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


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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.

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.

 


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The Amazing Healing Power Of Natural Coca Leaf

CocaFlowersxThe range of diseases and conditions that were successfully treated and cured by European and US physicians using Coca Leaf over the course of hundreds of years should be truly amazing to us in the 21st Century, even those of us who have been propagandized into believing that allopathic medicine and modern science have “made great strides”, “revolutionized the treatment of disease”, yada yada.

As you look over the table below you might reflect on how little actual progress has been made in the treatment and cure of so many diseases, although we have certainly developed a lot of impressive technology and there have been some dramatic, if somewhat mixed-blessing advances such as antibiotics.

However, let me point to just one example; with all of our vaunted antibiotic technology huge numbers of people still die of Pneumonia – a deadly condition that doctors of the 18th and 19th centuries who were familiar with Coca leaf (and who didn’t resort to poisonous ‘remedies’ like Mercury, Arsenic and Bleeding) were quite often able to treat and reverse successfully with a few cups a day of Coca Leaf tea.

Also, since many of today’s most destructive diseases did not exist, or didn’t have a name during those earlier centuries, this post is intended to point to the historical record that strongly suggests that if pure, natural Coca Leaf were freely available today as a natural medicine it could lift the immense burden of these modern conditions and diseases from tens of millions of people virtually overnight, with no “side effects”, no risk, and for literally pennies a day.

Freely available Coca Leaf would literally destroy the market for useless, often even dangerous pharmaceuticals as well as the incredibly lucrative market for America’s beloved over-the-counter “remedies” – which, of course, would guarantee strident howls of objection and opposition. Americans spend $625 Billion a year on the over 300,000 “Over The Counter” medicines that promise relief from pain and suffering of all kinds.

Here is a table taken largely from the work of Dr. Golden, whose “History of Coca” (1901) outlines the conditions and diseases that were known in the 1800’s to be treatable and curable by Coca Leaf, along with number of diseases and conditions that have been largely ‘discovered’ in the century since Dr. Golden wrote. I believe that the evidence that he and other physicians and scientists recorded in their times shows that simple natural Coca Leaf infusions and extracts could prevent, treat and perhaps cure these modern diseases and conditions where the products of “Pig Pharma” so often fail.

Please consider the physical, emotional, spiritual and financial impact on the lives of millions of individuals and their families if even one or two of the conditions/diseases in the following table were proven beyond all doubt, using all of our contemporary research powers, to be either effectively treated or actually cured by drinking Coca Leaf Tea alone – no other treatments or medications needed.

And once you have reflected on this, if you are a strong advocate of legal Cannabis perhaps you’ll consider adding Coca Leaf to your demands that the US government and Pig Pharma back off and go away.

cocatablex

If you would like to read Dr. Golden’s extraordinary “History of Coca” I have digitized his book and it is available here. ($1.99 for the full 251 page book plus bibliography).

I have kept all of the original illustrations intact and – most importantly – I have hyperlinked as many of Dr. Golden’s bibliographic references to the original source materials as I could track down, almost all of them freely available in internet historical book archives.

Have fun – I certainly did while tracking down and studying these obscure but critically important resources for treating and healing disease using one of the most amazing natural medicines ever.


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Campi Flegrei – Not Your Average Nightmare

cfWho hasn’t heard the story of Mount Vesuvius and the immolation of thousands of people in Pompeii? The petrified remains of those people, posed forever in their death agonies, are a popular tourist attraction. “Gosh, look at the pain and suffering on that poor woman’s face. Just imagine ….”

Meanwhile, life goes on in the shadow of the great volcano. Of course Neopolitans are aware that at any moment Vesuvius can and no doubt will erupt again, but meanwhile la dolce vita trumps worries over an event that is in the future somewhere and, anyway, can’t be prevented.

Those of us who are fascinated by stories of the world’s great volcanos have recently been alerted to an even bigger story than the lively magma circulating underneath Vesuvius – the largely ignored story of a huge caldera on the other side of the Bay of Naples named Campi Flegrei.

Do you think that the projections of global winter if Yellowstone erupts, as many believe that it will, are accurate? Well friends and fellow disaster aficionados, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

Yet life goes on.

We’re worried about war in the Middle East. We’re disturbed by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We’re tired of hearing about Iraq. We’re eager to see some kind of resolution to Iran’s aggression. We’re afraid that Pakistan and India are going to nuke each other. We’re unhappy over China’s world-class pollution. We’re hoping that the murderous situation in the Philippines will end soon. We’re fed up hearing about the crime and violence in Mexico and Central America. We’re nervous that the San Andreas fault may let go. We don’t trust anything we read in the MSM. And the new American administration either horrifies or excites us. And don’t even get us started on the Heroin epidemic, evil bankers, rampant obesity and lurking terrorists.

