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Thoughts On Coca, Cannabis, Opium & Tobacco – Gifts Of The Great Spirit


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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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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:

THE BRITISH MEDICAL JOURNAL, April 18, 1874.

THE PHYSIOLOGICAL ACTION OF COCA, By ALEXANDER BENNETT, M.D.

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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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.


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If You Are Not A Gnat, This May Interest You

Based on hundreds of communications I have received from readers of this blog, I reject the often-asserted “fact” that most people these days have the attention span of a gnat. Therefore, I am publishing the full text, rather than a few excerpts of this remarkable document from 1876 in which a prominent physician offers his first-hand observations on the medical benefits of Coca leaf.

While many of Dr. Christison’s observations are directed toward the role of Coca leaf in relieving fatigue brought on by exercise and poor physical conditioning, scattered throughout these pages are tidbits of information that suggest what many other Doctors later confirmed – that Coca leaf is both a preventative and a remedy for a wide range of conditions and diseases, and that it offers these benefits with absolutely no undesirable side-effects.

Readers of this blog may have read other posts in which I present evidence that Coca leaf could be of great benefit for people who suffer from congestive heart failure, migraines, ME/CFS, inflammatory bowel disease, Alzheimer’s, fibromyalgia, obesity, reaction to chemotherapy, arthritis, and many other terrible diseases that have a basis in whole body inflammation. Most relevant, in my opinion, is that in his observations Dr. Christison affirms that the use of Coca leaf in non-addictive and has none of the effects of ingesting Cocaine. Put in contemporary language, Dr. Christison is clear that nobody could possibly drink enough Coca leaf tea to get high.

So if you are not a gnat, and if you want to understand the medical applications of Coca leaf from the unbiased perspective of a celebrated physician in an article published in one of the leading medical journals of his time, please read on.

 

Observations On The Effects Of Cuca, Or Coca, The Leaves Of Erythroxylon Coca

By Sir Robert Christison, Bart., M.D., D.C L., Ll.D., F.R.S.Ed.,

President of the British Medical Association; Ordinary Physician to the Queen in Scotland; Professor of Materia Medica in the University of Edinburgh

(in) British Medical Journal, April 29, 1876

THE brief notice taken in my introductory address to this Society in November last, of the restorative and preservative virtues of the Peruvian Cuca or coca-leaf against bodily fatigue from severe exercise, has led to numberless references to me by friends and strangers in all parts of the kingdom for information as to its effects, its safety, its applicability to the treatment of some states of disease, and the quarters in which it may be obtained.

As I am not aware of any trials of it having been made in this country, either earlier than mine or so extensive, and as I shall probably best answer the many inquiries sent me by publishing an account of these experiments, I have been induced to present the following narrative to the Botanical Society. The inquiry, of which my recent trials form a part, is very far from being complete, because my supply was quite inadequate till the other day, when I received a sufficiency through the kind services of my colleague Professor Wyville Thomson, of the Challenger expedition.

But the facts already obtained will probably interest not a few at the present time, were it for no more than that they set at rest all doubts that the more important of the effects of Cuca, experienced in its own country by the natives of Peru and the neighbouring states, may be equally produced in Europeans at home; and that, contrary to what seems universally believed in Peru, the virtues of the leaf may be preserved, with due care, for many years.

Since my observations must bear reference to what is the doctrine and practice of the Peruvians as to the use of this vegetable, I must introduce the subject with a summary of what has been written about it by the historians of Peru and by travellers in that country. The accounts which have thus appeared—from time to time are apparently very contradictory; but I think they may be reconciled, and a consistent result obtained.

In the first place, however, let me remark that I have ventured to restore to the commercial article its original name, Cuca. This was Its Indian name, which the Spaniards corrupted into coca. But there is no reason why other nations should adopt a Spanish corruption; and there is a very good argument against transferring it to our own tongue, inasmuch as we have already two totally different vegetable products, cocoa and cacao, which, as indiscriminately pronounced in ordinary speech, coco and coca, are undistinguishable from the corrupt name of this new invention. I hope, therefore, that others will second me in attaching a characteristic name to an article which seems very likely to come ere long into general use among our countrymen at home.

The early historians of Peru have taken special notice of the culture, properties, and uses of Cuca. Among these, none is more full, clear, and fair, than the famous chronicler of the reign of the Incas and of the Spanish conquest, Garcilasso de la Vega. His narrative bears internal evidence of great historical care. Other reasons, to be alluded to presently, also add to the confidence which the statements themselves create in the reader; and hence it is scarcely necessary to refer to any other early authority. Garcilasso’s information was derived partly from what he personally knew, partly from a Spanish priest, Blas Valera, who was long in Peru, and whose manuscripts came into the historian’s possession.

De la Vega informs us that the use of Cuca in Peru dates from an early period of the dominion of the Incas; that at first it was scarce, and was monopolised by the monarchs themselves; that it was employed as an offering to the sun, their parent and deity; and that sometimes, however, a basket of it was presented to one of their curacas, or lords, to whom the ruler desired to show special favour. But, as the Incas extended their conquests northward along the Cordilleras of the Andes, the culture of the plant also became much more widely extended, through the acquisition of suitable lands for the purpose; the leaves came gradually into more general use; and at the time of the Spanish conquest of Peru, the natives almost universally indulged in Cuca-chewing.

The Spaniards, however, were too devoted Catholics to fall into a custom which was the offspring, and continued to have the savour, of profane heathen rites. The chewing of Cuca was detested by them, condemned by public opinion, and charged with being baneful to the health of those who gave themselves up to it. Strong prejudices thus prevailed against it. But Garcilasso de la Vega and Blas Valera protest against these prejudices, and declare that the Peruvian natives esteemed Cuca as above gold and silver in value; that it possessed great energy in preserving strength during fatiguing exercise and privation of food; that it was an useful medicine for improving the teeth, mending broken bones, curing maggoty sores, and warding off the effects of cold; and that another important purpose served by it was to enrich the Spanish traders in it, and to supply the chief tithes of the cathedral and canons of Cuzco.

The plant is described as a shrub about six feet high, much resembling in foliage the strawberry-tree of Spain (Arbutus Unedo), but producing much thinner leaves; and it is stated that the gatherers pick off the leaves individually with caution; dry them quickly in the sun, so as to retain their green colour, which is much prized; and preserve them carefully from damp, which seriously damages their quality. Garcilasso adds an anecdote which illustrates both the Spanish dislike and the real virtues of Cuca.

A Spanish friend of his met one of his countrymen, a poor soldier, plodding his solitary way among the Andes, chewing Cuca, and carrying his two-year-old child in his arms. On upbraiding the man for adopting a barbarian custom, abhorred by all true believers as the fruit and symbol of idolatrous worship, the soldier said that might be; he at one time shared in these prejudices, but had found he could not carry his child without the strength which the Cuca imparted, and was too poor to afford the cost of a bearer to relieve him of his burden. Nowhere does the author of the Royal Commentaries of the Incas say one word of any evil consequences actually resulting from the use of this vegetable becoming a habit.

In face of the opposition it received from subsequent authors, and from some modern travellers, this testimony of Garcilasso de la Vega may be received with favour. He was son of one of Pizarro’s conquering captains of the same name, by a niece of one of the last of the Incas. He would, therefore, escape the tendency of the pure Spanish race to vilify the manners and customs of the people they had subdued; and his native and royal extraction gave him access to full information on such a subject. It is true that he left the land of his birth at the age of twenty (in 1550), and passed the remainder of a long life in Spain. But a youth of his family extraction on both sides was old enough to take part in the stirring events of the period while he remained at Cuzco; and, after leaving it for Spain, he kept up correspondence with the friends he left behind him, collecting from them information for his history.

I was first led to pay attention to the Peruvian custom of chewing Cuca by reading, full forty years ago, the Travels in Chilé, Peru, and on the River Amazons, of the German naturalist Pöppig, who has taken a very different view of this national custom from Garcilasso de la Vega and Blas Valera.

Pöppig was no less than five years in these regions, from 1827 to 1832, and passed much of his time among the Cuca-chewers in the forest regions of the Peruvian Andes. Probably no European in the present century had such opportunities of intimately studying the habit. His statements of fact and his opinions are, therefore, entitled to much consideration.

The conclusion at which he arrived is that “The habit is as seductive and as injurious to health, mind, and morals as that of tippling in Europe, or opium-eating in the East. He says it is almost confined to natives of the aboriginal red race, has not been adopted by negroes, and is discountenanced among all of European descent; that even those who use it to no great excess must stop their work several times a-day to chew their quid contemplatively, and are much displeased if disturbed in their placid enjoyment; and that those who have got thus far are apt to become mere slaves to it, surrender every other occupation for it, and, quitting society, pass their time in the wild forests between hunting for their sustenance and lying under a tree chewing their beloved weed, calling up delightful visions and building castles in the air, and so insensible to outward occurrences as to remain thus all night indifferent to cold, torrents of rain, and even the howlings of the panther in their neighbourhood.”

“But, in the end, the stomach gives way; the countenance becomes haggard, and the limbs emaciated; they can no longer take sufficient food, and even lose all relish for the enjoyment which has been insidiously destroying them; constipation sets in, even obstruction of the bowels ensues, or jaundice, or dropsy; and thus at last life is cut short about the age of fifty by one or other of these maladies, or through simple extenuation and exhaustion. Sometimes, when a fit of excess is followed by dislike, and the habit is suddenly abandoned, the sufferer rallies, and seems about to be reclaimed. But, ere long, like the drink-craver in exactly the same circumstances, he is driven by an uncontrollable impulse to further and worse indulgence.”

“When the habit has thus degenerated into a vice, the victim becomes, in the language of the country, a Coquero, and is irreclaimable. If a man of Spanish blood begin to use Cuca, he is at once looked on with suspicion; for usually, in the course of time, he abandons himself entirely to it, and becomes an outcast from the society in which he moved.”

Pöppig gives, among other instances, a melancholy tale of a young man of good station in Huanuco, who fell into this vice, lived for some time the life of a savage. in the woods, was found out by his relatives in a miserable condition in a remote native village, and was brought back to town by force, and for a short time apparently reclaimed. But at length, eluding his friends, he fled back again to the mountains, and resumed the habits of a confirmed Coquero.

It is unnecessary to follow Pöppig further through the arguments and illustrations, very interesting however, by which he was led to denounce Cuca as a deceitful and destructive stimulant of the narcotic kind. He allows, nevertheless, that it has really wonderful power in supporting the strength under prolonged fatigue without food. He mentions that, in his long rides through the Peruvian forests, he had seen his Indian followers accompany him on foot for fifty miles in one day, without food, or anything else except Cuca; and that, in the revolutionary wars which ended with the Spanish American States throwing off subjection to old Spain, the native Peruvian troops, poorly clothed and ill fed, were able to fall upon their enemies by surprise, by making long marches among the mountains without food or sleep, merely resting for intervals of a few minutes occasionally to refresh themselves by Cuca chewing.

He adds an important fact, which I am able to confirm, that, when his day’s journey came to an end, he did not find his Indian attendants had at all lost their appetites; for, when done with work for the day, although they did not care for food while travelling and chewing, they made an excellent meal in the evening, usually eating twice as much as satisfied his own hunger. These last rather inviting statements will prepare the way for the more favourable testimony of ulterior travellers on the same subject.

Three valuable observers, who have since spent some time as naturalists in Peru and became familiar with the fondness of the natives for the Cuca-leaf, have treated the question minutely; and they separately bear witness to the soundness of the views of Garcilasso de la Vega and Blas Valera, and to some mistake on the part of Pöppig, for which it is not easy to account. It is important to see to what their testimony exactly amounts. It is by no means sufficient, as some have thought, to set aside Pöppig ‘s statements, by referring to the wide dissemination of the Peruvian habit. It has been said, indeed, to be nearly universal among a population of eight million inhabiting the Andes; and the annual collection of the leaf has been estimated at no less than thirty millions of pounds. Witt the habit of intoxication with opium, or with alcoholic spirits, might be upheld on the very same plea.

In 1838, Von Tschudi visited Peru, and was for some time in the neighbourhood of Lima, as well as in various other districts, where the natives of Indian race almost universally use Cuca, and where he himself repeatedly made trial of it.

Dr. Veddell of Poitiers, who had previously investigated with singular success in Upper Peru the botany of the cinchonas, and was the first to discover there the true yellow bark tree, the most valuable of them all, revisited Bolivia in 1851, where, in the province of Yungas, the finest Cuca is said to be cultivated. He, too, made trial of it himself, and had very ample opportunities of witnessing its use and its effects among the Peruvians.

In 1860, Clements Markham, who had charge of the Government expeditions to Peru in quest of cinchona plants for cultivation in India, was much in the wildest forest districts of Lower Peru, immediately adjoining Bolivia, was always attended by Cuca-chewing natives, and not unfrequently followed their example.

