Excerpted from Chapter Six (in) “The History of Coca”
by William Golden Mortimer MD 1901
Editor’s Note: Angelo Mariani was the most celebrated producer of Coca Leaf-based medicines in the 19th Century. The following passage from Dr. Mortimer’s “History of Coca”, which can be found in its entirety in my sourcebook “The Coca Leaf Papers” explains why Mariani was celebrated throughout the Western world for the quality of his creations.
The Genius Of Angelo Mariani
It has been said that a man is created for some especial work, and this seems happily applied in the present instance. Angelo Mariani was born in Bastia, the largest city of Corsica, where a foundation for scientific training through an ancestry of physicians and chemists preceded him. But better than ancestry is the work that a man does which shall live after him. Reared in an atmosphere where chemical possibilities were daily thoughts – while united with these was a love for books, and allied art and antiquities – it seemed but natural that he should experiment on the then much talked of Coca of the Incas, an ideal of endurance, interest in which the tales of travelers and scientists from Cieza to Mantegazza had only intensified. The problem of the elixir of life, so baffling to philosophers since long before the days of Hermes Trismegistus, which many now believed was pent up in Coca – seemed capable of as definite solution as is possible through human intervention. Commencing investigation with the unmistakable evidence regarding the properties of Coca, it was sought to present these in a positive and available form, which fluid and solid extracts, or the volatile herb, had not uniformly preserved. Experimentation led to combining several varieties of leaf, setting aside those which contained chiefly the bitter principle – since known to be cocaine – and selecting those which contained the aromatic alkaloids. An extract of these blended leaves embodied in a wholesome wine, was found to represent the peculiar virtue of Coca as so much prized by the native users.
There is no secret other than method claimed in the process which has made the name of its inventor synonymous with that of Coca, though I heard an anecdote related of this gentleman – who personally scrutinizes every detail of manufacture, that “after everything else is done he goes around and drops something else in.” Whether this be so or not, it is certain that the preparations of Coca manufactured by Mariani are entirely different in aroma and action from other Coca preparations which I have examined. These latter have not the agreeable flavor of Coca, but the fluid extracts are usually bitter and the wines have a peculiar birch-like taste comparable with the smell of an imitation Russia leather. That this “musty cellar flavor,” as it is technically termed, is due to the quality of Coca leaf was evidenced by a preparation of wine made for me in Paris in the fall of 1898, from choice leaves direct from the Caravaya district, which, however, were rich in cocaine.
It seems appropriate in a history of Coca that I should say something of the personality of one whose life work has been devoted to rendering the “divine herb” popular. It may be said that Coca is the hobby of Mariani. It is his recreation, his relaxation and constant source of pleasure, wholly removed from sordid commercial interests. At Neuilly, on the Seine, Paris, France, where his laboratory is located, his study is tastefully arranged with rich tapestries and carvings, in which the exquisite designs possible from conventionalizing the Coca leaf and flower are so artistically used as the motif of decoration that they are not obtrusive but must be pointed out in order to be recognized. Here he has extensive conservatories, which are filled with thousands of Coca plants of various species, among which he takes the greatest delight in experimenting upon peculiarities of growth and cultivation. From this collection specimen plants have been freely distributed to botanical gardens in all parts of the world.
As I had difficulty in preserving appropriate examples of the Peruvian shrub for my study, ten choice Coca plants were sent to me from Neuilly, and these, for proper care and preservation, I presented to the New York Botanical Garden, while still being permitted to continue my experiments upon them. In addition to this courtesy, I have been the recipient of numerous favors from M. Mariani, who has generously accorded me details upon the subject of research not readily obtainable elsewhere, and who literally extended the resources of his vast establishment to the furtherance of my investigation. Aside from papers in current journals Mariani wrote a monograph upon Coca and its therapeutic application, a translation of which by Mr. J. N. Jaros, of this city, has been the most available authority for the English reader.
I am convinced no more happy realization can occur to this savant than the knowledge that his efforts to render Coca popular and available have met with a spontaneous approval from representative personages in various parts of the world. Entirely aside from any personal interest, a voluminous testimony has literally showered in from those whose motive and sincerity must be accepted as an unquestionable regard for recognized merit. Eminent artists and sculptors have painted and chiseled some dainty examples which serve to typify their esteem for a modem elixir vitae.
Roty, President of the Academie des Beaux Arts, and probably the most eminent living medalist, has executed a presentation medal of appreciation. Famous musical composers, such as Gounod, Faure, Ambrose Thomas, Massenet, and many others have sung their hosannas in unique bars of manuscript melody. Poets and writers without number have versed the qualities of the Coca leaf and the present happy idealization of its powers.
Royalty has set upon it the meritorious seal of patronage, and the modern Church, more liberal than its edicts of long ago, has welcomed its use. Only recently Pope Leo XIII sent a golden medal of his ecclesiastical approval, for it is said that for years His Holiness has been supported in his ascetic retirement by a preparation of Mariani’s Coca, of which a flask constantly worn is, like the widow’s cruse, never empty.
So numerous have been these expressions from eminent characters of the day, that it has been possible to compile from them a cyclopedia of contemporary biography which has already reached several large octavo volumes. A brief outline of each notable is given, with an etched portrait, and often accompanied by a sketch showing some known forte of the individual. Where these are artists their impromptu illustrations display a happy humor associated with their characteristic touch.
The resultant compilations, exquisitely printed and bound as an edition deluxe, are much sought by bibliophiles. A short time since, while the Princess of Battenberg was on a visit at Nice, she was presented with one of these copies, and in acknowledging the courtesy suggested that her mother, the Queen of England, would be delighted to have one for her private library. In fulfillment of such a hint, which was accepted as an imperial command, two sets, especially illuminated by Atalaya, were forwarded to Her Majesty, who wrote that she considered them among the finest specimens in her collection.
Editor’s note: If you would like to access a beautifully illustrated, downloadable PDF of this wonderful collection of portraits and praise for Mariani’s Coca Leaf & Bordeaux Wine tonic by many of the great artists, singers, actors (including Sarah Bernhardt), and other stars of the Victorian age CLICK HERE.
Doctor warns of widespread addiction, puny horny children, mindless jabbering, uncontrollable masturbation, painful intercourse, and a fluttering anus. And – Gott Im Himmel – this sinister drug evidently causes a complete loss of true Germanic Character!
SPOILER ALERT – this is posted with tongue firmly in cheek.
Wow – this story should be breaking in the “National Enquirer” or on “Before Its News”! But, you’re reading about it first here on PanaceaChronicles because followers of this blog deserve to be the first to know about this incredibly dangerous substance so that you can take steps immediately to protect yourself and your family.
The following information is excerpted from a book written by a prominent German doctor. We will reveal the identity of the writer and give you a link to his book at the end of this post. However, to shield the reality of this terrifying substance from casually prying eyes who might, once learning of its existence, be tempted by their weak nature to try it, I have substituted the phrase DRUG X everywhere it is mentioned in these excerpts. However, for those readers with the mental fortitude to persevere through to the end of the essay, the awful truth will be revealed.
And while you are reading this post, I would ask you to consider – what if this dangerous, addictive, destructive DRUG X were to be let loose on the streets of America in 2014? What if it were to fall into the hands of Muslim Terrorists, or Drug Cartels, or even the Tea Party? Imagine what horrified peals of alarm would arise from politicians, drug experts, religious leaders, and Homeland Security! Think of what harsh penalties would be imposed on anyone dealing a drug with such devastating effects – especially if were used by pregnant women or (heaven forbid) little children? Do you think that our brave and wise leaders would stand still for one moment in the face of such a threat to our national character, to our very existence?
I am sure that the answer is that they would not hesitate to protect us by banning DRUG X and sending anyone convicted of dealing it or even possessing it away to a SuperMax prison for the rest of their lives. Therefore I am posting this information with full confidence that, as long as our nation is fully prepared with a clear understanding of the threat, this DRUG X scourge will never visit the streets of Hometown USA.
The Tragic Truth Will Now Be Revealed – Read At Your Own Risk
Man in his natural state must make some effort to recollect things long since passed; but immediately after taking DRUG X the memory’s magazine spreads itself, so to speak, upon the tongue – and imprudent chit-chat and the revelation of important secrets are but too often the result. Moderation and just bounds are everywhere exceeded. The serious reflections of our ancestors, the solidity of judgment, firmness of will and resolution, the perseverance of the body in executing its slow but energetic movements, all becomes ” Pleasures! Pleasures!” Thus the men of our days exclaim. They desire to enjoy life promptly and without interruption, even at the expense of all other interests!
Now, they accomplish their purpose by means of DRUG X, which, at once, reanimates and destroys the vital qualities of character. These qualities which formerly distinguished the national character of the Germans vanish before DRUG X. And by what are they replaced? Imprudent effusions of the heart, precipitate and ill-founded resolutions and judgments, levity, loquacity, and vacillation, finally a fugitive and non-energetic mobility of the muscles, and a theatrical countenance.
I well know that to abound in luxuriant imaginations, to compose lascivious romances, and to make flippant, jocular, and pointed poems, the German must take DRUG X. The ballet dancer, the improvisator, the juggler, the boatman, the banker of a Pharoah bank, the modern virtuoso-physician with his extraordinary rapidity, and the fashionably omni-present physician who wishes to make ninety visits in a single morning – all these people necessarily need DRUG X. Let us abandon to these people their excitants opposed to nature, with all the vexatious consequences which result therefrom for their own health and for the good of others.
If any one not accustomed to DRUG X should take a moderate portion of it, or if some one who is accustomed to DRUG X should take an immoderate portion of it, he will experience during the first hours a more active sentiment of his existence; the pulse is higher and more frequent, but also softer. His cheeks assume a circumscribed redness which does not insensibly vanish in the adjacent parts, but presents itself apart like a red spot. The forehead and the palms become humid; he feels more heat than before, and this sensation causes him an agreeable uneasiness. The heart is agitated in a voluptuous palpitation, as it is on occasions of great joy; the veins of the hands swell. By touching him externally one also observes a supernatural heat; however, this heat never becomes ardent, even after taking a large portion of DRUG X, but it rather passes into a general sweat.
Nature desires that the evacuation of the excrement should be made with a certain effort, and she forces us to it by pains and very inconvenient necessities which suppress all agreeable sentiments of life until the necessary function is in operation. But the refining spirit of this century has also provided for this inconvenience and has also sought to elude this natural law. It is DRUG X that accelerates and aids the work of digestion in an artificial manner, which, in the ordinary order of things, would only take place in the course of several hours. For the intestines, being excited by the primitive effect of DRUG X, have a more rapid peristaltic movement: they convey their contents more promptly toward the anus. But as the aliments can not be sufficiently digested in so short a time, and as the chyle can not be sufficiently modified in the stomach, nor sufficiently absorbed by the absorbents of the intestinal canal, the mollified mass passes through the intestines so that the body does not receive one half of its nourishing particles, and reaches the orifice still in a semi-fluid state. Oh, the excellent digester! Oh, the admirable method of correcting nature! The primitive effect of DRUG X also incites the anus to open and close more rapidly during the evacuation, so that the same takes place almost without effort and more frequently than among those who do not take DRUG X.
