.

The normal mental condition is that of an exuberant enjoyance rather than the opposite, that of melancholy and depression, though the transition from the one state to the other may be as extreme as it is swift. Oftener the subject is kept revolving in a delirious whirl of hallucinatory emotions, when images the most grotesque and illusions the drollest and most fantastic crowd along, one upon another, with a celerity almost transcending thought (Mirza Abdul Roussac).

Command over the will is maintainable, but temporarily only. As self-control declines the mind is swayed by the mere fortuitous vagaries of the fancy; and now it is that the dominant characteristic or mental proclivity has its real apocalypsis. The outward expression may reveal itself under a show of complacency and contentment in view of things around, or suspicion, distrust, and querulousness of disposition may work to the surface, or maybe a lordly hauteur that exacts an unquestioning homage from the “profanum vulgus” by virtue of an affected superiority over common mortals, is the ruling idea of the hour; or peradventure the erotic impulses may for the time overshadow and disguise all others.

Amid the ever-shifting spectacular scene the sense of personal identity is never perhaps entirely lost, but there does arise in very rare instances the notion of a duality of existence; not the Persian idea precisely, that of two souls occupying one and the same body in a joint-stock association as it were (the doctrine as alluded to by Xenophon in the story of the beautiful Panthea), but rather the idea of one and the same, soul in duplication or bipartition else, and present in two bodies.

The rapturous delights inspired by the beatific visions thus find expression in an exclamation of an aged Brahmin: “O sahib, sahib, you can never know what perfect pleasure is until you see as I have seen and feel as I have felt – spectacles the most gorgeous, perfumes the most delicious, music the most transporting and bewildering.”

The inspiration of the Pythian priestess at Delphi has been attributed to opium and again to hashisch, and not unlikely both conspired to the effect. This improvisatore power was amusingly developed one day in a pupil of Dr. O’Shaughnessy’s, upon a trial of ten minims of the tincture. The young man in the ecstasy of the excitement assumed the airs and language of an Indian rajah, talking learnedly and haranguing with great volubility in a lively display of brilliant fancy and logical acuteness, to the admiration of friends no less than to his own astonishment as subsequently felt (for the recollection of his scenic personations survived the performance), inasmuch as a habitual taciturnity and an unostentatious carriage were so congenial and habitual to the young man. The paroxysm having lasted six hours, a retransformation occurring somewhat suddenly was complete nevertheless.

Note. In a Prize-essay lately read before the American Philosophical Society by H. C. Wood, M.D., the Professor records an experimentation with somewhat unexpected results, as conducted upon himself. The preparation used was an extract made from Kentucky hemp, in quantity about half a drachm. The effect, which began in three hours, lasted into the following day. At midnight a profound sleep had come over him, and in the hours of waking there was noted an anesthesia affecting the entire skin. The characteristic expansion of time and space was a conspicuous symptom. Mental action as an effect of volitional effort was mostly restrained, from the embarrassment experienced in attempts towards a concentration of the thoughts. A sense of impending death besides hung over him at intervals. In a student who experimented with a grain dose, there was developed a hilarious excitement simply, with a sexual erethism ensuing which did not relax short of three days. This scientific paper (the first contribution of the kind to the medical literature of America) should command the attention of the Profession.

This singular excitant, extensively known in the age of the Crusades appears to have been used by the Saracens for a double purpose, to kindle up the ardor of the soldier against the Paynim, and in larger dose to beguile his adversary into a careless security and so to facilitate the stealthy use of the poignard. In the neighborhood of Mount Libanus there existed from the beginning of the twelfth century for about one hundred and fifty years a military organization, made up for the most part of rude hordes gathered out of the tribes of Kurdistan. Ishmaelitish by genealogy, vindictive in their passions and implacable in their resentments, while professing fealty to the Crescent they campaigned oftener in reality, “their hand being against every man and every man’s hand being against them. Their generalissimo was known as “Le Vieux de la Montagne” (Von Hammer).

At Allamut and Massiat were their famed gardens, secluded by high walls from the vulgar gaze but within adorned with every decoration and luxury that could entrance the vision and captivate appetite; and here presided girls of enchanting beauty and ravishing seductiveness, the houris of the scene. Into this “outer court of the temple,” the youthful aspirant to the honor of a matriculatory membership having been previously drugged with hashisch, was mysteriously conveyed, here to breathe the balmy airs of a terrestrial paradise, introductory to the solemn oath of covenant which at once exacted entire and unquestioning obedience and which denounced an abjuration on peril of life.

Such were the Herb-eating Assassins, the “Hashasheen” (De Sacy). A final dispersion was carried out by the victorious sword of Hulakii, when Aldjebal, Khalif of Baldrach, after sustaining a siege of three years was shut up in a tower by Ulau, there to perish in his solitude by a lingering death (Benjamin of Tudela).

Hashisch, more energetic in action than opium, is in comparison prematurely exhaustive also. Rapid deterioration of the physical forces is to be expected, and as is thought a determination towards phthisis may be established. The ultimate mental condition is that of dementia. The santons (holy men) of Egypt, those distinguished objects of popular veneration in their wanderings from town to town, are living illustrations of this degenerescence, in their corporeal as well as in their mental decay.

Quite unlike opium in one characteristic, hashisch is a powerful aphrodisiac (O’Shaughnessy), ranking second on the list perhaps, or after arsenic. The power of the latter indeed appears remarkable. In the Edinburgh Medical and Surgical Journal is a case from Dr. Parker, that of a young man thirty years old at his death, who began the use at the age of four. A double effect ensued, a prodigious development of the sexual organs in size, and a proportionate exaltation of function amounting to an impetuous and uncontrollable salacity.

Deleterious as is hashisch in the ordinary habitual use, it may be counteracted or neutralized very effectually for the time by the free use of lemon-juice. Dr. Castelnuovo a resident in the country for thirty years observes, that the people of Tunis understand the secret thoroughly and avail themselves habitually of the benefits.

Bearing an analogy to the poppy from their more intimate relationship to cannabis are Hyoscyamus, Belladonna, and the Datura family. The first – reckoned by Von Hammer to have been identical in origin with the bendji – produces giddiness and stupidity. Belladonna, that “insane root that takes the reason prisoner” (rather is it one out of a number of such), excites delirium and the risus sardonicus (Ray).

The pathologic mental phasis is described by Winslow as a species of “hallucination without fantasia,” i.e. a metamorphosis of things actual in idea rather than a display of mere fanciful creations without analogies in natural things. A pathologic condition has been remarked simulating delirium tremens. The recollection of past phenomena is found to have been obliterated “at once and irrecoverably.”

Datura brings spectral illusions, but leaves a persistent, perhaps incurable stupidity. A singular effect wrought upon the memory is in the interchanging of the names of objects, there being at the same time a conscious perception of the incongruities. The daturas possess strong erotic powers, and a species is used in India by courtesans upon themselves and for the benefit of their visiting friends. The cordial sometimes made by digesting the seeds in wine is especially dangerous to the sex by a double action, exciting physical desire most actively for the time and making the subject oblivious altogether of any faux-pas adventures hazarded.

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Lost Secrets of Coca Leaf Wine

Cocaine Injection Kit by Major Pig Pharma Company c. 1875

Do you find it as sinister (and amusing) as I do to watch a Pig Pharma commercial that shows someone supposedly suffering from a grave illness, a bit haggard but still attractive and clearly feeling good, laughing and engaged in doing something fun with a loved one?

Perhaps they are sailing on a lake, playing with their golden retriever, or pushing their darling little children on a backyard swing. There is usually a subtle golden glow around them – kind of a halo, suggesting vibrant life.

Then at the end of the commercial there is always a voiceover saying quietly “Don’t take Zebulan XP if you have kidney, heart, lung or liver problems. May cause seizures, cancer, amputation, bleeding, depression, suicidal thoughts, heart attacks, or death. Ask your doctor is Zebulan XP is right for you.”

While this insidious narrative is playing out, the person is smiling, hugging her kids, and holding hands with a loving spouse. You never really hear the disclaimer. But of course, it’s there, so that Pig Pharma can say, if their “medicine” makes you even sicker than you already are, that you were warned. And as you can see by the image at the top of this post, Pig Pharma has been in the game for a long, long time.

Miracle Cure For Everything

Pig Pharma knows, because they have spent huge money on testing the premise, that if they show happy, healthy, attractive people having fun and living large that you will ignore the voiceover and identify yourself with the happy, healthy people they are showing you instead. The reason is simple – people are hardwired to think “not me” when it comes to warnings and to think “that’s me” when they see an attractive, vibrant healthy person doing things that they can envision themselves doing. “Wow, she’s got the same disease as me, and look at her!  The claims they are making must be true!”

It’s human nature, and Pig Pharma is a master at exploiting it.

Actually Big Tobacco was the first to discover this perverse human psychological quirk – those Surgeon General’s warnings simply don’t register with smokers and if they do, who cares what some pointy-headed bureaucrat says anyhow – if I want to smoke, I’m going to smoke, and fuck anyone who says otherwise.

In the 1800’s there were literally thousands of tonics, elixirs, pills, lozenges, and every imaginable form on the market in America and Europe, all containing a wild mix of one or more highly addictive ingredients like heroin, morphine, cocaine, alcohol, chloral hydrate, phenobarbital, plus exotic barks, roots, animal organs, insect parts, and of course the fabled Snake Oil.

Interestingly enough, many of these “remedies” like Snake Oil were loosely based on Native American herbal lore. Snake Oil, for instance, was based on a widespread Plains Indian remedy that involved soaking the rattles of a rattlesnake in pregnant women’s urine, and was used in difficult childbirth for which it was said to be very effective. It was also used to heal wounds and treat painful joints. Along came the White Man and, seeing or hearing of this miraculous cure, thought – “Hmmmm, I could bottle that and make a fortune”. And so he did. And, of course, thousands of women and children died in childbirth anyway. Oh well – news didn’t travel as fast as it does today, and the Snake Oil salesman was off to the next town before suffering any consequences.