Yes indeed, bad shit is happening all over the world

Funny thing though – it’s all irrelevant if Campi Flegrei lets loose. Even though the few headlines that have appeared lately are pretty ominous in that regard, they are NOTHING compared with what the scientists who have been studying Campi Flegrei for the last several decades have to say.
But hey, who has the time to read long-winded scientific studies? Well, maybe you do, and if you do, you might want to set aside an hour or so and really, really focus on this one. Because if these guys are right – and their data looks REALLY solid, then it isn’t going to be long before all those worrisome trouble spots listed above shrink to insignificance underneath the world-wide cloud of fire and ash from Campi Flegrei.

You may want to pay special attention to how closely the data from Campi Flegrei match up with similar gas composition, flow and sequence data from other mega-volcanos that have been studied before they blew. Not on the massive scale of this one, when and if she blows, but the data curves from several previous big, bad boys are eerily close and point to something happening soon.

Beginning with the biggest eruption since the age of the (end of) Dinosaurs, exploding underneath the Bay of Naples, and spreading fire, poisonous gas and ash over most of the Northern Hemisphere in a week or so, this will be an extinction event to end all extinction events.

Global nuclear war? Fuggedaboutit. GNW would be quick and relatively painless compared to the years of freezing, dark, hopeless death by starvation that would be the fate of virtually everyone north of the equator. And no amount of prepping will change fate one little bit except by extending the suffering of the prepared ones. That’s if Campi Flegrei blows while you and I are still among the living. If we are not, we would be able to count ourselves among the lucky ones, if we could.

So, why am I writing a post like this in a blog dedicated to uplifting the spirit of Mama Coca? Because it’s just possible that the Andes mountains that are the home to Mama Coca and her people might survive the extinction of the people of the North, and if that happens then I hope that the Spirit of Mama Coca will keep her people safe, keep them from hunger and sickness, and perhaps enable them to re-build a human civilization that is more human and less satanic than the so-called civilization that the people of the North have inflicted on the world for far too many generations.

If you read what these scientists say, the moment when Campi Flegrei accomplishes what all the wars in history have never achieved is not too far off. And it will happen, when it happens, in the blink of an eye.

The true translation of the famed “Eat, drink and be merry” Epicurean creed is “Eat, drink, and enjoy all the pleasures of the flesh, for after death there will be no more desire.” True, that.

Have a nice day, every day.

For my readers who want to check out the full story, and all the data, here is the citation

Chiodini, G. et al. Magmas near the critical degassing pressure drive volcanic unrest towards a critical state. Nat. Commun. 7, 13712 doi: 10.1038/ncomms13712 (2016)


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Wouldn’t Coca Leaf Tea Be An Option Here?

pumpScientists have announced a remarkable device that is implanted surgically and pumps your food out as soon as you’ve eaten it. They call it the answer to obesity, suitable for just about everyone.

Eat, enjoy, pump.

Well, at a minimum I suppose its better than fingers down the throat because at least you don’t damage your esophagus barfing up all that stomach acid.

This remarkable invention is evidently clean and santiary too. Your chewed and swallowed food is pumped right out before it can be digested. Of course you better be standing by the toilet or have a bucket handy.

Just think – no more nasty bowel movements. Chew, swallow, pump, flush. The savings on TP alone might be worth the implant!

And if you have pets there could even be some big savings there too. The phrase “doggie bag” unfortunately comes to mind.

https://www.rt.com/usa/347369-stomach-pumping-obesity-fda/

On the other hand, wouldn’t a nice cup of Coca Leaf tea a few times a day be a little less, um, complicated? After all, there’s plenty of evidence that Coca Leaf tea can be a safe, natural way to treat obesity.
CocaFlowersx


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

Editor’s Note: This research paper is valuable for an understanding of the Coca plant in several important ways. First, it makes very clear that the alkaloid Cocaine along with other beneficial alkaloids present in varying concentrations in dozens of species of genus Erythrolylum, not just in the Coca plant of the Andes most closely associated with Cocaine production. These Cocaine and alkaloid-rich wild species are broadly distributed – principally but not exclusively in South America.

