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


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If You Are Not A Gnat, This May Interest You

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

(in) British Medical Journal, April 29, 1876

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


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Coca Tea, Inflammatory Disease Control & Depression

from “Coca Leaf Papers” 2012

Another well-done study is showing that medical researchers have now firmly established the relationship between Brain Inflammation and Depression. Brain inflammation rarely occurs by itself; much more commonly, the brain is inflamed because the whole body is inflamed. Put another way, if you are inflamed, your brain is probably inflamed too.  While whole body inflammation has a number of possible origins, none are more common than (1) autoimmune disease and (2) inflammatory diets. (Which are quite likely themselves closely linked)

A wide range of diseases from heart disease to obesity, and from ME/CFS to Depression are now clearly associated with, if not caused by whole body inflammation. Hundreds of billions of dollars are spent “treating” these diseases, but the suffering and dying have not slowed down. If anything, human life on planet Earth is approaching, or at least edging up on some kind of terminal disease that we don’t even have a name for yet. But you can bet that it will work its deadly toll through some kind of inflammation.

Given the enormous range of sources of inflammation in today’s societies worldwide, and given that there are no good, simple ways for people in the grip of whole body inflammation to get it under control, you would think that some group of responsible scientists somewhere, would run even a small, well-controlled study on whether or not Coca leaf Tea could treat even some of the common inflammatory conditions.

Medical researchers are portrayed in the media as risk-takers, and some may be. There may even be some innovative thinkers working today. But so far none appear to be able to learn, or even take a hint from history.

You would think, wouldn’t you, that if a responsible medical researcher who was interested in inflammatory processes read the following few paragraphs they might suggest a worthwhile direction for some inexpensive, potentially breakthrough research.

Well, that’s what I’m hoping. These three quotes are from 600+ pages of hyperlinked historical documents in “The Coca Leaf Papers” that I published in 2012. These observations were made by doctors living and practicing well over 100 years ago, and sum up their lifetimes of observations of the healing effects of pure, natural Coca Leaf.

I’m still waiting for those first clinical trials of Coca Leaf, aren’t you? There are lots of Pig Pharma studies on “treatments” costing six-figures per treatment, but not one peep on that little cup of tea.

Dr. William Tibbles

Although our materia medica includes many valuable remedies for human affliction, it is a matter of certainty that in all cases where the animal vitality is failing, or where exhaustion or disease exist, Erythroxylon Coca is decidedly superior to every other remedy at present known. It will work effects such as no other single drug will produce, and it possesses the great advantage of not causing, when its use is relinquished or discontinued, the slightest reaction or depression.

So valuable are the properties, and so extensive the field in which this new remedy may be employed in the amelioration of human suffering, that the author now brings it before the public, in the hope that a great amount of present affliction may be removed, and, in the future, prevented.

Dr. William Searles

“… increased arterial tension throws a greater strain upon the heart, which becomes overtaxed, dilated, and there are produced breathlessness, a sensation of lightness in the head, etc. Coca, by its toning action on the nervous system, increases the amount of nervous influence over the whole organism, diminishes the waste of tissue, regulates the various functional actions – as circulation, excretion, etc., and prevents such results as above given.

 Thus its efficacy as a therapeutic agent in all forms of disease cannot be doubted. In consumption, in inflammation, in fevers, in which states of the system there is an increase in temperature, disorder of nutrition, abnormal disintegration of the tissues of the body’s nervous and muscular fibres, increased production and excretion of urates, carbonic acid, etc.; in the brain exhaustion consequent upon mental labour, and in the fatigue produced by physical exercise.

 In all states and conditions of men coca is invaluable both as a preventive of exhaustion and a repairer of wasted tissue. In all the years through which I have used these leaves, I have administered them in large and small doses, to man and animals, without inducing, in any one case, injurious effects, but always, on the contrary, the beneficial results required.”

Wm. TIBBLES,MD, Syston, Leicester. N 2

“The discovery of the Western Continent, whether due to the forethought or ignorance of Columbus, or to the hardihood of the Norsemen several centuries before his time, brought a multitude of bounties to humanity. Among these none is greater than the countless plants which have been gradually unfolded to usefulness by the processes of science. Particularly is this true of the economic and medicinal plants of South America, which on the eastern declivity of the Andes and towards the valley of the Amazon, spring forth in all the luxuriance of the tropical jungle, over a vast portion of which it is supposed the foot of man has never trodden.

In this locality – and among this wild profusion, grows a beautiful shrub, the leaves of which in shape somewhat resemble those of the orange tree, but in color are of a very much paler green, having that exquisite translucence of the most delicate fern. The properties of this plant more nearly approach that ideal source of endurance than is known to exist in any other one sub stance.

Its leaves have been used by the natives of the surrounding country from the earliest recollection, as a masticatory, as a medicine, and as a force sustaining food. Its use is not confined to emergency, nor to luxury, but as an essential factor to the daily life work of these people.