The primitive effect of DRUG X, more than all other artificial means, also excites the sexual instinct, which the refinement of our age has placed in the rank of principal pleasures. On the least occasions voluptuous images present themselves to the mind, the genitals are excited in a few moments even to erection, and the effusion of semen is almost irresistible. DRUG X awakens the sexual instinct ten or fifteen years too soon, before the age of puberty, and in the most tender youth of both sexes, a refinement which hastens the time of impotence, and exercises the most evident influence on morals and morality.
Little infractions of regimen, as well as vexatious passions, cause them painful sufferings of the chest, stomach, and abdomen, known under the false denomination of cramps. The menses never take place without pain, and do not occur at their regular periods, or else they are less copious than usual, and finally they become quite trifling in quantity; the blood itself appears aqueous and slimy; the leucorrhea (generally of an acrid and pungent nature) continues to flow almost from moon to moon, or entirely replace the flux of blood. The act of coition sometimes causes pains. An earthy, yellowish, or very pale color, languishing eyes surrounded by a bluish circle, pale lips, a soft flesh, flabby and pendant breasts, are the exterior signs of the miserable condition of the internal organism. The scanty menses sometimes alternate with strong hemorrhages of the womb. Men suffer from painful hemorrhoidal difficulties, and nocturnal pollutions.
The genital faculty insensibly dies away in both sexes. The natural energy which a healthy couple exercises in the act of coition is reduced to a futile result. Men become impotent, women sterile or incapable of suckling their children. It is behind the use of DRUG X that the hollow-eyed phantom, masturbation, that execration of nature, chiefly hides itself! (However, the reading of passionate and lascivious novels, bad company, excessive efforts of memory, and the inactivity of a sedentary life in the corrupt air of rooms, also contribute their share in the producing this hideous evil.)
The beautiful emotions, such as the love of humanity, gratitude, pity, heroism, force and nobleness of soul; as well as serenity and gaity of spirit, are metamorphosed into timidity, indifference, apathetic hardness, fickleness, and moroseness. The use of DRUG X is continued. Sentimental affectations always alternate with insensibility, precipitate resolutions with irresolution, fits of anger with a loose condescension, grimaces of friendship with jealousies and hidden malice, transient exaltations with sadness, scoffings with weeping miens – in a word, caprices follow caprices, and attest the continual vacillations of the body and mind between a state of irritation and a state of relaxation. It would be difficult for me to describe all the evils which lurk among the generation of users of DRUG X, under the name of debility, or that of nervous or chronic diseases, evils which enervate humanity and cause it to degenerate in body and spirit.
The presence of mind, the attention, the sympathies are more active than in the regular and natural condition of the body. It seems to the person in question that all the objects which surround him have received a seducing appearance; everything seems to be covered with a gay varnish and shines with an infinitely agreeable luster, especially if the portion of DRUG X has been greater than usual. During the first hours one sees on the lips of the taker of DRUG X self-complacency and a satisfaction with everything that surrounds him. Every agreeable sentiment, which is communicated to one’s self, rises rapidly to the degree of enthusiasm (though but for a short time). All vexatious recollections are effaced from the memory; all disagreeable sensations are silenced during this species of enchanting fever. However, if the portion were excessively large, and the body should be singularly irritable and wholly unaccustomed to DRUG X, a unilateral headache would follow, which descends from the superior part of the parietal bone down to the cavity of the brain. The meninges of the side are also painfully sensitive. The hands and the feet become cold, and a cold sweat issues from the forehead and the palms. The humor of the person in question passes into it state of hyperaesthesia; he is angered and vexed; no one can please him. He is timid and trembles continually; he is uneasy; weeps without scarcely any cause, or smiles almost involuntarily. After a few hours he falls into a light sleep, and at intervals awakes by starts.
Man, in a regular and healthy condition, should experience agreeable and disagreeable sensations alternately; the wise organization of our nature demands this. But during the primitive effects of DRUG X all is but pleasure, and even the corporal functions, which, in a natural state of health, are accompanied by rude and almost painful sensations, now operate with an astonishing facility and even with a species of pleasure. Whoever no longer lives in the primeval simplicity of nature will well experience, during the first moments after awakening (especially when it has taken place earlier than usual), a certain physical and mental dullness; the sentiment of existence will be less active, the head heavy, the limbs somewhat dull and less agile than usual; rapid movements require efforts, and thought is sluggish. But DRUG X almost instantaneously dispels this disagreeable and natural sensation, this uneasiness of body and mind; we suddenly revive.
Having finished our daily task, nature also desires us to be fatigued; a disagreeable sensation of languor in our physical and natural forces now renders us morose and obliges us to give ourselves up to necessary sleep and repose. But let us take DRUG X, and this state of moroseness and inactivity, this disagreeable lassitude of body and mind, will suddenly disappear; an artificial vivacity will succeed the desire of sleeping, and we wake in spite of nature.
In order to live we need food, and nature obliges us to seek it through hunger, a gnawing sensation in the stomach, joined to a tormenting desire for food, to a quarrelsome humor, to debilitation, etc. In like manner thirst, an equally wise institution of nature, is a very inconvenient sensation; for besides a languishing desire for liquids, which our bodies need to repair their losses, we experience also a parching dryness in the throat and mouth, a dry heat of the body which somewhat hinders respiration, a certain uneasiness, etc.
We take DRUG X – and we feel nothing more of the painful sensations of hunger and thirst. Real users of DRUG X are almost ignorant of natural hunger and thirst; this is especially the case with women who take no exercise in the open air, which deprives them of an advantage which annihilates, at least from time to time, the vexatious consequences of DRUG X. The body is thus cheated out of its food and drink by a sort of illusion, and the cutaneous vessels are, at the same time, forced, in a manner contrary to nature, to absorb from the air as much moisture as the organism absolutely needs for its existence. This is the reason that users of DRUG X discharge much more liquid through the urinary duct than they have actually swallowed.
It is thus that we refuse the body the enjoyment of its prime necessities; it is thus, thanks to DRUG X, that we insensibly approach the state of the blessed. What a beautiful foretaste of transfiguration in this world below! The Supreme Preserver of our days also ordained that, after satiating ourselves with food, a short interruption should intervene in our affairs, and that we should give a little rest to our bodies and minds, that the important function of digestion might quietly begin.
The disagreeable sensations which arise from pursuing an opposite course should induce us not to violate said law. Wishing to make physical efforts immediately after meals, a certain stupor of body and mind, an oppressive weight in the region of the stomach, a sort of disagreeable compression of plenitude and tension in the abdomen, etc., remind us that the time to taste repose is at hand. In like manner, if we wish to make mental efforts, a dullness of the intellectual forces follows immediately, the head becomes dull, the limbs are cold, while the face is warm, and a disagreeable compression of the stomach, joined to an inconvenient tension of the abdomen, still increases. For it is but too certain that the efforts of the mind, made when digestion begins, are still more opposed to nature and more pernicious than physical labor. But DRUG X rapidly banishes this lassitude of body and mind, as well as the inconvenient sensations in the abdomen.
The effects of DRUG X, of which I have spoken up to this point, exhibit themselves in a light still more striking among persons of an extremely irritable temperament, or who have already become enervated by the frequent use of DRUG X and by a sedentary life. The simple and honest man, in considering the moral and physical condition of those persons, recognizes therein everywhere the opposite of nature, and the stamp of an irregular excitement. He observes an exaggerated gaity or sentimentality which far exceeds the nature of its object, a tenderness almost convulsive or an extreme sadness, or sallies which surpass the limits of reason, or contortions of the muscles of the face, which degenerate into true caricatures, instead of a mild smile, a little irony, a moderate affliction or compassion. Even the muscles of the remainder of the body now exhibit an extraordinary mobility contrary to nature; all is life and activity during the first hours of the effect of DRUG X. The most varied ideas and images present themselves in great number, and succeed one another rapidly before the throne of thought and sensibility. It is a life artificially doubled, artificially exalted!
But it is certain that the most refined sybarite and the most consummate spendthrift of life, could not have found in the world any medicinal dietetic more suitable than DRUG X for changing all his ordinary sensations into agreeable sensations for a few hours. What could, like it, spread over our humor a serene and even impetuous joy, and cause our spirit to gush forth in sallies, and inflame our imaginations with a fire exceeding our temperament? What could thus accelerate the movement of our muscles to a trembling point, double the slow march of our digestive and secretory organs. Who knows what dietetic enervation was the cause that the heroic virtues of patriotism, of filial love, of inviolable fidelity, of unwavering integrity and zeal for duty, acknowledged attributes of our antiquity, have dwindled away to a petty egotism! It is true that we do not see any more of those heroic crimes, evidences of physical and mental vigor, such as were committed in the middle ages and in more remote antiquity; but, in exchange, we are surrounded by myriads of individuals, making profession of cunning, intrigues, of well-guarded frauds and deceptions of all kinds which threaten an honest man at every step. Which then of the two is best, a single bomb, or a million invisible caltrops? Finally, what could, like it, banish the torments of hunger and thirst, remove sleep from fatigued members, and produce an artificial wakefulness, while the entire creation of our hemisphere are tasting the sweets of repose in the quiet shades of night!
It is thus that we conquer the wise institutions of nature, but to our great detriment. After a few hours, the primitive effect of the DRUG X being passed, an opposite state, the secondary effect, insensibly follows. The more the former has been marked and agreeable, the more will the latter be sensitive and disagreeable. I shall, however, state beforehand that the noxious consequences of DRUG X are not similar for each individual. Our bodies have such an excellent organization that a few faults against diet become almost imperceptible, if in other respects we lead a life conformable to nature. In this way, for example, the peasant and the journeyman in Germany take brandy, a very injurious beverage in itself, almost every morning; but if they take it in small quantities they, nevertheless, reach a very advanced age. Their health suffers but little from it, for their good constitution, and the healthy mode of life which they lead in other respects, overcome the injurious effects of this beverage to such an extent that they suffer very little from it. If the father of a poor family of journeymen or peasants takes DRUG X instead of brandy, the result will be the same. The vigor of his body, the violent exercise which he gives his limbs, the pure air which he inhales every day in abundance, all this removes the sad consequences of the drug in question, and his health suffers but little or not at all. But the noxious effects of DRUG X become much more evident among those persons who do not enjoy the advantage of the above-mentioned favorable circumstances.