(An interesting aside – not mentioned by the authors of this study – is that in the 1800s there were dedicated efforts to cultivate Coca plants in many parts of the world including Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Mexico, Java, Algeria, and the Western US, so it is highly likely that if one looked carefully one would find wild, escaped descendants of the original plantings in at least some of those places today.)

Another thing that makes this research interesting is that the experiments were conducted on leaves of wild Erythroxylum species used botanical samples collected many years ago and kept since in collections in various research institutions. In other words, the samples tested were 30-50 years old!

The fact that the researchers found Cocaine in dozens of species by examining specimens that old begs the question – what is the Cocaine and beneficial alkaloid concentration in fresh specimens of these wild species? Since it is well-known among indigenous Andean people that fresh Coca leaves are superior to even year-old leaves, you have to think that fresh leaves from some of the wild species identified in this study would make a very nice Coca Leaf tea.

But the real “Wow!” factor to me in this research is that of the dozens of wild species of the genus Erythroxylum scattered around the world at least some have most or possibly all of the alkaloid and other plant constituents that provide the well-documented health benefits of the Erythroxylon Coca of the Andes. While the authors of this study found that almost all of the wild species that contained Cocaine had very small amounts, you have to wonder what a little TLC (tender loving cultivation) would do to the alkaloid content of at least some of these wild species? Who knows – this news might just inspire a whole new generation of PharmaBotanists to go forth and seek out these apparently 100% legal plants and in the process drive the DEA stark raving bonkers – not that they aren’t already.

Which brings me to another very valuable aspect of this research. The scientists not only tested decades-old leaves of wild species, they also tested contemporary Coca Leaf Tea products from Bolivia and Peru. Their findings should encourage anyone who is interested in using these readily available (in Bolivia and Peru) commercial products for dealing with health issues because the researchers conclude that some of the products sold in Bolivia and Peru are “pure Coca leaf” and others, even the “de-cocainized” products that are sold in the US (check Amazon), not only are not completely “de-cocainized” but they appear to still have a leaf chemistry profile that indicates they should be at least minimally effective for some therapeutic uses. The Teas available in the US are definitely not anywhere as effective as pure, natural whole Coca leaf – but they are not altogether useless either. And (some of) the commercial Coca Leaf teas produced and sold in both Bolivia and Peru are pure, natural Coca Leaf – the way the great spirit of Mama Coca made them.

Final comment – although I have included information from the original article on the testing procedures the scientists used in working on all of the Wild Coca species, I have left out their extensive data tables for the sake of both brevity and simplicity. However I have included their valuable list of references for readers who might like to follow up.

*******************************************************
Cocaine Distribution In Wild Erythroxylum Species

Stefan Bieri, Anne Brachet, Jean-Luc Veuthey, Philippe Christen (Corresponding author. Fax: +41 22 379 33 99, E-mail address: philippe.christen@pharm.unige.ch (P. Christen).

Laboratory of Pharmaceutical Analytical Chemistry, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences EPGL, University of Geneva, 20 Bd d’Yvoy, 1211 Geneva 4, Switzerland

Battelle, Agrochemical Product Development, 7 Route de Drize, 1227 Carouge-Geneva, Switzerland

Received 30 May 2005; received in revised form 10 August 2005; accepted 16 August 2005

Available online 30 September 2005

Abstract
Cocaine distribution was studied in leaves of wild Erythroxylum species originating from Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Mexico, USA, Venezuela and Mauritius. Among 51 species, 28 had never been phytochemically investigated before. Cocaine was efficiently and rapidly extracted with methanol, using focused microwaves at atmospheric pressure, and analysed without any further purification by capillary gas chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry. Cocaine was reported for the first time in 14 species. Erythroxylum laetevirens was the wild species with the highest cocaine content. Its qualitative chromatographic profile also revealed other characteristic tropane alkaloids. Finally, its cocaine content was compared to those of two cultivated coca plants as well as with a coca tea bag sample.

© 2005 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Erythroxylaceae; Erythroxylum; Erythroxylum laetevirens; Cocaine; Tropane alkaloids; Gas chromatography; Mass spectrometry; Focused microwave assisted extraction

Introduction

The last 30 years have seen an increasing interest in cocaine analysis resulting from its expanding illicit use in Western Europe and North America. Regardless of the importance of cultivated coca plants from an economical point of view, these species always played a key role for South American natives (Grinspoon and Bakalar, 1981; Naranjo, 1981; Schultes, 1981; Plowman, 1984a).

Coca chewing in South America has persisted from ancient times, but is still poorly understood from many points of view. This traditional habit is largely considered
noxious by many regulatory authorities.