With immense fortunes to be made by claiming that your product could cure any of hundreds of health conditions that conventional medicine of the time was unable to cure, these “patent medicines” preyed on the gullible, gave hope to the desperate, and then achieved powerful brand loyalty by addicting their customers. The advertising for these products often bore the solicitous advice that the victim to be sure to order several bottles at a time so that there was no danger of running out before their next supply could be obtained. Hence today’s phrase “Snake Oil Salesman” to describe the lowest of the low who prey on the gullible, steal their money, and let them sicken and die believing they are just about to be cured.

Politicians also seem to have learned this lesson all too well.

It was not just scurrilous con-men who invented and touted these so-called cures for what ails ya’ – hundreds of doctors also got into the act, inventing their own supposedly “special combination” of ingredients that they promised would cure what they knew they could not cure. This was not all that different from today, when doctors take whatever pills that Pig Pharma sends to their offices to convince them, with plenty of financial and other “incentives”, to pass them on to their patients. Most of today’s doctors haven’t read a research paper since medical school and rely on the promises of the vendors that this or that “medicine” will allow the doc to be a hero to their patients by advising them to start taking this or that miraculous cure.

And of course, just like in the 1800’s, the victims of todays doctors and Pig Pharma often wind up worse off than before they began taking the newest and latest pill. But not to worry – modern medicine has advanced so far that there is another pill to counter the bad effects of the previous pill, and another, and another. “We aren’t going to give up on you,” the benevolent doc intones. “There’s always hope. Here, try this.”

There was one manufacturer of “patent medicine” that stood out then, and still stands out today, as an honest man producing an actually helpful medicine that really did help people heal from literally dozens of conditions. Angelo Mariani was a Corsican/French inventor who, in the course of making trips around the world in search of natural medicines, came across the Coca plant in Bolivia and Peru and knew immediately that he had discovered one of nature’s real miracle medicines.

Original Vin Mariani Bottle c. 1880

After several years of experimenting he developed a recipe for producing a healing tonic that he called “Vin Mariani”, which was a simple extract of pure, whole Coca leaf in high quality Bordeaux red wine. When I say “simple extract” I am understating the tremendous amount of work that Mariani put into the development of his medicine. He made many trips to South America to study the properties of Coca leaf, and ultimately decided that if he was going to be able to control the quality of the leaf he used he would have to grow the Coca himself, and he wound up with three large Coca growing operations in Bolivia and Peru, ensuring that he had a steady supply of the highest quality leaf to ship back to France, where he also made sure that the Bordeaux red wine he was using came from some of the best, most dependable chateaus.

In short, Angelo Mariani was one of the few producers of natural herbal medicines who put in the time, effort and capital to actually make a viable medicine in this era of quacks and con-men whose products were always made with the cheapest ingredients, often containing substances that were know to be toxic, even deadly, but who didn’t care because there were always new customers to replace the ones that they addicted and killed.

Again, not much different than the approach of Pig Pharma today who, if they were not at least somewhat regulated, would be right out there selling snake oil just like their pathological forerunners in the 1800’s. And, truly unfortunately, even today there would be millions of desperate people lining up to demand the “miracle cure”.

Because Angelo Mariani and his dedication to quality and to producing a medicine that actually helped to cure people of painful, debilitating and deadly conditions, I have compiled and edited (for clarity) one of Mariani’s most interesting and useful books “The Therapeutic Applications Of Coca”. My hope is that readers today will conclude that this little book is all the proof they need to conclude that Coca leaf should have a prominent place in today’s natural medicines and should be freely available to anyone who can benefit. Then there is the added benefit that having unfettered access to Coca Leaf would enable millions of sick people to throw away their pharmaceuticals, send a goodbye note to their doctor, and enjoy watching Pig Pharma squeal.

In addition to his use of Coca leaf in its natural form, Angelo Mariani was not afraid to use Cocaine in some of his medicines when he saw that it had its health benefits as well. In his use of Cocaine he was always moderate – none of his medicines included enough Cocaine to produce an addictive high. In this book he does, however, describe a number of processes for extracting Cocaine from his high-quality leaf, and when you compare Mariani’s processes to the processes used today, with their nasty and toxic ingredients ranging from kerosene to xylene, you can see that Cocaine does not have to be produced using ingredients that leave toxic residues. The only reason that Cocaine is not being produced today using variations of Mariani’s methods is that it would cost a few pennies more per kilo to do so, and of course the bottom line is all that matters.

Vin Mariani was recognized worldwide as a medicine whose ingredients could be trusted, and whose safety and efficacy – the gold standard even today for pharmaceuticals – was proven. Here are a couple of excerpts from his book to give you a flavor of the kinds of health problems that physicians found could be healed by this simple but profoundly effective Coca leaf medicine.

(from “Therapeutic Applications of Coca”)

Vin Mariani

“This is the first of the preparations of Coca and the one most generally adopted; to the tonic and stimulant action of the drug there is added that of a choice quality of wine. The Vin Coca Mariana contains the soluble parts of the Peruvian plant. The combination of Coca with the tannin and the slightest trace of iron which this wine naturally contains is pronounced to be the most efficacious of tonics. The Coca leaves that we employ after careful selection come from three different sources and are of incomparable quality. It is this that gives to our wine that special taste and agreeable aroma which renders it so acceptable to the sick.”

“It is likewise to the combination of these three varieties of Coca leaf in our wine that we can attribute this important fact: during almost 30 years, no matter in how large doses taken, Vin Mariani has never produced cocainism.  (We caution especially against the many so-called Coca wines made with the alkaloid Cocaine alone.)”

“Vin Mariani is a diffusable tonic, the action of which is immediate. This action, instead of being localized on a single organ, the stomach, spreads to the whole system. Taken into the circulation, it awakens in its course the retarded functions of every organ, and this is owing to the presence in our preparation of the volatile principles of the plant.”

“Unlike other tonics, the astringent properties of which lead at length to heat and constipation, Vin Mariani does not produce any disorder of the digestive functions; it stimulates them, exerts a refreshing action on the gastric mucous membrane, and on that account so advantageously replaces the preparations of cinchona, iron, strychnine, etc.”

“There is,” says Dr. Mallez, “a form of anӕmia to which the attention of physicians has not yet been called, and which yields marvelously to the employment of Vin Mariani; we allude to that state of profound depression of the economy, of extremely marked impoverishment of the blood, which also results from the prolonged abuse of balsamics in the treatment of diseases of the urinary passages.”

“The number of persons who, attacked with blennorrhagia, use cubebs, copaiba, turpentine, etc., to a deplorable extent is considerable. So true is this that, out of a hundred young dyspeptics, we may affirm without fear of being in error that at least forty of them have become so by the use of balsamics.”

{Gazette cies Hopitciux, Nov.  23, 1877.)

In 1875, in his Traitement rationnel de la phthisie pulmonaire, Dr. de Pietra Santa said, page 394: “Among the most renowned practitioners of Paris, Péan, Barth, G. Sée, and Cabrol have promptly adopted the preparations of Coca. Ch. Fauvel prescribes it in affections of the respiratory passages. It is in these diseases that I, too, have had occasion to advise its daily use in the most convenient, the most agreeable, and the most active form that of the Vin Tonique de Mariani.”

Thus has been realized Reveil’s prediction: “This substance (Coca) is destined to take an important rank in therapeutics.”

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.

“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.”

To summarize the experiences of thousands of doctors from the 1800’s, Vin Mariani was one of the most effective natural medicines available; it healed and cured a wide range of diseases, and it did no harm. Give the patient a bottle, give them instructions, and let them go home and heal.

What a concept!

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A Good Night’s Sleep Can Be The Best Medicine

by Pat Krug (from) Marijuana Foods, 1981

“Mom couldn’t sleep more than a couple of hours and then she would just lie awake until I came in to get her up in the morning. She would always be exhausted. When Medical Marijuana became legal in our state I asked her doctor if she would prescribe it for Mom for sleeping. The doctor said that she could prescribe Medical Marijuana for pain but not for sleeping, so we agreed that it might help Mom’s arthritis. I filled out the paperwork and got approved and then went to the dispensary and bought the first prescription. The young woman there talked with me about dosage and recommended a Vaporizer for Mom rather than her smoking the Marijuana. She showed me how it worked and how easy it was to control the dose by the size of what I put in the Vaporizer.

Mom now inhales just once or twice from the Vaporizer at bedtime and then falls asleep reading! Before her Medical Marijuana she hadn’t read a book in years. Now she reads and then sleeps for five or six hours. And also, we now light up the vaporizer again before her lunch, which she now actually eats and then she takes a two-hour nap! Medical Marijuana has been a blessing for her. And it really does help with her arthritis pain too.”

Kathy (Washington) in a comment

 If Cannabis Flowers did nothing else but help people get a good night’s sleep or a restful afternoon nap then the fact that it is helpful in so many other ways almost wouldn’t matter. But the fact is that, for most older people, pure, natural Cannabis flowers are the only sleep-aid they will ever need. The bonus is that these natural little beauties are not addictive like so many pharmaceuticals and don’t cause collateral damage to your brain or body like almost all pharmaceuticals.

Where most prescription and OTC sleeping pills operate by knocking you out without even a hint of subtlety, and leave you with brain fog and a nasty headache, not to mention organ and neurological damage with long-term use, you can tailor your Cannabis flower sleep medicine to give you exactly the kind of sleep you’re looking for without paying for that relief with ugly side-effects afterwards.

Since there are over 800 recognized strains of Cannabis, and since each strain has its own treating & healing properties, let’s begin by discussing the best kinds of Cannabis for promoting sleep.