It is true that some persons spending their time in sedentary occupations, and even some men of a feeble complexion, fixed for the most part to their rooms by sedentary pursuits, enjoy a sort of health, provided they observe in other things a regimen suitable to their situation. This regimen requires that we take none but simple aliments, easily digested, purely nutritive, mild, and little seasoned, as well as beverages equally innocent; that much sobriety be exercised in the use of said enjoyments; that the air of apartments be frequently renewed; finally, that all passions be moderated with wisdom. Upon these conditions women who take but little exercise, and even prisoners, may also enjoy a species of health which, though easily disturbed by exterior accidents, however furnishes a degree of relative well being. It is upon such persons that the effects of all morbific substances, that is to say, of all medicaments, will be more pointed and greater than upon robust men accustomed to labor in the open air, who can bear petty noxious things without suffering any considerable injury. Those feeble recluses whose health is at such a low degree enjoy, so to speak, but one half of life. Their sensations, their vital functions, their activity, all these have no true energy. It is not astonishing, then, that they should take with avidity DRUG X, which for several hours exalts the sentiment of their existence so powerfully; they care but little for the evil consequences and the secondary effects.
This secondary effect is similar to the uneasy state in which they find themselves before taking DRUG X, but it is a little more severe. The primary effect of DRUG X, that is, the totality of this vital, exalted, and artificial activity having disappeared after a few hours, a desire to sleep, joined to yawnings and a greater inactivity than that of the ordinary condition, insensibly follow; the motions of the body become more difficult, and the extreme serenity which reigned in the mind during the few preceding hours now passes into a gloomy, downcast humor. While the digestion and secretion of the aliments had been artificially accelerated during the first hours after taking DRUG X, painful flatulency and a slower and more difficult secretion now follow than in the preceding condition.
If the persons in question had been penetrated with an agreeable heat by the primary effect of DRUG X, this artificial fire now becomes insensibly quenched; they become chilled and have cold hands and feet. All external objects appear to them less agreeable than before. The sexual desires, excited during the first hours, now become the more feeble and lax. Their bad humor increases, and they are more easily vexed. The natural appetite is replaced by a kind of canine appetite, easily satisfied, and yet food and beverages load their heads and stomachs more. They have more difficulty to recover sleep, which is more feeble, and on awaking they are more sleepy, more sad and melancholic, than they usually were before they become acquainted with DRUG X.
But they repeat the use of this injurious palliative, and, behold! All the pains of which I have spoken are dissipated! A new artificial life begins, with the only difference that the happy period this time is a little shorter than the first. The use of DRUG X must then be more frequently repeated, or it must be made stronger and stronger, if it is to excite anew the vital functions for a few hours. It is thus that the bodies of the inhabitants of chambers continually degenerate more. The injuries caused by the secondary effects of DRUG X enlarge and take such deep roots that even more frequent and stronger repetitions of this palliative can no longer dissipate them, not even for a few hours. The skin now becomes more sensitive to cold, and, in general, to the influence of much air, even when it is not cold; digestion becomes more difficult, the evacuations are often delayed several days; flatulence causes agonies and a number of painful sensations. The constipation of the abdomen alternates only with diarrhoeas, and not with natural stools. Sleep comes only with difficulty, and rather resembles a slight sluggishness which does not refresh. On awaking, the persons in question have the head much engaged, a drowsy imagination, and a sluggish memory; the movement of the limbs is much constrained, and their hearts are filled with an oppressive sadness, which darkens the aspect of the beautiful nature which surrounds them.
The agreeable, but palliative, sensation which DRUG X diffuses, even among the minutest fibres for a few hours, afterwards causes, as a secondary effect, an extreme inclination to painful sensations, an inclination which increases in proportion as DRUG X has been taken longer, more frequently, of a stronger quality, or in larger quantities. Even trivial causes which scarcely make any impression at all on healthy men unaccustomed to the use of DRUG X) cause a headache to the female user of DRUG X; often also toothache almost unendurable, and generally nocturnal, accompanied by redness of the face, and finally producing swelling of the cheeks; sometimes also tearing and cutting sensations in different parts of the body, now in a single side of the face, then in this or that member. The body becomes very much inclined to erysipelas, either manifesting itself in the thigh (which often causes chronic ulcers in the legs), or taking place in the breasts (which sometimes occurs while nursing children), or, finally, it may make its appearance in one side of the face. Anguish and flying sensations of heat are their daily ailments, and unilateral and nervous headache are theirs by preference.
This headache never ceases before night, and in very stubborn cases I have seen it last thirty- six hours, so that it only left on the evening of the following day. If the attack is less violent, the prime cause of this evil, that is, DRUG X, abridges its duration in a palliative manner; but the body becomes so much more inclined to reproduce it after the lapse of a shorter interval. The period of the return of this evil is indefinite; it may he within fifteen days, or three weeks, or four weeks, etc. It appears suddenly without any proximate cause; even during the preceding night the patient rarely feels the slight indications of the nervous headache which awaits him on the morrow morning.
The secondary effect of the frequent use of DRUG X producing in the body an eminent disposition for all sorts of disagreeable sensations and the most piercing pains, it will be easy to conceive how it is more proper than any other injurious substance to excite a strong inclination for caries. No irregularity of diet occasions more easily and more certainly the decay of the teeth than the debauch of DRUG X. DRUG X, grief, and the abuse of mercury, are the most active destroyers of this ornament of the mouth, this necessary organ of distinct language and of an intimate amalgamation of the saliva and the food. The confined air of chambers and the nocturnal repletion of the stomach also contribute thereto.
But DRUG X alone is capable of destroying the teeth in a very short time, or, at least, to make them black and yellow. The incisors are especially attacked by it. With the exception of the real spinaventosa, scarcely any other caries among children are produced by any other cause than DRUG X, unless they have been maltreated with mercurial cures. It also sometimes engenders among them deep-seated ulcers, which pierce very slowly and have very narrow openings.
In general, DRUG X exercises the most pernicious influence over children, which is greater as they are more delicate. Although it does not, of its own propensity, excite the real rachitis (English disease, a knotting of the limbs), it however accelerates this disease conjointly with its peculiar producing causes, that is, non-fermented vegetable food and the confined, damp air of rooms. But it also alone engenders among little children, who, on the other hand, enjoy healthy food and pure air, a certain phthisis, almost as sad as rachitis itself.
Children subject to said phthisis have a pallid complexion and very flabby flesh. They are a long time learning to walk; their walk is tottering, they easily fall, and always want to be carried. They have a stammering voice. They ask much and many things, and yet eat and drink but little. The native simplicity, the gaity, and playfulness which form the amiable character of infancy, are replaced by a mean prostration. Nothing gives pleasure to these little unfortunates, nothing satisfies them; all they do denotes but half a life; they are very timid and are easily frightened. Diarrhoeas alternate with constipations. Their respiration is rattling, especially in sleep, for their chest is always filled with a tenacious mucus, which no cough will detach; they always have the chest engaged, as it is generally expressed.
In the evening, some time before the hour of retiring, or even at bedtime, one or both of their cheeks generally redden and become heated. During the night their sleep is disturbed, they are much agitated, and often ask for drink; they transpire, not only on the forehead, but also on the head, and, above all, in the back part of the head. They also cry sometimes during sleep. It is only with difficulty that they overcome all illness, and their convalescence is always imperfect.
They are often subject to a chronic inflammation of the eyes, joined to a singular relaxation of the upper eyelids, which does not permit them to open their eyes, even when the redness and swelling of the lids are only moderate. This sometimes lasts several years; children who suffer from it are continually sad and inclined to weep; they often sleep on their faces, or they hide themselves in the dark and remain there, lying down or sitting in a stooping position. Said inflammation chiefly attacks the cornea, covering it at first with red veins, and finally with dark spots, or causing little pimples or ulcers to appear, which sometimes enter deep into the cornea, even threatening the loss of the sight. This ophthalmy and this rattling of the chest, as well as some other of the above-mentioned sufferings, even affect sucklings that take nothing but their mother’s milk when she takes DRUG X and keeps herself shut up in the air of rooms. What must be the strength of DRUG X if the suckling is already compelled to suffer from it?
And now what you’ve been waiting for. The secret is revealed!
The full story of DRUG X is contained in a book published in 1875 by Dr. Samuel Hahnemann, MD – “Treatise On The Effects Of Coffee”. Yes, its true – Drug X is Coffee. Kinda puts those triple Mocha Lattés in a new perspective, doesn’t it?
First published in Germany in 1875 and translated into English for Americans by Dr. William Breyfogle, MD., this book should serve as a warning to all –
BEWARE THE EVIL BEAN!
You can read the full original text by clicking this link:
Editor’s Endnote: I hope that my reason for posting this piece is clear. If it reminds anyone of the 1930’s propaganda film “Marihuana: Assassin Of Youth” that’s not just a coincidence. If is also recalls how US law has made Crack a “lock ‘em up and throw away the key’ offense for black and brown people while Coke is a slap on the wrist and maybe a year or two at a country club for white folks, that’s also not a coincidence. And while few people are alive today who remember US prohibition and the anti-booze propaganda that powered that calculated hysteria and the rise of the American Police State, this kind of over-the-top reaction to Coffee should remind us that there will always be those who are horrified by any substance that creates a bit of pleasure, sharpens the mind, dulls the pain, or just provides a few moments of escape from reality. And, of course, there will always be ‘experts’ to reinforce the hysteria and justify the official repression with their professional opinions. And perhaps there’s no need to point out that in every instance of this kind of repression there are always major financial interests behind the scenes playing puppeteer.
This isn’t to say that the good Dr. Hahnemann was being dishonest. God knows, the prospect of losing control of one’s anus is enough to drive culturally anal-retentive German’s absolutely bonkers. So I’m not posting this to make fun of the doctor’s sincerity – well, not exactly anyway. I’m posting it to illustrate the fact that, just like Coffee, Coca Leaf was subjected to hysterical analysis by experts in support of moralistic fascists who wanted to use ‘science’ to justify their opportunistic repression of something that gives people relief from pain and perhaps, along the way, a bit of pleasure.
So, here we are in 2014, with Medical Cannabis finally liberated at least to some degree but with the healing powers of pure, natural Coca Leaf still viciously repressed and denied to tens of millions of sick and suffering people who could be quickly and safely healed by this natural medicine for pennies a day. Let’s work together to end this tragic farce.
“COCA: The Divine Plant of the Incas”
by John Uri Lloyd, 1911
Part of this historical record is from a paper first published in the Practical Druggist and Pharmaceutical Review of Reviews, October, 1910. Re-published in Lloyd Library Bulletin, No. 18, “History of the Vegetable Drugs of the Pharmacopæa of the United States”
Editor’s Note: At the turn of the 20th Century it was becoming a popular thing for academics to venture to Colombia, Peru and Bolivia to explore the “exotic” practice of Coca Leaf chewing among the indigenous peoples of the Andes. This interest followed upon the widespread use of both Coca Leaf and Cocaine during the 1800s in Europe and the US both as a medicine, in the case of Coca Leaf, and as a recreational drug and commercial product enhancement, which was largely the case with Cocaine. This short essay is typical of what was produced by many of these rather superficial ‘explorers’, but it does have its charming moments.
