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.
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 Oklahomans 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 severely limited in the 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 should be done beginning now. Are you listening, President Morales? You 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.
Just do it. Por favor.
The 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)
> 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
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).”
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 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:
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.
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.
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.
M. Mariani, Paris : London.
Since using your wine my digestion is splendid and my strength is returning. Respectfully,
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.
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.
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 .
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,
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.
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.,
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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? 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.