All these authorities, undeniably of the first rank, agree that the repulsive accounts of Pöppig are much exaggerated. The general result of their experience is to raise a suspicion that, in a few instances, his deplorable history of the abandoned irreclaimable Coquero may be not far from the truth. But they do not seem to have themselves met with any such cases.

Von Tschudi, indeed, says, that a profligate Coquero may be known by his foul breath, stumpy teeth, pale quivering lips, black-cornered mouth, dim eyes, yellow skin, unsteady gait, and general apathy; but in his narrative, obviously in part compiled, he does not say he described such a man from actual observation; on the contrary, all three travellers represent in colours more or less strong the great utility of Cuca to the Indians in the hard labour they have to undergo.

Von Tschudi observes that, in his own trials, he found it to be a preventive of that difficulty in breathing which is felt in the rapid ascent of the Andes; that, when frequenting the Peruvian Puna, or great desert table-land, 14,000 feet above the level of the sea, a decoction of the leaves enabled him to climb heights, and pursue swift-footed game, with no greater difficulty than in similar rapid exercise on the coast ; and that he experienced a sense of satiety which did not leave him till the time of the next meal after that which he ought otherwise to have taken. He mentions the following instance, which he carefully watched, of the power of the Indians to bear long fatigue without any other sustenance. 

A miner, sixty-two years old, worked for him at laborious digging five days and nights without food, or more than two hours of sleep nightly, his only support being half an ounce of Cuca leaves every three hours. The man then accompanied him on foot during a ride of sixty miles in two days; and, at parting, expressed himself ready to engage to undertake as much as he had performed. Nevertheless, von Tschudi was assured by the priest of the district that he had never known the man to be ill. 

In general terms, this traveller declares he is clearly of opinion that the moderate use of Cuca not only is innocuous, but may even be conducive to health and, again he observes,”… after long and attentive observation, I am convinced that its use in moderation is nowise detrimental, and that without it the poorly fed Peruvian Indian would be incapable of going through his usual labour. The Cuca plant must be considered a great blessing to Peru” 

Weddell, in less glowing terms, says, that careful inquiry where Cuca is most in use satisfied him that it might be injurious to Europeans not gradually accustomed to it; but that it has the power of sustaining the strength for a time without food, yet without interfering with the appetite soon afterwards; that, in his own trials, he experienced a slight excitement and a little subsequent sleeplessness, but nothing else; and that, in the countries he visited, he never saw things go the length described by Pöppig, who must have been misled by exceptional cases 

The testimony of Clements Markham is very explicit. He says the properties of Cuca are to enable a greater amount of fatigue to be borne with less nourishment and to prevent difficult breathing in the ascent of steep mountain-sides; that, although when used to excess it is prejudicial to the health, yet ” … of all the narcotics used by man, it is the least injurious and most soothing and invigorating” ; that he chewed it frequently, and, besides an agreeable soothing feeling, found he could endure long abstinence from food with less inconvenience than he could otherwise have felt; and that it enabled him to ascend precipitous mountain-sides with a feeling of lightness and elasticity, and without losing breath. ” It enabled him to ascend the mighty passes of the Andes “… with ease and comfort.” 

It is difficult to reconcile with these favourable opinions the very opposite conclusions of Pöppig, founded apparently on personal observation. Probably, he was too prepossessed with the abhorrence with which the practice of chewing Cuca was regarded by the white inhabitants of the towns; hence he might have mistaken for the effects of the habit what perhaps was no more than the physical expression of the natural indolence of the Indian race when indulged in to excess; or, in other cases, the result of over-indulgence in ardent spirits, which, he says, the Coquero sometimes adds to his other vices.

Mr. Bates met with this habit among the natives on the banks or the river Amazons, where he says it is regarded with abhorrence by respectable people, and therefore only practised secretly. He represents Cuca, there called ypaaå, as stimulating and not injurious when used in moderation, but producing weakness and nervous exhaustion when indulged in to excess. His observations, however, are too brief and general to throw much light on the subject.

The shrub which produces Cuca thrives best in the clearances in the elevated forests of the Andes, in a climate distinguished by frequent rain-showers, and exemption equally from frosts and from extreme heats. In due season it is covered with clusters (fascicles) of delicate white flowers, which give it the appearance of our blackthorn in spring; and the flowers are succeeded by red berries. The plants bear stripping of their leaves three times in the course of the year. Great care is usually taken to nip them off without hurting the axillary buds. They are dried at once quickly and thoroughly, and so as not to curl; at least, all good specimens I have seen present the leaves flattened and many of them entire, almost as if intended as a herbarium.

Great care is taken to keep them afterwards dry, when transported from place to place. When newly dried, they have a strong odour, which is said to be apt to cause headache in those frequent the drying-floors for the first time; but this odour passes off by the time the leaves are packed. The packages when opened have a powerful tea-like odour; which they retain on reaching Europe, if duly protected from damp. In Peru it is alleged that their properties soon deteriorate, that in a few months they lose much of their virtue, and that when taken to the coast they are worthless in twelve months. This statement, however, must be received with some limitation.

It is evident, from the pains taken in Peru to preserve them from damp and exposure, that the leaves are easily damaged without due precaution; so that neglect will account for the inferiority of many old samples. Besides, it is contrary to all analogy, that leaves destitute of volatile oil, at least not owing their virtue to volatile oil, should lose them under careful preservation from the ordinary causes of decay; and various medicinal leaves of European growth, formerly thought to become inert by keeping, are now, known to retain their properties very long, since we have been aware of the precautions for preserving them. Further, specimens brought to Europe have been found to yield a crystalline principle, which physiologically possesses no mean activity as a narcotic, which is probably the active ingredient, and which apparently bears transport and long keeping well. Lastly, well preserved Cuca will produce in Europe in no small degree, after being kept several years, the remarkable effects on man which are every day experienced in Peru.

Cuca is not yet a regular commercial article in this country. In the prospect of its soon becoming so, the characters of a good sample should be well understood. I have had two fine specimens of it, and have seen several evidently much inferior. The fine qualities consist of leaves in a great measure unbroken, often folded, but many of thein too spread out, never curled, but always flattened, never brown, always deep green on their upper and gray-green on their under source, and uniform in that respect, seldom mottled in colour. They are thin and crisp, beautifully reticulated, and traversed longitudinally by a single fine vein on each side of the strong midrib. In mass they have a strong odour resembling that of tea, and when chewed they have a peculiar well-marked herbaceous taste, not disagreeable, followed, after a continuous chewing for some minutes by a gentle, pleasant sense of warmth in the mouth. Inferior specimens, besides differing in appearance from these, have a fainter odour, and do not occasion warmth in the mouth when chewed.

Cuca has been subjected to chemical analysis, and found to contain a crystalline principle, to which naturally has been given the name of cocaine. But it is not my intention to enter here into the chemistry of the subject.

Nor is the Botanical Society the fit place for discussing fully the experimental investigations which have been made into the physiological actions of cocaine, or of coca itself, further than as they bear on what has been said above upon that point, or on what is to follow as the account of my own observations. In that respect, the most important inquiry is that of Dr. Mantegazza of Milan, published in a prize essay, which has been noticed in the Őesterreichischce Zeitschrift fűr Praktische Heilkunde for November 1859.

He found, by personal trials, that in small doses it promotes digestion, increases the frequency of the pulse, raises the animal heat, and accelerates respiration; that in a dose somewhat larger, there is added a facility of motion and desire for it, succeeded by a soothing effect; and that in a large dose, such as three drachms or upwards, it doubles the rate of the pulse, causes flashes of light, headache, strong tendency to muscular action, and great vigour of mind, succeeded by a state of pleasing, imaginative calm, described by him in brilliant colours, which resemble the poetical ravings of De Quincey, in representing the visionary musings of the opium-eater.

A specimen of the plant is now in flower in the Edinburgh Botanic Garden (April 18th). It is well represented in an uncoloured engraving in Hooker’s Companion to the Botanical Magazine, ii, 25, 1836.

Were these effects the general rule, there would be more justice in the unfavourable representations of Pöppig than has been hitherto admitted. It must be allowed as some confirmation of Mantegazza’s statement, that Weddell thought he occasionally observed hallucinations in the Coqueros of Peru, when under the influence of their dose; and that Von Tschudi saw effects which disposed him to compare Cuca with stramonium, an unequivocal narcotic poison. I scarcely think the recently ascertained deadly effects of the principle cocaine upon animals can be fairly added to the evidence in the same direction. It is true that experimental inquiries, and, among these, the most recent by Dr. Alexander Bennett, published in his thesis, and also as part of an experimental research carried on by a committee of the British Medical Association, prove that in small animals cocaine produces in an adequate dose paralysis of sensation, tetanic convulsions, and death. But he found the same effects to be caused by theine, caffeine, theobromine, and guaranine, the nearly identical crystalline principles of tea, coffee, chocolate, and the Brazilian guaranå; yet no one will imagine on that account, that the habitual use of these restoratives has any injurious influence on the health.

At all events, however, the following experiments, with doses little short of those which are stated to have acted so extraordinarily in the case of Dr, Mantegazza, show results materially different from his, and prove that the leaves may be easily used by most, if not all, persons, so as to produce no unpleasant, unsafe, or even suspicious effects whatsoever. It must be acknowledged, nevertheless, from consideration of the whole facts recorded by good observers, and the opinions formed by competent judges, that, if Cuca is to be added to the restoratives of Europe—which seems not unlikely —it ought to be used at first with caution, and under close observation of its relative effect in several varieties of condition, such as age, sex, and constitution, rest and exercise, bodily and mental, dose and form, etc.

My first trials were made in 1870, when I was not aware that anyone else in Europe had experimented with it. My specimen was sent to me by a London mercantile gentleman, Mr. Batchelor, six years before, and must therefore have been kept for seven years at least. The leaves had been excellently dried, flat, unbroken, and green; and they had been equally well preserved by sprinkling a little quick-lime among them before being shipped. Even in 1870 they were green, brittle, and strongly-scented. Two of my students, out of the habit of material exercise for five months, tired themselves thoroughly with a walk of sixteen miles in the month of April. They returned home at their dinner hour, having taken no food since a nine o’clock breakfast. They were very hungry, but refrained from food, and took each an infusion of two drachms of Cuca, made with the addition of five grains of carbonate of soda, which was added to imitate the Peruvian method of chewing the leaves along with a very small quantity of lime or plant ashes. I am satisfied, however, that any such addition is superfluous.

Presently hunger left them entirely, all sense of fatigue soon vanished, and they proceeded to promenade Prince’s Street for an hour; which they did with ease and pleasure. On returning home their hunger revived with great intensity; they made an excellent dinner ; they felt alert all the subsequent evening, slept soundly all night, and next morning awoke quite refreshed and active. One of them, in setting out for the evening promenade, felt very slightly giddy, as if he had taken just a little too much wine. But the other experienced no other sensation than the removal of fatigue, and ability for active exertion.

Having subsequently received from Dr. Alexander Bennett a larger supply, obtained by him in Paris, I made farther trials in the spring of last year, 1875. This sample was more broken, less green, less scented than the other, less strong in taste, and scarcely producing any sense of warmth in the mouth when chewed. Obviously it was of lower quality. Ten of our students made trial of it under conditions precisely similar to those observed in the prior experiment; and they reported the results to me severally in writing. Their walks varied between twenty and thirty miles, and three cleared the latter distance on a rather hilly road at nearly mile pace over all. Two were unable to remark any distinct effect from the Cuca. Several felt decided, but only moderate relief from fatigue. Four experienced complete relief, like their predecessors in 1870; and one of these had walked thirty miles without any food. All found their hunger cease for a time; but shortly afterwards neither appetite nor digestion was at all impaired. No disagreeable effect was produced at the time or subsequently, except that a few felt a brief nausea after their dose, owing probably to the form of infusion in which it was taken.

I then determined to make some careful personal trials with the scanty remains of my best specimen. For this purpose I thought it best to adopt the Peruvian method of chewing, but I discarded their lime and ashes. For not only was I unable to discover, in the nature, composition, or effects of the leaf, any chemical or physiological reason for such addition; but likewise I found that the Llipta, as the addition is called, which was presented to me with one of my specimens from Peru, has no alkaline or calcareous taste, and therefore cannot effect decomposition of the leaf while it is masticated. The result confirms the view I had thus taken.