And, it is worth noting, this essay displays none of the moralistic horror of many European and American academics of the time who seemingly made the venture only to tut-tut at the degrading habits of the poor Indians and to condemn them for causing the deviant horrors of drug addiction in the ‘civilized’ world. Not unlike, incidentally, the mindsets behind the “Drug Wars” declared and perpetuated by Northern Hemisphere countries that both oppress and exploit the indigenous peoples of the Andes today.
Erythroxylon coca is a small tree or bush native to the slopes of the Andes, where, especially in Bolivia, large plantations are cultivated. The leaves have been highly valued, from the earliest records, by the natives of Peru, Chile, Colombia, and Bolivia, the tree being called “The Divine Plant of the Incas.”
In I569, Monardes (1), of Seville, published an article on the drug, reproduced, I577, in London by Dowdeswell (2) This is among the first references to the drug in print, known to us, and it was followed by the botanical description, by Clusius (3), in I605.
The history of Coca, in its many phases, is presented by several travelers and authors, one of the first of these to introduce it to Europeans being W. J. Hooker (4), in his “Companion to the Botanical Magazine,” London, 1835. Several pages of this work are devoted to the South American uses of Coca, the same being credited to Dr. Poeppig’s “Reise in Chile, Peru, und auf dem Amazonenstrome.” From this historical contribution we present portions pertinent to the Coca subject.
Among the most interesting of the more recent publications treating of Coca is a large illustrated volume of near 600 pages, by W. Golden Mortimer, M. D., under the title, “Peru, History of Coca,” New York, 1901. From this work we also gain much insight into the early history and customs of the Coca users, as indicated by the passages that follow.
That Coca was honored in their sacred ceremonies by the natives of the lands producing it, is evidenced by the following “recital” (5) addressed to the sovereign:
Oh, mighty lord, son of the Sun and of the Incas, thy fathers, thou who knoweth of the bounties which have been granted thy people, let me recall the blessings of the divine Coca which thy privileged subjects are permitted to enjoy through thy progenitors, the sun, the moon, the earth, and the boundless hills.”
A plant so regarded necessarily fell under the adverse criticism of the devoutly religious, early Spanish explorers, who naturally directed their efforts against everything that, in their opinion, constituted a part of heathen worship and diverted the natives from the true God.
This is shown by the following quotation from Mortimer:
“In 1569 the Spanish audience at Lima, composed of bishops from all parts of South America, denounced Coca because, as they asserted, it was a pernicious leaf, the chewing of which the Indians supposed gave them strength, and was hence: “Un delusio del demonio.”
In this connection the following quotation will indicate how distasteful are the methods of the natives, even yet, to those whose first duty consists in suppressing such ceremonies as are therein described.
When the period for departure (on a dangerous journey.—L.) actually arrives, the Indians throw Coca in the air, just as did the Incan priests of old, to propitiate the gods of the mountains, who, presumably, do not wish their domains invaded.
The native Indian use of Coca was unquestionably exhibited where it was necessary for men to make the most exhausting physical effort, as the Indian “runners” of the Andes, carrying with them a modicum of food or other burdens. A few coca leaves sufficed as a hunger pacifier, and upon this as a basis the runners underwent the most exhausting and exacting journeys. It was accepted by observing travelers that the leaves, being chewed, would yield an abundance of “vital strength.” The endurance of people thus employing the drug is noted also by the Jesuit Father Blas Valera (4) under the name Cuca. After observing the methods of the Jesuit explorers, he writes as follows:
It may be gathered how powerful the Cuca is in its effect on the laborer from the fact that the Indians who use it become stronger and much more satisfied, and work all day without eating.
In further support of this phase of the Coca subject, Dr. Poeppig, in the beginning of the last century, records as follows, in his work on Chile and Peru:
The miner will perform, for twelve long hours, the formidably heavy work of the mine, and, sometimes, even doubles that period, without taking any further sustenance than a handful of parched maize, but every three hours he makes a pause for the purpose of chewing Coca (coquear). He would work ill and reluctantly if the proprietor let him want his favorite herb….The same holds good with the Indian, who, as a porter, messenger, or vender of his own productions, traverses the Andes on foot. Merely chewing Coca from time to time, he travels with a load weighing one hundredweight, on his back, over indescribably rough roads and accomplishes frequently ten leagues in eight hours. During the Revolutionary War the undisciplined Patriot troops chiefly consisting of Indians from the Sierra, by dint of ample supplies of Coca and brandy, traversed long distances in a very short time, and thus became very dangerous to the Spaniards. Where Europeans would have halted and bivouacked, the ill-clad, barefooted Indians merely paused, for a short interval, to chew their Coca.
From the “Reise in Chile, Peru,” etc., of Dr. Poeppig. Companion to the Botanical Magazine, by W. J. Hooker.
These reviews and descriptions, showing conditions in times gone by and reaching backwards to the earliest European acquaintance with that land, are remarkably supported by the methods of the Indians yet out of reach of civilization. As a record of these conditions, we introduce herewith a recent description by Mr. J. T. Lloyd, as follows:
The Mombreros (Coca Users) Of Colombia.
By John Thomas Lloyd.*
*In the early winter of 1912 two young men from Cornell University visited regions of Colombia that are almost unknown to the scientific world. Mr. A. A. Allen, from the department of Zoology at Cornell, was conducting research for the American Museum of Natural History, and Mr. Lloyd, assistant in Limnology, was independently studying the insects. Their observations of the Indians’ methods of using Coca are recorded by Mr. Lloyd in this publication.
The Andes Mountains (see map, Fig. 1) appear in Northern South America as three distinct ranges, which soon, before leaving the Republic of Colombia, unite to form a single chain. Only a short distance north of their place of union we crossed two ranges of these mountains, descending thence by way of the Magdalena River, whose course we followed from its very source until it emptied into the Caribbean Sea.
Entering Colombia at the little seaport town of Buenaventura, on the Pacific Coast, we first climbed the Western or Coast Range of the Andes, descending thence to the city of Cali (altitude, 3,300 feet). From Cali we traveled south of southeast, following the valley of the Cauca River, to the inland city of Popayon, this being a seven days’ trip for pack animals. During the first two days’ travel, the valley was almost as flat as a sheet of water, and very fertile. In the evening of the second day we entered the lomas, or foothills, where the mountain chains begin to fuse. These lomas grew continually larger and rougher, until reaching Popayon, which, situated at an altitude of more than 6,000 feet, lies fairly against the Central Range. Beyond Popayon the trail followed a very meandering course through the mountains, to the little town of San Sebastian. From this town we started the ten days’ journey across the Central Range to the village of St. Augustin, the uppermost town in the great mountain-enclosed valley of the Magdalena River, which heads in two small lakes and flows between the Eastern and the Central Ranges of the Andes to the Caribbean Sea.
During five days of this trip, which included the crossing of the Paramo, as the part of the mountains lying above timber line is called, our cargoes (packs) were carried on the backs of Indian porters, the trail being impassable to loaded mules. From St. Augustin we went down the valley of the Magdalena River to the Caribbean Sea, where we left Colombia.
The inhabitants of Colombia, as we met them were whites, blacks, and Indians, as well as mixtures of the three races in all conceivable degrees. On the Pacific Coast, where we entered the country, the inhabitants, excepting two or three foreigners, were all Negroes, who showed little sign of other blood in their veins. After commencing the ascent of the Western Range, we saw evidence of some white, and occasionally a small amount of Indian blood in the population, but on both slopes and up the flat, fertile part of the Cauca Valley to the lomas or foothills of the Central Range, the Negro element predominated. After entering the lomas the Negro blood soon disappeared, being replaced by a mixture of white and Indian, the white element usually dominating. This condition continued as far as San Sebastian, although in the vicinity of Popayon and beyond a large number of pure-blood Indians were encountered on the trail. These
Indians live in secluded mountain homes, difficult of access and away from the main trail. After leaving San Sebastian the only people seen on the trail were of pure Indian descent, until we reached St. Augustin, on the eastern slope of the Central Range, where white blood again began to be in evidence, mixed with the Indian. In the Magdalena Valley, beyond St. Augustin, the Indian blood was diluted with a constantly increasing amount of white blood, until finally even before reaching the town of Neiva, the white blood predominated, sometimes excluding all evidence of Indian ancestry.
In the vicinity of Neiva, Negro blood again appeared, and below this point, on the Magdalena River, very shortly overshadowed all evidence of other than African origin. In the coast towns of the Caribbean Sea, however, there are many Europeans and Americans.
Coca and Coca Users
In the Negro country of the Western Coast, and as far up the Cauca Valley as the lomas, as well as in the lomas themselves, where a fair amount of white blood prevailed, we saw no evidence of coca using. The habit was first observed by us in the vicinity of Popayon, among the full-blooded Indians traveling on the trail. Here the way was marked by blotches of saliva, much like the tobacco “ambier” of primitive Kentucky. The Indians here were rather short in stature, but well built and very muscular. Their color was dark, decidedly red when wet, and their teeth and lips were deep-stained with Coca. In physical appearance they were by far the best specimens we had seen in Colombia, up to this time.
With heavy loads on their back, of market stuffs in woven bags, men and women walked very rapidly, or even ran for long distances along the trail, showing no signs of fatigue from their exertion. (Figs. 2, 3, and 4.)
The cheeks of all bulged with the leaves of Coca. (Fig, 2, left hand figure, and Fig. 10.)
At their side they carried their supply of the drug in small, close-woven fiber bags (Fig. 9) of about a quart capacity, but these were seldom more than a third filled (Shown in Figs. 2. 4, 5, and 9.)
About noon of the day on which we first saw coca in use by the Indians on the trail, we reached the town of Popayon. It being Friday, the principal market day of the week, we found all kinds of foodstuffs for sale, but the leaves of coca far exceeded in importance any other item, even the necessities of life. The leaves were contained in large, native, woven bags and were sold by weight from rude balances, the pans of which were gourd shells, and the weights, stones (Figs. 6 and 7). A few of the market people offered lime for sale, which was weighed in the same crude manner as the coca leaves.
Here, in the Popayon market, we first became familiar with the manner in which the Indians use the coca leaves. At their sides all wore the small, woven bags, called Guambis (Figs. 2, 4, 5, and 9), a name that applies also to the large bags in which the Indians carry their packs. In the coca guambi the dry leaves (fresh leaves being never used) are carried loose (Fig. 8), together with a small gourd (called mombero), pierced at the stem end by a round hole (AA, Fig. 9), and corked with a plug of wood (B, Fig. 9). In the gourd is a small amount of lime, called mombi by the Indians. This is ground to powder, or carried in small lumps. Invariably the coca user, immediately after putting the leaves in his mouth, mixes them with lime.