The family Erythroxylaceae is composed of four genera: Aneulophus, Erythroxylum, Nectaropetalum and Pinacopodium (Hegnauer, 1981). The genus Erythroxylum, by far the most well know genus of the family comprises roughly 230 species of tropical trees and shrubs, which are widely distributed in South America, Africa and Madagascar (Plowman and Hensold, 2004).

In 1907, Schulz divided this genus into 19 sections, providing a useful scheme for comparative phytochemical considerations. Erythroxylum and more particularly Erythroxylum coca and Erythroxylum novogranatense, as well as their varieties, is the only natural source of cocaine (Plowman, 1984b).

Even if some attention has been focused on non-cultivated Erythroxylum species for the possible presence of cocaine, systematic investigation of the genus is still incomplete and several species used in traditional medicine remain unknown (Evans, 1981).

Aynilian et al. (1974) reported the concentration of cocaine in herbarium specimens of seven Erythroxylum species. Holmstedt et al. (1977) analysed 62 samples of 13 tropical
South American species by capillary gas chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Cocaine was found only in the leaves of two species, Erythroxylum coca and Erythroxylum novogranatense, but no measurable amount of cocaine was detected in any of the other 11 species. Subsequently, Plowman and Rivier (1983), using more sensitive assays, detected trace amounts of cocaine in 13 neotropical wild Erythroxylum species
representing five sections of the genus. Besides, they found that two species from Venezuela, namely Erythroxylum recurrens and Erythroxylum steyermarkii, contained cocaine amounts comparable to those found in cultivated species.

This study is part of a large investigation of the genus Erythroxylum for tropane and related alkaloids (Brachet et al., 1997, 2002; Christen et al., 1993, 1995; Brock et al., 2005).

We report here on the specific investigation of cocaine in 51 wild species. Due to the presence of an appreciable amount of cocaine, Erythroxylum laetevirens was qualitatively investigated for the presence of other tropane alkaloids and its chromatographic profile was compared to those of two cultivated species, together with
a coca tea bag sample.

2. Materials and methods

2.1. Plant material and chemicals

Most species were collected in South America between 1979 and 1984 by the late T. Plowman and kindly provided by Dr. Laurent Rivier (Lausanne, Switzerland). Two species originating from sites other than South America were also included in this study, namely Erythroxylum areolatum from the Bahamas (USA) and Erythroxylum macrocarpum from Mauritius. A voucher specimen of all plants is deposited at our Institute.

For each species, only the leaves were analysed. Dry plant material was ground to a fine homogenous powder by a ballmill (MM 200 RETSCH, Switzerland) and finally sieved to an average particle size of less than 125 m.

Cocaine hydrochloride (COC) and Methadone hydrochloride (MET) were obtained from Siegfried Handel (Zofingen, Switzerland) and H¨ansler (Herisau, Switzerland), respectively.

2.2. Extraction procedure

Extractions were performed using focused microwaves at atmospheric pressure at a frequency of 2450MHz using a Soxwave 3.6 apparatus (Prolabo, France) with a programmable heating power. Typically, 100 mg of powdered plant material was placed into a 20mL quartz extraction vessel and hydrated with 10L of water prior to the addition of 5mL methanol.

The extraction was carried out at 125W for 30 seconds. Each extract solution was filtered on a 0.45 mm PTFE filter (Brachet et al., 2002). Solutions obtained from wild species were evaporated to dryness and taken up in 1mL methanol containing 10 ppm internal standard (methadone), while solutions from cultivated species were diluted four times with methanol. All samples were analysed by GC-MS without any further purification.

2.3. Gas chromatography

GC-MS analyses were carried out using a Hewlett-Packard 5890 series II chromatograph coupled to a HP 5972 mass selective detector (Agilent Technologies, Palo Alto, CA, USA). The mass detector operated in the electron impact ionization mode at 70 eV. Injections were performed in the splitless mode at 250o C with a splitless period of 60 s and with purge and septum purge flow rates of 30 and 3 mL/min, respectively.

Injections of 1 L were carried out with a HP 6890 series fast automatic liquid sampler
(Agilent Technologies). A laminar liner (Restek, Bellefonte, PA, USA) was used as well as a standard syringe with a 42mm long needle and a cone tip. Helium was used as carrier gas and operated in the constant flow mode (1 ml/min).

