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


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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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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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Growing Medical Coca Leaf In A Greenhouse

Hi – If you’re interested in growing Coca plants, and suddenly in 2021 many people are realizing they are, and if you enjoy digging around in the past, there is actually lots of long-lost knowledge on Coca Leaf growing and production out there and I’m dedicated to putting it together for you – so let’s take a look!

Shared knowledge is true power

You may already know that Coca was widely grown in glass greenhouses in Europe and Asia in the 1800’s, and there were major outdoor Coca plantations worldwide throughout that century. Every botanical garden in the world displayed the beautiful Coca plant, and botanists everywhere loved it and probed its secrets. Once you review the science from the 1800s its clear – this is not a difficult plant to grow. All that lost knowledge is still out there and my mission is to make it available so that the Coca plant can take its rightful place as a peoples’ medicine alongside Cannabis, Tobacco and someday the Opium Poppy.

If this resonates with your interests, after reading through this post you may also enjoy browsing my ebook “Searching For Mama Coca“. “Searching” is a how-to book full of gifts from the past, with centuries of key knowledge summarized and then hyperlinked to long-lost original sources now digitized and available online. With this guide you can browse the core knowledge for every step of growing and harvesting Coca Leaf and then explore links to the full original sources through the hyperlinked bibliography.


    Ripening Coca Beans – Colombia

 

Coca Starter Beds – Amazonian Peru

There are a lot of myths about how difficult it is to grow Coca outside of certain traditional sweet spots in the Andes. That may have been true before Cannabis growing under lights came of age but it no longer applies – especially to small, boutique or personal crops of Coca.

Science has verified the traditional knowledge that coca plants grown at higher altitudes produce a higher ratio of Cocaine to the other 20+ important Coca alkaloids compared to Coca grown outdoors at sea level or even low altitudes – below 2000′.

But that doesn’t mean that Coca can only be grown successfully in the mountains. Coca has proven to be highly adaptable over thousands of years in human hands. It’s just that Coca’s natural environment, the cradle of its evolution, seems to have been in high Andean valleys, so the plant’s response to clean, intense light is built into its genes – literally.

A classic 1983 Harvard Botanical Museum study says this about Greenhouse Coca:

“Light intensity, humidity and moisture availability may influence profoundly the relative leaf size, form, vein thickness and patterns, as well as stomatal and veinlet terminus numbers in all varieties of cultivated coca. Classical shade-leaf as opposed to sun-leaf structural differences may be found within each variety in relation to microhabitat differences experienced by individual plants and leaves. Humid and shady microhabitat conditions result normally in the development of relatively large, thin leaves with reduced numbers of stomata and veinlet termini per unit area, as well as more slender and less conspicuous veins. Conversely, sunny and drier habitats induce the formation of small and thicker leaves with comparatively more numerous stomata and veinlet termini, and more prominent, thicker veins. Shade-leaf morphology appears not only in South American coca plants grown under shaded conditions, but also in plants of each variety cultivated under glass at temperate latitudes in North America.”

With this in mind, let me introduce you to the Coffee plant – Coca’s remarkably close cousin, or maybe even sister. You don’t hear much about this, but the similarities between Caffeine and Cocaine alkaloids are just the beginning of the incredible Coca-Coffee relationship.

For example, you can’t tell the difference between the Coca and Coffee beans just by looking, and the flowers and leaves are visually almost interchangeable. After a lot of research I’ve concluded that everything important that applies to growing Coffee also applies to growing Coca, and there’s endlessly detailed information about coffee cultivation. Here’s a great website with detailed directions, photos and where to find coffee plants. In reality a simple search will give you dozens of places to buy a wide variety of Coffee plants online. Traditional methods of growing both plants are straightforward and not complex, and anyone who has ever taken a caffeine pill knows without being told that these plants have a lot in common.

There are so many amazing similarities between Coffee and Coca plants, flowers, beans and leaves. In fact the little plants/shrubs/trees are virtually identical to the eye and in their natural chemistry as well.

Coffee plants offer a very useful and completely legal model for Coca cultivation, whether outdoors, indoors under lights, or in a greenhouse. For example, “mountain-grown” coffee has a great reputation and that’s for a good reason. Coffee used to be almost exclusively “shade-grown” a century ago, but along came scientific research and now Coffee bathes in intense mountain light in some of the world’s great coffee-growing regions.