Between Popayon and the ridge of the Central Range of the Andes we visited, during market days, the towns of La Sierra and Almaguer. In each of these places we saw coca sold and used in the same manner as in Popayon.
Method of Using Coca
The Indians first fill the mouth with the dried (never green) leaves (Fig. 10) and then pour from the gourd into the palm of the hand a small amount of lime, perhaps the bulk of two or three peas. This is then mixed in the mouth with the leaves, the whole lump being then pushed by the tongue, without mastication, into one cheek, until that side of the face fairly bulges (Fig. 10, also Fig. 2). The leaves are not-chewed, but occasionally the wad is turned with the tongue. From time to time more lime is added, but a single mouthful of the leaves lasts several hours.
Distribution of the Coca Shrub
In the mountainous district between Popayon and San Sebastian could be seen, in the door-yard of almost every house, a small patch of coca bushes. which not only occupied the choicest parts of the garden sites, but also showed signs of much more care and cultivation than was given the other garden crops. After our attention was called to the coca bushes, we recalled having seen them cultivated in the vicinity of Cali, where they grow in far greater luxuriance than in the higher altitudes. In the upper ranges, above the highest altitude at which the coca plant will grow, we learned that the leaves used are all obtained from the lower country, around Cali, where the drug is of far better quality than that grown at high altitudes in the mountains. In the region of Cali (3.300 feet) the plant exceeds ten to twelve feet in height, but decreases in luxuriance as the mountains are ascended until, at 8,000 to 9,000 feet, it becomes a mere shrub of two or three feet. At an altitude of 10,000 feet it disappeared altogether. Although the coca raised around Cali is of the best quality, the inhabitants of that town do not use it, and during our daily visits to the Cali market we did not see the drug offered for sale.
Coca Considered Indispensable to Indian Pack Carriers
After leaving the small town of San Sebastian, we ascended rapidly to the high valley (altitude about 10,000 feet), called La Valle de Papas (the Valley of Potatoes). Here we lived about two weeks in the family of an old Indian named Don Pedro, where observation of the habits of our hosts gave us ample opportunity to observe how highly the Indians prize the coca leaves in their home life. On one occasion, when starting with Don Pedro as a guide to a distant lake at a much higher, he told us that unless we used the drug we would be unable to withstand the fatigue of the journey, which should be exceptionally severe. To test the virtues of coca, as well as to quiet his fears, we filled our mouths with the leaves, which were almost tasteless and as our guide assured us, without value until lime was added. But the addition of the lime rendered the mixture so disagreeable that to Pedro’s disgust, we spat it out and decided to forego the possible benefits of its use.
Having left La Valle de Papas, we started across the Paramo, as the lofty summit of the Andes above timber line is called. On this trip the dozen Indian porters who carried our cargoes all consumed coca unceasingly while on the march. After eating a simple breakfast of ground corn porridge (mazamora), they would start with their heavy packs, weighing from seventy five to more than a hundred pounds, strapped to their backs (see Figs. 2, 3, and 4). All day long they traveled at a rapid gait, over steep mountain spurs and across mucky swamps at an altitude that, to us, without any load whatever, was most exhausting.
On these trips the Indians neither rested anywhere nor ate at noon, but incessantly sucked their wads of coca throughout the entire day. At night they ate a heavy meal of either mazamora or rice, sometimes with a little panela (brown sugar) dissolved in hot water. Meat they seldom, if ever, tasted.
Then they lay down on the cold, bare ground in a half-open shed (Figure 11), with little cover, awakening at daybreak to eat their breakfast and start again on a long day’s journey over the rugged mountains.
When we tried to buy coca outfits from our porters, at first we met with absolute failure, but finally persuaded two of them to part with their treasures ( Fig. 9) in exchange for tin tobacco boxes and a small sum of money. We also tried to buy their supply of coca leaves and lime, but these they positively refused to sell, insisting that without the coca they could not carry their packs to the journey’s end.
These Indians we found very pleasant, always cheerful, happy, and good natured, in spite of the fact that their daily toil subjects them to the severest of hardships and the most frugal fare. Barefooted they travel over rocks and through swamps, amid cold, rain, and penetrating mist that nearly always prevails, their wages too insignificant to mention, being but a dollar or two for the entire trip, out of which they supply their own provisions and other necessities.
Coca Not Used in the Eastern, Low Lands
In the village of St. Augustin. at the foot of the eastern slope of the Central Range. again but little evidence of coca using was observed. Only one woman in the market offered it for sale, her supply consisting of but one small bag of the leaves. When we asked an Indian resident of the mountains nearby if he had any coca, he inquired in evident disgust whether we were momberos, as the coca users are called, the name meaning, “one who uses the mombi, or lime.”
In the valley beyond St. Augustin we saw no signs of the use of coca, although we visited the town next beyond on market day, when, if ever, it would be in evidence. It may therefore be accepted that although coca is not used in the lowlands of either the Eastern or Western Colombian slope, with the mountain Indians, men and women (see Fig. 5) alike, it is an accepted necessity.
Coca-using Indians of Colombia do not chew the leaf, but suck the saliva-made juice from the huge boluses of coca leaves mixed with lime, stored in the cheek. So far as known, this has been the method of these people from the traditional past. These coca users are typical specimens of perfect physical manhood, being muscular and well formed. Whether this is due to the Coca, or is in spite of the Coca, is a question we did not solve. Their food is simple and sparing, consisting of corn, a little sugar, no fruits, no nuts, no fish, little meat, and occasionally beans or rice. Their endurance to both the fatigue of travel and exposure to the elements is phenomenal. From early daylight to the dusk of night they run or walk rapidly. Then, after supper (their first meal since morning), they sleep in a rude “shack” with no other cover than their capes to protect them from the penetrating cold of the damp air and wet ground. The disposition of these Indians is exceptionally pleasant, they being ever genial and good natured. Not one sour, disagreeable, mentally unbalanced or wicked coca-using man or woman did we meet.
During the passage through their country, the only chronic sickness that we observed among them was a severe eye affection, due probably to the smoke of their houses. To our eyes, this smoke was unbearably irritating. – J. T. L.
1. MONARDES, NICOLAS.
Historia medicinal de Indias occidentales. Sevilla, 1569. (Later editions in Spanish, Latin, English, French, and Italian.)
2. DOWDESWELL, G. F.
Observations on the properties and action of the leaf of the Coca plant, Erythroxylon Coca. (The Lancet, London, I876, pp. 63I, 664.)
3. CLUSIUS, CAROLUS
Aliquot notæ in Garciæ aromaticum historiam præter descriptiones peregrinarum nonnullarum stirpium. Antwerpiæ, 1582.
Antidotarium sive de exacta componendorum, miscendorumque medica mentorum ratione. Antwerpiæ, 156I.
Exoticorum libri decem. Antwerpiæ. I605. Rariorum aliquot stirpium per Hispanias observatarum historia. Antwerpiae, I576.
4. HOOKER, W. J.
Companion to the Botanical Magazine. London, I835-1836.
5. MORTIMER. W. G.
Peru, History of Coca, “The divine plant of the Incas” New York, I901.
6. VALERA, BLAS
Commentarios reales. 1609.
Obesity is a tragedy afflicting millions of innocent people, but the tragedy is far more than the condition itself. The tragedy is that so many people who suffer throughout their lives from being obese are not victims of their own “uncontrollable desires” or other “weaknesses” but of giant industrial and financial forces that victimize them for profit, or worse, simply trash their lives incidental to making a profit.
Yet our mind-controlled society is full of people dedicated to making obese people ashamed of themselves and feeling guilty that they aren’t somehow strong enough to overcome this defect in their character. Lung cancer victims are shamed by doctors for causing their disease, when it’s really the pesticide contaminants in the tobacco products that are there purely for profit. Obese people are assumed to be voluntarily piggish eaters when its really the inflammatory pollutants in their food and environment that are there purely for profit. Why are pesticide-contaminated foods more profitable? Simply because chemicals are cheaper than labor in food production, and that’s what profits are all about – keeping costs down and margins up.
If you listen closely in the grocery aisles you can hear the food producers way back up the distribution chain murmuring” “Too bad if this damn food ruins your life with inflammatory obesity and all the diseases that follow – at least you aren’t starving, right? So quit complaining and eat.”
As long as doctors secretly, or not so secretly believe that smokers bring on their own lung cancer and obese people do the same, then the merchants of disease and death that afflict vast numbers of people with this chemical holocaust will continue to escape judgment.
(Important new obesity research: “Ancestral DDT Exposure & Transgenerational Obesity“)
A Simple & Effective Remedy For Obesity Is Probably Just Coca Leaf Tea
Whenever we talk about Coca Leaf tea it’s important to stay aware that, as the Andean coqueros say, “La Coca no es la Cocaine.”
There is virtually no relationship between the effects of drinking Coca Leaf tea and the effects of Cocaine, other than a slight tingle on the tongue with the tea. Coca Leaf tea does not get you high, period. That is an irrefutable fact, extensively documented. To access reams of original historical source materials supporting this factual statement, you can browse three centuries of Coca knowledge in “The Coca Leaf Papers”.
Cocaine is only one of the alkaloids in the Coca leaf, and is only one of Coca’s important medicinal alkaloids. The problem here is that for all the scientific controversy over Cocaine for the past 150 years, somehow nobody has gotten around to researching the health effects of the 18+ other alkaloids in the magic leaf. Could this just be an oversight on the part of Pig Pharma? Or could it be that those alkaloids have been investigated and the news was so threatening to Pig Pharma that it somehow never got out? Could it be that thousands of PhD’s, all looking for a topic that will bring in grant money, never once got funded to investigate the healing potential of all those other alkaloids, when it is so obvious that it is the whole Coca Leaf and not just Cocaine that is the healing medicine.
Coca Leaf tea has a fully documented history of medical efficacy over the course of hundreds of years before anti-drug hysteria swept the world, ably assisted by a vast conspiracy of institutional forces that benefited, and continue to benefit, from this hysteria. These forces include (but are not limited to) the pharmaceutical industry, the medical industry, the legal industry including police, courts, lawyers and politicians, and the alcohol industry.
An important caveat – you can buy several brands of “de-cocainized” Coca Leaf Tea many places on the internet. Unfortunately, everything I’ve seen so far has been a waste of money. I wish I could tell you otherwise. It’s clear that Coca Leaf products are a thriving economy in Bolivia but this hasn’t spilled over onto the internet yet. As I find good sources I’ll post them in the “links” section of the sidebar for this blog.
The “de-cocainizing” process that Coca tea has to go through to be legal in the US is soul-destroying – very much like decaffeinated coffee, light beer, and soy burgers. No worth the trouble. De-cocainizing not only removes the single alkaloid Cocaine, it also destroys the biological potency of the whole leaf. You might as well be making tea from cardboard flavored with a bit of mint.