For qualitative analysis, a HP5-MS column, 30 mm×0.25 mm i.d.× 0.25 mm
film thickness was used with an initial oven temperature of 70 ◦C (1 min hold) and a linear temperature program from 70 to 285o C at 5 o C/min and hold at the final temperature for 15 min. Spectra were recorded in the mass range 30–500 Th with 1.3 scan/s and the MS transfer line was set at 280 o C.

For quantitative cocaine analysis, the oven was initially set at 70 ◦C (1 min hold) and linearly increased to 285 o C (5 min hold) at 30 ◦C/min. GCMS (SIM mode) was performed using the selective ion 303 Th (molecular ion of cocaine), the qualifier ion 272 Th and the target ion 182 Th (base peak of cocaine). Methadone (MET) was
used as internal standard with target ion 294 Th (molecular ion) and qualifier ion 72 Th (base peak of methadone). In order to enhance sensitivity, the potential of the electron multiplier was increased by a 400V increment for a period of time of 2 min which included elution of the internal standard and cocaine.

2.4. Quantification

Standard calibration curve was obtained with cocaine solutions at seven concentration levels between 0.1 and 100 ppm (0.1, 0.5, 1, 5, 25, 50 and 100 ppm) containing a fixed concentration (10 ppm) of methadone. Quantitative determination was based on the peak area ratio of the target ions of cocaine over methadone. A correlation coefficient of 0.9992 was obtained.

The relative standard deviations (R.S.D.) for six consecutive injections with a cocaine standard solution at 5 ppm was inferior to 5%, and inferior to 10% at 0.1 ppm, corresponding to the limit of quantification (LOQ). For any concentration level, the
three cocaine ions were detected at the corresponding elution time (between 9.55 and 9.57 min).

Cocaine was considered to be present in a species, but not quantified (NQ) when ions 182 and 303 Th were detected with a signal to noise ratio of at least 2. When the target ion 182 Th was not detected, the symbol ND was used, meaning that no cocaine
was present.

3. Results and discussion

Before any discussion of the results, it is important to emphasize that the time elapsed between plant harvesting and analysis is between 20 and 25 years. Since it is believed that a cocaine leaf content may vary with time, the quantitative results reported should be viewed from that perspective despite the fact that the preservation of cocaine in Erythroxylum coca leaves has been shown in 44 year-old herbarium samples (Aynilian et al., 1974).

A straightforward sample preparation method involving focused microwave-assisted extraction (FMAE) was used as already described by Brachet et al. (2002). This procedure was particularly well suited for mass limited samples, as it required no more than 100 mg of fine powdered plant material. Indeed, sample amounts of the various examined species at our disposal varied between a few hundred milligrams and a hundred and fifty grams. Furthermore, this method was extremely rapid (30 s), required low amount of organic solvent (5 mL) and thus allowed the extraction of numerous samples in a short period of time. In addition, it is environmentally friendly and does not necessitate additional sophisticated sample treatment before analysis.

After extraction, all of the investigated samples were qualitatively and quantitatively analysed by GC-MS in scan and SIM modes, respectively. The leaves of 51 Erythroxylum species belonging to seven different sections as described by Schulz (1907) were examined for their cocaine content. Among them, 28 species had not been
investigated previously. According to the age of the investigated plant material and due to the low cocaine content, concentration ranges rather than exact concentrations are reported.

Four domains, expressed in percentage of cocaine per gram dry mass, have been defined, namely: (++++) >0.005%; (+++) 0.001–0.005%; (++) 0.0005–0.001%; (+) 0.0001–0.0005%. The LOQ of the method turned out to be 0.0001% of cocaine per gram dry leaf. Retention time repeatability on the target ion (182 Th) was excellent (R.S.D. = 0.01%, n = 6) considering the high oven temperature program rate used for quantitative analyses.

Fig. 1 shows the extracted ion profiles in the case of Erythroxylum argentinum, which was the wild species with the lowest quantified cocaine content. It demonstrates the specificity of the method, which requires the simultaneous presence of the three cocaine ions, together with the precise retention time.

Cocaine was detected in 23 of the 51 species examined. All the investigated sections except one (Pachylobus) contained at least one cocaine-producing species. This
suggests, as indicated by previous studies (Aynilian et al., 1974; Plowman and Rivier, 1983), that cocaine is widely distributed among the genus Erythroxylum, irrespective of the sections.

Fourteen species are reported to contain cocaine for the first time – Erythroxylum amazonicum, Erythroxylum citrifolium, Erythroxylum laetevirens, Erythroxylum argentinum, Erythroxylum cumanense, Erythroxylum densum, Erythroxylum frangulifolium, Erythroxylum subrotundum, Erythroxylum cuneifolium, Erythroxylum divaricatum, Erythroxylum gonocladum, Erythroxylum andreii, Erythroxylum aturense, and Erythroxylum confusum.