Of course, if the Coca plant could be “shade-grown”, meaning it didn’t need a lot of direct sun and didn’t have to be grown out in the open, the task of Coca cultivators in the Andean nations would be a lot easier. (And it looks like some very clever botanists have figured out how to do just that – or something almost as effective. People are like water – we will find a way.)

Now please check out these two images. One is a handful of Coca seeds in their bean, the other is Coffee seeds in their bean.

                                             Magic COCA Beans

 

                                                       Magic COFFEE Beans

As we go further into it you’ll see that the Coca/Coffee relationship goes far beyond the striking similarity of their seeds, leaves, flowers, alkaloids, and growth habits. Although the societies of the world now treat Coffee as something very familiar and not at all unusual, the fact is that when Coffee first hit the European psyche it had an earth trembling impact on minds and relationships. But that’s another story. The bottom line here is that it looks like pretty much anywhere in the world you can grow good Coffee you can grow good Coca, and that includes outdoor spaces at any altitude and in many different locations, as well as in greenhouses and indoor grow spaces at any altitude with the right kind of lighting.

Still, there is a lot to be said for having a little altitude, which could mean as little as 2-3000 feet depending on the environment. We’ve all heard coffee called Java. That’s because the best coffee in the world in the 1800’s came from Java, and those coffee plantations were right alongside some of the best Coca plantations in the world, also scattered throughout the mountains of Java and elsewhere in the archipelago like Sumatra.

They are still there – wild Coca gone back to nature. Maybe some backpackers are walking right past some rogue Coca bushes right now along an old mountain path in Java. Maybe they will stop and pick a leaf or two for making some fresh Coca tea a little later in the afternoon.  Kinda makes you feel like trekking, doesn’t it? 

Inquiring minds may well ask – who would want to go to the trouble to grow coffee in a greenhouse or in their garden? Well, plenty of people do grow, harvest, roast and brew their own beans from a few Coffee plants, and they talk online about their experiences, but have you ever had a chance to try Coffee Leaf tea? Most of us haven’t, and I don’t see many Coffee growers talking about it either, which is a shame. Talk about a great way to enjoy something very close to growing Coca in your own greenhouse or plant room – harvesting fresh Coffee leaf and brewing a nice cup of Coffee Leaf Tea.  I first experienced Coffee Leaf tea in Puerto Rico in the 1960’s while visiting a coffee and medicinal herb farm in the mountains, and if you can grow it or find it, you’ll enjoy it. 

Even when more good Coca Leaf tea sources develop online there will still be plenty of reason to grow a little Coffee Leaf yourself at home. Who knows, Coffee Leaf tea may become a thing. Cannabis growers may want to start tucking some Coffee plants in among the Girl Scout Cookies and Durban Poison. Practice with Coffee now – grow Coca in a couple of years. I’m hoping to have myself a place soon where I can play with intercropping coffee and cannabis and other interesting combinations.

   Coca seedlings ready to plant out – Colombia

Of course, if you live in a country like Canada or the Netherlands it looks like growing Coca plants is already legal, though with some limitations, so if you’re already be thinking about having a few Coca plants, why not grow Coffee too, alongside your Coca? That could make things really interesting.

Coffee Leaf tea is totally unlike the brew of the roasted Coffee bean, and my research convinces me that it has many of the same benefits as reported for Coca Leaf tea in the medical literature of the 1800’s.  Aside from their very similar principal alkaloids,  Coffee leaf and Coca leaf share many of the same array of beneficial alkaloids and other phytochemical properties.

I’ve always wondered if anyone in the Andes has ever tried drying and roasting Coca seeds just like Coffee beans? Might be an interesting variation on Coca Leaf tea if it hasn’t been tried.

Brewed Roasted Coca Beans. How cool could that be? I sure hope Juan Valdez is listening.

So, maybe it’s time for some Coffee Leaf tea to start floating around the Cannabis ecosystem and maybe Cannabis growers are the ones to make it happen. After all – who wakes up in the morning, stretches, yawns and then heads to the kitchen for a Caffeine pill? It’s the delicious chemistry of the whole Coffee bean that people love, not the caffeine buzz itself, and one of the greatest shames of the “drug wars” is that the world has been denied the benefits and pleasures of whole Coca Leaf (and maybe the Coca Bean) while being force-fed the magic buzz of cocaine. Besides, my own experience is that a double shot of excellent espresso and a nice little line of uncut cocaine have a lot in common – would you maybe agree?

     This Nice Little Coca Tree is good to go!