As a potent necessity it has been tenderly cared for and carefully cultivated through the struggles, trials and vituperation it has been the occasion of during so many hundreds of years, until to-day its cultivation forms the chief industry of a large portion of the natives and a prominent source of revenue to the governments controlling the localities where it is grown.

It will be shown by ample testimony that Coca is not only a substance innocent as is tea or coffee – which are commonly accepted popular necessities – but that Coca is vastly superior to these substances, and more worthy of general use because of its depurative action on the blood, as well as through its property of provoking a chemico-physiological change in the tissues whereby the nerves and muscles are rendered more capable for their work.

Strong as may appear this assertion, I believe that the facts here presented will amply indicate that sufficient has not been said upon the benefits to accrue from the liberal use of Coca, Indeed, our knowledge of it is yet in its infancy, and if this present writing will but excite others to continue these investigations and experiments. Coca will achieve the position it should maintain as an aid and support to humanity worthy the greatest popularity and the highest possible respect.

Dr. Golden Mortimer

 

 


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Poppy Juice, Synthetic Pills, & The Trap Of Addiction

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“The Intercept” has just run an excellent piece outlining the lobbying efforts of the Opioid Manufacturing sector of the Pharmaceutical Industry to scuttle new Federal regulations that would attempt to make it harder for doctors to prescribe Opioid drugs like Oxycontin. The major manufacturers involved in the lobbying are Purdue, Cephalon, Endo, and Janssen (a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson).

The efforts of these parasitical manufacturers to maintain open season on the wholesale addicting of new “patients” while at the same time keeping up the flow of millions of tablets of these drugs that somehow manage to leak into the street market ( who, us?), is symptomatic of the thug-like nature of virtually the entire pharmaceutical industry.

When you look at the numbers you see that pills are the main “Opioid” killers, not Heroin, not Morphine, and certainly not Opium from the Poppy, and for all the hype about synthetic Opium pills like Oxy, the job they do of relieving pain is no better than a pipe of good opium. Of the 47,000+ drug overdose deaths counted by the CDC in 2014, 8800 were due to Heroin, which leaves +38,000 due largely to pills.

The single justification for the “Opioid” pill industry’s existence is that their products are claimed to be safer than natural Opium, Morphine, or Heroin. If you want to find the reason for the industry’s panic at the increase in Opioid pill deaths, look at the ratio between deaths from the dreaded slayer of youth Heroin and the supposedly safe if used as directed wonder pill.

If a huge part of your industry’s claim to fame is that your product is safer than the juice of the poppy then you have to be pretty upset when people are finally realizing that your pills are killing users nearly 5:1 compared to the fruits of the little flower.

Consider for a moment two possible tracks for our society – the one we are on and the one that could have been, and yet might be.

The track our society has taken is to turn our health, just like we’ve turned most of the other key aspects of our lives, over to highly intrusive institutional management. Most of us no longer have any management role in our food, our children’s education, our family and community security, our finances, or our privacy. One of the results of our capitulation to pervasive institutional management of our lives is that the exponentially-growing health industry, always quick to spot (or make) an opportunity, responded by creating vast numbers of expensive, enormously profitable drugs for all those astounding new diseases of modern society that patients are required to take by their doctors who give no natural options in place of the medical management system’s proprietary pharmaceuticals.

The second track, which might have been, is that all of the medical knowledge gained by doctors, patients and society at large in the 1700s and especially the 1800s regarding three of the great natural drugs – Opium, Coca and Cannabis – might have been kept and nurtured rather than discarded and largely forgotten. Had those three natural medicinal drugs not been demonized and outlawed as part of the warped spiritual movement of the early 1900s that gave birth first to Prohibition and later to the War On Drugs, these three great natural drugs would be available today as a part of the :People’s Pharmacy” just like hundreds of other herbal, natural medicines.

The industrial pharma industry would still have developed, and a lot of people would still be victims of their concoctions, but without the legal framework lovingly erected over decades by authoritarian conspirators there would be a whole segment of the Medical industry devoted to the use of all natural medicines, not just those permitted by the state as part of its role in enforcing the monopoly of Industrial Pharma over medicinal products.

Even more important, a nationwide, community-bases network of natural medicine practitioners would have evolved – people in every community who knew how to grow all of the ancient medical herbs and who utilized the advances of technology to produce ever-more effective but still natural medicines.

Of course we have a great model for this system in the network of Medical Cannabis growers and patients who are finally emerging after the long night of Prohibition – which is still in the very earliest stages of dawning – to point to and see what might have been for ALL the great natural medicines and not just Cannabis, and not just in a few states in the US and a few countries in the world.

In a society where those who wanted any form of any natural drug could grow and prepare it for themselves, or could go to a reputable dispensary or belong to a regulated collective, then we would certainly have some addicts among these people, but they would be able to lead as normal a life as they chose to live without the constant suffering, pain, and jeopardy of addiction to “illegal drugs” and all the horrors that go with that scene.

People with little income would not be driven to prostitute themselves and do violence to feed a drug habit if the drugs they wanted were freely available in safe, natural forms. It is possible, is it not, that given access to natural drugs in a climate free of violence and exploitation many if not most people could use drugs and still lead a normal life even if trapped in circumstances of poverty.