2/9/2019 – News Flash – really. I originally wrote this post to raise awareness of Coca Leaf tea, but since obesity is also the topic here is a link to my latest post on a new class of pesticide chemicals called “Obesogens”. The topic of this post is Obesogens, Little Cigars and Obesity, but the issue applies to all kinds of pesticide exposure. This class of pervasive chemicals is now solidly linked to obesity-initiating and sustaining processes. This implies, among other things, that people suffering from obesity might have abnormal amounts of obesogenic chemicals in their bodies, which may open the way to new therapeutic interventions. Please see also my new posts “Smoking & Breast Cancer – A New Link?” and “Tobacco Pesticides & Childhood Leukemia“. See also “Ancestral DDT Exposure & Transgenerational Obesity”
Few people today are even vaguely familiar with the long-established medical efficacy of Coca leaf tea in treating not only obesity but also a wide range of other conditions and diseases, but it is a fact that from the 1700’s through the early 20th century infusions and tinctures of natural, unadulterated Coca leaf were viewed as a miracle cure – as indeed they were. Coca tea was used by everyone from the Pope and the Queen of England to the hardworking farmer and laborer to alleviate fatigue, control hunger, give a long-lasting energy boost, clarify the mind, and increase longevity.
Here is just one of literally hundreds of examples of this forgotten (actually suppressed) medical knowledge:
(From) “Coca Erythroxylon – It’s Uses In The Treatment Of Disease” by Angelo Mariani (1885)
“For a tonic to be really useful it should not act locally only on one organ – the stomach – but, entering the circulation, should penetrate to every organ, and revive every function. In a word, tonics should be diffusible.”
“Some tonics would partly fulfill these conditions, for the tonic ingredients being diffused with alcohol throughout the whole system, there is added to the local action that they exercise upon the stomach a general action which is felt by every organ in the body, but, like local tonics, these diffusible tonics have the great inconvenience of possessing astringent properties which produce constipation.”
“Coca Wine alone forms an exception to this general rule. On this account it has been able to render such immense service to therapeutics, for, while one is obliged sooner or later to discontinue Cinchona and Iron preparations, the administration of Coca Wine, which possesses scarcely any noticeable astringent properties, may be continued indefinitely without producing constipation.”
“We shall not enumerate here the many advantages that can be derived from this medicament in almost all cases of illness from chronic affections, pulmonary disease, laryngitis, diabetes, obesity, and particularly profound anemia, which leaves serious weakness of the general system behind.”
“But we desire to say a few words upon a form of anemia to which the attention of physicians has not yet been drawn – a state of great depression of the economy and marked poverty of the blood, resulting from the abuse of balsams in the treatment of the urinary organs. The number of individuals who, being afflicted with blennorrhoea, etc., are making excessive use of cubebs, copaiba, turpentine, etc., is in fact considerable; it is so great that, out of one hundred young dyspeptics (in France) one can affirm, without fear of mistake, that at least forty are so from the use of these balsams.”
“Likewise, the number of sufferers from uric gravel, whom the prolonged use of large doses of those dangerous drugs, resins and oleo-resins, has rendered dyspeptic and nervous, is very great.”
Begging The Question …
As should be obvious from the passage above, dangerous diseases and conditions have for a very long time been ‘treated’ by Allopathic physicians with “drugs” or “medicines” that themselves are far more dangerous than the illness they supposedly ‘treat”
So, with this long history in front of us we can legitimately ask the question – is it accidental or coincidental that so many of Pig Pharma’s ‘medicines’:
1. Don’t cure the condition or disease but do make you dependent on taking them for the rest of your life because if you stop once starting horrible things will happen to you, and/or
2. They create “side-effects” that must be ‘treated’ with additional ‘medicines’ that must also be taken for life under penalty of suffering or death.
According to one source “Out of the 783,936 annual deaths from conventional medicine mistakes, approximately 106,000 of those are the result of prescription drug use. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, two-hundred and ninety people in the United States are killed by prescription drugs every day.” Narcotic prescription overdose is a leading cause, but just plain doctor fuck-ups are right there near the top too.
So (simplistically, I know) since 400,000 people are killed by smoking cigarettes, and 783,936 killed by doctors, that would make just going to a doctor and getting a prescription roughly twice as dangerous as smoking cigarettes. So it’s worth asking, what is Pig Pharma’s track record on obesity medications?
Pig Pharma’s Answer To Obesity
Attempts to invent a safe and effective diet pill have foundered time and again, allowing the internet trade in illegal and ineffective herbal supplements and dangerous drugs – poisons actually – to flourish.
Pig Pharma has tried for decades to come up with a little pill that would magically melt away unwanted weight, but every single one of these attempts has ended in disaster. Many people who were convinced by their doctors, or by irresponsible advertisers, or by well-meaning friends to try the latest miracle pill were either damaged permanently or outright killed.
An excellent example of this is Fen-Phen. Millions of people in the 1990s succumbed to the propaganda that touted this combination of fenfluramine and phentermine and were ecstatic about the weight they were losing until they started dropping like flies from defective heart valves.
Pig Pharma has always been in love with the idea of suppressing appetite as the key to the magic kingdom of weight loss, on the theory that people who get fat are people who can’t control how much they eat. As a consequence a number of different pharmaceutical strategies to suppress appetite have been tried over and over using different chemicals. Two of these chemical appetite killers – or maybe just plain killers – have recently been taken off the market in the UK and EU – rimonabant and sibutramine.
As usual Pig Pharma put these drugs through ‘extensive trials’ and proved to the regulatory authorities that they were safe based on the data they presented but then, once the drugs were released to the general population it quickly became clear that these were not drugs but poisons.
Rimonabant (5-(4-Chlorophenyl)-1-(2,4-dichloro-phenyl)-4-methyl-N-(piperidin-1-yl)-1H-pyrazole-3-carboxamide ) was never approved for sale in the US, although the French manufacturer Sanofi-Aventis did try to get it past the FDA and failed. But Europeans weren’t so fortunate. EU regulators approved the drug for use in 25 EU countries, and the sales reps went to work. Doctors prescribed. Patients swallowed. But then, inevitably, ultimately, rimonabant managed to accumulate a nasty record of people driven into deep depression and suicide, and when enough documented damage had accumulated the drug was withdrawn. Sorry about your loss.
Sibutramine ((±)-Dimethyl-1-[1-(4-chlorophenyl) cyclobutyl]-N,N,3-trimethylbutan-1-amine) was the grand idea of Abbott Labs, although they were not the original developer. As often happens in the world of Pig Pharma, a much smaller company developed the compound and then one of the Pig Boys takes it over and pushes it through their network. In this case the drug was approved by both US and EU regulators after reviewing the glowing reports from the manufacturer’s ‘scientists’. But soon after doctors began pushing this new and exciting weight loss solution into the hands of their patients – oops – people began dropping from strokes and heart attacks.
In 2010 sibutramine was withdrawn from the markets BUT almost overnight it began showing up in over-the-counter “herbal” supplements, particularly Chinese weight loss products sold in Europe, which were subsequently shown to contain many times the concentration of sibutramine than the original pharmaceutical version. It seems that many people with severe weight problems have been convinced by diet gurus and others that if something is herbal it must be OK because herbal is natural and natural can’t be bad for you. And if it is Chinese herbal even better – because of course the Chinese have been doing herbal for thousands of years and they have to know what’s safe and what’s not, right?
Nobody seems to have asked where the Chinese herbal product manufacturers got their supplies of Sibutramine, but it isn’t a stretch to think that maybe the original manufacturer had to do something with all that inventory they were stuck with after the drug was banned in Europe and the US.
And then finally we come to orlistat, ((S)-((S)-1-((2S,3S)-3-Hexyl-4-oxooxetan-2-yl) tridecan-2-yl) 2-formamido-4-methylpentanoate), which is sold as Alli in the US and Xenecal in the US and Europe. This stuff is the brainchild of some evil idiot ( or more likely a team of idiots) who calculated that since people get fat from eating fat the way to get them to lose weight is to prevent their digestive system from absorbing fat from food. Voila! Pack in those eclairs and burgers because you won’t absorb a bit of the fat – it will all just go right through you. But – when it comes out the other end there’s a small problem. It comes out in what is called “steatorrhea”, which in spite of its rather clinical-sounding name is actually explosive, oily extraordinarily foul-smelling diarrhea. And in between episodes of steatorrhea the victim experiences what is also rather clinically called ‘anal leakage’, which basically means the fun never stops and neither do your bowels.
Beneath The Obesity Epidemic
I haven’t mentioned what many people believe to be the underlying cause of obesity, which is a diet of inflammatory highly processed industrial food. This is a conscious omission because the topic is very broad and deserves its own post – if not its own encyclopedia.
In this post I will just point out two important things about the relationship between obesity and inflammation, and their relationship to the healing potential of Coca leaf teas and tonics.
First, Coca Leaf tea operates as a potent anti-inflammatory, so any person suffering from obesity with a root cause of an inflammatory diet rather than simply eating too much would benefit immediately and in many ways other than just reduced inflammation and thus would experience immediate, dramatic and completely safe weight loss.
Second, Coca Leaf tea acts to suppress appetite while not stealing physical or mental energy, so a person who chooses to add dieting to a weight loss program that uses Coca Leaf tea as a core medication will not experience the intense psychological and physical feelings of deprivation that accompany any ordinary diet, nor will Coca Leaf tea jangle the nerves and exhaust the brain the way virtually all weight loss “medicines” being pushed by Pig Pharma do. Nor, of course, will Coca Leaf tea lead to strokes, heart attacks, depression and suicide the way Pig Pharma’s medicines almost invariably seem to do.
The compound tragedy here is that, of course, Coca Leaf tea is unavailable to people in the major industrial countries of the world because of the “War on Drugs” (which turns out to be a war on people – as all wars ultimately are).
The one bright spot in all this is that for those who can afford it there are places you can go in Peru and Bolivia where pure, natural Coca Leaf is freely available, and a month or two spent in those beautiful mountain surroundings drinking Coca Leaf tea, gradually working up to taking long walks (because you will gain, not lose energy), and enjoying the simple, non-inflammatory foods of the Andes – quinoa, not wheat for example.
And Finally – The Eugenics Movement Is Alive & Not Well At All
Lurking behind all of the nasty subliminal manipulation of public scorn directed at fat people lie the twisted minds of Eugenicists, convinced that the world could be immensely improved for themselves and their kind if only all those fat people (and many other kinds of “defective” people that the Eugenics fascists deem unworthy of life) could somehow just be removed from the planet.