After all this talk about Coffee, if you’re still reading then Coffee probably interests you. If so, you’ll enjoy this very nicely-done 200 page guide to growing coffee outdoors. The reason I like it so much, other than it being a great grow-book, is that you can pretty much just substitute “Coca” for“Coffee” throughout the Guide. Check out this free downloadable resource.

                                   Traditional Coca Cultivation Is A Family Thing

Lots of people are already growing Coffee plants at home. If you want to check out actual greenhouse coffee growing, which is almost exactly the same process as growing Coca, check this coffee research website.

But back to the first question: why is high altitude always better for Coca?  That’s what all the historical records say, and that’s why all the traditional Cocals are at altitude. Coca plantations in the jungle are only because it

                                  Tossing The Fresh Coca Leaf Harvest

doesn’t matter to the cocaine trade how high quality the leaves are – you can extract the Cocaine from low-quality jungle leaf just the same. But for highest quality leaf – you have to head for the light- or bring it in. 

The secret to high quality Coffee and Coca leaf is in the ultraviolet part of the light, which becomes more intense and dominant the higher the altitude and the closer you are to the equator.

So if you’re growing outdoors, it looks like your sunniest location will be best as long as the mid-day sun isn’t so intense that it burns the young plants after you plant them out. Shade-starting is traditional for both Coca and Coffee plants, and gradual adaptation is used, but when mature both Coca and Coffee love the sun. When you are growing in a greenhouse, with or without light-assistance, you’ll be able to experiment and find just the right balance to use throughout their life cycle. Just like with Cannabis, I’m sure that Coca will respond to grow-lighting in ways that only experience can predict, and I’m also pretty sure that greenhouse and grow-lighting Coca experience is out there – it just isn’t being shared online yet. However my whole point in bringing up Coffee is that it responds exactly like Coca so anyone can get a very good idea of how Coca would do in their outdoor or greenhouse location by planting and raising a few healthy Coffee trees.  Here again is the link to that free, beautifully photographed and very detailed coffee grower’s guide.

As we all know, to grow great Cannabis indoors you use high-intensity grow lights set up to allow you to vary the spectrum. It’s the same with Coca, the Opium Poppy, Coffee and every other treasured plant growing indoors under lights – there is an ideal spectrum for each point in the plant’s life cycle. I’m pretty sure that you could look at solar data for the Coca regions of the Andes and come up with a pretty good idea of a spectrum map for light-assisted Coca. For example, when you look at the bright yellow on this map of Peru above you can tell you’re looking at the solar intensity of the headwaters of the Amazon flowing down into the Amazon basin itself, which is the home of traditional Coca growing. This looks to me like a solar map of Coca’s natural environment – don’t you think? This is one of those areas where growers will gradually accumulate experience and it will become community knowledge.

In another post  I discussed the historical evidence, mostly from the 1800’s, of vigorous efforts to introduce of Coca plantings worldwide, and took note of a number of places where Coca was grown as part of a botanical garden or conservatory display of Andean plant life.

A hundred and fifty years ago Coca was grown in almost every public Botanical Garden facility in the world and in quite a few private indoor gardens as well. Some of the more famous gardens with notable stands of Coca plants (usually with accompanying displays of how Coca is used by those quaint primitive Andean Indians) include; the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, London; the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, the Royal Botanic Garden at Sydney, the Gardens at Versailles, and the Jardim Botanico at Rio de Janeiro.

Another beautiful example of an indoor Coca garden was the one created by Angelo Mariani at his company’s headquarters in France. This crude drawing hardly conveys what history describes as a complex of beautifully designed and innovative greenhouses as well as a production facility for “Vin Mariani” – pretty universally agreed to be the best Coca Wine ever created, although it was actually more of a Coca Tonic than a wine.

CocaGraphic21xIf you want to learn more about the fabulous Angelo Mariani and his empire of Coca wines, tonics and medicines you’ll enjoy exploring the archives of this blog. (It’s in French but easy to translate.)

https://angelomariani.wordpress.com/

All these successful indoor botanical and commercial Coca gardens showed that a modest level of Coca plant production is quite feasible and, once the gardens are well-established, they can be self-sustaining over decades. That makes it pretty easy to see that Coca plants can be successfully grown using modern indoor technologies.

Of course growing Coca plants indoors with the idea of producing Cocaine probably not be anywhere near profitable even if it were to be legal. That leaves markets the question of markets for the whole natural Coca leaf itself, and followers of this blog know that I see many ways that Coca Leaf can be the basis of a wide range of viable natural medicine businesses, as it already is in Peru and Bolivia.