I had first to ascertain what amount of exercise was required to cause very thorough and permanent fatigue. At the same time, I made such observations on certain of the functions as seemed desirable and easily practicable. In the beginning of May, under a day temperature of 58 degrees , I walked fifteen miles in four stages, with intervals of half-an hour, at four-mile pace, without food or drink, after breakfast at half-past eight, and ending with a stage of six miles at half-past five in the afternoon. I had great difficulty in maintaining my pace through weariness towards the close, and was as effectually tired out as I remember ever to have been in my life, even after thirty miles at a stretch forty or fifty years before. Perspiration was profuse during every stage, particularly the last of all. I took the urine-solids every two hours, and found a decided increase of the hourly solids during the forenoon’s exercise, and a decrease during the evening’s rest after dinner. The pulse, naturally 62 at rest, was 110 on my arrival at home; and two hours later it was still 90. I was unfit for mental work in the evening, but slept soundly all night, and awoke next morning somewhat wearied and disinclined for active exercise, although otherwise quite well. Two days afterwards, I repeated this experiment, and obtained precisely the same results, except that the urine-solids were not so abundant during exercise as before, although my food had been precisely the same.

Four days later, with precisely the same dietary, I walked sixteen miles in three stages of four, six, and six miles, with one interval of half-an-hour, and a second of an hour and a-half. During the last forty-five minutes of the second rest I chewed thoroughly eighty grains of my best specimen of Cuca, reserving forty grains more for use during the last stage. To make assurance double sure, I swallowed the exhausted fibre, which was my only difficulty. On completing the previous ten miles, I was fagged enough to look forward to the remaining six miles with considerable reluctance. I did not observe any sensible effect from the Cuca till I got out of doors, and put on my usual pace; when at once I was surprised to find that all sense of weariness had entirely fled, and that I could proceed not only with ease, but even with elasticity. I got over the six miles in an hour and a-half without difficulty, found it easy when done to get up a four-and-a-half mile pace, and to ascend quickly two steps at a time to my dressing-room, two floors upstairs; in short, had no sense of fatigue or other uneasiness whatsoever. During the last stage, I perspired as profusely as during the two previous walks.

On arrival at home, the pulse was 90, and in two hours had fallen to 72 ; the excitement of the circulation being thus much less, and its subsidence more rapid, than after the same amount of exercise without Cuca. The urine-solids hourly were much the same while the exercise lasted as during exercise on the day of fifteen miles’ walking without Cuca, although the breakfast dietary was precisely the same. During the evenings rest, the urine-solids were almost the same as during the preceding period of exercise—a fact which is capable of more interpretations than one.

On arriving at home before dinner, I felt neither hunger nor thirst after complete abstinence from food and drink of every kind for nine hours; but on dinner appearing in half an hour, ample justice was done to it. Throughout the evening I was alert, and free from all drowsiness. Two hours of restlessness on going to bed I ascribed to the dose of two drachms being rather large; and after that I slept soundly, and awoke in the morning quite refreshed, and free from all sense of fatigue, and from all other uneasiness. Another effect, not unworthy of notice, was that a tenderness of the eyes, which for some years has rendered continuous reading a somewhat painful effort, was very much mitigated during all the evening.

I reserved what remained of my good specimen of Cuca for further trial during my autumn holidays in the country. On September 15th, while residing at St. Fillans on Loch Earn, I ascended Ben Vorlich. The mountain is 3, 224 feet above the sea, and 2,900 feet above the highway on the loch-side. The ascent is for the most part easy, over first a rugged footpath, and then through short heather and short deep grass; but the final dome of 700 feet is very steep, and half of it among blocks and slabs of mica-slate, the abode of a few ptarmigan, of which a small covey was sprung in crossing the stony part. On the whole, no Highland mountain of the same height is more easily ascended. The temperature at the side of the lake was 62 degrees ; on the summit, 52 degrees. In consequence of misdirection, I had to descend an intervening slope on the way, so that the whole ascent was 3,000 feet perpendicular. I took two hours and a half to reach the summit, anl was so fatigued near the close, that it required considerable determination to persevere during the last 300 feet. I was richly rewarded, however, by an extremely clear atmosphere, and a magnificent mountainous panorama, of which the grandest object was Ben-Nevis, forty miles off, shown quite apart from other mountains, and presenting the whole of its great precipice edgeways to the eye. My companions, who, as well as I, were provided with an excellent luncheon, soon disposed of it satisfactorily; but I contented myself with chewing two-thirds of one drachm of Cuca leaves. 

We spent three-quarters of an hour at the top, during which I looked forward to the descent with no little distrust. On rising to commence it, however, although I had not previously experienced any sensible change, I at once felt that all fatigue was gone, and I went down the long descent with an ease like that which I used to enjoy in my mountainous rambles in my youth. At the bottom, I was neither weary, nor hungry, nor thirsty, and felt as if I could easily walk home four miles; but that was unnecessary. On arriving home at five o’clock, I still felt no fatigue, hunger, or thirst. At six, however, I made a very good dinner. During the subsequent evening, I was disposed to be busy, and not drowsy; and sound sleep during the night left me in the morning refreshed and ready for another day’s exercise. I had taken neither food nor drink of any kind after breakfasting at half-past eight in the morning; but I continued to chew my Cuca till I finished the sixty grains when halfway down the mountain. I had not with me in the country any apparatus for observations on the renal secretion.

Eight days afterwards, I repeated the experiment, but used ninety grains of Cuca. Being better acquainted with the way, no ground was lost by any intervening descent, so that the perpendicular height to be reached from the highway was 2,900 feet. I took two hours and a quarter to ascend, and on reaching the summit was extremely fatigued. The weather had changed, so that the temperature, 51 degrees at the loch-side, was 41 degrees at the top. A moderate breeze consequently caused so much chilliness that my party were glad to re-descend in half an hour, by which time I had consumed two-thirds of the Cuca, taking, as formerly, neither food nor drink. The effects were precisely the same, perhaps even more complete, for I easily made the descent without a halt in an hour and a quarter, covering at least four miles of rugged ground; and I walked homewards two miles of a smooth level road to meet my carriage. I then felt tired, because nearly three hours had elapsed since I consumed the Cuca, and in that time the Peruvians find it necessary to renew their restorative. But there was no more Cuca left, and I was tempted to substitute a draught of excellent porter. I suppose this indulgence led on to the unusual allowance of four glasses of wine during dinner, instead of one or none; and the two errors together, with possibly some discordance between Cuca and alcohol, were the probable cause of a restless feverish slumber during the early part of the night; but quiet sleep succeeded and I awoke quite refreshed and active next morning.

One of my sons, who accompanied me on both occasions, used Cuca the first time, but also took luncheon on the summit. Though not in good condition for such work, he made it out without fatigue; and on the second occasion, when there was no more Cuca to give him, he felt decidedly the want of it when he reached the highway at the foot of the mountain.

These trials have been described particularly, because I feel that„ without details, the general results, which may be now summarized, would scarcely carry conviction with them. These are the following. The chewing of Cuca removes extreme fatigue, and prevents it. Hunger and thirst are suspended; but eventually appetite and digestion are unaffected. No injury whatever is sustained at the time, or subsequently in occasional trials; but I can say nothing of what may or may not happen if it be used habitually. From sixty to ninety grains are sufficient for one trial; but some persons either require more, or are constitutionally proof against its restorative action. It has no effect on the mental faculties, so far as my own trials and other observations go, except liberating them from the dullness and drowsiness. which follow great bodily fatigue. I do not yet know its effect on mental fatigue purely. As to the several functions, it reduces the effect of severe protracted exercise in accelerating the pulse. It increases the saliva, which, however, may be no more than the effect of mastication. It does not diminish the perspiration, so far as I can judge. It probably lessens the hourly secretion of urine-solids. On this point I cannot yet speak with any confidence, because it appears to me that the investigation of the action of Paratriptics, or those substances which seem to lessen the wear and tear of the textures of the body in the exercise of their several functions, involves considerations and precautions which have escaped the attention of experimentalists on this interesting question, and which my own experiments hitherto have not taken completely into account.

I have made no trials of the influence of Cuca on disease, or the consequences of disease. Some notices in the journals on this subject show that it is attracting attention ; but, so far as I see, it is a difficult one, and may prove extensive, and therefore it ought to fall into the hands of some able inquirer, who will be in no hurry to rush into print. I have been asked by correspondents in the south of England if Cuca will do good to a weak heart, to an old paralysis, to the feebleness of advancing age, etc. My reply has been, that I know nothing of all this, and that no one should use it medicinally, but under the advice and observation of his medical attendant.

A more convenient form for use than that of a quid is very desirable. M. Laumaillé, who rode, or on very bad roads led, his bicycle 760 miles from Paris to Vienna in little more than twelve days, in the month of October, carried with him, as part of his scanty baggage, a small supply of the liqueur de coca, an Indian tonic, by which he was always able to assuage the sudden and painful hunger which sometimes accompanies continued exertion”

Unfortunately, he gives us too little of his experience with it ; but he observes that, when about sixty miles from Vienna, ” continuing his way along a road of fluid mire, fatigue and sleep at length told upon him, but the marvelous liqueur de coca again supported him and gave him strength”. I have made by rule of thumb a very palatable liqueur, with only a fourth of rectified spirit, and containing in half-an-ounce the soluble part of sixty grains of leaves, but I have not yet tested its virtue. Pharmaceutical chemists, however, will soon solve this problem, and, it may be hoped, without looking for a patent.

 


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Could Whole Coca Leaf Treat Fibromyalgia?

 

Is it possible that Coca Leaf tea might treat and perhaps help to heal this fiery scourge of millions of lives?

Based on my research into the writings of 19th Century physicians and scientists I believe that there is a strong possibility that Coca Leaf Tea could effectively treat and heal AT LEAST many symptoms of Fibromyalgia. Also, if it is possible to talk about a cure for this terrible disease, then I believe that Coca leaf could be the basis for a true natural cure. If this thesis could be tested, which it cannot because such testing is forbidden by the US government, I am confident that the safety and efficacy of pure, natural Coca Leaf could be confirmed, and then over 4 million people in the US might be able to experience at least some relief of symptoms and who knows, perhaps in some cases even remission of this devastating disease. 

Extensive research and clinical experience from the 19th century, long lost because of the arrogant blindness of Allopathic medicine to the lessons of the past, shows clearly that Coca Leaf can treat the following symptoms/conditions safely and effectively: whole body pain; immobilizing muscle and joint stiffness; deep, chronic fatigue; debilitating depression; unremitting anxiety; chronic insomnia; cognitive deterioration; severe headaches and migraines; peripheral numbness; and agonizing “Pins & Needles”.

This also happens to be a list of all the major symptoms of Fibromyalgia.

Of course, under current US law we’ll never know whether or not pure, natural, whole Coca Leaf can offer treatment for Fibromyalgia, because Coca Cola and Pig Pharma are the only ones authorized to import while, natural Coca leaf from Bolivia, Peru and Colombia, so medical researchers couldn’t get their hands on Coca Leaf even if they wanted to design and run what would amount to simple, swift testing of the hypothesis.

This means that the 4 million people in the US alone who suffer from this excruciatingly painful and debilitating disease will just have to suck it up, according to the US government.

Unfortunately, the Coca Leaf Tea available on places like Amazon won’t help because, by US law, it has to be chemically de-natured before it can be brought in for sale. Supposedly the “de-cocainization” process only removes the dreaded alkaloid Cocaine, one of 21 known Coca Leaf alkaloids, but in reality the “de-cocainization” process destroys far more than the single alkaloid Cocaine, and these denatured leaves are useless for treating much less healing any of the diseases for which pure, whole leaf Coca was proven effective over 100 years ago.

The chemical poisons pushed by Pig Pharma and the FDA for fibromyalgia, besides being only partially effective, if at all, can also destroy you. Take a look at what these “medicines” can do to you while they are (ineffectively) “treating” your fibromyalgia.

Currently, only three medications — duloxetine, milnacipran, and pregabalin — are approved by the FDA to treat fibromyalgia. Let’s take a quick look at the side effects of these drugs.

While reviewing the potential adverse consequences of these three drugs, please keep in mind that the negative side effects of Coca Leaf Tea are precisely ZERO.

Terrible Choice #1: Duloxetine is dangerous if you have a personal or family history of psychiatric disorders (such as bipolar/manic-depressive disorder), a personal or family history of suicide attempts, bleeding problems, a personal or family history of glaucoma (angle-closure type), high blood pressure, kidney disease, liver disease, or seizure disorder.

Terrible Choice #2: Milnacipran is a terrible drug in so many ways. Milnacipran can cause minor (!) symptoms like nausea, vomiting, upset stomach, bloating, dry mouth, constipation, loss of appetite, dizziness, drowsiness, swelling in your hands or feet, insomnia, weight change, decreased sex drive, impotence, or difficulty having an orgasm. Among the “major” problems Milnacipran can cause are: increase in suicidal thinking and behavior in children, adolescents, and young adults, painful or difficult urination, seizures, yellowing eyes or skin, dark urine, severe stomach or abdominal pain, black or bloody stools, and vomit that looks like coffee grounds, and easy bruising or bleeding.