If you’re not familiar with the Eugenics movement I highly recommend Eugenics & Other Evils by G. K. Chesterton – a free Kindle eBook. The “Eugenics Movement” of the 19th and 20th Century resulted in a carnival of horrors that is still playing in private venues of the warped wealthy in almost every community in the world. Some of the side shows featured in this carnival are well-known, such as the holocaust of the Nazis, enthusiastically supported by Eugenicists in the UK and US, while others are barely remembered, such as the mass poisoning of “morally defective alcoholics” in the 1920’s by a rogue (but enthusiastically endorsed) agency of the US government.
Other attacks on humanity by the proponents of this evil cabal were never recognized for what they were, such as the AZT “cure” offered to gay people dying of AIDS in the 1980’s, which cleverly complicated their atrocious deaths, requiring additional expensive treatments to deal with the malicious side-effects of this highly profitable drug.
For an obese person losing significant amounts of weight and keeping the weight off is made difficult by two simple factors – the inevitability of hunger and a demoralizing loss of energy. Western medicine has taken both a pharmaceutical and a surgical approach to these two issues – including highly dangerous drugs that suppress appetite and ghastly surgery that removes part of the stomach, or that mad scientist’s notion of ‘banding’ to reduce the stomach’s capacity. Or, of course, there is the hideous practice of liposuction.
None of these approaches has been successful in addressing the epidemic of obesity. The drugs that doctors use to control appetite have side-effects that range from dangerous to deadly, and the surgeries could only have been dreamed up by a madman and submitted to out of desperation.
Furthermore, since by far the greatest proportion of obesity is concentrated among poor people without insurance or the means to pay for treatment, even if any of the conventional obesity treatments ‘worked’ huge numbers of people would not have access to them.
Yet, just the direct costs of ‘treating’ obesity in the US are estimated at $170 Billion, and when you take into account the costs of ‘treating’ obesity-related conditions that include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer, some of the leading causes of preventable death, those costs easily triple to half a Trillion dollars – per year.
Then when you add in what people spend on non-medical diets, supplements, and ‘fat burners’ you have to add another $100 Billion or so.
I suppose that if any of these approaches actually worked one might be able to justify the enormous costs, although the majority of sufferers would still be poor and the ‘treatment’, however successful, would not be available to them. Unless, of course, those treatments were paid for by taxpayers, as happens occasionally when an uninsured person winds up in the ER for an obesity-related condition and somehow manages to receive treatment for the underlying obesity – which is virtually never.
I would venture to guess that most people who are not obese view those who are as people as weak-willed, self-indulgent, morally corrupt, and probably irretrievably stupid. Fat people have always, in the US and Canada, been viewed with secret and often open contempt by others. Who doesn’t remember “fatty, fatty, four by four …” The experience of routine cruelty is part of the life of a fat person from early childhood.
So here is the point of this painful recitation of facts: there is a simple, inexpensive, proven, 100% effective way with zero side-effects to radically reduce physical feelings of hunger and emotional desire for food while at the same time maintaining and even increasing mental and physical energy, and with one simple change in the legal system this remedy for obesity could be available for pennies a day to anyone who wanted it.
In a recent post “Manufacturing Of Cocaine: Then And Now” I offered readers a look at some of the rather elegant lab methods developed by early synthesizers of Cocaine and compared those methods to the crude and toxic methods used by today’s drug cartels.
I’ve received several emails asking me to offer information on how early doctors created extracts of pure, natural Coca Leaf for their patients, so here is a brief section from my E-Book “The Coca Leaf Papers”.
(Excerpted from) “Erythroxylon Coca: A Treatise On Brain Exhaustion As The Cause Of Disease”, By William Tibbles, MD (1877)
“The simplest form in which these leaves may be administered is the Infusion of Coca:”
Coca Leaf Tea
“Take of Coca leaves, bruised, one ounce; boiling water ten fluid ounces. (Editor’s Note – using pure water heated to 180° F at sea level yields a better tea.) Infuse in a covered vessel for one hour, press slightly, strain; there will be obtained a fluid measuring about eight ounces, having an appearance and odour like unto an infusion of ordinary green tea. (Editor’s Second Note: a widely available coffee brewing device called a “French Press” would be ideal for this method.) Slightly alkaline and bitter in taste. Dose, from half to one and a half fluid ounces, each fluid ounce representing one dram of leaves.”
Aqueous Extract of Coca Leaf
“Take Coca leaves, bruised, or, what is better, in a coarse powder, eight ounces, water a sufficiency. Macerate the coca in two pints of water, at a temperature of 120° F., for a period of two hours. Pack in a conical percolator, and exhaust with water at a temperature of 100° F. Evaporate by water bath, at a temperature not exceeding 140° F., to the required consistence. This extract is brownish in colour, and bitter in taste. Dose, ten to twenty-five grains.”
Alcohol Extract of Coca Leaf
“Crush Coca into a moderately coarse powder; alcohol, 56 over proof, a sufficiency. Moisten the powder with alcohol; pack in a conical percolator. Add more alcohol and continue the percolation until the powder is exhausted. Evaporate the resulting percolate, by means of a water bath at a temperature not exceeding 140° F., until of a proper consistence for forming pills. This is much superior to the aqueous extract, possessing the characteristic taste and odour of coca-leaves in a high degree. It is of a green colour, resinous or waxy in character, due to the presence of coca-wax. Dose, five to fifteen grains in the form of pills. (Editor’s Note – See Mariani’s lozenges – with the addition of flavorings such as mint or licorice, this is how they were produced.)”
Fluid Extract of Coca Leaf
“Crush Coca into coarse powder, eight ounces, and add proof spirit, a sufficiency. Moisten the leaves with proof spirit, pack tightly in a percolator, pour on proof spirit, until six ounces of percolate has been obtained which set aside; then exhaust the leaves with more proof spirit, evaporate, at a temperature of 140° F., to a bulk of two ounces, which add to the first percolate. Dose, forty-five to ninety minims.”
Glycerin Extract of Coca Leaf
“Take Coca leaves, in coarse powder, five ounces; on which pour two ounces of hot water, then add fifteen ounces (by weight) of glycerin. Macerate, in a warm place, for a period of thirty days. At the end of that time press out the fluid portion, using a screw press, strain the resulting fluid product and set aside. Remove the residue from the press, and pour on it about twenty-four ounces of water at a temperature of 150° F., at which temperature let it be kept for a period of two hours; strain, evaporate to such a product that the quantity when added to the glycerin fluid shall measure fifteen fluid ounces. This is a very pleasant and efficient preparation of Erythroxylon coca and is generally admissable in all cases. Dose, one to three drams.”
Tincture of Coca Leaf
“Coca leaves, bruised or in coarse powder, four ounces; proof spirit, one pint. Moisten the leaves, pack in a percolator, and percolate twenty ounces. Dose, four, to six or eight drams. This form is very objectionable, as the amount of alcohol administered in a dose of the tincture will altogether alter the natural effects of the coca-leaf.”
This post is from Chapter One of “The History of Coca” which is part of the historical literature documented in my ebook “The Coca Leaf Papers“. For those who are unfamiliar with the long and proud legacy of pure, natural Coca as a medicinal plant this introduction should serve to convince that Coca Leaf is far different in its medicinal qualities from the synthetically extracted alkaloid Cocaine, which is only one of the 19 known alkaloids of the Coca Leaf, and only one among hundreds of bio-active components of the leaf.
Chapter One (from) The History of Coca by Dr. William Golden Mortimer MD, 1901
IF MAN were asked what one boon he would prefer of all Earth’s bounties or Heaven’s blessings, his response must be – the power of endurance. The capability to patiently and persistently do best that which the laws of life or the vagaries of association necessitates. Search for this one quality has been the impetus to inspire poet and philosopher since man’s first appreciation of his mortal frailty. A something which shall check, within himself at least, the progress of time, the ravages of age, and the natural vacillation of conditions or environment. Wealth, and power, and greatness, and skill, must alike fall into insignificance without this one essential attribute to success. The artist in impressionistic work, the poet in soulful muse, the musician in celestial chords, the soldier in the mad rush of battle, the artisan in the cleverness of device, the merchant in the intricacies of commercial problems – even the most prosaic delver in life’s plodding journey – each hopes to display a virility from which the slightest weakness is deprecated as humiliating. Work, indeed, is necessary to existence. It is the price – as the ancients considered – which the gods set on anything worth having. It is the power to do this work – to gain happiness for ourselves, which is the demand of modem necessity. To be enabled to keep active until the human machine may wear out as did the ‘wonderful one-hoss-shay,” rather than rusting into a state of uselessness.
Human endurance, bounded by natural limitations, is still more closely environed by the results of a higher civilization, which presents the remarkable anomaly of two opposite conditions. While increasing, through the refinements of hygienic resources, the average term of life, it crowds man in the struggle for existence, into a condition where he is rendered less capable physically for fighting the battles into which he is thrust. So, from a natural life of pronounced perfection where his trials have been essentially muscular, he is gradually evolving into an artificial existence of eminently nervous impulse. If this be so, then the interest in any means which shall tend to establish and maintain a balance of force, should not be merely casual, but must be earnest and persistent to any who have regard for life’s best qualities, and this interest must constantly increase with the retirements of time.
Even though others may point the way, everyone must fight his own battles. To each of us the world will appear as we may shape it for ourselves – a thought poetically expressed by the composer Wagner, who said: “The world exists only in our heart and conception.” This shaping, if done by weakly hands or influenced by troubled brain, may not always prove symmetrical. A sensitive imagination, sharply attuned, jars discordantly amidst inharmonious surroundings, which will be all the more harshly apparent if made possible through a known impotence
The Nature Of The Life Force
There is a fund of force communicated by the Creator to all things. It is the primal factor not only of man’s existence, but of his continued being, and the activity which it generates is necessary to life, just as a cessation of energy means death. This fact has ever been so much a portion of the human mind that it requires no philosophic training to implant. It is not alone the savage who regards examples of vigor and prowess as ennobled emblems of a supreme being, while the sick or even the weak are looked upon as possessed of some evil spirit to be exorcised by priest or medicine man. This belief, whether superstitious or not, is pre-eminent and widespread. It is not only manifested by the ignorant, but often by the educated as well. The effort to ward off disease through wearing some particular substance as a talisman is a practice prompted by this feeling, which is not wholly relegated to bygone days, and the belief in amulets, rings, or the influence of certain precious stones is still prevalent every where.
There is supposedly some deeply hidden mystery about Nature in her varied presentations, which if it does not control presumably influences the curative art. It is not only those who consider that “yarbs should be gathered at a certain time of the moon,” but the laity quite generally suppose there is a specific for every disease if not every condition, which if not immediately forthcoming upon inquiry must be revealed by more diligent search. Nor is this belief – even though vague – indulged in merely by the unthinking, but every where about us there is a tendency against accepting rigid facts, and inevitable truths, particularly when applied to one’s self. “All men think all men mortal but themselves” is surely a well founded adage. The result is a groping after that all necessary something, which shall supply this very apparent want, a craving for endurance in all we are called upon to bear. As Cicero has expressed it : “If not destined to be immortal, yet it is a desirable thing for a man to expire at his fit time, for, as Nature proscribes a boundary to all other things, so does she also to life.” The practical side of this idea was once advanced to me by an, elderly patient who said : “I don’t want to controvert Nature, but I do want to be as comfortable as possible while I am here.”