I believe that centuries of recorded experience in societies worldwide shows that the overwhelming problem with addiction is how society treats addicts. If an addict is free to lead an otherwise productive and normal life, many will do so, and those who won’t would have been lost whether drug laws made them criminals or not.

Perhaps what makes addiction so awful for so many people isn’t what the drug does to them, it’s what society does to them as a consequence of their addiction. The popular image of addiction is what is used to sell all the prevention/intervention programs that flourish around addicted people. Human degradation in every form is shown as a consequence of drug addiction, and many people buy that and think no further. But consider the number of people who are technically addicted who lead normal, productive lives in comparison with those whose lives are supposedly ruined by addiction, you begin to realize that plenty of people are addicted to drugs and other substances and don’t descend to street prostitution, emaciation, bleeding scabs and sleeping in alleys. It seems that one begins to see that maybe it is circumstances and not the drugs themselves that determine the direction that addiction takes. Remove all the harsh punishments for addiction and I wonder – what would happen to addiction?

If the illegal status of drugs and the consequences for addiction were removed, at least drug addiction would no longer be part of the trap that ensnares millions of people in the US. Poverty and exploitation would continue in other ways – unless of course (you never know) some kind of new dynamic was released in poor communities by removing the key role of criminalized drug addiction in keeping the iron collar of poverty and exploitation firmly clamped around their necks.


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How Coca Leaf Could Balance & Heal Our Gut Microbiome

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The scientific and medical literature of the 1800s gives us thousands of case studies primarily from Europe, Canada and the US, as well as somewhat limited published research, on the role of Coca Leaf preparations in treating and healing an impressive range of conditions and diseases.

In these case studies Coca Leaf was almost always consumed by the patient as tea (hot water extract) or tonic (alcohol extract), which means that the initial site of almost all the recorded medical action of Coca Leaf on the body was the human gut.

The same has been true for hundreds of generations in the Andes – they chew Coca first to bathe their gut with the healing, balancing juices, and from there the healing influences radiate throughout their muscular, endocrine and nervous systems.

So according to the historical evidence, the healing action of Coca Leaf appears to be centered in the gut.

Fast forward to today.

We now know that it is the health and balance of an individual’s gut microbiome that determines their overall state of health. We know that when that balance is upset gut diseases occur, and we increasingly understand how metabolic and neurological diseases are linked to disturbances of the gut microbiome.

Human adults carry about six pounds of bacteria in our gut, and in this mass of living organisms there are literally tens of thousands of species – most of them still unidentified. However we do know the major players in the human gut, and increasingly we are finding out that changes in the populations of these major players, plus blooms of pathogenic players like klebsiella and c. dificil, seem increasingly likely to be causing serious human illness.

So it may not be making too much of a speculative leap to say that it is likely that one of the important things that 19th Century science is telling us is that Coca Leaf helps to maintain, and works to restore a healthy gut microbiome, although of course those 19th Century doctors knew nothing of the gut microbiome. But they did know that Coca Leaf preparations worked on a wide range of diseases – better than almost anything else in their apothecary.

It certainly wouldn’t take a major research project to confirm or to disprove what I believe the 19th Century medical literature so clearly suggests. As part of the work I’m doing in trying to find funding for “Centros de Coca Curación” I intend to include funding for research studies in this and related areas, engaging reputable degreed scientific and medical researchers in Peru, Bolivia and any other country where they would be free to conduct their work and publish the results.

Readers of this blog know that in past posts I have engaged in a lot of speculation on the modern implications what 19th Century science knew about the healing properties of pure, natural Coca Leaf. I believe that the richness of the human experience recorded in those days by people of science and medicine can guide us today, lost as we are in the machinations of the pharmaceutical and allopathic medical “industries”.

Isn’t it time to begin demanding that legislators in states that have legalized Medical Cannabis now move to legalize first the import of fresh Coca Leaf and Coca Medicines and also to legalize cultivation of Coca Leaf in the United States for general consumption as well as medical purposes?


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Coca Leaf Health Spas In Mexico – Centros de Coca Curación

The recent ruling by the Mexico Supreme Court that opens the way to the legalization of recreational Marijuana in Mexico has also potentially opened the door to a powerful new economic resource for the country, which would piggyback on an already-existing medical tourism industry. With very little effort, Mexico could create a nationwide system of “Centros de Coca Curacion” and become the leading center for Coca Leaf therapy in the world.

Each year hundreds of thousands of North Americans and Europeans head to Mexico for everything from dental procedures to fertility treatment to intricate neurosurgery. They are comfortable doing so because for generations North Americans andbalenearios3 Europeans have experienced successful, inexpensive, highly competent medical treatment in Mexico. Medical treatment in Mexico is a known, fully accepted option. There are even a number of US health insurers who pay for medical treatment in Mexico such as BlueShield of California through its “Access Baja” health plan.