Finally we come to Terrible Choice #3: Pregabalin. It’s hard to believe any doctor would prescribe this poison.

First, you can’t use this drug if you are already have severely decreased platelets, are having thoughts of suicide, have depression, have decreased in sharpness of vision, have atrioventricular heart block, have chronic heart failure, suddenly experience serious symptoms of heart failure, have rhabdomyolysis, feel drowsy or dizzy a lot, have fluid retention in the legs, feet, arms or hands, experience weight gain, have giant hives, have moderate to severe kidney impairment, or have muscle pain or tenderness (like you have with, oh, I don’t know, maybe … fibromyalgia).

Then there are the “side effects” of Pregabalin.

The “minor” ones are: Dizziness, somnolence, xerostomia, peripheral edema, blurred vision, weight gain, abnormal thinking, constipation, impaired coordination, pain, and/or decreased blood platelets.

The scary ones are: hypersensitivity reaction, anaphylactoid reaction, angioedema, exfoliative dermatitis, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, thrombocytopenia, rhabdomyolysis, suicidal thinking.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Certain strains of Cannabis have been shown to be effective at treating some of the symptoms of fibromyalgia, which is great news for those who suffer 24/7/365 from this painful disease. I would not suggest that fibromyalgia sufferers abandon Cannabis even if Coca Leaf Tea were available.

However, I do suggest that all 4 million fibromyalgia sufferers get on social media with their legislators and demand that either their state, or the federal government, remove the ban on importation of Coca Leaf immediately, plus allowing anyone who needs this medicine to grow their own medical Coca plants just as they are allowed, in some of our more enlightened states, to grow their own Cannabis medical plants. Growing Coca is, if anything, even easier than growing Cannabis, and both can actually be grown side-by-side in many environments.

Cannabis and Coca Leaf TOGETHER will be totally synergistic natural medicines, and will be highly effective in treating and in many cases healing a wide range of diseases and conditions, not just fibromyalgia. There is simply no excuse for these great natural medicines not to be freely available, even if that would mean the destruction of billions of dollars of bloody profits now raked in by Pig Pharma and used to bribe politicians to keep natural medicines like Coca and Cannabis out of the hands of millions of Americans who live painful, restricted, deteriorating and hopeless lives.


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Why Bolivia & Peru Should Sue Merck & Coca Cola

Pizarro Kneels Before Mama Coca Just Before The Slaughter Of The Incas Begins

People of conscience rightfully condemn the Nazi looting of art and cultural artifacts from Jewish victims of the Holocaust, and from homes and museums around Europe. People also rightfully condemn the berserk destruction of cultural and historical treasures in Iraq and Afghanistan by ISIS and the Taliban. Many people also have living memories of colonial genocide and cultural looting of the European empires.

There is a growing body of international law that condemns and demands reparations on the part of former colonial powers like Britain, France, Belgium and The Netherlands whose military and “explorers” looted cultural and historical treasures of Greece, Egypt, Iraq, India, Indonesia, Africa and elsewhere in their Empires. The Spanish are certainly near the top of any list of looters of cultural and historical artifacts with their centuries-long conquest and domination of the Indian civilizations of Latin America.

And of course it can hardly be disputed that the Americans top the list of looters with their genocide against Native Americans and blatant theft of their ancient homelands, along with widespread looting of their cultural and historical artifacts, desecration of their graves, and theft of their cultural heritage. When this history is combined with the destruction and enslavement of entire African civilizations, and the forced obliteration of not only whole families and tribes but whole histories, Americans are definitely at the top of any list of historical and cultural criminals.

All of the victims of these various exercises of colonial avarice, hatred and slaughter are at some stage in seeking reparations. The Greeks want their temples back from the British. The Egyptians want the bones and treasures of their ancient Kings returned. Native Americans are demanding the return of their sacred objects and the bones of their ancestors from the Smithsonian. The Iraqis who have seen their Mesopotamian heritage scattered to the winds for centuries are currently being victimized by a blow-dried reincarnation of Jim & Tammy Faye in the person of the “Christian” owners of the tacky little “Hobby Lobby” chain in the US that is charged with large-scale looting on ancient artifacts in the Middle East. These elaborately coiffed smiley-face Oklahoma faux-Jesus worshipers of course deny everything, pleading that they had no idea that these little ole’ tiles were invaluable cultural artifacts.

Cultures worldwide are demanding the same of museums in France, Belgium and The Netherlands. The Chinese are demanding the return of cultural and historical treasures looted by the American-backed Chiang Kai Shek. American Black people are demanding reparations for the theft and brutalization of their families, cultures and history. Latin American cultures are demanding that Spain , Portugal and the Catholic Church return the wealth in gold, silver, culture and history stolen from them over the centuries of Colonial domination.

However, in the midst of all this worldwide outcry against theft of cultural and historical heritage by force and stealth, at least one enormous crime against Native People has been completely overlooked, and I am proposing that the people of Bolivia and Peru, who are the victims of this particular crime, organize and pursue legal remedy under the same body of international law that has begun to recognize the rights of other Native People worldwide.

The crime I am referring to is the theft of the Coca Plant by the European pharmaceutical industry that, since the 1840’s, has made hundreds of billions of dollars from the theft of this Sacred Plant of the Incas and has not paid one penny in reparation or shared any of the huge profits that this industry has enjoyed for over 150 years. Specifically, I am suggesting that Bolivia and Peru jointly sue the German Pharmaceutical company Merck, which was responsible for first looting Coca Plants from Bolivia and Peru and then extracting the alkaloid Cocaine from those plants, and then making Cocaine the core of the company’s fortunes as it grew into the globally dominant pharmaceutical giant of today.

The Coca Plant is indigenous to only one place in the world – the southern Andes – so Merck cannot claim that they took a plant that was readily available worldwide and simply exercised their scientific genius in producing Cocaine. The plants that Merck used to create mountains of gold from a few green leaves came from only one place, and were the cultural and historical heritage of only one People – the Native peoples who today live in poverty in Andes, remote from even a handful of the wealth so jealously guarded by the German pharmaceutical industry and others worldwide who profit from the cultural heritage of the Incas – companies like Coca Cola, who should also be named in any lawsuit for reparations brought by representatives of the Native People of Bolivia and Peru.

The art looted by the Nazis is being returned to the rightful owners under the law, and the families and descendants of those owners are rightfully being compensated. The stolen art, artifacts and bones of ancient civilizations in Greece, Egypt and elsewhere are gradually being pried loose from the talons of the museums erected by Colonial powers to display their loot. Even the American Smithsonian is finally, reluctantly recognizing that it has no right to make the corpses of Native Americans part of their “display”, and are, while doing a lot of foot-dragging, gradually returning the bones and cultural and historical loot stolen from the Native American people. And although there is enormous opposition among the elite and their toadies toward paying reparations to American Black people, at least there is some movement among American Black people themselves to reclaim parts of their stolen cultural and historical heritage.

So why shouldn’t Merck, Coca Cola and others that have profited from the theft of the heritage of the Incas be taken before the bar of international justice and stripped of at least a major portion of the profits that they have made from the theft of the cultural/historical heritage of the descendants of the Incas? The court of jurisdiction would also be responsible for assuring that the money recovered in the name of the descendants of the Incas was not re-looted by politicians in those countries, and instead went into a closely supervised non-profit international organization that was capped in the top salaries it could pay and the administrative overhead it could charge.

I think that this is the right thing to do, and I think it could be done beginning now. The indigenous People of the Andes have an historic opportunity to force the greedy capitalists of Merck, Coca Cola and other evil corporations to crawl on their knees dragging wagonloads of stolen wealth back to the people who are its rightful owners.

 


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A Compelling, Fact-Based Argument For Worldwide Legalization Of Coca Leaf

taita_sonqoThe internet is so deep and wide that no matter how often and how well one searches there is always more to find. I would like to share something I just found with readers of panaceachronicles, in case some of you have not yet read the absolutely stunning article entitled “The Wonders of the Coca Leaf” by Alan Forsberg (2011).

If you have never heard of this remarkable work I am not surprised – neither had I. It seems to have circulated widely in Latin America journals and on Latin American websites but not very much elsewhere in the world. So when I did run across multiple references to it while doing a deep search of some Latin American scientific & medical journals over the weekend and came across at least a dozen links to the article I started trying to download and read it. However when I began following those links – surprise! – most of them were broken and the few that were not 404 somehow froze when I tried to download and read the article. Coincidence, or censorship?

But as almost always happens the censors missed one link, and I was finally able to download the document. I have saved it (offline) just in case you try to access it through this link and find that the link is now mysteriously broken. If that happens let me know and I’ll be happy to send the document to you – with apologies to the author who I am not able to locate to request permission to do so. I will keep looking for Alan, not just to request his permission but also to offer him my profound gratitude for his seminal work.

The article itself is incredibly well-written, thorough, and fully documented, and the hyperlinked bibliography will allow you to browse a wealth of information resources that our society’s keepers would prefer to keep invisible. However, as those of us in the US and the rest of the world awaken and begin to join the fight that the Bolivian people have begun to unshackle this potent natural medicine, this article will provide us with a sharp blade to cut through the evil bullshit that has been piled on the heads of generations of suffering people by the corrupt and manipulative governments, corporations and institutions of the world.

I hope – I know – that you will enjoy reading this work of genius, and will come away from the experience determined to do for Coca Leaf what you have already done for Cannabis.

Here is a glimpse of the table of contents, and a link that I hope works for you.

The Wonders of the Coca Leaf By Alan Forsberg (2011)

Contents

> The Historical Use Value of Coca as a Food and Medicine

> The Traditional Meanings of Coca and its Development as a Symbol of Ethnic Identity

> Coca as a Tool for Social Interaction and Spiritual Protection

> Coca and the Western World: A History of Substance Abuse and Political Pressure

> Development of an International System of Control: Coca Taken Prisoner

> The Social Force of Rebellion behind Coca Deprivation

> A Different Approach to Coca Production – Turning Over a New Leaf

> Suppression of Scientific Research on the Benefits and Uses of the Coca Leaf

> Contemporary Non-traditional Uses of the Leaf: Sharing its benefits with Modern Society

> INCB and the Frontal Assault on Coca

> Coca as an intangible heritage of humanity: Freeing coca from the shackles of international law

> Bibliography

Finally, here is the author’s statement at the conclusion of his essay.

“The overwhelming scientific evidence accumulated in the past 50 years should be enough to allow the international community to correct the historical mistake33 that was made when coca was included on the list of drugs banned by the 1961 Single Convention and coca chewing was slated to be abolished. But there is the danger in the tendency of a reductionist scientific viewpoint to diminish the significance of this complex wonder to merely a chemical compound, a highly nutritious food supplement, or versatile medicine. Equally troubling is the profit-making tendency to want to “add value” by treating this sacred leaf as a raw material to be refined in order to extract a flavoring agent or isolate its notorious alkaloid without recognizing the natural coca leaf’s holistic goodness as well as its sacred and social qualities as an intangible heritage of humanity offered by Andean-Amazonian cultures. The prophetic “Legend of the Coca Leaf” presages us of the difference between the way the leaf is used traditionally in the Andes, and the corrupted form used by Western conquerors. As the Sun God said to the Andean wise man Kjana Chuyma: “[coca] for you shall be strength and life, for your masters it shall be a loathsome and degenerating vice; while for you, natives, it will be an almost spiritual food, for them it shall cause idiocy and madness” (Villamil 1929, Hurtado 2004a).”

“People everywhere need to learn to respect the beneficial and mystical qualities of coca leaf in its natural state and recognize the idiocy and madness behind its prohibition in international law. To do so will require a serious re-evaluation and education campaign to overcome cultural barriers and long held stereotypes. The Bolivian and other Andean governments should discard the INCB directive to “formulate and implement education programs aimed at eliminating coca leaf chewing, as well as other non-medicinal uses of coca leaf” and rather take the time to “educate others about the coca leaf and the need to correct this historical mistake” because, as Virginia Aillón, first secretary to the Bolivian Embassy in Washington states: “Coca is not cocaine. Coca is medicine, food, coca is fundamentally cultural” (Armental 2008, Ledebur 2008 pp.2 & 5).”


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Were All These People Insane, Or Are We Missing Something Important?

MarianiPR1
Angelo Mariani was without doubt the most successful, and probably the most ethical of all of the 19th Century manufacturers of Coca Leaf-based tonics. Unlike most other manufacturers, of which there were hundreds in Europe and the US, he practiced strict quality control, even to the point of developing proprietary Coca plantations in Peru and Bolivia where his proprietary Coca Leaf was grown, harvested, processed and shipped to Europe under carefully controlled conditions.