But … now let’s mention the single greatest challenge to indoor Coca growing anywhere outside of Peru, Bolivia and Colombia – and possibly a few other places that remain nameless.

There are two ways to grow Coca plants – from seeds or cuttings. The biggest problem with growing from seed anywhere outside of the immediate area where the seed is harvested is that Coca seeds have a very short natural “shelf life”. The seed is protected by an outer protective fruit which begins decaying rapidly, and once the rot starts it renders the seed inside infertile.

However, I do hear from friends in the UK that growers there and in the Nether;ands seem to be getting good viable Coca seed from Indonesia – probably from somebody who has lifted a few Coca plants from the vicinity of one of the old Belgian, German or Dutch Coca plantations in Java and elsewhere in the Indonesian archipelago. Good work plant hunters! 

As far as I can tell nobody has been successful at removing or slowing the decay (anyone used nitrogen?) of the fruity shell or otherwise making Coca seed viable beyond 2-3 weeks, although a simple, slow air-drying process out of the direct sun seems to have worked very well for old-time growers in Java. Maybe that’s what is happening now.

London – Greenhouse Coca from Java seeds (Mateo)

So even a very modest-scale grower in, for example, the Western US, would have to have a very dependable source of at least several dozen viable seeds from the Andes to get started – no small task, to be sure. Any internet source would have to be carefully evaluated – there is a good chance that it might be either a con or a sting. If you find or know of a trusted source please let me know so I check it out and post a link here.

The better option for many growers may be cuttings although traditional Coca growers use this technique just when they expect to plant only a few crops of Coca in a patch, because Coca plants grown from cuttings are sterile. High-production Cartel Coca plantations don’t care about sterility but traditional growers do.

This ancient knowledge is all covered in the Coca Handbook. Coca growers who plant from cuttings (what a lot of Cannabis growers call “cloning”) simply take a cutting with leaf bud activity but no leaves yet, and plant it in the shade by sticking it into a prepared container or soil bed. Nothing fancy – just good moist soil shaded from direct sun. And it’s easy to get growing plants from cuttings – Coca growers using this technique reportedly have a 75% or greater success rate.  Remember this image from earlier in the post? Those are cloned Coca plants, not from seed. They are all uniform in shape and height, just as they should be.

cocaseedlings02

Coca seedlings ready to plant out in full sun

Getting viable cuttings anywhere outside of Peru/Bolivia is still (3/21) a major obstacle facing anyone thinking of growing a Coca garden because cuttings don’t travel well if they dry out, and ideally they go directly from being cut to the rooting medium anyway. Of course any Andean nation could decide to open up the world to Coca cultivation simply by allowing their traditional Coca growers to supply seed and cuttings to the world market. The impact on GDP would be profound, with great benefits going directly to the traditional growing communities. This would be especially appropriate for Bolivia, where the Coca-growing communities have historically benefited least from the wealth generated by the plant they cultivate.

Another side to the challenge of small-scale Coca growing is that as just mentioned plants from cuttings are sterile (no seeds) so growers will have to get fresh cuttings annually or keep cloning existing plants – which will lead to genetic exhaustion pretty quickly. That means, importantly, that leaf production will fall and ultimately the plants will die off.

So growing a few dozen Coca plants would be no small operation even if Coca plants were suddenly legal. Obtaining high quality seed or cuttings from their source in the Andes in time to get a planting started would still be a challenge, but one that I’ll bet will get solved PDQ the moment it becomes clear that Coca can be grown in the first US state to allow it. 

So who is it going to be? My bet is on Washington, Oregon or Colorado. But there are some mighty fine Coca growing environments in New Mexico, California and Arizona too. But IMO the top place in the US for Coca production would be Puerto Rico!

                              Beautiful Little Mama Coca!

If you want to really dive into Coca science as it existed before the great suppression of knowledge that has accompanied the rise of Pig Pharma and the institutionalization of ‘illegal drugs’ then I have a suggestion for you.

“The Coca Leaf Papers” contains 5 complete full-text, digitized, hyperlinked books from the 1800s (with lots of internal links to digitized archives of earlier Coca books) detailing every aspect of Coca use, preparation and cultivation. If it were printed it would be over 800 pages.