Among them, Erythroxylum laetevirens, a shrub with pale-greenish flowers and green fruits, was the wild species with by far the highest cocaine content (0.011% dry weight). Thus, its alkaloid profile was accurately determined and compared with those of two cultivated Erythroxylum coca species, as well as with a “Mate de coca” commercially available on the market in La Paz in Bolivia.

Quantitative results showed that even if the cocaine content in Erythroxylum laetevirens was markedly higher than in all the other investigated wild species, it was nonetheless much lower than in the “Mate de coca”, as well as in the cultivated species. In the literature, it has been reported that in these species, the lowest cocaine content was found in the Ipadu variety (0.11–0.41%) and the highest content in the Truxillense variety (0.42–1.02%), while the cocaine content in the Novogranatense variety ranges from 0.17 to 0.76% (Holmstedt et al., 1977; Plowman and Rivier, 1983). Our results are in good agreement with these values and suggest that the “Mate de coca” probably consists
of coca leaves, but not from the Ipadu variety (Plowman, 1981; Schultes, 1981).

According to Engelke and Gentner, 1991, herbal tea bags sold under the name “Health Inca Tea” or “Mate de Coca” are commercially available since 1981 in Peru. The authors
mentioned that the investigated tea bags were produced and packed in Peru from the leaves of Erythroxylum novogranatense var. truxillense by a national enterprise. Even if the product was claimed to be decocainized, the percentage of cocaine present in the plant tissue raised up to 0.37%, corresponding to about 3.7 mg of cocaine per tea bag.

Similarly, Jenkins et al. (1996), analysed coca tea bags from Peru and Bolivia and indicated that cocaine, benzoylecgonine, ecgonine methyl ester and trans-cinnamoylcocaine were present in variable quantities.

After exhaustive extraction, they found an average cocaine content of roughly 5mg per tea bag consisting of 1 g plant material. When they prepared tea according to the labelling
instructions, an average of about 4mg cocaine was found per cup. These results were in good agreement with other investigations (Rivier, 1981; El Sohly et al., 1986; Siegel et al., 1986; Jackson et al., 1991). The cocaine content in the “Mate de coca” measured in the present study (0.60%), together with the qualitative chromatographic profile, indicate that the investigated tea bags consisted of basically pure coca leaves

Finally, as Erythroxylum laetevirens had not been investigated previously, a qualitative chromatographic profile of its alkaloid content was carried out and compared with those of cultivated coca species. All chromatographic profiles displayed a similar tropane alkaloid pattern. Indeed, hygrine, anhydro-ecgonine methyl ester, ecgonine methyl ester, cocaine, and two characteristic cinnamoylcocaines were unambiguously identified in all samples. The material that appeared between 20 and 27 min in all chromatographic profiles consisted mainly of fatty acids.

4. Conclusions

In the present study, the leaf samples of 51 different Erythroxylum species were investigated for their cocaine content. Twenty-eight species had not been examined previously and cocaine was detected in 23 wild Erythroxylum species. Cocaine content was less than 0.001% for all wild species, except for Erythroxylum laetevirens in which a 10 times higher amount was determined. The qualitative chromatographic profile of the
latter species was very similar to that of cultivated coca species.

In particular, the characteristic cinnamoylcocaines were present. Comparison of GC profiles and quantitative results showed that the so-called “Mate de coca”, also known as “Health Inca tea”, was mainly composed of pure coca leaves. Consequently, the
consumption of coca tea will result in ingestion of varying amounts of cocaine, together with other related tropane alkaloids.

Before any overall chemotaxonomic conclusions are drawn regarding the occurrence of cocaine throughout the genus, further phytochemical investigations on more species are required. It appears from the present study that Cocaine, even in trace amounts is not specifically produced by species belonging to a single section of the genus. Rather, it is widely distributed and thus cannot be used as a specific marker for the genus.

Besides classical botanical or chemotaxonomical approaches, some recent progress has been made in using DNA profiling to characterize the cocaine-producing species (Johnson et al., 2003). This technique, applied to the whole genus, should significantly
help to revise the classification of the species within the Erythroxylum genus.

Acknowledgements

The authors are indebted to Dr. L. Rivier who kindly provided the samples collected by the late Dr. T. Plowman, and who encouraged us to pursue this phytochemical investigation on the Erythroxylum genus.

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