In contrast most other tonic manufacturers used cheap, dried-out Coca Leaf scrap that was the reject of Coca harvests in Peru and Bolivia – literally the scrapings from the Coca Leaf processing floors in those countries. And reminiscent of the Cocaine trade today these unscrupulous manufacturers didn’t hesitate to adulterate their products with whatever cheap crap they thought they could get away with to bulk out their products.

In addition, the Bordeaux wine that he used as the base and Coca solvent for his tonic was sourced from several prominent French chateau producers, whereas other manufacturers who tried to copy Mariani’s success used the cheapest red swill they could obtain. Again, exactly the kind of behavior we see in 99% of today’s Cocaine (and Heroin) markets.

As a result Mariani’s tonic delivered the same quality medication to patients from one bottle to the next, and it was also pleasant-tasting, and because of these qualities it remained the premium Coca Leaf tonic on the market for decades both in Europe and North America.

Mariani’s attention to detail, and his energetic marketing, primarily through the publication of testimonials from prominent users of his products worldwide, were responsible for his life-long success and should be studied carefully by entrepreneurs in the Medical Marijuana space today.

In this post you’ll get a sense of how doctors and patients of the late 19th Century viewed Vin Mariani tonic. As you read through these excerpts from their correspondence to Mariani you have to ask yourself – were all these people simply idiots, or were they competent physicians and completely sane patients? It follows that if they were neither insane nor idiots, then perhaps the insane idiots are those who stand in the way of sick people having access to pure, natural Coca Leaf remedies today.

These remedies are certainly available (see this post on medicinal tonics being produced in Bolivia today), and given the outstanding economic success of Medical Marijuana in those US states where it is finally legal, you have to ask yourself “What are we waiting for? Why aren’t we growing Coca and producing Coca Leaf medicines in the US today?”

Here are a few of the testimonials from the files of Angelo Mariani:

MarianiDocs
Meulan, March 17, 1874.
I wish to inform you that I have nothing but good results to report in all the cases in which I have employed the Vin Mariani in my practice. Yours, very respectfully,
DR. GASTOK MARCEL


Paris, May 12, 1874.
One of my patients, Lady Superior of a convent in the environs of Paris, affected with a profound anemia, which has resisted all treatment, and which, by the long use of iron and quinine, had become complicated with constipation and gastric disturbance, was relieved of the latter symptoms after twenty days’ treatment with Vin Mariani, and under the influence of this same medicine her anemia gradually lessened, and in the course of three months disappeared.
DR. LAVILLE.

10 Rue Castiglione, Paris.
Obliged by professional duties to be continually near sick people, who often do not leave me time to take my meals, I desired to experiment with Coca as an analeptic. My trials have been with Vin Mariani. and here is what I have found :

A Bordeaux-glass full of this wine has always sufficed to make me forget hunger and to sustain my strength. I felt a slight warmth and general toning up of the body; the digestion of the meal which followed was always more easy than when I had not taken the Mariani Wine, and, although I had not a sensation of voracious hunger as I had without it, I ate very well, the stomach appearing more robust and more active.
DR. CHAPUSOT.

La Porta, February 15, 1877.
Having had such splendid results in my practice with the Vin Mariani since a number of years, I counsel you to have your vrine tried in London and New York, for I am persuaded that in all the great centres, where tlio incessant occupation and the abnormal kind of life led there fatally engender anemia, Vin Mariani is able to render the greatest services.
DR. H. CONNEAU,
Member of The Academie de Médicine, formerly Chief Physician of Napoleon III. , Emperor of the French, Grand Officer of the Legion of Honor.

Paris, December, 15 1876.
Since some time I prescribe to my patients Vin Mariani, and, in the cases of gastric trouble and anemia, I have had nothing but praise for the results obtained.
DR. CABANELLAS.

M. Mariani, Paris : London.
Since using your wine my digestion is splendid and my strength is returning. Respectfully,
DR. DELFER.

Paris, January 25, 1876.
M. Mariani, Paris :
“Ne pigeat ex plebeis sciseltari si quid ad curationem utile,” said Hippocrates (in prœceptis), that is to say, let us not disdain popular remedies. It was with eagerness that I welcomed in my practice the Vin Mariani, based upon Peruvian Coca, a plant so popularly used in its native place. I have proved the efficacy of your preparation, which is at the same time useful and agreeable, in cases of nervous over-excitation with sleeplessness, of uni-lateral headaches, in throat diseases accompanied with pain, in spasms of the stomach with intense thirst, and sometimes in bilious vomiting. By re-establishing the digestive functions, Vin Mariani restores the general strength of the organism, and becomes a tonic without having the inconvenience of other medicaments, called tonics, which produce constipation. As the first of all therapeutical rules is, for me, the one well known since Hippocrates, which has been newly brought forward in our days by Hahnemann, under the formula — Similia similibus curantur, I think that the efficacy of Coca, in the affections I have just enumerated, is due to the application of the homœopathic law; and the well-known fact, that the natives deceive their hunger and; calm the cravings of their stomach by chewing and swallowing a substance which habitually increases the appetite, is a confirmation of my idea.
DR. CONQUERET.

New York, August 16, 1884.
I have prescribed the Mariani Wine extensively during the last year, and with very favorable results. Its tonic and stimulant properties are very marked, particularly as manifested in its action on the nervous and muscular systems. It is well borne by even delicate stomachs. In my experience the weaker and more delicate the subject, the more pronounced its action and the more permanent its effects. While not a universal panacea for all the ills of life, it is a very valuable therapeutic agent, and certainly possesses most of the properties claimed for it.
E. S. BATES, M.D.
161 E. 31st Street, New York.

New York, February 5, 1884.
Dear Sir : — I have examined morphologically your Mariani Wine, and also have tested it on patients, and I can cordially recommend it as being up to its standard, and of utility in cases where wine and Coca are indicated. Yours very truly,
EPHKAIM CUTTER, M.D.

Fayetteville, N. C, February 21, 1884.
Messrs. Mariani & Co., New York,
Dear Sirs : — I find Vin Mariani a most excellent – in fact, an indispensable – remedy in nervous debility. A patient of mine, a constant sufferer in this way, experiences immediate and absolute relief by the use of Mariani’s Wine, while nothing else affords him the least comfort. Your preparation of the diug cannot be too highly recommended.
Yours truly, H. W. LILLY, M.D.

London, November 9, 1882.
M. Mariani :
At the special recommendation of Dr. Lennox Browne, of London, I have tested carefully the Vin Mariani, and I recognize that its splendid effect upon the voice is extremely satisfactory, and almost instantaneous. For over two years I have tried it, ordering it to my pupils, both ladies and gentlemen, whom I had under my care for the development of the voice, and I have invariably remarked that, whenever they had any difficulty in singing or elocution, the Vin Mariani enabled them to continue the lesson, •which, without it, would have been utterly impossible. I have thus every reason to be glad that my attention was called to this remarkable preparation, and am convinced that all artists and orators will welcome it and be happy to adopt it.
PROFESSOR EMIL BEHNKE.

Brevooet House,
Fifth Avenue (near Washington Square),
New York, December 5, 188i
Messrs. Mariani & Co.,
19 E. 16th Street, New York,
Gentlemen : — Madame Valleria has desired me to state that she was greatly benefited by the using of your wine. Dr. Morell Mackenzie, of Harley Street, London, W., some years ago (three or four) recommended Madame Valleria in a similar instance to use your wine, and then, as now, she obtained instant and complete benefit from so doing, and, with compliments, I remain
Your obedient servant, R. H. PERCY HUTCHINSON.

Paris, December 2, 1880.
My Dear Sir: – Well ! yes; know it, and let me write it to you, though I have frequently told it you. Your Vin Mariani is indeed excellent, and equalled by nothing. I drink it, I absorb it, and so also does my family, and we are all deriving so much good from it that I shall never be without it. On my voice it acts like a charm. My friends and brother artists, to whom I have recommended it, drink it regularly and likewise speak in highest terms of the Vin Mariani, and I can only say I advise all artists to give it an experiment, and guarantee they will adopt its use and thank you for it, as I do with all my heart .
MELCHISSÉDEC,
Of the Opera.

Dear M. Mariani : Paris, November 12, 1881.

“Your wine indeed has again saved me! Upon my arrival at the opera and just before the commencement, when I was to sing, I found I had got a severe attack of aphonia, which has disappeared as if by enchantment after I had taken slowly a glassful of your wonderful Vin Mariani. It is to be hoped that all singers will become aware of and utilize the excellent properties of your preparation.

I have tried everything, and never have found anything like it. If the government understood all its duties, it would provide a certain quantity daily for the use of our corps of lyric artists— at all events for all the pupils pf the Conservatory of Music.
Gratefully, I am yours, VICTOR CAPOUL,
Of the Opera,

Fifth Avenue Hotel
Deae Doctor : August 24, 1884
We wish to pay a tribute to the excellence of the Mariani Wine. We invariably use it during our professional labors, and find it very efficient as a tonic which strengthens the vocal organs. We never travel without it, and thank you very much for recommending us to use it. Yours, etc.,
MR. & MRS. W. J. FLORENCE.

No. 21 Fifth Avenue,
New York, December 10, 1883.
Dear Sir: – I have had occasion to speak with many of my brother-artists of the Vin Mariani. Yesterday 1 was suffering with a lowering of the voice and determined to take this wine. Well, I can assure you that it gave me im- mediate relief, and that I shall always make use of this Vin Mariani on all occasions that I have any trouble with my voice. If 1 had a singing school, I should give to my pupils, as a specific for strengthening the vocal cords, this Mariani Wine. Accept my most sincere congratulations, and believe me,
Yours faithfully, GIUSEPPE DEL PUENTE.

220 W. 38th Steeet
March 20th, 1884.
My Dear Sir: – I desire to testify to the excellent effects of the Vin Mariani. Having been for months troubled with nervous prostration, I was delighted to find the wine a most strengthening tonic. It was prescribed for me by my physician. Recommending it heartily to all who all called upon to endure the fatigues of public life, I am, dear sir,
Very sincerely yours, HENRIETTA BEEBE.

New York, July 16, 1884.
Deae Sir :— I have often wished to express to you the wonderful results produced upon my voice by the use of the Vin Mariani, prescribed by my physician eighteen months ago. During my sojourn South I had occasion to use it many times, with marvellous results; when my voice was exhausted from excessive use and so hoarse that not one word out of ten was understood, I would take a sherry glass full of the Vin Mariani and captivate my audience by my full and brilliant voice, really astonishing myself thereby. It certainly is invaluable to vocalists and elocutionists— soothing irritation of the throat, and giving strength and brilliancy to the voice. Feeling deeply grateful, I am,
Most respectfully yours, MARG. BOULIGNY.

Messrs. Maeiani & Co., New York, December 16, 1883.
Gentlemen : — I have used your wine during several years, and have found it excellent. I am well satisfied with it, and cheerfully authorize you to use my name.
Very respectfully, E. FURSCH MADI.

Mariani & Co., Mystic Bridge, Ct., August 12, 1884.
Deae Sirs :— I have taken your Wine of Coca since July 24th, as directed by my physician. I am pleased to write you that I have been greatly benefited by it. My lungs are better, and my general health is in every way improving. I can safely recommend it to my friends as the best tonic I have ever taken. My home physician is so much pleased with the effect of the wine upon me that he has already sent to you for a dozen bottles.
Respectfully yours, FANNIE S. WILLIAMS.

St. James’ Hotel
Mariani & Co., N. Y. City, February 25, 1884.
19 East 16th Street, N. Y. City,
Gentlemen: – For several years I have been using various preparations of Coca, and within the last few months, having had my attention called to your Vin Tonique Mariani, have been using it. I think it by far superior to any that I have yet seen, and I have derived great benefit from its use. Judging it from my own experience, I can and do most heartily recommend it.
Yours, etc., EMORY A. STORRS,
Chicago.

Continental Hotel
Mariani & Co., N. Y., August 25, 1884.
Gentlemen: — It affords me great satisfaction to give you the result of my personal experience in the use of Vin Mariani. For the past three years I have, under the direction of my physician, relied upon it in serious emergencies of illness and overwork. It sustains vitality in conditions of extreme exhaustion, and restores strength more quickly than any other tonic I have used, never causing the least unpleasant reaction.

I have tested it during long journeys, under the pressure of continued physical and mental strain, and have found it unfailing in its good effects. Frequently, when in travelling I have been unable to obtain my regular food, a small quantity of Vin Mariani has afforded me satisfactory nourishment.

I am so convinced of its beneficial nature, that I have induced many of my friends to use it, and their experience coincides with mine.
Respectfully yours, JULIET CORSON.

(The following is from the eminent Professor J. M. Carnochan, M.D., of New York, Professor of Surgery, former Surgeon-in-Chief to the State Emigrants’ Hospital, Health Officer of the Port of New York, and one of the Commissioners of the Health Department of the City of New York, etc.)