I know that’s information overkill, but if you’re a Coca history fanatic like me then overkill is OK. This is a very easily-navigated eBook and it includes: 

“History of Coca”, Dr. Golden Mortimer, 1901

“A New Form Of Nervous Disease: An Essay On Erythroxylon Coca”, Dr. William Searles, 1884

“Erythroxylon Coca: A Treatise On Brain Exhaustion”, Dr. William Tibbles, 1877

“Coca Erythroxylon: Its Uses In Treatment of Disease”, Angelo Mariani 1885

“Coca – Its Therapeutic Applications”, Angelo Mariani, 1890

Plus a groundbreaking English translation of the detailed inside story on Andean Coca

“Drug Wars & Coca Leaf In Brazil”, Ivan Barreto 2014

DIG IN AND HAVE FUN!

While you’re at it you may want to check out these other detailed Coca Leaf posts here on panaceachronicles.com

The Amazing Healing Power Of Natural Coca Leaf – Could It Be As Important As Aspirin?

https://panaceachronicles.com/2017/02/11/the-amazing-healing-power-of-natural-coca-leaf

Wild & Escaped Coca Species – Not Just In The Andes!

Wild Coca Species Are Broadly Distributed – Not Just In The Andes!

Coca Leaf Tea, CBD, Asthma & COVID 19 – Way Too Simple.

https://panaceachronicles.com/2020/03/02/coca-leaf-cbd-asthma-covid-19/

The Lost Secrets Of Coca Wine – It’s Coming Back In France Today

https://panaceachronicles.com/2017/12/16/lost-secrets-of-coca-leaf-wine/

The Global Potential Of Coca Leaf Cultivation

https://panaceachronicles.com/2014/05/15/the-global-potential-of-coca-leaf-cultivation/

Coca Rico? Puerto Coca? Coca once grew here. It could again.

https://panaceachronicles.com/2018/10/01/coca-rico-post-maria-independence-prosperity/

Can Coca Leaf Provide Therapy For A Compromised Human Gut Microbiome?

https://panaceachronicles.com/2015/03/02/coca-leaf-therapy-for-compromised-human-gut-microbiome/

Coca In Everyday Andean Communities (Great Video!)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CLapDJabHu8

Natural Medicinal Preparations Of Coca Leaf from the 1800s

https://panaceachronicles.com/2014/03/26/natural-medicinal-preparations-of-coca-leaf/

Could Coca Leaf Be A Potential Treatment For Deadly Forms Of Fatigue?

Coca Leaf As A Potential Treatment For Deadly Forms Of Fatigue

Could Coca Leaf Be A Safe & Effective Treatment For Asthma?

https://panaceachronicles.com/2014/02/17/coca-leaf-as-a-safe-effective-treatment-cure-for-asthma/

Now For Something Special

If you’ve come this far – thanks! This concludes the “greenhouse” part of the post but since you’re here I’m sure you’ll enjoy this last bit. I’ve recently come across a brilliant, passionate piece of writing that makes the case for the liberation of Coca as well as I’ve ever seen it made, and I want to share it with readers of this post.

Here are a few quotes from an essay entitled “The Case for Coca and Cocaine: Bolivia’s March to Economic Freedom”, written by a candidate for a JD law degree named Daniel Tyler Cook. A full-text link is at the end. It was written in 2004 and as far as I can tell, remains buried in the law school archives. It is a brilliant summary of Coca’s place in Bolivia’s culture and economy and a disciplined, passionate argument for the liberation of Coca and Bolivia.

The author begins:

“For centuries, the Bolivian people have engaged in an intimate relationship with coca. Ancient Indian communities cultivated and consumed coca as a part of their cultural lives. Today, at least one million Bolivians still consume coca in some form. Indeed, coca is recognized as the most indispensable of Bolivian crops to its citizens. Coca also constitutes the raw material for cocaine. This fact ignites international concern, principally in the United States. As a result of the international drug trade, coca and its regulation has shaped, and continues to shape, Bolivian foreign affairs and domestic policy.

“The U.S.-led “war on drugs” has primarily targeted the coca growing Andean Nations, including Bolivia. In doing so, the United States targets the supply side of the drug trade, attempting to eradicate drug production in these source countries with the aim of preventing consumption within U.S. borders. While drug use and abuse might justify such policies from a North American perspective, a Bolivian perspective could hardly justify current international coca policies. Rather, such a U.S.-led perspective exposes the inefficacy of current drug policies aimed at Bolivia.