In one sense this is an easy task. Almost any landrace or hybrid Kush, a family of Cannabis strains that originates in the mountains of Central Asia, has strong sleep-inducing properties. Commonly available Kush strains include Hindu Kush, OG Kush, Purple Afghani and Purple Kush.

Some strains based on Kush genetics without “Kush” in their names also have the sleep-aid properties of pure Kush strains including AK-47 and White Widow. A little research at a credible website such as will give you all the information you need, and if there is a dispensary in your area that you trust you’ll probably be able to get good advice on the spot.

With a number of excellent choices available, if you are using a medical Cannabis dispensary as your source then choosing which Cannabis strain is right for you, or the older person you are caring for is simply a matter of what is available in your area. In states that allow medical Cannabis sales through dispensaries your challenge is going to be finding the most helpful, knowledgeable dispensary and then working with them to determine which of the strains they carry will work best in your individual situation.

When discussing Medical Marijuana with any advisor for use as a sleep aid remember that it is important to take into account whether you are taking any pharmaceuticals for any other medical conditions. If you are fortunate enough to live in a legal state and have a doctor who is knowledgeable then you can get advice from them, but the reality is that Cannabis conflicts with very few pharmaceuticals. However, if for example you have Diabetes then you will want to choose a strain that does not promote the “Munchies” which could easily lead to a blood sugar overload.

This is just one example of the kind of common-sense precaution that anyone using Cannabis for any reason needs to take. Others include precautions that asthmatics need to keep in mind when thinking about inhaled vs ingested Cannabis, issues that a person challenged with obesity might face if the Cannabis strain that they choose for sleep instead makes them want to raid the fridge, and potential hazards from falling that an elderly person might face unless they are all tucked in before their Cannabis sleep aid starts to come on strong, or if they have to get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and are still half-asleep. Any such issues can be resolved by taking a thoughtful approach to the use of Cannabis as a sleep aid, and by asking knowledgeable people for advice on potential issues before beginning.

In states that allow patients to contract with growers for their medical Cannabis supply you won’t be limited to what a dispensary has in stock as a sleep aid choice, since a responsible medical Cannabis grower will have access to seed stock for virtually any strain you feel is best, and of course a good grower will also understand the properties of each strain and be able to make knowledgeable recommendations.

Finally, if you are in a position to grow a personal legal crop of medical Cannabis for you or for your patient you will be able to choose from among dozens of first-rate Cannabis seed suppliers, and you’ll be even more certain of the provenance of the strain you are growing. These are people who have been in the trenches of the “War On Drugs”, and who have dedicated their lives to making authentic, pure Cannabis seeds available to growers worldwide despite the terrible risks. Now that Cannabis is finally coming into its own as a natural medicine these seed producers have come out into the open and as long as you live in a Cannabis-legal state you’ll be able to buy your seeds from any of them online.

Are We Talking Naptime or Nighttime?

Normal sleep patterns vary so much that there’s no general prescription the best use of Cannabis therapy for an individual who is experiencing a short-term or long-term disruption of their sleep. Fortunately, plenty of people have talked online about their experiences with Cannabis as a sleep-aid.

It’s important to keep in mind that a person with sleep problems might not need a Cannabis strain that will essentially knock them out, and some of the “couchlock” strains of Cannabis Indica can do just that. But a given individual may benefit more from a Cannabis Sativa strain that simply relaxes them and helps them enjoy reading a little before falling asleep, and might reject the more compelling hammer of Indica at bedtime. Because Cannabis lets a person choose from among different pathways to sleep it’s important not to throw away this advantage by simply assuming that everyone needs a strong Cannabis Indica for sleep.

One pathway to sleep that many seniors enjoy is a daytime nap, and yet many people who suffer from conditions that create pain and discomfort have a hard time getting any rest during the day, much less at night. So in some sense the ability to nap peacefully may simply depend upon relief from the conditions of body and mind that are interfering with that daytime rest.

This leads to a consideration of what strain or strains of Cannabis are already being ingested, if any, to treat any of the person’s other health issues besides sleep and rest? If Cannabis is not already being used to treat any other conditions, then the choice of strain or strains and the method and timing of use in promoting daytime and nighttime sleep become less problematic.

But if a heavy strain is already being used, say for pain, and the person is still having a problem with sleep, the problem may be that the heavy Cannabis strain being used to help control the pain has lost some of its sleep-promoting effect in the process. This may mean that the pathway to sleep is blocked, and if it is, then the relaxation & meditation pathway to sleep may still be opened by the use of a mentally stimulating Sativa strain. If the environment is right and if the person is able to relax in bed or a comfortable reclining chair doing something they enjoy like reading or watching a movie, then a little Sativa flower in a cup of infused tea or in a vaporizer can send a person onto that longed-for pathway to sleep, perchance to dream, with just a light touch of the sacred blossom even if they are also taking a heavy-duty strain for pain.

Another important consideration is whether or not to smoke Cannabis as a way to enjoy its sleep benefits. For Seniors who don’t mind, or who enjoy smoking, this is a good choice for shorter dozes like an afternoon nap, or as a way to get back to sleep in the middle of the night. The sleep that comes with smoking a nice pipe of Kush will last at least several hours, but not much longer, and there is very little residual mind cotton. However, for a Senior who for whatever reason doesn’t want to smoke, which for many Seniors is a good decision, vapor devices offer a great alternative.

There are several big differences between smoking Cannabis bud and using a Vapor device.

First, since the vapor device doesn’t combust the THC in the bud, it takes fewer puffs to get the desired result. Which also means that if you are buying Cannabis, your usage is less expensive and if you grow your own or a friend grows it for you, you use less per session.

Second, also because there is no combustion, there are no nasty combustion byproducts. In spite of all the positive aspects of Cannabis use, Cannabis buds are still organic plant material and when you combust any plant material – Cannabis flower or firewood – you get hundreds of chemical compounds in the smoke, many of them harmful and even carcinogenic, along with particles that lodge in the tiny air sacs in the lungs.

A third benefit is that with pure vapor you get more of the great tastes of the terpenes and oils in the Cannabis bud and almost none of the “gag and cough” components. Not that you can’t overdo it with a Vapor pipe too – the secret is to take small, light draws and to figure out from experience how much you need to get a good sleep and not to exceed that amount.

The final option for Seniors is ingestible Cannabis in just about any food or beverage form that you can imagine from gummy bears to classic brownies to infused teas. The advantage of ingesting Cannabis for sleep is that the effects last much longer than inhaled Cannabis. The effects take longer to come on, and when you wake up they take longer to wear off, but ingested Cannabis is definitely the solution for a Senior who wants a long night’s deep sleep. It is important to note that with ingested Cannabis dosage control is important because unlike smoking, you won’t know that you have taken too much until it’s too late to stop. This means that Seniors using ingested Cannabis as a sleep aid should be very particular about anything they buy, making sure that it is produced by a reputable company with solid dosage controls in place. Buying Cannabis edibles from local entrepreneurs can be just fine, or it can be a disaster in terms of dosage control.

Other than buying reputable Cannabis edibles, the other option is to make them yourself, and if you are buying your Cannabis from a good dispensary they ought to be able to tell you the concentration of THC per gram in the buds you are buying, as well as offering you everything you need in the way of scales, thermometers etc. to make your culinary efforts a success.

My wife and I both prefer to use Cannabis edibles as our sleep aid, and we also prefer to cook them ourselves because we can be certain of what ingredients are in the edible as well as how much THC there is in a given dose. Not all Seniors would want to go to this much trouble, which is why taking precautions is necessary if a Senior is using a commercial product, or even a batch of Alice B. Toklas brownies baked for them by a well-meaning friend.

Speaking of making edibles for yourself or a friend, although there are a lot of choices in Cannabis cookbooks these days I like to think that the recipes and extract techniques that my wife and I invented for my 1981 book “Marijuana Foods”, which was the first book written specifically for people who wanted to use edible Cannabis for medical and recreational purposes, still offer some of the easiest and most delicious ways to cook with and ingest the divine flower. You can find the hardcopy version of Marijuana Foods on Amazon.

With all sensible precautions taken, and all important choices made thoughtfully, Seniors who have access to high quality Cannabis can simply forget about any sleep issues they may have been having, and can toss those poison pills hawked by Pig Pharma where they belong – in the trash.





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We Do Love Our Poisons

This very interesting article from 1874 describes the experiments and observations by a British MD into the properties of alkaloid extracts of Coca, Coffee, Tea, Chocolate, Guarana, and other “common stimulants”.

At first I thought that the article was going to examine the therapeutic properties of Coca Leaves, but it soon became clear that the Doctor had little luck in finding fresh Coca leaf, and so he decided to experiment instead on the extract of Coca Leaf, Cocaine, along with the alkaloids of other popular drinks and snacks that had been arriving in Europe since the discovery of the “New World”.

What I find so interesting about this article is the author’s conclusion that cocaine, theine, caffeine, guaranine, and theobromine are “all powerful poisons” and are all “almost identical” in chemical composition.

Yet we happily sell and celebrate our coffee beans, tea leaves, and chocolate beans which have pleasant but not remarkably therapeutic effects, and whose primary alkaloids are “powerful poisons”, while we allow our government and scientific/medical establishment and their owners, Pig Pharma, to demonize and punish anyone who wants to have a cup of Coca Leaf tea a couple of times a day to save their health and perhaps their life. Go figure.

Here is the full article from 1874:



IN the recent numbers of the BRITISII MEDICAL JOURNAL, there have appeared several interesting notices on the therapeutical effects of “erythroxyloni coca”. This substance has been for some years pretty extensively employed at home, but particularly on the continent, as a stimulant and tonic in a variety of diseases, and, it is said, with considerable success. Still, comparatively little is yet known about the action of the plant. The following observations may not be uninteresting to those who are clinically investigating the properties of the drug, which, as our knowledge of it advances, will doubtless prove a valuable addition to the Pharmacopaia.