M. Mariani, Paris : New Yoek, August 29, 1884.
I have for the last eight or ten years often recommended the Vin Mariani to patients laboring under abnormal conditions of the system, re- quiring a mild tonic and stimulating influence, with marked and excellent results. For convalescents, also, I consider it a very useful remedial agent.
J. M. CARNOCHAN, M.D.

Mr.. A. Mariani, Paris, October 19, 1880.
Dear Sir : — As a rule I object to having my name used as recommending any special preparation of a drug, for this very easily and frequently leads to abuse; but I am willing to make an exception in your case, and to express at your desire, in writing, my opinion of your Wine of Coca – an opinion with which you are personally well acquainted. Since my attention has been called to the good effects of your wine by Drs. Morell Mackenzie and Lennox Browne, of London, I have tried it myself, and have observed its use by Dr. Fauvel, in his clinique and in his private practice. There can be no doubt that, properly used, it is an excellent general tonic; that it has a special beneficial action upon the digestive and respiratory organs, and that, by its stimulation of the nervo-muscular system, it enables persons to undergo physical exertions to which, without it, they would at the time not be equal, and seemingly – certainly so far as I have been able to discover – without consequent reaction of over-fatigue. The latter effect I have particularly observed, as to vocal efforts, in the cases of speakers and singers.
DR. LOUIS ELSBERG, Of New York.

19 Harley Street, Cavendish Square, W.
London, July 6th, 1885
Gentlemen: – I have much pleasure in stating that I have used the Vin Mariani for many years, and consider it a valuable stimulant, particularly serviceable in the case of vocalists.
Yours faithfully,
MORELL MACKENZIE, M.D., London,
Consulting Physician to the Hospital for Diseases of the Throat; late Physician to the London Hospital.

Wiener K. K. Allgem. Krankenhaus
Vienna, July 20th, 1885. f
Messrs. Mariani & Co.
Dear Sirs : — I have used your Vin Mariani for the past three years, and have much pleasure in testifying to its many excellent qualities, combining as it does the well known constitutional effects of Cocaine with that of a mild stimulant exhibited in an acceptable form. Among the conditions in which I have found it of valuable service, I may mention in the debility occurring after prolonged illness – in Oedema of the Larynx accompanying albuminuria, in the slow convalescence after diphtheria, and especially in Graves’ disease, in which latter it not only acts as a cardiac sedative, but also diminishes the accompanying exophthalmos and laryngeal congestion.
I have the honor to be, Yours respectfully,
GEORGE W. MAJOR, B.A., M.D.,

Montreal, Canada.
Professor in Laryngology, McGill University, and Laryngologist and Rhinologist to Montreal General Hospital.
Saratoga Springs, July 20, 1885.
Gentlemen : — I have used the Vin Mariani in my practice quite largely for the last four years with most excellent results, and I consider it greatly superior to any other preparation in the market.
Very truly yours, CLINTON WAGNER, M.D.,

341 5th Avenue, New York.
New York, August 28th, 1883.
Gentlemen : — I have been acquainted with Mariani Wine for a considerable time, and have had occasion to recommend it frequently. I deem it a most excellent adjuvant in the class of cases to which it is recommended, and I hope in the future to still further demonstrate its usefulness.
Very respectfully,
WALTER R. GILLETTE, M.D.,
149 W. 23rd Street.

Utica, New York, July 17th, 1885.
My Dear Sirs : — I have used the Vin Mariani in many cases, and have had considerable experience with it. In my opinion it is the best preparation of Coca attainable, and can be relied upon in many conditions of debility and feeble heart action when this valuable drug is called for.
Very sincerely yours,
EDWIN HUTCHINSON, M.D.

Boston, December 15, 1884.
Messrs. Mariani & Co.: – Enclosed please find amount for two cases Vin Mariani, which please send by Adams’ Express. I use it in my own family. I have been more than pleased with its action, and consider it far ahead of any other preparation of coca, be they wines, fluid extracts, or elixirs. I have tried in my practice no less than six different preparations.
Yours very truly,
CHARLES G. BROOKS, M.D.

Hudson, New York.
Gentlemen : — Your Vin Mariani is giving excellent results. I am well pleased with its effects.
Yours truly,
C. P. COOK, M.D., Health Officer.

New York, June 24th, 1885.
Dear Sirs: — Permit me to say that I am, and have been for years past, using your preparations of Coca, and that I fully endorse all the views that I formerly expressed about them. They are the only preparations of Coca from which I can obtain any medicinal results, and necessarily I use them exclusively, and consider your wine superior to any other makes. Many thanks are due you for your excellent preparations, and I trust others will obtain as good results from them.
Very respectfully yours,
WILLIAM H. MORSE, M.D.,

153 East 77th Street.
Vicksburg, Miss.
Gentlemen : — The “Thé Mariani” is certainly a surprising invigorator. 1 am using it with great satisfaction in debilitated subjects. Were the several fluid extracts and preparations of Coca now on the market of better grade, Coca would hold the place it deserves. Yours is the only preparation I use with confidence. Very respectfully,
H. P. BRISBANE, M.D., Health Ofiicer.

Boston, Mass., October 3rd, 1885.
Dear Sirs: – My first acquaintance with the use of Vin Mariani was made in Paris, France, in the summer of 1880, when my attention was called to it by Dr. J, Marion Sims, who recommended it as a superior tonic for nervous prostration. I have continued to use it and prescribe it ever since with entire satisfaction. I prescribe your Elixir Mariani as a brain food, and as a stimulant to the nervo-muscular system it gives immediate and lasting effect. I also have used your “Thé Mariani” in sweetened milk, and think it excel- lent. I am so convinced of the beneficial effect of these preparations that I hardly know how I could practice without them in such cases.
I am, respectfully yours,
A. W. K. NEWTON, M.D.

Brooklyn, New York, June 23rd, 1885.
Gentlemen: – As regards your preparations of Coca, it gives me pleasure to say that at the present time I can obtain none which is so satisfactory as your Vin Mariani and your Thé. I have always found same uniformly excellent and reliable. My opinion of the value of Coca in general is so well known that I need not express it.
Respectfully yours,
W. S. SEARLE, M.D.
Health Department, Sanitary Bureau,

New York, October 3rd, 1885.
Mariani & Co.
Gentlemen: – I have frequently prescribed your Vin Mariani, and am familiar with its merits. I have, however, never seen any of your other preparations of Coca, and would be indebted to you for samples you so kindly offered. If they are up to the standard of your wine, you deserve to reap great rewards for devising and introducing them.
Very truly yours,
CYRUS EDSON, M.D.

New York, September 14th, 1883.
Dear Sirs: – I have used your Vin Mariani with decided benefits. Of the many preparations of Coca I find the Mariani wine the best, and I have tried many of the others. It produces an immediate tonic effect, and the improvement is lasting. I have ordered it for many of my patients, and it has not disappointed me.
Very truly yours,
S. A. FOSTER, M.D.

Augusta, Ga., January 13th, 1885.
Gentlemen: — I have been prescribing your Vin Mariaiii for some time, and with entire satisfaction. I am just recovering from an attack of diphtheria, which 1 contracted from a patient, and on account of my extreme debility I took your wine and have finished the fourth bottle, and can say I am a new creature since I commenced it, and certainly shall continue taking it for some time. Without doubt it is the greatest tonic ever made, and I am prescribing it every day.
Very truly yours.
E. C. GOODRICH, M.D.

Yonkers, New York, May 6, 1884.
Dear Sirs : — When in Paris I heard of the Vin Mariani, and the good results from using the same, particularly in the treatment of certain obscure nervous diseases. Since my return home I have advised in quite a number of these nervous cases the taking of the Vin Mariani, and with most favorable results. Am pleased to say that the Vin Mariani continues its reputation, and is growing in favor.
Yours respectfully,
GEO. B. UPHAM, M.D.

Amherst, N. H., November 12th, 1884.
Gentlemen: – I had occasion many times to use the Vin Mariani in my practice, and found it the most elegant and efficacious preparation of Coca. It entirely covers and conceals the rather disagreeable taste of the drug, and in my estimation the wine itself is a most happy adjunct to the Coca, in that the alcohol therein contained quickens the absorption of it into the circulation, and, with the essential ether of the wine, adds to the strength-giving properties of the Coca. I consider that the Vin Mariani has saved my wife from sickness, which would have resulted from the breaking down of her nervous system. I have every reason to congratulate myself on the marked effect which the Vin Mariani has upon her. I am glad to recommend it as a superior preparation.
Yours, etc.,
HERBERT D. HICKS, M.D.

From Columbus Medical Journal:
“Cocaine in Headache.”
We received several months ago a supply of the justly celebrated Vin Mariani, with the request that we use it personally for the relief of headache – which is the bane of our life. This wine has for its active ingredient a concentrated extract of the leaves of Erythroxylon Coca – the plant from which the new anӕsthetic is obtained. Each wine-glassful contains the equivalent of about 30 grains of the leaves. Although we have used the Vin only when we felt the attack coming on, it has uniformly aborted the attack promptly and thoroughly. We have used it with others, and with essentially the same success. We have also prescribed it as a tonic in dyspepsia and nervous prostration, and with excellent results.”— J. F. Baldwin, M.D., Editor.


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Coca Leaf, Cocaine & People. 1880 vs. 2015. What Has Changed?

I’ve been browsing through the 19th century medical & historical literature on Coca Leaf and medical Cocaine, and find myself wondering about what has changed between then and now? As you’ll see in the following excerpt from “The Safety & Efficacy Of Coca Leaf & The Dangers Of Cocaine” (in) “History of Coca” – Dr. W. G. Mortimer, 1901, in the late 1800s at least some doctors considered widespread Cocaine use by the working classes to be a non-issue.
mariana
As you read through Dr. Mortimer’s comments below, ask yourself – is the Cocaine that Dr. Mortimer is talking about the same Cocaine that is everywhere in the world today? If it is essentially the same Cocaine – then what has changed? If as you’ll see society tolerated millions of Cocaine users in the late 1800s, and experienced few severe medical consequences, What can this little set of anecdotes tell us about that world, and what does this knowledge suggest for today’s world?

The question does occur to me – have many of us been accepting the “War On Drugs” line on Cocaine and never asking exactly how many people die of Cocaine (not overdose – just “from Cocaine”) per year. I just looked it up and have to admit surprise that approximately 5000 people per year have died from Cocaine over the past decade, with 2006 at the peak year with nearly 7000 deaths.
CDCCokeDeaths
On the one hand that is a lot of people – but on the other hand, do 5000 deaths a year out of 1.5 million regular US users justify the enormous police oppression of Cocaine, led worldwide by the US? 8000 people die every year in the US from diarrhea. When you consider that 400+ Tons of Cocaine arrives in the US every year, that means that proportional to what’s coming in not many people die from Cocaine use – not nearly enough to justify the brutal worldwide network of militarized police that “battles” the perhaps largely mythical Cocaine scourge.

So, given some doubt about how serious the Cocaine “threat” really is, I thought it might be useful to compare our 2015 experience with society-wide use of Cocaine to the experience of medical professionals in another time. Here’s a very small cross-section of what medical doctors were saying and publishing about widespread Coca Leaf and Cocaine use in the late 1800s.

Excerpt from “The Safety & Efficacy Of Coca Leaf & The Dangers Of Cocaine”:

<strong>“It is a noteworthy fact already referred to, that there has been no recorded case of poisoning from Coca Leaf, nor cases of Coca Leaf addiction commonly regarded as “Habit.” The cases of cocaine poisoning and addiction often sensationally reported are even open to grave doubt. The condition termed “cocaine habit” is not generally accepted by physicians. Certainly the very general use of cocaine as an anӕsthetic has not resulted relatively in anything like the number of rare accidents from the use of chloroform and ether, and this fact must appear the more remarkable when it is appreciated that chloroform and ether are administered under skilled observation, while cocaine is commonly employed by hundreds of thousands – even millions – of laymen, many of whom are absolutely ignorant of its properties.

“The use of any alkaloid should be with the appreciation that the factor of personal idiosyncrasy may exert an influence to occasion irregular action. A case of fatal poisoning has been recorded against cocaine from as small a dose as two-thirds of a grain of the hydrochlorate given hypodermically, and from twenty minims of a four percent solution (four-fifths of a grain) of the same salt injected into the urethra, and smaller doses it is asserted have produced alarming symptoms. On the other hand, numerous cases are recorded where excessive doses of the alkaloid have been continued for long periods without giving rise to serious trouble. A recovery is recorded after forty-six grains of cocaine had been taken into the stomach, and in one case twenty-three grains of cocaine was used hypodermically daily.