All that Mexico would have to do would be to legalize the possession and use of Coca Leaf and at least two potentially huge new medical industries would open up. Coca Leaf spas where people could go for relaxation and treatment, and Coca Leaf medications similar to those already being manufactured in Bolivia and Peru. Medical treatment at Coca Leaf spas would be closer, cheaper, and more familiar than having to fly to the southern Andes. Plus Mexico has a huge traditional community of healers as well as all varieties of contemporary medicine from allopathic to naturopathic MDs.

Freely available Coca Leaf medications in the form of teas, pastilles and – almost certainly – some version of Vin Mariani would soon make their way into the world market. This is already happening in Peru and Bolivia.

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There would be no need for the Mexican government to spend a single peso to accomplish this. Turn on the green light and Mexican entrepreneurs would jump on this opportunity immediately.

Mexico would not have to wait for Mexican farmers to get Coca plantations established – it would be a simple matter of the Mexican government allowing the regulated importation of fresh Coca Leaf from Bolivia while licensed & regulated Coca plantations were coming of age in the Mexican mountains. Since it takes several years to get a Coca plantation fully productive the imported leaf option would enable the Mexican Medical Coca Leaf industry to begin immediately, with existing health spas and clinics, and even straightforward tourism destinations, simply adding Coca Leaf treatment to their healing repertory.

LaPaz

This activity wouldn’t interfere with the powerful cartels either. It would be relatively easy to control where the freshly harvested Coca Leaf wound up, and the cartels have no trouble getting all the Cocaine they want from Colombia anyway. Besides, there would probably be at least a few Cartel leaders smart enough to see the incredible opportunity in Coca Leaf spas, just as I am quite certain that the imminent legalization of Cannabis has quite a few Cartel leaders contemplating the potential of Medical Cannabis treatment centers.
balineiros

Mexico has no shortage of fantastically beautiful mountain and coastal locations for both kinds of spas – Coca Leaf and Cannabis – and could in a very short time become a global medical tourism destination. However, perhaps more important to the revival of rural Mexico’s economy, there are over a hundred natural hot springs that are not used much if at all by tourists and outsiders, known to the locals as “Balenearios”. You can find an extensive listing of Mexican Balenearios in a fine book by Mike Nelson entitled “Spas and Hot Springs of Mexico”.

While these locally-known resources are not usually set up for accommodating outside visitors, the simplicity of making Coca Leaf treatments available to visitors would mean that with very little effort – a few guest houses and a little restaurant or two – hundreds of struggling little towns throughout Mexico’s mountainous regions could transform themselves into destinations for the more adventurous health seekers who wanted to avoid the cloying atmosphere of upper-class health spas. Balenearios are primarily located in the states of Aquascalientes (duh), Guanajuato, Michoacan, Mexico, Morelos, Puebla, Queretaro, Hidalgo and San Luis Potosi, so medical travelers would have a wide range of choices.

This means that instead of having to travel to Peru or Bolivia for access to Coca Leaf for treating and curing everything from Alzheimer’s to Congestive Heart Failure, North Americans could travel easily and inexpensively to Mexico. And of course many Mexicans living in the US would be even more incentivized than non-Hispanics to make the journey for Coca Leaf treatment as an alternative to the broad range of diseases and conditions that are treatable and curable with this simple, powerful, natural medicine.

balenearios4

There is also other reasons why Mexico should consider making Coca Leaf legal immediately. It would bring new life to small towns that have local hot springs and possibly traditional healing centers in remote areas. In many cases it would give Mexicans living in the hostile environment of the US, working for slave wages, an opportunity to return home and earn a good living in their home town or village. Finally – and this is no small matter – it would give Mexicans an excellent opportunity to give the Estados Unidos a great big middle finger salute and a hearty “Hasta la vista, baby”.

Oh, and just because it would be the right thing to do, the Mexican government ought to pass laws ensuring that no US citizens who was or is a US Federal government employee in any of the agencies involved in narcotics law enforcement, could receive treatment in any licensed Mexican Medical Coca Leaf or Medical Cannabis spa. Decisions to profit from participation in evil should have consequences, after all.


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Insomnia, Inflammation Of The Blood, Cannabis & Coca Leaf

The roles of Coca Leaf and Cannabis in controlling systemic (whole body) inflammatory conditions in the human body have been discussed in a number of posts on this blog, and there is a growing understanding in the medical community of the links between systemic inflammatory conditions and major diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer, dementia and depression.

These are among the leading causes of death in the US and the rest of the so-called advanced civilizations, and for the most part the medical and scientific communities of these nations seem to be either just saying “Oh well, that’s what happens when you get old” or else “Hey, we have this new, expensive, dangerous drug that will give you an extra week or two of life strapped to a hospital bed and invaded by tubes.” Oh thank you medical saviors!

However, the interaction between systemic inflammation and Insomnia, or chronic sleep deprivation, has rarely been explored, and considering that systematic inflammation is a key factor in so many debilitating and fatal diseases and conditions this is an area of research that desperately needs attention.