My attention was directed to the action of the coca leaves several years ago; and at different times, and from various sources, I have obtained quantities sufficient for experimental purposes. My object was first to ascertain the effects of the drug upon the healthy human subject, with special reference to its stated stimulant and anti-triptic properties; and, with this object, I administered to myself and to others the leaves in doses varying from one to eight drachms in the form of infusion and of extract, and also by chewing them along with different alkalis, after the manner described by travelers as adopted by the natives of Bolivia and Peru.

After a series of experiments carefully conducted, I was not able to convince myself that the drug thus administered had any special effects, with the exception of a sensation of slight local tingling of the tongue and mouth when the leaves were masticated for any length of time. Whether this inert action is due to the leaves having lost their active properties by exportation, to their being improperly selected or prepared, to an insufficient quantity having been administered, or to a defective method of application, I am not in a position to decide. After every precaution and variety of treatment with different samples of the leaves, and in as large quantities as could be conveniently administered, I have failed to satisfy myself that there was even any approach to the powerful and somewhat startling results graphically described by many authors as occurring when the leaves are chewed by the inhabitants of the countries where the plant abounds.

So I next directed my attention to the neutral principle of the coca leaves, and after great difficulty, with the aid of Messrs. Macfarlane and Co., chemists, Edinburgh, I succeeded in obtaining a small quantity of the crystalline substance cocaine (C17H21NO4).

With this I conducted a series of experiments and observations on the lower animals, as far as I am aware, for the first time in this country, and arrived at results which appeared to me of considerable importance, ascertaining that cocaine was a powerful poison with special actions on the nervous system. As coca is extensively employed in South America as a beverage, and as cocaine bears close chemical relations to the neutral principles of tea, coffee, guarana, chocolate, and other well-known stimulants, I proceeded to make a series of experiments also with theine, caffeine, guaranine, and theobromine, with the view of determining the actions of each, and the relations, if any, which existed among them.

In the Edinburgh Medical Journal for October I873 will be found a description in detail of these observations. The general results at which I arrived may be given shortly as follows.

  1. The physiological actions of coca, tea, coffee, guarana, and cocoa, are mainly, if not entirely, due to their neutral principles. (ed. note: the author refers to the dominant alkaloids as “neutral principles.)

  2. Cocaine, theine, caffeine, guaranine, and theobromine are powerful poisons, inducing a series of symptoms affecting the nervous, respiratory, circulatory, vaso-motor, and glandular systems, which terminate, if the dose be large enough, in death.

  3. These five principles are, to all appearances, identical in physiological action.

  4. In small doses not ending fatally, these five substances produce a Cerebral excitement not succeeded by coma, and b. Partial loss of sensibility.

  5. In large doses they produce a. Cerebral excitement, b. Complete paralysis of sensibility, c. Tetanic spasms and convulsions, and d. Death.

  6. They paralyze the entire posterior columns of the spinal cord also the entire system of peripheral sensory nerves; but the anterior columns of the cord and the peripheral motor nerves are not paralysed.

  7. They frequently produce convulsions of a clonic character, but occasionally they cause tetanic spasms, which latter are sometimes so severe as to induce opisthodomos.

  8. They do not produce muscular paralysis.

  9. They at first increase, then impede, and lastly stop, the respirations.

  10. They at first increase, and finally diminish, both the force and frequency of the heart’s contractions.

  11. They produce at first contraction, and afterwards dilatation, of the capillaries and small blood-vessels, with stasis of the blood, indicating first irritation, and subsequent paralysis, of the vaso-motor nerves.

  12. They affect the temperature by first slightly lowering, and secondly increasing, it.

  13. They usually produce contraction of the pupil.

  14. They produce an increase of the salivary secretion.

  15. They induce a peculiar form of tenesmus, accompanied by a copious discharge of clear mucus from the bowels.

These conclusions have been arrived at after a careful series of experiments conducted on more than one hundred animals of different kinds; and it is extremely interesting to learn that those agents, which the different nations of the world have found by experience to produce refreshing and stimulating beverages, although unlike one another and procured from totally different sources, possess in common proximate principles, which not only are almost identical in chemical composition, but also appear similar in physiological action.

According to the above observations, cocaine has the same actions as theine, etc.; so, for clinical purposes, the latter is at present preferable on account of the enormous expense of the former. That the effects of the beverages themselves are mainly, if not entirely, due to the neutral principles they contain, is highly probable; but of their beneficial action in medical practice I am not yet in a position to give an opinion.

However, from their stimulant action and effect on the nervous, system generally, there is every reason to hope that the concentrated forms of these drugs, or the neutral principles themselves, will prove powerful and useful agents in the hands of the physician for the treatment of disease. Before the medical man can practice his profession scientifically, he should be acquainted, not only with the natural course of the malady he proposes to alleviate, but also with the physiological effects of the drug by which he hopes to reach this end.

By observations upon the lower animals, he may also obtain suggestions and information which will materially assist him in relieving and benefiting the human being. With this object, the above investigation was undertaken; and, although the research is yet in its infancy, I venture to hope that my conclusions will not be found deficient in interest and importance to those who desire to establish a sound system of therapeutics upon careful physiological experiment.

 (End of BMJ article)

(Further commentary)

Although the early research into Coca Leaf has been largely ignored by modern scientists and physicians, writing just about 100 years after Alexander Bennett, the brilliant MD Andy Weil wrote in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 1981 Mar-May;3(2-3):367-76.

“The therapeutic value of coca in contemporary medicine.”

“Coca appears to be a useful treatment for various gastrointestinal ailments, motion sickness, and laryngeal fatigue. It can be an adjunct in programs of weight reduction and physical fitness and may be a fast-acting antidepressant. It is of value in treating dependence on stronger stimulants. Coca regulates carbohydrate metabolism in a unique way and may provide a new therapeutic approach to hypoglycemia and diabetes mellitus. With low-dose, chronic administration it appears to normalize body functions. In leaf form coca does not produce toxicity or dependence. Coca can be administered as a chewing gum or lozenge containing a whole extract of the leaf, including alkaloids, natural flavors, and nutrients.”

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Cannabis Cocktails from the 1980s

“Marijuana Foods” illustration by Pat Krug

Back in 1981 my wife Lisle and I began experimenting with alcohol extracts of Cannabis for medical needs, and created a number of simple recipes using using Cannabis buds and good quality brands of liquor. These recipes later became part of “Marijuana Foods”, published by Simon & Schuster in the early 1980’s.  The book is still being published in its original form by Ronin Press in 2017 under a new title. While the language of this old book is outdated, the extract recipes are still valid, and are still a pretty cool way to enjoy Cannabis.

What Is This Young Woman Eating !!!???

Herbal Marijuana Liqueurs (from Marijuana Foods by Bill Drake 1981)

The delightful taste of sweet sinsemilla can be captured deliciously in any liqueur, but there are several combinations that work like a charm. These delightful little potions are probably among the nicest ways of using Marijuana either medicinally or for sheer pleasure. Preparing a good marijuana liqueur is a two-stage process.

First you must prepare the alcohol extract of marijuana. Vodka makes an excellent base, Scotch is sophisticated, grain alcohol is effective but harsh, blue Agave tequila is a treat, and heavy, dark rum is excellent, particularly 181 proof. Any 60 proof and above alcohol beverage can serve as an extract base, but the more sugary varieties low on alcohol (40-60 proof) do not do as good a job as the higher proof whiskies, rums, tequilas, vodkas and the like.

Decide how potent you want your liqueur to be. A ratio of 1/4 – 1/2 ounce of good buds to 1 quart of alcohol base results in a super effective liqueur. For weaker marijuana, you may have to use an ounce or more of marijuana to a quart of base.  If you don’t have homegrown sinsemilla, any other good-tasting, good-smelling marijuana will do. The taste of the marijuana you use in making liqueurs is important, so stay away from musty-smelling marijuana and from wild weed.

To Prepare The Base

Heat the alcohol in a double boiler on an electric burner. Remember, you can’t heat alcohol directly on an electric burner and you can never use a gas burner.

When the alcohol comes to a slow simmer, turn off the heat. If you have a candy thermometer, use it to determine when the alcohol has reached 180 F, and then remove from the heat.

Now add the Buds and let them steep for 30 minutes, then pour the mixture into either a large-capacity Thermos if you have one, or a couple of big canning jars with sealing lids if you don’t.

Add a pinch of powdered Vitamin C ester. Don’t use a crushed Vitamin C pill, but instead use pure crystalline Vitamin C ester available in most health food stores or pharmacies. The Vitamin C helps keep your extract base clear; without it you often get a muddy brown liquid.

Put the cap on loosely until the bottle is fully cooled, then close it tightly and set the jug aside. Let the liqueur mellow for a 24 hours with the marijuana steeping, and then decant the liquid into a fresh, clean jar or bottle, setting the marijuana aside. This will be your Marijuana alcohol extract base, or perhaps your final product.

The marijuana you’ve set aside should not be thrown away. For reasons we haven’t been able to determine, the tincture extraction process just described sometimes absorbs all the potency of the marijuana, while other times it absorbs most but not all of it, and the buds remain potent enough to make quite respectable marijuana butter.

Flavoring The Alcohol Base

After producing the tincture, you can decide whether to make it sweet, to add other flavors, or to leave it as it is. To make an easy, classic sweet liqueur base, take equal parts of honey and water. Heat the water to a boil, remove it from the heat, and stir in the honey. Be discriminating about the honey you use. Many supermarket honeys have little taste and sweetness. That’s because the bees have been fed on sugar and water only – no flowers. Many other honeys may have a taste that works well on toast but is a disaster in blend with the flavors of the food it’s sweetening. Good organic clover, sage, tupelo, or orange blossom honeys are wonderful. By the way, when measuring honey, if you first lightly coat the spoon or cup lightly with a bland oil like grape seed oil the honey will all pour right out.