“ Dr. William A. Hammond experimented upon himself by injecting cocaine subcutaneously. Commencing with one grain the dose was gradually increased until eighteen grains were taken in four portions within five minutes of each other. His pulse increased to one hundred and forty and became irregular. Five minutes after the last injection he felt elated and utterly regardless of surroundings, consciousness being lost within half an hour. The next morning in going to his study where the experiment had been performed he found the floor strewn with books of reference and the chairs overturned, indicating there had been an active mental and physical excitement. He had turned off the gas, gone upstairs to bed, lighted the gas in his sleeping apartment and retired quite as had been his custom.

“ At nine o’clock the following morning he woke with a splitting headache, and experienced considerable cardiac and respiratory disturbance, and for several days after felt the effects of his indiscretion by languor and indisposition to mental or physical exertion and difficulty in concentration of attention. He considered that eighteen grains of cocaine was nearly a fatal dose for him, and if he had taken it in one dose instead of within twenty minutes it might have been disastrous. This experimenter did not observe any influence upon the ganglia at the base of the brain. There was no disturbance of sensibility, no anӕsthesia nor hyperӕsthesia, nor interference with motility except some muscles of the face, which were subject to slight twitching. There were no hallucinations.

“ Dr. Hammond asserted that there is no such thing as a “cocaine habit.” He had given cocaine to many patients, both male and female, and never had a single objection to the alkaloid being discontinued, not as much trouble in ceasing its use, in fact, as there would have been to give up tea or coffee, and nothing like so much as to have abandoned alcohol or tobacco. He personally used for a nasal affection, during four months, from sixteen to twenty grains a day, averaging about six hundred grains of cocaine a month, applied in solution to the mucous membrane of the nose. During this period he experienced slight mental exhilaration and some indisposition to sleep. Subsequently he used nearly eight hundred grains within thirty-five days. In each instance the drug was discontinued without the slightest difficulty.

“ Dr. Caudwell, of London, experimented upon himself with both Coca and cocaine. He took increasing doses of fluid extract of Coca until two ounces were taken at a dose. From this he experienced giddiness with unsteadiness of gait, followed by sensations of mental and physical activity when it seemed any exertion could have been undertaken without difficulty. Under cocaine, in doses of one grain he experienced drowsiness, followed by sleep, and then persistent insomnia. Two and a half grains produced frontal headache, mental excitement and marked insomnia. Three grains after abstinence from food for twenty-four hours produced drowsiness, slight vertigo and wakefulness with a sense of well being. On the following morning five grains produced giddiness with a supra-orbital headache and a sense of weight at the pit of the stomach, while the pupils were widely dilated, and there was inability for exertion. All unpleasant sensations following this experiment had passed in two hours, though dilatation of the pupils lasted for six hours.

“ Professor Bignon, of Lima, considers that the Peruvian Indians consume daily an amount of Coca which represents from thirty to forty centigrammes – [4.5 to 6.0 grains] of cocaine. He regards ten centigrammes of that alkaloid per day [1.5 grains] a good average dose for those unaccustomed to its use. The average initial dose of cocaine hypodermically should not exceed a quarter of a grain. Under a moderate dose of cocaine, the central nervous system is stimulated through a direct action on the nerve cells. There is psychic exaltation, with increased capacity for mental work, which passes off in a few hours and is followed by complete restoration to the normal condition without after depression. Indeed, whatever depression there may be precedes the exaltation. From larger doses, the medulla and the sensory columns of the spinal cord may be directly affected, but only after very large doses is there weakness and lassitude, and general anaesthesia can only follow from an excessive dose.

“ Under a poisonous dose of cocaine there is an initial increase of respiration and of the heart beat, both of which soon slow under the influence of paralysis of the vasomotor center, this effect of cocaine upon respiration and the circulation being similar to that from atropine. The pupils are widely dilated and do not respond to light. Involuntary movement of the muscles of mastication, as in chewing, and rotation of the head or body has been noted in animals. There may be epileptiform attacks, clonic convulsions or tetanus. The most common symptoms of cocaine poisoning are those of profound prostration, with dyspnœa, pallor, cyanosis and sweat.

“ When the drug has been taken by the stomach that organ should be evacuated and washed out, while in any case stimulants may be indicated, such as nitrite of amyl, ammonia, ether hypodermically, chloroform to check spasm of the respiratory muscles and even artificial respiration may be indicated. After the severe symptoms have passed chloral may be administered. Both chloral and morphine are regarded as antagonistic to cocaine. Recovery may take place even after a long period of unconsciousness. I was called in one case to a dentist’s office to resuscitate a patient after his careless injection of an unknown quantity of cocaine, and we labored over the subject eight hours before consciousness was restored.

“ Mosso puts the lethal dose of cocaine at 0.03 per kilogramme, in animals and in man it is probably less. Mannheim, from a collection of about a hundred cases of cocaine poisoning – of which nine were fatal – has determined that one gramme [15.43 grains], of the alkaloid may be considered a fatal dose in man. A “cocaine habit,” as already referred to, is not generally accepted. Yet symptoms presumably due to the excessive use of large doses of cocaine are described. These embrace frequency of pulse, relaxation of the arterial system, profuse perspiration, rapid fall of flesh and hallucinations of sight or feeling. A peculiar symptom of chronic cocaine poisoning is that known as Magnan’s symptom, after the name of the describer. It is an hallucination of sensation in which the patient complains of feeling a foreign body under the skin. While other hallucinations are common from poisons this is said to be distinctive of cocaine.

“ There is but one further feature in the physiological study of Coca Leaf that we have to consider, and that is the manner of its elimination from the body. From experiments of Dr. Helmsing it was long since determined that cocaine is very difficult of detection in animal tissues. This may be appreciated when the important role which it is possible that Coca plays in assimilation is considered. When taken into the stomach Coca Leaf soon disappears from the alimentary canal, being decomposed and gradually setting free the products to which its physiological action is due. As these several alkaloids are carried through the tissues, they enter into further chemical change whereby they are still further broken down, and only soon after the administration of a very large dose is it possible to recover the bases from the alkaline urine with benzoyl.

“ Immediately after a poisonous dose of cocaine given to a cat there was found a distinctive reaction in the urine and blood, but a diminished dose gave after a longer interval only faint tracings, which gradually disappeared. Because of this difficulty of detection the decomposition products of Coca, chiefly as ecgonine, are determined post-mortem by a process of assay. The comminuted tissue is mixed with two parts of acidulated alcohol and digested at 60o in a reflux condenser, the process being repeated with fresh alcohol and the filtrates evaporated to almost dryness. The residue is taken up with water, and the solution shaken out with ether, the residual concentrated liquid being precipitated with baryta and extracted repeatedly with ether. The ethereal solution is then evaporated in a vacuum and the residue tested for the alkaloid.

“The fact that the Coca Leaf products are so thoroughly consumed in the body indicates the important influence these substances exercise in nutrition, the philosophy of which has been more fully detailed in other chapters.”

End of Dr. Mortimer quote. The entire text of Dr. Mortimer’s book and dozens of other hyperlinked resources is available in a free PDF download of “The Coca Leaf Papers”. Simply go to the “Request A Free Book” section of this blog and fill in the contact form and I’ll email you “The Coca Leaf Papers” as a free 6 MB PDF ebook.

Some Additional Musings on Cocaine and Coca Leaf

I think its fair to say that for the hundreds of years after Coca’s discovery by Europeans, and even after German scientists first developed large-scale processes for extraction of pure pharmaceutical-grade Cocaine, Coca Leaf extract in the form of tonics, tinctures, teas and wines, were manufactured by well-known “Houses” in Europe, Argentina, as well as all of Asia. Worldwide, Coca Leaf, Cocaine, and other forms of Coca-related medications had well-developed bases of many million users in the US, and even more in Europe and Asia.

Certainly a couple of obvious things have changed between the late 19th Century and now. Coca Leaf has become unavailable outside of Bolivia and Peru, and Cocaine has been criminalized worldwide, and everything remotely connected with the Coca plant has been thoroughly and professionally demonized.

Maybe most significantly, peoples’ bodies and lifestyles have changed pretty radically over the last 100-150 years. Very few people do actual physical work in 2015 compared with the both the urban and rural people of 1850 – 1900.

People today are almost invariably heavily medicated with prescription and OTC drugs as well as a wide variety of ‘recreational’ substances. The average person’s diet in 2015 is radically different from the diet of the 1800s, both in terms of the kinds of foods eaten and the degree of industrial processing of that food, and the average person today undoubtedly has hundreds, if not thousands of kinds of chemical residues in their body that didn’t exist in the 1800s.

So it is probably accurate to say that our 2015 bodies are very different compared with people in the late 1800s. I believe that our changed physiology can explain a lot of the difference between the experience of Cocaine users in the 1800s and today.

Although nothing that remotely justifies the harsh and vindictive police state that surrounds Cocaine production and distribution, there is huge chemical contamination in the chain as Coca Leaf becomes street powder.

I also question the common notion that even casual use of Cocaine leads to life-destroying addiction. Just as the Marijuana myth was created by the US government as pure evil propaganda I think that Cocaine has been similarly mythologized although the general public seems to have bought into the Cocaine myth to a far greater degree.

I am sharing these musings because the short excerpt above, taken from “The History of Coca – Divine Plant of the Incas” by William Golden Mortimer, MD (1901) makes some clearly well-informed statements about Cocaine that might strike most people as pretty unbelievable today. I have studied Dr. Mortimer’s writings carefully and have no doubt at all that when he cites the experiences of a wide range of medical professionals with both Coca Leaf and Cocaine he is reporting their findings accurately. However he makes the assertion, based on his experience, that while Cocaine can be a dangerous drug under certain circumstances, in the vast majority of cases of people who were using it in the late 1800s it was not a problem at all.

So if what the author says is true and accurate, what has changed between then and now? Has Cocaine changed, or have people changed, or are we simply dealing with another instance of self-serving government propaganda? You may agree that it is unlikely that Cocaine has changed – the pure alkaloid, not at all. Yet the society that Dr. Mortimer describes doesn’t appear to be teetering on the brink of coke-crazed holocaust.

If you find Dr. Mortimer to be credible then it appears that pure unadulterated Cocaine, if used by millions, would probably not be a problem drug if the people were taking it weren’t already chronically poisoned by their society in the first place. And, for the vast majority of people who use Cocaine today it is not a problem – I suspect that many of the reported 5000 Cocaine overdose deaths might be arguable. I have no doubt that our government simply cherry-picks the most pathetic cases and hold them up like boogeymen to scare the naïve among us into supporting militarization of the police under the rubric of a “War On Drugs”.

Yet in the face of all this psychopathic raw power the Medical Marijuana movement demonstrates that when the time has come, and if there is broad popular knowledge that the government’s game is exposed as total fraud, the most vicious anti-drug laws can be reversed. It really is amusing to watch the Federal agencies keep up their already-lost war in the face of growing independence of the states.

I hope that it is only a matter of time before anyone living in any State who wants to grow any natural medicinal plant for his/her own family use, and can do so without any interference by government at any level. Before the fight for legal medical Cannabis was fought and won by millions of enlightened citizens I would have called my own hopes Utopian – but that has changed forever.


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Coca Leaf & Congestive Heart Failure – Part One

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In this excerpt from the writings of Dr. Searle (1881) ( full digitized text in “The Coca Leaf Papers”) you’ll find an enlightening discussion of the essential differences between Coca Leaf and Cocaine as therapeutic agents.

In 1881 when Dr. Searle was writing Cocaine had only recently been synthesized in Germany and doctors worldwide were experimenting with this potent extract from natural Coca Leaf. At the same time, the natural Coca Leaf itself had been in use to treat and cure disease for generations, so the question naturally arose – “Are there benefits to the use of the whole leaf that cannot be obtained with the extract, or is the extracted alkaloid Cocaine the entire source of Coca’s healing powers?”

Of course the scientist/entrepreneurs who had worked to identify, extract, refine and finally synthesize the alkaloid Cocaine were hoping – or rather intending – that its use would dominate the market and bring them untold wealth. Rather typical of the thinking of Western allopathic medical science these doctors reasoned that since Coca Leaf was such a remarkable medicine, one ought to be able to define the (single) source of its healing properties and just manufacture that compound. After all, no self-respecting scientist wants to believe that nature can do better than their own laboratory in producing healing medicines (sarc).

In the following passages you’ll read about many of the serious diseases and conditions that doctors were treating successfully with Coca Leaf – and a few that were being treated with Cocaine. It should be obvious to any careful reader that pure, natural Coca Leaf has a far higher therapeutic value than Cocaine, and of course that is the proposition to which I have dedicated this blog.

However, as you read through this material and review the conditions being successfully treated in the 1800’s with Coca Leaf, I ask that you to pay special attention to the references to the value of Coca leaf in treating heart conditions, and particularly the references to the treatment of “dropsy”.