Since there is already substantial documentation that the right strains of Cannabis are effective sleep aids, as well as safe and effective treatments for many of the diseases and conditions related to the inflammatory processes that arise as a result of chronic Insomnia, I’ll forego reciting that evidence here and concentrate on the potential of Coca Leaf as a complimentary natural medicine. The key word here is “Complimentary”; while there is much that Cannabis can do to aid the healing process, there is also much that Coca Leaf can do, and while there is some minimal overlap each has its own place in an apothecary of natural medicines.

So first, let’s take a quick look at the existing evidence that Coca Leaf is a safe and effective treatment for systemic inflammation and many its consequences.

Here are links to some of my posts that discuss the scientific and medical evidence from the 1800s that Coca Leaf can be a safe and effective treatment for the underlying systemic inflammatory conditions that drive a wide range of deadly diseases and conditions, whether these systemic inflammatory conditions arise from Insomnia or from other known causes including diet and environmental toxicity.

Coca Leaf & Chronic Low-Level Whole Body Inflammation

Coca Leaf & Congestive Heart Failure – Part One

Coca Leaf & Congestive Heart Failure – Part Two

Coca Leaf Tea – A Possible Treatment/Cure for Alzheimer’s & Dementia?

Coca Leaf & Muscular Energy

Coca Leaf As A Potential Treatment For Deadly Forms Of Fatigue

A Simple Natural Cure For Obesity – Coca Leaf Tea

Finally, for a more comprehensive view of the medical and scientific applications of Coca Leaf please consider reading my book The Coca Leaf Papers” which includes an extensive bibliography with hyperlinks to original sources of the writings by doctors, scientists, and intelligent lay persons from the 1700’s and 1800’s on virtually every aspect of the healing powers of Coca Leaf – including, by the way, its very useful role in helping people sleep when sleep is made difficult or impossible by a wide range of problems including chronic illness, chronic pain, exhaustion, and nervousness, among others.

A recent major study ( see an abstract of the study below) has just been published that followed people suffering from persistent insomnia for over 20 years and has found solid evidence that persistent lack of sleep is associated closely with many of the major killer diseases and conditions in the US and around the world. And most relevant for those of us who advocate the medical use of both Coca Leaf and Cannabis the link between insomnia and disease and death seems to be a startling level of systemic inflammation in the body – specifically in the blood.

It is especially interesting, as mentioned earlier, that Coca Leaf and Cannabis are highly complementary but only minimally overlapping in their healing properties. In other words, it isn’t a question of having to choose between these two natural medicines. For almost every medical application, current medical and scientific research on Cannabis and historical medical and scientific research on Coca Leal make it quite evident that these two natural medicines can be most effective, and offer the greatest potential for healing, when they are used together.

With regard to the Insomnia study that we’ll examine in a moment, it’s important to note also that the researchers controlled for “confounding factors” like cigarette smoking, alcohol use, sedative use, age, physical activity levels, etc. In other words, they eliminated any role that these “confounding factors” might play so that they could say with confidence that they were looking at just the effects of persistent insomnia. This means that when they point to inflammation of the blood as a major effect, they are looking just at inflammation that is being caused by insomnia and not by other factors.

However, as they also point out, “the role of systemic inflammation in such an association is unknown”. Translated that says “We know that it’s there, and that it’s being caused by persistent insomnia, but we don’t know precisely its association with death.”

I do love scientific verbal precision because in the search for truth its important not to claim you know something for a fact when all you really know is that it seems to be a fact, but you can’t prove it. In that same vein, I don’t know for a fact that Coca Leaf controls systemic inflammation and therefore heals hearts, controls diabetes, helps the body to shed obesity, perhaps helps to reverse some forms of cancer, and reduces or eliminates dementia and depression – all I can really say is that according to my interpretation of the evidence in the writings of doctors and scientists of the 1800s, it sure looks like it could. And of course, increasingly, the healing powers of Cannabis are now being documented, and it seems like every week brings new evidence for increased efficacy in existing applications for Cannabis and findings that support new applications as well.

And it would be so damn simple to investigate and document the efficacy and safety of Coca Leaf, confirming what is still only hints and bits of historical evidence from the 1800’s, so that people could finally see that BOTH Coca Leaf and Cannabis deserve a place in the hands of people suffering from literally dozens of serious, life-threatening and life-ending diseases. We’re not talking about huge, expensive studies here, nor about massive government programs, nor about regiments of over-priced consultants, nor about the participation of Pig Pharma control freaks.

We’re talking about a few simple studies under controlled conditions among groups of people who suffer from each of these conditions using simple infusions of pure, natural Coca Leaf in the form of tea or tonic. The Coca Leaf studies probably would not be done in the US – at least at first they would have to be done in Peru, Bolivia and Uruguay, because these are the only countries in the world where enlightenment has illuminated the human mind on the subject of Coca Leaf as a natural healing medicine. Once these studies were done and published however, I can’t imagine that people in the US and Europe would allow their governments’ “War on Drugs” to continue to keep Coca leaf from assuming its rightful place in the pharmacy of natural medicines alongside Cannabis. And at the same time, since Cannabis is illegal even in countries that recognize the legitimacy of Coca Leaf, the same complimentary political, scientific and medical processes would have to take place there also.