“This Note attempts to provide an assessment of current U.S.-backed drug policies from a Bolivian perspective. Part I traces the history of coca/cocaine production, use, and legislation in Bolivia and in the international community in order to demonstrate the integral role played by the United States in Bolivia’s coca regulatory regime. Part II examines alternatives to current Bolivian drug policies and offers a different approach to coca/cocaine regulation. This approach emphasizes Bolivian interests over the interests of other countries, specifically the United States, by proposing a unilateral approach to drug regulation to benefit and buttress Bolivia’s culture, society, and economy. This Note concludes that Bolivia’s acquiescence to a self-interested U.S. drug policy not only fails to promote Bolivia’s interests, but also causes more harm than it alleviates.

He concludes the essay, many fact-filled pages later, with this:

“Many of the problems associated with the above-mentioned anti-drug policies do not relate to their moral or practical worth. It is reasonable to assume that a nation would pass laws prohibiting or regulating drugs or crops used in producing drugs. Yet, drug prohibition or regulation is not a necessary action by any means. While the United States chooses to wage its war on drugs, it does not follow that Bolivia should do so as well. In light of the Bolivian reality, coca/cocaine prohibition has substantial costs that might outweigh any benefits prohibition fosters.

“Nonetheless, at present, the policy initiatives summarized and critiqued above have failed to provide for Bolivia’s interests. These policies have taken profitable opportunities from Bolivia’s farmers and growers without providing economically viable alternatives to coca. These policies have replaced the coca/cocaine earnings with U.S. economic aid. In essence, Bolivia has moved from living independently to something akin to living on food stamps. It has become a debtor nation by sacrificing its most profitable cash crop, the coca plant. And it has done this at the urging, indeed the coercion, of the United States.

“Bolivia would be better off if it precluded the United States from playing any role in its drug policies. As long as Bolivia is one of the poorest nations in the western hemisphere and the United States the richest, the two nations cannot negotiate freely and equally. As long as this relationship exists, any agreement between the two undoubtedly inculcates U.S. interests over Bolivian interests. While the United States has a drug problem, Bolivia does not. Bolivia’s citizens do not consume drugs at such high rates as do U.S. citizens. Moreover, the United States’ primary cash crop has not been targeted as illicit because of a derivative product banned throughout the world. The two nations stand in remarkably different positions. As such, the two nations are not in any sort of position to engage in bilateral action on an issue that affects each differently.

Now check this conclusion by the author – all I can say is RIGHT ON!

“This Note suggests that Bolivia divorce the United States as a partner in its drug control policies. If done, Bolivia would be free to regulate coca without fretting over foreign aid the United States foists upon it. This loss of income undoubtedly has consequences. Yet, other nations might pick up where American aid leaves off, narrowing some of the gap. Moreover, without intense drug interdiction and enforcement efforts, Bolivia would save money administratively. And, through liberalization of its drug laws, particularly with regard to coca, much of the Bolivian population can return to attainable goals of sustenance without worrying about violating any of a number of drug laws.

“Bolivia might also legalize cocaine as a commodity. While its export would face severe restrictions, legalization might actually have the effect of assisting international drug regulation. In essence, if Bolivian traffickers were forced to procure cocaine through a legal channel, foreign governments could easily locate those people attempting to smuggle drugs across borders. If traffickers were still able to obtain cocaine clandestinely, legalization would most likely have the effect of raising cocaine prices to pay for the intermediary buying the licit drugs to sell to traffickers engaged in the illegal international drug trade. Ultimately, a comprehensive regulatory cocaine regime would create employment opportunities in a legal market, while regulations would keep cocaine from becoming any more dangerous than it already is in a vast, illegal market. Indeed, the violence associated with an illegal drug market would diminish substantially if the illicit market were converted to a licit market.

“In Bolivia’s interest, strict coca regulations would cease, and Bolivians would again be allowed to produce coca to consume and sell on the open market. Confrontations between Bolivian drug police and cocaleros would undoubtedly lessen, limiting dissension and saving lives. With the legalization of cocaine, an illicit market diminishes. The Bolivian government would then assume the power to regulate cocaine production, distribution, and consumption within its borders. The country concomitantly would save needed funding that currently goes to eradication and supply-side reduction efforts that fail to benefit Bolivia’s interests. In the end, Bolivia’s citizens would prevail.

https://scholarship.law.umn.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1135&context=mjil

University of Minnesota Law School Scholarship Repository, Minnesota Journal of International Law 2004 “The Case for Coca and Cocaine: Bolivia’s March to Economic Freedom”, Daniel Tyler Cook