Extracting Herbal Flavors

Now to think about which herbs to add to the liqueur . . . If you’ve had the pleasure of growing your own herbs, you need no prompting to use fresh herbs in every endeavor. If you don’t have any fresh herbs on hand and want to try a few good marijuana herbal liqueurs right away, there are many flavorings that you can use instead of fresh herbs.

Prepare the herbs for flavoring in the appropriate way. Generally, fresh aromatic leaves are lightly crushed in the fingers, seeds are ground till cracked but not reduced to a powder with a mortar and pestle, peels are lightly bruised with a wooden mallet on a cutting board. Place the herb in a heatproof glass jar and add a pinch of vitamin C.

Then, heat the alcohol as described for the marijuana base, using the same precautions – NO OPEN FLAMES – and pour over the prepared herb till it’s just covered with hot alcohol. Close the jar lightly and let the mixture set for 24 hours in the dark.

After the 24 hour blending period, uncap the alcohol marijuana tincture and add the herbal alcohol tincture, and the sweet syrup if you intend to do so, then re-close the container tightly and let it stand for 10 to 14 days.

Orange, lemon, and grapefruit peels are such wonderful flavoring ingredients. It’s always important to use skins from fruit grown without toxic sprays, and packaged without toxic dyes, because the liqueur-making process will concentrate these chemicals right along with the essential oils and essence of the citrus peel.

Marijuana Marin

Fennel grows wild in many parts of the country, but nowhere so prolifically as in northern California. Marijuana Marin is an appropriate name for this mellow liqueur.

Take 2 tablespoons of sun-dried fennel seed, and crush lightly with a mortar and pestle to release the aroma.

Take the peel of 1/2 orange, preferably a ripe, sweet organically grown Valencia, and slice into 1/4 inch strips.

Bruise with a mallet, but don’t crush.

Put the fennel and orange peel into a jar or Thermos bottle, and sprinkle in a pinch of vitamin C. Cover the contents with warm alcohol, close the jar or Thermos tight, and set aside for 24 hours.

After 24 hours, pour the mixture into the prepared marijuana base (vodka is best), along with honey/water syrup to taste – approximately 1 cup will do for 1 quart of fresh alcohol – and steep for two weeks.

After two weeks, strain off the liquid and store it in a dark bottle in a cool but not cold place. This is a nice dessert liqueur with custards and pies.

Cannabis Creme de Menthe

It’s so easy to grow a little mint, particularly in the spring and summer in a cool, moist place around the house, that it’s hard to imagine anyone who can’t get some nice fresh mint to use in making this fine cordial.

Use 3 tablespoons fresh crushed peppermint or orange mint leaves, 1 tablespoon lightly crushed caraway seeds, and the lightly bruised peel of 1/2 organic orange, cut into 1/4 inch strips. Sprinkle all with a pinch of vitamin C.

Steep in hot alcohol for 24 hours in a closed heatproof jar or thermos, using just enough alcohol to cover the herbs.

After 24 hours, strain off the liquid and discard the fennel seed, the mint, and the peels. Add the liquid to the appropriate amount of marijuana alcohol base (vodka is best), depending on your own taste for the right proportion.

Then add 1 tablespoon fresh crushed mint to the marijuana base mix. Add honey/water syrup to taste, in the ratio of about 1 cup syrup to 1 quart alcohol, then set the whole thing aside to steep for two weeks. Finally, filter out all the flavoring herbs, and store the liqueur in a dark bottle in a cool dark place.

Scotch Budz

When the Scots gave us Scotch, it’s unlikely that they were thinking about whether or not it makes a good base for marijuana liqueur, but with the right luck in mating marijuana to whiskey blend or, better yet, to the proper taste of malt Scotch whiskey, you can produce a fine liqueur reminiscent of Drambuie, the drink devised by the Bonnie Prince Charlie.

Smell your buds to get an idea of whether you want a light Scotch blend like J&B or a heavy malt whiskey like Glenfiddich. Then make of marijuana base using 1/4 ounce sinsemilla buds and a whole bottle of Scotch whiskey.

Also prepare 2 tablespoons crushed aniseed, sprinkle with a pinch of vitamin C, and cover with warm Scotch, and allow to steep in a closed heatproof jar overnight.

Next day, add 1/2 cup honey syrup, the steeped aniseed and its liqueur to the pint of marijuana base. Steep closed for two weeks, then decant, carefully straining out the tiny aniseed using several layers of cheesecloth.

Store the liqueur in a dark bottle in a cool dark place.


Many people prefer tequila to any other alcohol base for marijuana. Its woody aroma with a suggestion of lemon makes an excellent background for marijuana liqueur.

Take 1/2 ounce of fine buds and pack them into a 1.5 (or so) quart Thermos bottle. Heat 1 quart of good tequila not the cheap stuff, in a double boiler as described earlier, on an electric burner only, and using the same precautions.

Sprinkle a pinch or two of vitamin C over the buds, then pour the hot tequila over them, and close the Thermos. Allow to stand and blend for two weeks.

After two weeks, drain off the emerald aromatic tequila, and store it in a dark bottle in a cool dark place.

Don’t forget – don’t throw away the marijuana. Test a little of it to see if you can make marijuana butter with it.

Lemon Ganja Brandy Liqueur

Brandy also makes a good base for marijuana liqueurs, but it will do a better job of picking up the potency if it is blended half and half with a good vodka.

Make 1 quart marijuana brandy extract using 1/4 ounce sinsemilla buds, 1 pint brandy, and 3 pints vodka. Sprinkle with a pinch of powdered vitamin C. Heat to a low simmer in a double boiler – no open flames.

Add 3/4 cup fresh lemongrass or lemon verbena, lightly crushed. You may substitute the fresh peel of an organic lemon if you want, but the two lemon herbs have a nice subtlety.

Lemon Grass is available at many Asian markets, whereas Verbena can be easily raised indoors or out. Decant into a large Mason jar and allow to cool. Steep for 24 hours, then filter.

Add 3/4 cup honey syrup to the marijuana brandy base. Allow to stand closed for two weeks. Re-filter the liquid and store in a dark place.

Glasnost Chili Liqueur

Pour a quart of Stoly pepper vodka into the top of a double boiler. Add several buds or approximately 1/4 ounce Marijuana, plus a few twists of lemon peel.

Barely simmer over low heat for half an hour (no open flames), then transfer to a thermos and allow to steep for 24 hours.

Decant into a nice bottle, straining out & reserving the Marijuana for butter, and store away from the light. Label the bottle clearly – this is potent stuff!

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Horsesailing Through The Hill Country

I was driving back home going West on 290 after a visit with our son & daughter in Austin as I began one of my favorite Texas driving fantasies. With the win­dow open and the warm Texas air in my face, and with my dear Lisle beside me absorbed in her music, I begin to imagine the countryside I am now passing through at an easy 70 MPH from the point of view of someone travelling by horseback a hundred years ago.

This particular evening something was different about the light, and the valleys and hills between Dripping Springs and Johnson City took on a special appeal. In my fantasy I was riding my horse in the 1890s, tired from the journey out of Austin, wishing that on such an evening my horse had wings. I was dreaming of flying like a bird through the sky, leaping from hilltop to hilltop, taking the countryside in half mile swoops and getting home before bedtime instead of the three day trip it would have been at the time.

Then I began to play one of my other favorite driving mind games, playing “what if”. Too bad, I mused, that the days of horse­back travel that settled this country didn’t coincide with today’s parasailing technology. Because if they had, surely some inventive soul would have come up with the idea of hooking up a horse to a sailing wing.

I amused myself with the idea for a while. It was a pretty good one, and got me all the way through Stonewall. Ever since Dripping Springs Lisle had been off in her own thoughts, barely tolerat­ing my out­bursts of hilarity as I imagined horses in the sky, sailing between the ridges. It got to where my driving was jeopardized by my hooting at the ideas that came to me. My attention to the road wandered. Lisle was not amused.

I couldn’t help it. Maybe it was that great bud we had shared with our son earlier in the afternoon, long before we hit the road but still there, at the edges. I imagined horsesailers bouncing off the low hills, bound­ing across Inter­states and leaping across rivers and tall forests of trees. I could feel their freedom as they leapt from earth to cloud in one swoop. I could almost hear the “Yahoos” echoing across the Hill Country, and imagined the occasional horse turd plummeting from the sky.

A quick pee stop at the LBJ roadside park West of Johnson City, and then off on the last leg to Mermaid Springs. But now, with dark approaching and home still 45 minutes away even at seventy miles an hour, I began to feel tired. Lord, I began to wish the drive was over. I began to think again from the point of view of a tired rider and a tired thirsty horse in the heat of a Texas evening. Sometimes those rides must have seemed like they were never going to end.

Ah, if only horses had wings! Well, I began to think again, why not? How big would a helium-filled gliding wing, shaped like a parasail, have to be? What would it actually take to lift 90% of the weight of the combined horse, rider and rig into the air? Practically weightless, how easy would it be for horse and rider to get up some speed and then leap off from the top of a ridge and sail for miles, then touch down for a moment, build up some speed, and once again leap into the air? All the way into town I contem­plated my fantasy as evening turned into night.

The next day, a quick look at Google told me that Helium can gross-lift about one kilogram per cubic meter of gas at sea level.  A few calculations more, and it turned out that a rig to neutralize one ton of rider, horse, rigging and controls combined would have to be about the size of a conventional truck semitrailer. A weight-neutralized Rogallo wing or some similar Parasail shape, tethered to a lightweight computer-controlled console-saddle, could control the attitude, pitch and yaw of the helium-filled wing with a series of lightweight, fast and efficient computer-controlled winches, in the wing itself or on the saddle-console, taking in or letting out line, allowing the rider to control the direction of gliding flight with a simple joystick.