However, there is another possibility that needs to be discussed and examined. There are many countries in the world where Cannabis is now legal, but where Coca Leaf is not. If people in any of those countries recognized the good common sense of having both Cannabis and Coca Leaf available to treat disease then it would be no problem to begin Coca cultivation in those countries.

For one thing, as pointed out in a recent post, Coca species are already widely distributed around the world, but of course only a few are really suitable as potent medicinal plants. Nevertheless, where one species of Coca flourishes as an indigenous species, the more useful spcies could also be brought into cultivation either in a natural or artificial environment.

In the 1800s Coca was widely cultivated around the world, and with modern growing technology even in those countries where Coca might not grow well in the natural outdoors environment it could easily be cultivated under indoor growing conditions. There is a vast literature available from the 1800’s on experiments that were conducted on growing Coca across the planet under a wide range of conditions. In fact one of the most successful indoor growing projects was that of Angelo Mariani, inventor of the then-famous “Vin Mariani”, whose conservatory greenhouse in the center of Paris was one of the wonders of the botanical world.

In one of my recent posts I discuss how this Journey To Healing could be organized as an ongoing project that would enable groups of people suffering from the same diseases to travel to Peru, Bolivia and/or Uruguay to be treated with not just Coca Leaf but with the whole range of Andean ethnopharamacological resources – and in the case of Uruguay patients who are already on Cannabis treatments would not have to be concerned about legal issues as they would have to be in both Peru and Bolivia, at this time.

When this happens, and when medical and scientific researchers can begin studying and documenting the healing powers of both natural medicines, as well as individual people taking the initiative into their own hands even before the formal studies have been done, perhaps then at last millions of people who now are victimized by the medical industry, Pig Pharma and Pig Government will be able to break free and heal themselves.

Let’s work together to make that day come as soon as possible.

So here’s of the Insomnia study I referred to earlier. If you want to read the full paper Elsevier will be happy to charge you an obscene amount for access, but personally I have never, and will never, pay those ripoff artists a penny for access to their chattel.

“Persistent Insomnia Is Associated With Mortality Risk”
(By) Sairam Parthasarathy, M.D. et al, published online Oct. 14, 2014 in the “American Journal of Medicine”.

Abstract

Background
Insomnia has been associated with mortality risk, but whether this association is different in subjects with persistent versus intermittent insomnia is unclear. Additionally, the role of systemic inflammation in such an association is unknown.

Methods
We used data from a community-based cohort to determine whether persistent or intermittent insomnia, defined based on persistence of symptoms over a six-year period, were associated with death during the following 20-years of follow-up. We also determined whether changes in serum C-reactive protein (CRP) levels measured over two decades between study initiation and insomnia determination were different for the persistent, intermittent, and never insomnia groups. The results were adjusted for confounders such as age, sex, body mass index, smoking, physical activity, alcohol and sedatives.

Results
Of the 1409 adult participants, 249 (18%) had intermittent and 128 (9%) had persistent insomnia. During a 20-year follow-up period, 318 participants died (118 due to cardiopulmonary disease). In adjusted Cox proportional-hazards models, participants with persistent insomnia (adjusted Hazards Ratio [HR] 1.58, 95%CI: 1.02-2.45) but not intermittent insomnia (HR 1.22, 0.86-1.74), were more likely to die than participants without insomnia. Serum CRP levels were higher and increased at a steeper rate in subjects with persistent insomnia as compared with intermittent (p=0.04) or never (p=0.004) insomnia. Although CRP levels were themselves associated with increased mortality (adjHR: 1.36, 1.01-1.82, p=0.04), adjustment for CRP levels did not notably change the association between persistent insomnia and mortality.

Conclusions
In a population-based cohort, persistent, and not intermittent, insomnia was associated with increased risk for all-cause and cardiopulmonary mortality and was associated with a steeper increase in inflammation.

End of abstract

So there you have it. A well crafted longitudinal study that unequivocally makes the point that anything that prevents you from getting a good nights sleep on a regular basis is moving you swiftly toward an early grave. And all it would take to head off this morbid end of life would be a nice pipe of Cannabis at bedtime and a nice cup of Coca Leaf tea upon rising. Sounds entirely too simple, too unprofitable, and too straightforward to be worth the attention of all those important people in boardrooms and government offices worldwide, doesn’t it.

Or maybe they have a different agenda. But the marvelous thing is – they are insomniacs too. So whatever their agenda, they are as much victims as those who they are intent on victimizing. The planet is tight.


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Coca Leaf & Chronic Low-Level Whole Body Inflammation

                                   Tea Time!

Recently on this blog I’ve posted what I believe is solid evidence that Coca Leaf tea can probably be used as-is, right out of the “Mate de Coca” bag from Peru or Bolivia, to successfully treat inflammatory obesity and many chronic conditions underlying congestive heart failure.