That’s because what used to be called “dropsy” is now called Congestive Heart Failure – one of the leading causes of death and, prior to death, to loss of quality of life among older people. Doctors who specialize in treating people with CHF really have no effective treatment for the condition. They prescribe diuretics and “blood thinners” ( usually rat poison) to relieve the tissue edema that accompanies CHF, but this is not really an effective treatment, and the side effects of diuretics and blood thinners on kidneys and other organ systems are commonly devastating. Modern medicine takes the attitude that once a person has CHF they are on the road to death anyway so why worry about the side-effects of diuretics and blood thinners, since reducing edema at least gives the patient some improvement in quality of life.

What crap – to put it politely. In my next post, Coca Leaf & Congestive Heart Failure – Part Two, I will detail all of the evidence that far from being untreatable, CHF was being effectively treated (and, incidentally prevented) 150 years ago by the use of a few cups of Coca Leaf Tea a day. It is nothing short of criminal negligence on the part of the government, which makes Coca Leaf unavailable to Americans suffering from CHF, and the medical profession, which could advocate for this simple, natural, effective treatment but chooses instead to live and “practice” in complete ignorance of this option. Shame on all of you!

And dear reader, if you have a elderly family member who has CHF, and you are being told by their doctors that there is little that can be done except to give them diuretics and rat poison – please don’t let them get away with this crap. Please confront them with the evidence that I am making available to you. If you do a “find” search of my ebook “The Coca Leaf Papers” for the words “dropsy” and “heart” you will find dozens of instances of physicians and scientists speaking about the efficacy and safety of Coca leaf Tea in treating and reversing this fatal condition.

And just in case you think that this is a cynical attempt by me to sell you a book, if you’ll go to the “Request A Free Book” page of this blog you’ll find that I am offering you “The Coca Leaf Papers” at no cost, unconditionally. Just fill out the contact sheet and press “Send” and I’ll receive your request by email and will send you the complete ebook as a multi-platform .mobi file attachment. Of course it would be nice if you could afford the $3.99 the book costs on Amazon, but if you want to have it for free just ask – if enough people have this information and confront their doctors with it perhaps we can change the cynical, ignorant positions of the government and the medical community.

Just remember the core fact here – Coca Leaf is not Cocaine, and furthermore, Coca Leaf is 100% legal in both Bolivia and Peru so it isn’t as if the whole world agrees that Coca Leaf is an evil drug that should be banned. When you combine this indisputable fact with the equally indisputable fact that hundreds of thousands of elderly people were being routinely cured of “dropsy” in the 1800s, isn’t it time that Americans began insisting that the negligent slaughter of literally millions of our elderly parents and grandparents by government “drug war” bureaucrats, Pig Pharma, and willfully ignorant doctors cease altogether?

A New Form Of Nervous Disease Together With An Essay On Erythroxylon Coca
By W. N S. Searle, A.M., M.D., Fellow Of The Medico-Chirurgical Society Of New York, Etc., New York: Fords, Howard, & Hulbert, 1881.

The Discovery Of Cocaine & The Neglect Of Coca

In considering the action of any of the Coca alkaloids on man, it may be well to suggest that possibly one cause of conflicting testimony may have resulted from reporting the influence of the alkaloid upon animals, the effects of which are not always uniform with their action on man. In experiments upon animals those symptoms which follow doses full enough to create some outward sign are alone seen, while the agreeable exaltation such as would be experienced in man from a relatively much smaller dose can not be appreciated. A dose of cocaine which in one of the lower animals would cause depression, would under the controlling influence of a greater cerebral development in man occasion exhilaration, an effect probably resulting from inhibition of certain of the brain cells, thus inducing slight loss of coordination similar to that following a small dose of opium or alcohol. Both alcohol and opium seriously disturb the normal relations of one part of the brain with another, the nerve centers being paralyzed in the inverse order of their development. The primary exhilaration being succeeded by a narcotic action when the inhibitory paralysis permits the emotions full sway. Coca, however, appears to stimulate the brain by an harmonious influence on all the brain cells so the relation of its functions is not deranged.

Essential Differences Between Coca & Cocaine

The action of cocaine has been placed midway between morphine and caffeine. In man the initial effect of Coca is sedative, followed by a rapidly succeeding and long continued stimulation. This may be attributed to the conjoined influence of the associate alkaloids upon the spinal cord and brain, whereby the conducting powers of the spinal cord are more depressed than are the brain centers. In view of these physiological facts it is unscientific to regard strychnine as an equivalent stimulant to Coca or a remedy which may fulfill the same indications, as erroneously suggested by several correspondents. For immediate stimulation Coca is best administered as a wine, the mild exhilaration of the spirit giving place to the sustaining action of Coca without depression.

The action of Coca and cocaine, while similar, is different. Each gives a peculiar sense of well being, but cocaine affects the central nervous system more pronouncedly than does Coca, not – as commonly presumed – because it is Coca in a more concentrated form, but because the associate substances present in Coca, which are important in modifying its action, are not present in cocaine. The sustaining influence of Coca has been asserted to be due to its anӕsthetic action on the stomach, and to its stimulating effect on brain and nervous system. But the strength-giving properties of Coca, aside from mild stimulation to the central nervous system, are embodied in its associate alkaloids, which directly bear upon the muscular system, as well as the depurative influence which Coca has upon the blood, freeing it from the products of tissue waste. The quality of Coca we have seen is governed by the variety of the leaf, and its action is influenced by the relative proportion of associate alkaloids present. If these be chiefly cocaine or its homologues the influence is central, while if the predominant alkaloids are cocamine or benzoyl ecgonine, there will be more pronounced influence on muscle. When the associate bodies are present in such proportion as to maintain a balance between the action upon the nervous system and the conjoined action upon the muscular system, the effect of Coca is one of general invigoration.

It seems curious, when reading of the marvelous properties attributed by so many writers to the influence of Coca leaves, that one familiar with the procedure of the physiological laboratory should have arrived at any such conclusion as that of Dowdeswell, who experimented with Coca upon himself. After a preliminary observation to determine the effect of food and exercise he used Coca “in all forms, solid, liquid, hot and cold, at all hours, from seven o’clock in the morning until one or two o’clock at night, fasting and after eating, in the course of a month probably consuming a pound of leaves without producing any decided effect.” It did not affect his pupil nor the state of his skin. It occasioned neither drowsiness nor sleeplessness, and none of those subjective effects ascribed to it by others. “It occasioned not the slightest excitement, nor even the feeling of buoyancy and exhilaration which is experienced from mountain air or a draught of spring water.”

His conclusion from this was that Coca was without therapeutic or popular value, and presumed: “The subjective effects asserted may be curious nervous idiosyncrasies.” This paper, coming so soon after the publication of a previous series of erroneous conclusions made by Alexander Bennett, created a certain prejudice against Coca. Theine, caffeine and theobromine having been proved to be allied substances, this experimenter proceeded to show that cocaine belonged to the same group. As a result of his research he determined that “the action of cocaine upon the eye was to contract the pupil similar to caffeine,” while the latter alkaloid he asserted was a local anesthetic; observations which have never been confirmed by other observers.

In view of our present knowledge of the Coca alkaloids, it seems possible that these experiments may have been made with an impure product in which benzoyl-ecgonine was the more prominent base. However, the absolute error of Bennett’s conclusions has been handed down as though fact, and his findings have been unfortunately quoted by many writers, and even crept into the authoritative books. Thus Ziemssen’s Cyclopcedia of the Practice of Medicine which is looked upon as a standard by thousands of American physicians, quotes Bennett in saying: “Guaranine and cocaine are nearly, if not quite, identical in their action with theine, caffeine and theobromine.” The National Dispensatory refers to the use of Coca in Peru as being similar to the use of Chinese tea elsewhere – as a mild stimulant and diaphoretic and an aid to digestion – which are mainly the properties of coffee, chocolate and guarana, and Bennett is quoted to prove that the active constituents of all these products: “Although unlike one another and procured from totally different sources possess in common prominent principles, and are not only almost identical in chemical composition, but also appear similar in physiological action.”

These statements, which are diametrically opposed to the present accepted facts concerning Coca, are not merely a variance of opinion among different observers, but are the careless continuance of early errors, and suggest the long dormant stage in which Coca has remained, and has consequently been falsely represented and taught through sources presumably authentic.

As may be inferred from its physiological action, Coca as a remedial agent is adapted to a wide sphere of usefulness, and if we accept the hypothesis that the influence of Coca is to free the blood from waste and to repair tissue, we have a ready explanation of its action.

Bartholow says: “It is probable that some of the constituents of Coca are utilized in the economy as food, and that the retardation of tissue-waste is not the sole reason why work may be done by its use which can not be done by the same person without it.”

Stockmann considers that the source of endurance from Coca can hardly depend solely upon the stimulation of the nervous system, but that there must at the same time be an economizing in the bodily exchange. An idea which is further confirmed by the total absence of emaciation or other injurious consequences in the Indians who constantly use Coca. He suggests that Coca may possibly diminish the consumption of carbohydrates by the muscles during exertion. If this is so, then less oxygen would be required, and there is an explanation of the influence of Coca in relieving breathlessness in ascending mountains.

Coca Leaf As A Safe And Effective Medical Treatment

Prominent in the application of Coca is its antagonism to the alcohol and opium habit. Freud, of Vienna, considers that Coca not only allays the craving for morphine, but that relapses do not occur. Coca certainly will check the muscle racking pains incidental to abandonment of opium by an habitué, and its use is well indicated in the condition following the abuse of alcohol when the stomach can not digest food. It not only allays the necessity for food, but removes the distressing nervous phenomena.

Dr. Bauduy, of St. Louis, early called the attention of the American Neurological Association to the efficiency of Coca in the treatment of melancholia, and the benefit of Coca in a long list of nervous or nerveless conditions has been extolled by a host of physicians.

Shoemaker, of Philadelphia, has advocated the external use of Coca in eczema, dermatitis, herpes, rosacea, urticaria and allied conditions where an application of the Fluid Extract of Coca one part to four of water lends a sedative action to the skin. The influence of Coca on the pulse and temperature has suggested its employment in collapse and weak heart as recommended by Da Costa, and it has been favorably employed to relieve dropsy depending on debility of the heart, and for uraemia and scanty secretion of urine. In seasickness Coca acts as a prophylactic as well as a remedy. Vomiting of pregnancy may be arrested by cocaine administered either bv the mouth or rectum.

In the debility of fevers Coca has been found especially serviceable, and in this connection Dr. A. R. Booth, of the Marine Hospital Service, at Shreveport, Louisiana, has written me that he considers cocaine one of the most valuable aids in the treatment of yellow fever. By controlling nausea and vomiting, as a cardiac stimulant, as a haemostatic when indicated, to hold in abeyance hunger, which at times would be intolerable but for the effect of cocaine. One who has seen a yellow fever stomach, especially from a subject who has died from “black vomit,” must have been impressed with the absolute impossibility of such an organ performing its physiological functions. Dr. Booth makes it an inflexible rule, never to allow a yellow fever patient food by the mouth until convalescence is well established. In cases of fine physique he has kept the patient without food for ten or twelve days, and in two cases fourteen and fifteen days respectively, solely by the judicious administration of cocaine in tablets by the mouth. Of two hundred and six cases of yellow fever treated in this manner there was not one relapse. A similar use is made of cocaine to abate the canine hunger of certain cases of epilepsy and insanity, as well as to appease thirst in diabetes.

The Peruvian Indians employ Coca to stimulate uterine contractions and regard it as a powerful aphrodisiac. Leopold Casper, of Berlin, considers Coca one of the best of genital tonics, and many modem observers concur in this opinion. Vecki says that cocaine internally to a man aged fifty-six invariably occasioned sexual excitement and cheerfulness. The Homœopaths who have long regarded Coca as a valuable remedy, employ Coca in sexual excesses, especially when dependent on onanism. Allen has given a “proving” of Coca that covers twelve pages, and Bering’s Materia Medica gives provings by twenty-four persons, and recommends Coca in troubles coming with a low state of the barometer.

Hempel says: “I have found a remarkable aversion to exertion of any kind in consequence of nervous exhaustion frequently relieved with great promptness by Coca.” But it is not my intention to here enumerate the various symptoms for which Coca is regarded as a specific. I have only space to briefly suggest its possible application as a remedy. A resume of the various conditions in which Coca has commonly been found serviceable, and its relative employment as classified from the experience of several hundred physicians, correspondents in this research, will be found tabulated in the appendix. Coca may be given in doses equivalent to one or two drachms of the leaves three or four times a day, either as an infusion or as a fluid extract or wine; the latter especially being serviceable for support in acute disease as well as an adjunct indicated in those conditions where its use may tend to maintain the balance of health.