Then I began to imagine how one would train a horse to fly. Surely it would start by attaching little helium-filled parasails to the colts at each stage of their development, on a schedule which didn’t interfere with their natural development but which allowed them to learn the skills of takeoff leaps, running landings, and the other new techniques required of an animal being trained to run in half mile strides.

There’s a special class of horses who seem like perpetual adoles­cent humans- strong, boundless energy, self-centered, love showing off, like to be ahead of every­body, still too stupid to be afraid when they ought to be, ready for anything. In other words, born for horsesailing. The horsesailing animal would have to be a special breed, but I am sure that horse people know exactly what kind of animal it would take.

I began to imagine what horsesailing would mean. It might be­come a new sport, one especially suited to the western United States and other vast areas of the world like it. These areas are still beautiful, remote, largely uninhabited lands. The early settlers rode painfully and slowly across them on horseback dragging wagons, but what if they could have sailed across the skies instead?

One of the reasons much of the West is so sparsely settled even today is be­cause it is so vast that it is inaccessible without real effort. No roads, plenty of canyons and mountains, and a long way between water. Only a hardy few today go on horseback pack trips into the wilderness, and almost none trek across the great heartland, the prairies and mountains.

Horsesailing could change all that. If you could cover five hundred miles in a day on horseback, leaping from hilltop to hilltop, across wide ravines and rivers, taking a hundred mile detour in a few hours, racing up the side of tall hills in a few bounds and leaping from the summit into a low cloud- if all this could be done, the plains and the mountain west could change forever.

With a horse trained to relax and enjoy the view while sailing, and to hit the ground running when the time comes, and with a lightweight outrider system which could be deployed if in the pilot’s judgement there’s a hard landing coming up, the horsesailer would be equipped to master almost all of the terrain in the American west.  If also equipped with a solar powered satellite-based communications system, a horsesailer could have instanta­neous communica­tions, whether they were stranded in the middle of the Canadian Rockies with a broken rig, or simply calling in to have a good meal with cold beer waiting at a checkpoint a hundred miles ahead on the crest of a New Mexico ridge.

I began to imagine the natural communities of the plains and moun­tains with villages springing to life as resting stops and accom­modations for touring horsesailers. I imagined horsesailing the American west, the Argentine Pampas, the remote valleys and plains of the Asian Steppes. I saw the towns of these regions becoming hubs for horsesailing expedi­tions for visitors from around the world, and the outlying regions develop­ing tourism resources around areas of previously remote natural resourc­es like springs, hot water spas, and other beautiful, remote garden spots in the wilderness, barely reachable before Horsesailing.

I imagined the ranching options possible with horsesailing technol­ogy, and the economic impact which such a technology would have on forestry and re­source exploration. I saw horsesailing as a new industry for horse-breeders, for resorts, for transportation.

I saw all of these things as if in a vision of another time and place, and concluded that while I might never go horsesailing in this life, im my imagination, it worked. Years after the initial moment of inspiration, as I drive the long road between Austin and the Hill Country, I still think as I pass through that rugged beautiful country, full of limestone hills, deep valleys and immense stands of mesquite and oak forest, how nice it would be to be going home on the back of a horse, sailing through those sunset dazzled clouds, instead of steering my old truck down a concrete trail.

But then I think – how wonderful it is, just to be going home at all with my dear Lisle, and I am truly grateful. For everything. For life. Still, as I look over at my sweetheart with her ear-pods on listening to some mysterious music that I’m quite sure that I will never understand, watching the miles roll by through my windshield, I dream that we might be Horsesailing together someday, up there, in the sunset.

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The Place Of Coca Leaf In The Living World

(from) Chapter 11

The History of Coca (1901)

By Dr. William Golden Mortimer , MD

(in) The Coca Leaf Papers (2014)

By Bill Drake

 In previous posts I have presented various excerpts from Dr. Mortimer’s excellent book, which not only contains a wealth of highly relevant information but illustrates the often-acknowledged but poorly understood fact that human beings keep re-discovering the insights of those gone before them, treating such “discoveries” as new knowledge.

Dr. Mortimer’s book also vividly demonstrates how easily knowledge is lost, or deliberately set aside, in pursuit of the agenda of the times.

It is impossible to estimate how many millions of people are suffering and dying right this moment because the agenda of our times has demonized Coca Leaf as part of a worldwide set of political and economic agendas conceived in ignorance and maintained with malice regarding the place of natural medicines in treating and healing diseases that arise naturally and diseases that are caused by external agents, almost always in pursuit of profit.

In both cases, access to pure, natural Coca Leaf for self-treatment would undermine the political and economic agendas of powerful groups, and so we suffer and die, by the millions each year, in servitude to these cruel and heartless sub-humans.

In my continuing protest against this overwhelming flood of power and money that is drowning the planet, I offer this excerpt from a chapter in “The History of Coca” in which Dr. Mortimer explains the place of Coca in the natural world, and the processes by which its magical properties occur. Perhaps you, the reader, will be one more voice raised against the denial of this potent natural medicine to all those suffering, dying people whose lives could be mended and saved simply by having access to this miraculous leaf. 

The Place Of The Coca Leaf In The Living World

In the Coca leaf, as indeed in all plants, the cell wall is made up of cellulose, a carbohydrate substance allied to starch, with the formula xC6H10O5. The material for the building of this substance, it is presumed, is secreted by the cell contents or by a conversion of protoplasm under the influence of nitrogen. This product is deposited particle by particle inside of the wall already formed. Accompanying this growth there may occur certain changes in the physical properties of the cell as the wall takes in new substances, such as silica and various salts, or as there is an elaboration and deposit of gum, pectose and lignin. Each living cell contains a viscid fluid, of extremely complex chemical composition – the protoplasm – a layer of which is in contact with the cell wall and connected by bridles with a central mass in which the nucleus containing the nucleolus is embedded. The protoplasm does not fill the whole cavity of the cell, but there is a large space filled with the watery sap.

The sap carries in solution certain sugars, together with glycogen and two varieties of glucose, and such organic acids  and coloring matters as may already have been elaborated.  Where metabolism is active, certain crystallizable nitrogenous bodies, as asparagin, leucin and tyrosin, with salts of potassium and sodium, are found, while in the vacuole there may be starch grains and some crystals of calcium oxalate. The  protoplasm is chemically made up of proteids, of which two groups may be distinguished in plants. The first embracing  the plastin, such as forms the frame work of the cell, and the second the peptones of the seeds, and the globulins found in the buds and in young shoots. These proteids all consist of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, and sulphur, while plastin also contains phosphorus. In active growing cells the proteids are present in a quantity, which gradually diminishes as the cell becomes older, leaving the plastin as the organized proteid wall of the cell, while the globulins and peptones remain unorganized. The whole constructive metabolism of the plant is toward the manufacture of this protoplasm, the chemical decomposition and conversion of which liberates the energy which continues cell life.

In certain cells of the plant associated with the protoplasm, and presumably of a similar chemical composition, are little corpuscles, which contain the chlorophyl constituting the green coloring matter of plants, a substance which from its chemical construction and physiological function may have some important influence on the alkaloid formation in the Coca leaf. In these bodies the chlorophyl is held in an oily medium, which exudes in viscid drops when the granules are treated with dilute acids or steam. Although no iron has been found in these bodies by analysis, it is known that chlorophyl cannot be developed without the presence of iron in the soil. Gautier, from an alcoholic extract, calculated the formula C19H22N2O3, and called attention to the similarity between this and that of bilirubin, C16H18N203 – the primary pigment forming the golden red color of the human bile, which possibly may be allied to the red corpuscles of the blood. Chlorophyl, while commonly only formed under appropriate conditions of light and heat, may in some cases be produced in complete darkness, in a suitable temperature. Thus if a seed be made to germinate in the dark, the seedling will be not green, but pale yellow, and the plant is anӕmic, or is termed etiolated, though corpuscles are present, which, under appropriate conditions, will give rise to chlorophyll.

It has been found that etiolated plants become green more readily in diffused light than in bright sunshine. The process of chlorophyll formation neither commences directly when an etiolated plant is exposed to light, nor ceases entirely when a green plant is placed in darkness, but the action continues through what has been termed photo-chemical induction. From experiments to determine the relative efficacy of different rays of the spectrum it has been found that in light of low intensity seedlings turn green more rapidly under yellow rays, next under green, then under red, and less rapidly under blue. In intense light the green formation is quicker under blue than under yellow, while under the latter condition decomposition is more rapid.

The function of chlorophyl is to break up carbonic acid, releasing oxygen, and converting the carbon into storage food for the tissues, the first visible stage of which constructive metabolism is the formation of starch. The activity of this property may be regarded as extremely powerful when it is considered that in order to reduce carbonic acid artificially it requires the extraordinary temperature of 1300° C. (2372° F.). In the leaf this action takes place under the influence of appropriate light and heat from the sun in the ordinary  temperature of 10°-30° C. (50°-86° F.). Plants which do not contain chlorophyl – as fungi – obtain their supply of carbon through more complex compounds in union with hydrogen.

Perhaps we are too apt to regard plants as chiefly cellulose – carbohydrates, and water, without considering the importance of their nitrogenous elements, for though these latter substances may be present in relatively small proportion, they are as essential in the formation of plant tissue as in animal structures. The carbohydrates of plants include starch, sugars, gums, and inulin. The starch or an allied substance, as has been shown, being elaborated by the chlorophyl granules, or in those parts of the plant where these bodies do not exist, by special corpuscles in the protoplasm, termed amyloplasts, which closely resemble the chlorophyl bodies. In the first instance the change is more simple and under the  influence of light, in the latter light is not directly essential and the process is more complex, the starch formation beginning with intermediate substances – as asparagin, or glucose,  by conversion of the sugars in the cell sap.