This would NOT be the Coca Leaf tea that has been ‘sanitized’ for export to the US – the “de-cocainized” stuff that the US government so graciously allows in. I’m talking of course about the pure, natural leaves of the Coca plant, produced, packaged and widely consumed in Peru and Bolivia. There is where I believe that a very simple but effective approach could be devised to begin validating Coca Leaf as a medicinal herb of the highest order.

When you think about it there is already remarkable evidence right in front of our eyes that Coca Leaf is probably a powerful, natural medicine for a range of health issues – it’s just one of those things hidden in plain sight.

Up to 500,000 travelers to the Andes in the past couple of years are estimated to have used Coca Leaf tea successfully for altitude sickness, and of course for countless generations the indigenous people of the mountains have seen this benefit too. (They have also, in the absence of western disease and culture, often lived long and productive lives.) There is solid evidence going back as far as western records go that the powers of Coca Leaf in effectively treating Altitude Sickness have been proven beyond dispute.

So, we know that the Divine plant is useful for altitude sickness. We also know that it’s effective because of its broad action on multiple body systems – heart, lungs, muscle efficiency, metabolism, brain function, and oxygen use. All of the same body systems, incidentally, involved in inflammatory conditions that lead to obesity and congestive heart failure.

But because so many people know from experience that Coca Leaf is so good at relieving altitude sickness- then it’s easy to miss the follow-up question – “what else could Coca Leaf tea be doing?”

Coca Leaf For Rheumatism – Bolivia

So let’s zero back in on inflammation. It’s a very interesting topic in the medical literature because it is so often treated as the baseline, the underlying condition that is simply there. Chronic low-level inflammation is simply the way things are for lots of people. Doctors seem to start with inflammation as a given – they “give you something for it” and then go on and ‘treat’ the conditions that have arisen from the underlying inflammation, which so often remains despite “medications”.

A little while ago I posted an opinion on a forum elsewhere regarding chronic low-level inflammation, industrial foods and obesity and that post provoked a lot of “fat hate” comments like “Oh, a new excuse for being a fat pig”, and “the only thing inflamed is their greedy gut” and other such slobbering wit.

Maybe it’s difficult for people, even those affected, to visualize whole body inflammation. Most of us can picture an inflamed toe, or a sore throat, but what does who body inflammation look like?

Well, if it’s low-level it isn’t going to be dramatic – like an open sore. And if it’s whole body then nothing will be disproportionate – like a 3X normal toe.

The idea of chronic low-level whole body inflammation has always made sense to me because I link it to my own experiences with cuts and sores during my life. Depending on the cut or sore, and whether or not it leads to infection, there are different levels of the body’s own attack on the cut or sore. It always involves sore, pink flesh – responding to the injury with blood and body fluids that swell cells and flood the area with healing bio-chemicals. But – the clue to me is “Pink”. When the area around a sore or wound turns Pink then at that moment it is always in the first stages of inflammation.

So then I mentally translate that very early stage pinkness to a whole body situation and what I get is slightly-to-definitely swollen, slightly to definitely “Pink” people (whether their natural racial color is black, Brown or White). There’s just a swollen quality to them, and they move as if they are in pain.

I see a lot of those people as I move around my community and elsewhere. I see a lot of people with chronic low level whole body inflammation as a baseline in their lives, which then creates a short but deadly list of diseased conditions like diabetes and heart disease. And I see people who I sincerely believe could be helped by a few cups of tea a day from the Divine Coca plant.

So I have to ask – what if it were possible to conclusively prove that you could control chronic low-level whole body inflammation with either a few cups of Coca leaf tea every day, or with safe doses of a natural extract of Coca Leaf such as the 1890’s “Vin Mariani”? As you read the opening paragraph of the summary of the following research, ask yourself what if the conditions that the authors identify with chronic low-level inflammation could be controlled so easily and naturally? Who knows if Coca Leaf offers a cure for chronic low-level inflammation especially if the “cause” of the inflammation is a combination of environment, genetics, and behavior.

I’m sure that new fortunes will be made in Peru, Bolivia and other Andean countries by those who dare to reclaim their heritage and use the Coca Leaf for natural healing of inflammatory disease in clinics and spas throughout the Andes. Later I believe that this will happen in the Pacific Northwest and the Rocky Mountains, and in other areas of the world where we already know from the historical record that Coca grows well.

Chronic low-level inflammation isn’t a mysterious topic, and the fact that it underlies a lot of disease process, and might be treated or cured by Coca Leaf, makes it worth asking the question.

With the role of Coca Leaf chronic low level inflammation in mind it’s interesting to note the following excerpts of a research paper on Cytokine levels in different populations. As I understand it, Cytokines are a family of small proteins circulating in the blood and involved in cell signaling, some of which are used by the body to guide inflammatory processes to wounds, infections, and the like. They are reliable markers of low-level widespread inflammation, among other things, and this research indicates that there are lots of reasons for different people to suffer from the condition. Parenthetically I have to wonder what the results would have been if the following study had been able to include a sample of recent immigrants of Andean origin?

Plasma Cytokine Levels in a Population-Based Study: Relation to Age and Ethnicity

Raymond P. Stowe, M. Kristen Peek, Malcolm P. Cutchin, and James S. Goodwin

E-Pub Info: J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2010 Apr;65(4):429-33. doi: 10.1093/gerona/glp198. Epub 2009 Dec 16.

EDITOR”S NOTE: You can access the complete article by clicking here

Abstract (Excerpts)

“Inflammation is believed to contribute to the onset of many age-related diseases as evidenced by a variety of medical studies linking proinflammatory cytokines to Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and multiple sclerosis. Much attention has been paid to interleukin (IL)-6 because of its association with cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death. IL-6 is associated with a broad spectrum of age-related illnesses, chronic stress, and functional disability in older adults. IL-6 is also a strong inducer of C-reactive protein (CRP) by the liver, and both IL-6 and CRP are important in the development of cardiovascular disease. IL-6 and CRP also play a pathogenic role in a number of diseases associated with disability in older adults, such as arthritis, osteoporosis, and depression among others.”

“Studies of older humans have reported age-related increases in proinflammatory cytokines, but the switch from the inflammatory burst that resolves following an infection or injury to the chronic elevation encountered in many older adults is not well understood. Several investigations have indicated that there is an age-related increase in circulating IL-6, which has been called a “cytokine for gerontologists”. However, some studies have found no changes with age. Similarly, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, a cytokine that is involved in septic shock, was reportedly increased in some studies but not others.”

“Anti-inflammatory mediators, such as IL-10 and interleukin-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1ra), may also be important in the aging process because they counteract proinflammatory cytokines. With regards to IL-10, few studies have measured circulating levels of this cytokine, but there have been reports that indicated no change occurs with aging. Reports have also shown an age-related increase in the IL-1ra. Altogether, the discrepancies regarding these cytokines mostly likely relate to variations in age and sample size.”

“Besides age, cytokine levels may also be influenced by ethnicity. Plasma levels of IL-8 and granulocyte colony-stimulating factor were elevated in African Americans compared with Caucasians, and TNF-α has been reported to be higher in non-obese Mexican Americans compared with non-Hispanic whites. Because there is little other information on circulating pro-inflammatory cytokine levels and ethnicity, our goal was to investigate plasma levels of circulating cytokines in relation to ethnicity as well as age in a large population-based study. We found age-related differences in proinflammatory cytokines as well as significant differences in circulating cytokine levels between Mexican Americans, non-Hispanic whites, and non-Hispanic blacks.”

“Because our study population was tri-ethnic in nature, we analyzed the data accordingly and found significant associations between cytokine levels and ethnicity. The highest levels of pro-inflammatory markers were found in either non-Hispanic whites or blacks. Interestingly, it has been proposed that the health status of Hispanics in the Southwestern United States is comparable more so with whites than with blacks despite the fact that socioeconomically Hispanics are more similar to blacks than the more advantaged whites; this has been aptly named the “Hispanic Paradox”. Our results support this concept, which demonstrates that, collectively, lower levels of inflammatory cytokines were found in Hispanics compared with whites or blacks. Notably, the lowest inflammatory levels were found in foreign-born Hispanics. We have previously proposed that protective measures (eg, acculturation) may in part underlie the differences between foreign-born and US-born Hispanics because we found that increasing years in the United States was associated with increasing IL-1ra levels among Hispanic women at 22–24 weeks of pregnancy. Further research is needed to determine the mechanisms underlying the differences in cytokine profiles between foreign-born and US-born Hispanics.”

“One potential explanation for the ethnic variations in cytokine levels is differences in cytokine gene polymorphisms. Allelic variations in the regulatory regions of inflammatory cytokine genes have been shown to affect the expression of some cytokines. Several studies have focused on IL-6 because of its biological importance and have demonstrated that the G/G IL-6 genotype, which results in high IL-6 production, is predominantly found in blacks. It has been hypothesized that the dissimilarities in cytokine gene polymorphisms may contribute to the differences in inflammatory responses and cancer incidence and mortality in blacks. Additionally, obesity was a significant determinant of CRP levels in non-Hispanic blacks, and BMI was significantly higher in non-Hispanic blacks than either non-Hispanic whites or Hispanics (data not shown).”

“In summary, our results confirm and extend other studies demonstrating age-related increases in circulating proinflammatory cytokines. In addition, we have shown ethnic differences in cytokine levels, and to our knowledge, this is the first study demonstrating ethnic differences in proinflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokine profiles in large population-based study. Future studies are needed to determine the epigenetic link between inflammation and ethnicity.”

Editor’s Afterthought: When it’s so clear that chronic low-level inflammatory processes are at work underlying so much disease, is there any good reason that pure, natural Coca Leaf sourced directly from growers in Peru and Bolivia by legal means shouldn’t be tested for potential health benefits?

Even if Coca Leaf were simply helpful, without causing any harm, Coca Leaf could form the core of therapies at spas and clinics. And incidentally, these Spas and Clinics should be free to grow their own Coca Leaf or to contract with any indigenous person or group to grow their Coca Leaf for them.