Just as in the human organism, assimilation in plant tissue cannot take place except through solution, so the stored up starch is of no immediate service until it is rendered soluble.  In other words, it must be prepared in a way analogous to the digestion of food in animal tissues. This is done by the action of certain ferments manufactured by the protoplasm. These do not directly enter into the upbuilding of tissue themselves, but induce the change in the substance upon which they act. Chiefly by a process of hydration, in which several molecules of water are added, the insoluble bodies are rendered soluble, and are so carried in solution to various portions of the plant. Here they are rearranged as insoluble starch, to serve as the common storage tissue for sustenance. Thus it will be seen how very similar are the processes of assimilation in plants and animals, a marked characteristic between both being that the same elementary chemical substances are necessary in the upbuilding of their tissues, and  particularly that activity is absent where assimilable nitrogen is not present.

Several organic acids occur in plant cells, either free or combined, which are probably products of destructive metabolism, either from the oxidation of carbohydrates or from the decomposition of proteids. Liebig regarded the highly oxidized acids – especially oxalic, as being the first products of constructive metabolism, which, by gradual reduction, formed carbohydrates and fats, in support of which he referred to the fact that as fruits ripen they become less sour, which he interpreted to mean that the acid is converted into sugar. The probability, however, is that oxalic acid is the product of destructive metabolism, and is the final stage of excretion from which alkaloids are produced, while it is significant, when considering the Coca products, that acids may by decomposition be formed from proteid or may by oxidation be converted into other acids.

Oxalic acid is very commonly found in the leaf cells combined with potassium or calcium. It is present in the cells of  the Coca leaf as little crystalline cubes or prisms. Malic acid, citric acid, and tartaric acid are familiar as the products of various fruits. Tannic acid is chiefly found as the astringent property of various barks. Often a variety of this acid is characteristic of the plant and associated with its alkaloid. This is the case with the tannic acid described by Niemann in his separation of cocaine, which is intimately related to  the alkaloids of the Coca leaf, just as quinine is combined with quinic acid and morphine with meconic acid. It has been suggested that the yield of alkaloid from the Coca leaf is greater in the presence of a large proportion of tannic acid.

Tannin is formed in the destructive metabolism of the protoplasm, as a glucoside product intermediate between the carbohydrate and the purely aromatic bodies, such as benzoic and cinnamic acids, which are formed from the oxidative decomposition of the glucosides. In addition to these are found fatty oils, associated with the substances of the cell, and essential oils, to which the fragrance of the flower or plant is due, and which are secreted in special walled cells.  The resins are found as crude resins, balsams – a mixture of  resin and ethereal oil with an aromatic acid, and gum resins  – a mixture of gum, resin and ethereal oil. The ethereal oils include a great number of substances with varying chemical composition, having no apparent constructive use to the tissues, but, like the alkaloids, regarded merely as waste. Some  of these products serve by their unpleasant properties to repel animals and insects, while others serve to attract insects and thus contribute to the fertilization of the flower, so all these  bodies may be of some relative use.

The proteids of the plant are supposed to be produced  from some non-nitrogenous substance – possibly formic aldehyde – by a combination formed from the absorbed nitrates, sulphates and phosphates, in union with one of the organic acids, particularly oxalic. The change being from the less complex compound to a highly nitrogenous organic substance, termed an amide, which, with the non-nitrogenous substance and sulphur, unite to form the proteid. The amides are crystallizable nitrogenous substances, built up synthetically, or formed by the breaking down of certain compounds. They  are similar to some of the final decomposition products found in the animal body. Belonging to this group of bodies is xanthin, which Kossel supposed to be directly derived from nuclein, from the nucleus of the plant cell. But in whatever manner the amides are formed, it is believed they are ultimately used in the construction of proteid, and although this substance is produced in all parts of the plant, it is found more abundant in the cells containing chlorophyl. Proteids are found to gradually increase from the roots toward the leaves, where they are most abundant. This would seem to indicate that the leaf is the especial organ in which proteid formation takes place, and it is in this portion of the Coca plant that the excreted alkaloids are found most abundantly.

According to Schützenberger, the proteid structures are composed of ureids, derivatives of carbamide, and Grimaux considers they are broken by hydrolysis into carbonic acid, ammoniac and amidic acids, thus placing them in near relation with uric acid, which also gives by hydrolysis, carbonic  acid, ammoniac acid and glycocol. In animal tissues the last product of excrementition is carbamide – or uric acid, while the compounds from which proteids are formed in plants have been shown to be amides. It has been shown in the laboratory that the chemical products from the breaking down of proteids are also amides, with which carbonic acid and oxalic acid are nearly always formed. The presence of hippuric acid in the urine of herbivorous animals, the indol and the skatol found in the products of pancreatic digestion (Salkowski), together with the tyrosin nearly always present in the animal body, has led to the supposition that aromatic groups may also be constituents of the proteid molecule.

All of this is of the greatest interest in the study of alkaloid production in connection with the fact, which has been proved, that when a plant does not receive nitrogen from outside it will not part with the amount of that element previously contained – in other words, the nitrogenous excreta will not be thrown off. Boussingault thought the higher plants flourished best when supplied with nitrogen in the form of nitrates, though Lehmann has found that many plants flourish better when supplied with ammonia salts than when supplied with nitrates, and this has been well marked in the case of the tobacco plant.

Nitric acid may be absorbed by a plant in the form of any of its salts which can diffuse into the tissues, the most common bases being soda, potash, lime, magnesia and ammonia. The formation of this acid, attendant upon the electric conditions of the atmosphere, may be one source of increase of vigor to the native soil of the Coca plant, where the entire region of the Montaña is so subject to frequent electrical storms. Then Coca flourishes best in soils rich in humus, and various observers have remarked that nitrogen is best fixed in such a soil. An interesting point in connection with which is that the ammonia supplied to the soil by decomposition of nitrogenous substances is converted into nitrous, and this into nitric acid, by a process termed nitrification, occasioned by the presence of certain bacteria in the soil to which this property is attributed. Proof of this was determined by chloroforming a section of nitrifying earth and finding that the process on that area ceased. The absorption of nitrogen by the Coca plant and the development of  proteids is closely associated with the nitrogenous excreta from the plant, and the consequent production of alkaloids which we are attempting to trace.

The nitrogen of the soil, however induced, is transferred by oxidation into what has been termed the reduced nitrogen of amides which, in combination with carbohydrates, under appropriate conditions forms proteids, in which oxalic acid is an indirect product. Several observers consider the leaves as active in this process, because the nitrogenous compounds are found to accumulate in the leaf until their full development, when they decrease. This is illustrated by the fact that in autumn, when new proteids are not necessary to matured leaves, it accumulates in the protoplasm, from which it is transferred to the stem, to be stored up as a food for the following season’s growth.

It has been found that the nitrates, passing from the roots as calcium nitrate, are changed in the leaves by the chlorophyl in the presence of light with the production of calcium oxalate, while nitric acid is set free, and conversely, in darkness the nitrates are permitted to accumulate. This change is influenced by the presence of oxalic acid, which, even in small quantities, is capable of decomposing the most dilute solutions of calcium nitrate. The free nitric acid in combination with a carbohydrate forms the protein molecule, while setting free carbonic acid and water.

Cellulose, which we have seen is formed from protoplasm, is dependent upon the appropriate conversion of the nitrogenous proteid. When this formation is active, large amounts of carbohydrates are required to form anew the protein molecule of the protoplasm, and the nitrogenous element is utilized. When there is an insufficiency of carbohydrate material the relative amount of nitrogen increases because the conditions are not favorable for its utilization in the production of proteids, and this excess of nitrogen is converted into amides, which are stored up. When the carbohydrate supply to the plant is scanty in amount this reserve store of amides is consumed, just the same as the reserve fat would be consumed in the animal structure under similar conditions.

The relation between the normal use of nitrogen in plants is analogous to its influence in animal structure, while the final products in both cases are similar, the distinction being chiefly one in the method of chemical conversion and excretion due to the difference in organic function. Thus, although urea and uric acid are not formed in plants, the final products of both animals and plants are closely allied. We  see this especially in the alkaloids caffeine and theobromine, which are almost identical with uric acid, so much so that Haig considers that a dose of caffeine is equivalent to introducing into the system an equal amount of uric acid.

There are numerous examples, not only in medicinal substances, but in the more familiar vegetables and fruits, which illustrate the possibilities of change due to cultivation. The Siberian rhododendron varies its properties from stimulant to a narcotic or cathartic, in accordance with its location of  growth. Aconite, assafoetida, cinchona, digitalis, opium and rhubarb are all examples which show the influence of soil  and cultivation. Indeed similar effects are to be seen everywhere about us, certain characteristics being prominently brought forth by stimulating different parts of the organism, so that ultimately distinct varieties are constituted.  The poisonous Persian almond has thus become the luscious peach. The starchy qualities of the potato are concentrated in its increased tuber, and certain poisonous mushrooms have become edible. The quality of the flour from wheat is influenced by locality and cultivation. The tomato, cabbage, celery, asparagus, are all familiar examples which emphasize the possibility of shaping nature’s wild luxuriance to man’s cultured necessity.

The chemical elements which are taken up by a plant vary considerably with the conditions of environment, and the influence of light in freeing acid in the leaf has been indicated. These conditions necessarily modify the constituents of the plant. When metabolism is effected certain changes take place in the tissues, with the formation of substances which may be undesirable to the plant, yet may be medicinally serviceable. Such a change occurs in the sprouts of potatoes stored in the dark, when the poisonous base solania is formed, which under normal conditions of growth is not present in the plant. A familiar example of change due to environment is exhibited in the grape, which may contain a varying proportion of acid, sugar and salts in accordance with the soil, climate and conditions of its cultivation, nor are these variations merely slight, for they are sufficient to generate in the wine made from the fruit entirely different tastes and properties.

The Basic Nature Of Alkaloids

In view of these facts, it seems creditable to suppose that by suitable processes of cultivation the output of alkaloids may be influenced in plants, and such experiments have already been extensively carried out in connection with the production of quinine. When attention was directed to the scientific cultivation of cinchona in the East, it was remarked that when manured with highly nitrogenous compounds the yield of alkaloid was greatly increased. This is paralleled by the fact that when an animal consumes a large quantity of nitrogenous food the output of urea and uric acid is greater.

Alkaloids are regarded as waste products because they cannot enter into the constructive metabolism of the plant, though they are not directly excreted, but are stored away where they will not enter the circulation, and may be soon shed, as in the leaf or bark. Though, as indicating their possible utility, it has been shown experimentally that plants are capable of taking up nitrogenous compounds, such as urea, uric acid, leucin, tyrosin, or glycocol, when supplied to their roots. In some recent experiments carried out at the botanical laboratory of Columbia University, I found that plant metabolism was materially hastened under the stimulus of cocaine.

The influence of light in the formation of alkaloids has already been shown. Tropical plants which produce these substances in abundance in their native state often yield but small quantities when grown in hot houses, indicating that a too intense light is unfavorable, probably in stimulating a too rapid action of the chlorophyl, together with a decomposition of the organic acid. Some years ago the botanist. Dr.  Louis Errera, of Brussels, found that the young leaves of certain plants yielded more abundant alkaloid than those that were mature. Following this suggestion, Dr. Greshoif is said to have found that young Coca leaves yield nearly double the amount of alkaloid over that contained in old leaves gathered at the same time. In tea plantations the youngest leaves are gathered, but it has always been customary to collect the mature leaves of the Coca plant, and these have usually been found to yield the greatest amount of alkaloid. The probability is that the amount of alkaloid present in the Coca leaf is not so much influenced by maturity as it is by the period of its gathering.

As regards the temperature at which growth progresses most favorably, Martins  has compared each plant to a thermometer, the zero point of which is the minimum temperature at which its life is possible. Thus, the Coca shrub in its native state will support a range from 18° C. (64.4° F.) to  30° C. (86° F.), an influence of temperature which is governed by the proportion of water contained in the plant. It has been found, from experiments of cultivation, that Coca will flourish in a temperature considerably higher than that which was originally supposed bearable, though the alkaloidal yield is less than that grown more temperately. The life process of any plant, however, may be exalted as the temperature rises above its zero point, though only continuing to rise until a certain height is reached, at which it ceases entirely. In the cold, plants may undergo a similar hibernation as do certain animals when metabolism is lessened,  though long-continued cold is fatal, and frost is always so absolutely to Coca. The influence of temperature on metabolism tends to alter the relations between the volume of carbonic acid given off and the amount of oxygen absorbed.  Under a mean temperature these relations are equal, while in a lower temperature more oxygen is absorbed in proportion to the carbonic acid given off, and oxygen exhalation ceases entirely below a certain degree.

A relatively large proportion of water in a plant determines its susceptibility to climatic conditions. Thus freezing not only breaks the delicate parenchymatous tissues, but alters the chemical constitution of the cells, while too high a temperature may prove destructive through a coagulation of the albumen. The appearance of plants killed by high or low temperature being similar. Roots are stimulated to curve to their source of moisture, and their power for absorption is more active in a high than in a low temperature, but as absorption is influenced by the transpiration of the plant, it is less active in a moist atmosphere, unless the metabolic processes of the plant occasions a higher temperature than the surrounding air. Such activity would be increased by the heat of the soil about the roots, and is probably manifest in the Coca plant through the peculiar soil of the Montaña.

The elevation at which a plant grows has an influence upon the absorption by the leaf. Thus it has been observed that while a slight increase in the carbonic acid gas contained in the air is favorable to growth, a considerable increase is prejudicial, while an increase or diminution of atmospheric pressure materially influences plant life. In some tropical countries Coca will grow at the level of the sea, provided there is an equable temperature and requisite humidity. Although in Peru Coca flourishes side by side with the best  coffee, it will not thrive at the elevations where the coffee plant is commonly grown in either the East or West Indies. In Java, where experiments have been made in cultivating Coca, it has been stated that there is no perceptible difference in the alkaloidal yield due to the influence of elevation, while in the best cocals of Peru it is considered that the higher the altitude at which Coca can be grown the greater will be the alkaloidal yield. This is possibly effected by similar influences to that governing the aromatic properties developed in  the coffee bean, which have been found more abundant when coffee is grown at an elevation, yet without danger of frost.  This may be attributed to slower growth and a consequent  deposit of nitrogenous principles instead of their being all consumed through a rapid metabolism.

It is therefore evident that as these several physical conditions have a marked bearing upon the life history of all plants, the more limited the range for any of these processes in any particular plant, the more it will be influenced. Thus in an altitude too high, the leaf of the Coca plant is smaller and only one harvest is possible within the year, while in the lower regions where the temperature exceeds 20° C. (68° F.)  vegetation may be exuberant, but the quality of leaf is impaired. The electrical conditions of the atmosphere, it has been shown, have an important bearing upon the development of Coca, through the influence of the gases set free in the atmosphere and the possible slight increase of nitric acid carried to the soil.

It was thought by Martins that the mosses and lichens which are found upon the Coca shrubs were detrimental to the plant through favoring too great humidity. In the light of our knowledge on the development of alkaloids, however, it has seemed to me that here is an opportunity for very extended experimentation, as may be inferred from a reference to the alkaloidal production of cinchona. At first efforts were made to free the cinchona trees from the lichens and mosses which naturally formed upon them; but it was discovered accidentally that those portions of the trees which nature had covered in this manner yielded an increased amount of alkaloid. When cinchona plantations were started in Java, experiments made upon the result of this discovery prompted a systematic covering of the trunks of  the trees artificially with moss, which was bound about them to the height from which the bark would be stripped. At  first very great pains was taken to collect just an appropriate kind of moss, which it was supposed from its association with the tree in its native home would be essential, but later experiments proved that any form of covering which protected the bark from light increased this alkaloidal yield. So  that to-day this process, which is known as “mossing,” is one of the most important in the cultivation and development of cinchona.

A Source Of Profound Confusion

The chief interest of Coca to the commercial world has centered upon its possibilities in the production of the one alkaloid, cocaine, instead of a more general economic use of the leaf. Because of this, much confusion of terms has resulted, for chemists have designated the amount of alkaloids obtained from the leaf as cocaine, although they have qualified their statement by saying that a portion of this is un-  crystallizable. Numerous experiments have been conducted to determine the relative yield of cocaine from the different varieties of Coca, and when uncrystallizable alkaloids have been found the leaf has been condemned for chemical uses.  It will thus be appreciated how a great amount of error has been generated and continued. The Bolivian or Huanuco variety has been found to yield the largest percentage of crystallizable alkaloid, while the Peruvian or Truxillo variety, though yielding nearly as much total alkaloid, affords a less percentage that is crystallizable, the Bolivian Coca being set apart for the use of the chemists to the exclusion of the Peruvian variety, which is richest in aromatic principles and best suited for medicinal purposes. As a matter of fact, the Peruvian Coca is the plant sought for by the native users.

There is not only a difference in the yield of alkaloid from different varieties of Coca, but also a difference in the yield from plants of one variety from the same cocal, and it would seem possible by selection and propagation of the better plants to obtain a high percentage of alkaloid. At present there is no effort in the native home of Coca toward the production of alkaloid in the leaf through any artificial means.  Regarding the quality of alkaloid that has been found in the different plants, the Peruvian variety has been found to contain equal proportions of crystallizable and uncrystallizable alkaloid, while the Bolivian variety contains alkaloids the greater amount of which are crystallizable cocaine. Plants which are grown in conservatory, even with the greatest care, yield but a small percentage of alkaloid, of which, however, the uncrystallizable alkaloid seems more constant while the relative amount of cocaine is diminished. In leaves grown at Kew .44 percent, of alkaloid was obtained, of which .1 percent, was crystallizable. From experiments of Mr. G. Peppe, of Renchi, Bengal, upon leaves obtained from plants imported from Paris, it was found that leaves dried in the sun yielded .53 per cent, of alkaloid, of which .23 per cent was  uncrystallizable. The same leaves dried in the shade on cloth for twenty hours, then rolled by hand, after the manner in which Chinese tea is treated, then cured for two and a half hours and dried over a charcoal fire and packed in close tins, yielded .58 per cent, of alkaloid, of which .17 per cent, was  uncrystallizable.

It is probable that each variety of Coca has a particular range of altitude at which it may be best cultivated. The Bolivian variety is grown at a higher altitude than Peruvian Coca, while the Novo Granatense variety has even been found to thrive at the level of the sea. Among Coca, as among the cinchona certain varieties yield a large proportion of total alkaloids, of which only a small amount is crystallizable. The Cinchona succirubra yields a large amount of mixed alkaloids, but a small amount of quinine, while Cinchona Calisaya yields a smaller amount of mixed alkaloids and a large amount of crystallizable quinine. A few authors who have referred to the alkaloidal yield of Coca leaves have casually remarked that the plants grown in the shade produce an increased amount above those grown in the  sun, which would appear to be paralleled by the formation of chlorophyl and the production of proteids, both of which have so important a bearing upon the metabolism of the plant and the final nitrogenous excretion.

This subject is one full of interest, yet so intricate that it has not been possible for me to elaborate the suggestions here set forth in time to embody my investigation in the present writing, though I hope to present the result of my research at no very distant date. It would seem that sufficient has been shown, however, to indicate the possibility of modifying plant metabolism under appropriate conditions of culture so as to influence the development of the alkaloidal excreta. The comparisons between plant and animal life may have proved of sufficient interest to enlist attention to the higher physiology in which will be traced the action of Coca.