There has been a numerous order of philosophers not content with simple well being, who sought for that perpetual youth – that elixir vitae- which might give at least prolonged existence even if not rejuvenation. These did not commence with Faust nor end with Brown-Sequard. Happily the search for this substance – even though originating in a sanguine imagination – has often ended in findings that have been extremely important. Just as when Juan Ponce de Leon sought the Fontaine de Jouvence in the Island of Bimini, though he failed to locate the fountain, he did discover a land of perpetual youth, if we may so entitle the ever-blooming peninsula. Possibly it was because of some such spirit of inquiry into the vague depths of the unknown, where was presumed there might be some revelation to this knowledge of a perpetual vigor, which prompted a desire for exploration. Nature has always been ready to answer such seeking by her munificence, which, if not in the direction at first wished, has at least encouraged man to new desires.
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.
The Early Inca In Nature’s Garden
During the early age, when this nature’s garden was unknown to the rest of the world, the Incas, who were then the dominant people of this portion of the continent, regarded this shrub as “the divine plant,” so all important and complete in it self, that it was termed simply “khoha”, meaning “the tree”, beyond which all other designation was unnecessary. This plant, which has been described under a variety of names but now known as Coca, has appealed alike to the archaeologist, the botanist, the historian, and traveler as well as to the physician. Its history is united with the antiquity of centuries, while its traditions link it with a sacredness of the past, the beginning of which is lost in the remoteness of time. So intimately entwined is the story of Coca with these early associations – with religious rites, with superstitious reverence, with false assertions and modem doubts – that to unravel it is like to the disentanglement of a tropical vine in the primitive jungles of its native home.
Antedating historical record Coca was linked with the political doings of that most remarkable people of early American civilization who constituted the Incan dynasty. Since the conquest of Peru it has continued to form a necessary factor to the daily life work of the Andean Indians, the descendants of this once noble race. So important has it been held in the history of its native land that it has very fit tingly been embodied in the escutcheon of Peru, along with the vicuna and the horn of plenty, thus typifying endurance with the versatile riches which this country affords.
The first knowledge to the outer world concerning Coca followed Pizarro’s invasion of Peru, though the actual accounts of its properties were not published until some years after the cruel murder of Atahualpa – commonly regarded as the last Incan monarch. The effort made by the Spanish to implant their religion raised the cross and shrine wherever possible, which necessitated the founding of numerous missions, in charge of fathers of the church. These men in holy orders were often as tyrannical as those who bore arms, yet fortunately there were some in both classes less cruel men of liberal attainments who appreciated the importance of preserving the traditions and records of this new country. To the writings of some of these more kindly disposed personages, as well as to the earnest labors of a few young nobles who were in the army of invasion, whose spirit for a conservative exploration was greater than for destructive conquest, we are indebted for the facts which form the foundation of this early history. Many of these writers had personally seen the result of the Incan civilization before its decay, and had opportunity to collect the native stories, as retold from father to son, through generation after generation, oral tradition being the early Peruvian method for continuing a knowledge of events. Unlike the Mexicans, these people had no picture writings to tell their doings in a series of hieroglyphics, nor had they a written language. But the story of this once mighty empire is told in its wonderful ruins, and through the relics of skillfully molded pottery, and textile fabrics in exquisite designs, which all indicate a remarkable civilization. Historical facts were related by regularly appointed orators of phenomenal memory, who on all state occasions would recount the occurrences of the preceding reign, being aided in this recital by a novel fringe-like record of colored cords, known as the quipu. By the aid of this, as a sort of artificial memory, they told, as a monk might tell his beads. The various knots and several colors of the contrivance designating certain objects or events. In all these relations the Coca leaf was repeatedly and reverently alluded to as a most important element of their customs, as well as of their numerous feasts and religious rites.
Spanish Barbarians In Nature’s Garden
The Spanish idea of conquest was to establish a complete mastery over the Peruvians; the Indians were to be regarded as slaves to be bought, sold, and used as such. In view of these facts it is not difficult to understand that as Coca was constantly employed among the natives, its use was early questioned and condemned as a possible luxury, for it was not considered a matter worthy of inquiry as to any real benefit in a substance employed by slaves. So superficial were the observations made by some of the early writers that the fact of this neglect is most apparent. Thus, Cieza de Leon, a voluminous writer on Incan customs, mentions as a peculiar habit of the natives: “they always carry a small leaf of some sort in the mouth.” Even so experienced an observer as Humboldt, in his writings of many years later, did not recognize the true quality of Coca, but confounds the sustaining properties of the leaf as due to the alkaline ashes – the “llipta” – which is chewed with it. He refers to the use of this lime as though it be longed to the custom of the clay eaters of other regions, and suggests that any support to be derived from it must necessarily be purely imaginary.
It is not surprising that Coca chewing, if superficially viewed, should be condemned. The Spanish considered it merely an idle and offensive habit that must be prohibited, and at one time it was even seriously suggested that the plants should be uprooted and destroyed. But it was soon seen that the Indians could not work without Coca, and when forced to do so were unequal to the severe tasks imposed on them. As, however, the local tribute to the authorities demanded from all able bodied laborers a fixed amount of work, it was soon appreciated as a matter of policy that the use of Coca must at least be tolerated in order that this work should be done. Then the Church, which was from the invasion an all-powerful force in this new country, exacting and relentless in it demands, saw an imaginative evil in this promiscuous Coca chewing. If Coca sustained the Indians, it was of course a food, and its use should not be allowed before the holy Eucharist. Necessity brought forth a deliverer from this formidable opponent, and it was represented that Coca was not an aliment, and so its use was reluctantly permitted.
But now came still another effort to prohibit it, from moral motives. The Indian believed in Coca, he knew that it sustained him without other food in his arduous work, but it had been conclusively shown that it was not a food, and so could not sustain, hence his belief was false, superstitious, even a delusion of the devil to warp the poor Indian from the way he should go. Greed, however, predominated, as gold has ever been a convincing factor, and as the Indian could do most work when supplied with Coca, its use was finally allowed unrestricted, and today a portion of Coca is given to all Andean laborers as part of their necessary supplies.
So it will be seen that like all scientific advances which have been made, since Prometheus incurred the wrath of Jove by stealing fire from the gods to put life in mortals, until the present time. Coca has not been admitted to acceptance unassailed. That spirit of antagonism which seems rampant at the very suggestion of progress has caused its allies to rehabilitate and magnify the early errors and superstitions whenever opportunity might admit, together with those newer accessions of false premises engendered through shallowness of investigation. Every department of science has been subjected to similar instances of annoyance, though it would appear that medicine is particularly more subject to such influence. At first a partisan sentimentality, with an exaggeration which provokes condemnation and often results in oblivion, or what in calmer judgment may be a true balance of worth.
It is amusing to now look back at some attacks which were hurled against substances that all the world to-day considers as necessities. The anӕsthetic use of chloroform was at first regarded as unholy because it was asserted man is born unto pain as he is unto sin, and so should bear his necessary sufferings in a holy and uncomplaining manner. Every physician frequently meets with just such original and plausible opposition to suggested remedies today. When in 1638 Cinchona was introduced into Europe under the name of “Jesuits’ powder,” it was vigorously denounced as quackery. So great was the prejudice that sprang up against it, even among those eminent physicians whom we now look back upon as the fathers of medicine, that when Chiftelius, in 1653, wrote a book against “the bark,” he was complimented as though he had relieved the world of a monster or a pestilence. For years it was not countenanced by “the faculty,” and the various arguments then advanced concerning its supposed action form curious reading. The opposition to vaccination, in 1770, was something which excited not only the protests of physicians and learned societies, but the clergy and laity as well. The College of Physicians shook its wise head and refused to recognize Jenner’s discovery. The country doctor was considered something of a bore. Innumerable other instances might be cited to testify to this negative spirit prompted by any advance.
Among food products, the humble potato when introduced into Scotland, in 1728, was violently denounced as unholy because “not mentioned in the Bible.” It was asserted that it was forbidden fruit, and as that was the cause of man’s first fall, to countenance its use would be irreligious. In France, so strong was the feeling against the introduction of potatoes that Louis XVI and his Court wore the flower of the plant as a boutonniere to give the much opposed- but desirable – potato at least the prestige of fashion. Tea, coffee and chocolate have each been denounced, and from very high sources too. “A lover of his country,” as he designated himself, in 1673, proposed to Parliament “the prohibition of brandy, rum, coffee, chocolate and tea, and the suppressing of coffee houses. These hinder greatly the consumption of barley, malt and wheat, the product of our land.” Here would seem to be an ulterior motive that is almost suggestive of the commercial spirit often now displayed, which would suppress one product that another may be permitted to flourish regardless of merit.
As an argument against the pernicious and growing tendency to use tea and coffee, after they had been rendered palatable through knowing how to use them, a Dr. Duncan, of the Faculty of Montpelier, in 1706, wrote: “Coffee and tea were at the first used only as medicine while they continued unpleasant, but since they were made delicious with sugar, they are become poison.” The Spectator of April 29th, 1712, urges against the dangers of chocolate as follows: “I shall also advise my fair readers to be in a particular manner careful how they meddle with romances, chocolates, novels, and the like inflamers which I look upon as very dangerous to be made use of during this great carnival.” Opinion on these beverages is not unanimous today even, as harmless as they are commonly considered. Alcohol and tobacco of course have come in for an unusual share of denunciation, and the argument is not yet ended. From these through the entire range of stimulant-narcotics, each has excited such vigorous protests that the very term stimulant is considered by some as opprobrious. How real must be the merit that can withstand such storms of abuse, and spring up, perennially blooming, through such opposition!
Confusion & Dismay Over The Coca Plant
Coca is unparalleled in the history of plants, and although it has been compared to about every plant that has any stimulating quality, it is wholly unlike any other. In this comparison tobacco, kola, tea, mate, guarana, coffee, cacao, hashish, opium, and even alcohol, has been referred to. It has been made to bear the burden of whatever evils lurk in any or all of these, and has unjustly been falsely condemned through such association. That Coca is chewed by the South American Indians and tobacco is smoked by the North American Indians, that Coca is used in Peru and opium or betel is used in the East – is a fair example of this comparison. It no more nearly resembles kola – with which it is often carelessly confounded, the properties of which are chiefly due to caffeine – than through the allied harmony of its first syllable. While a similarity to various substances taken as beverages is possibly suggested through the fact that Coca is sometimes drunk in decoction by the Peruvians.
The cerebral effects of Coca are entirely different from hashish or opium, and its stimulant action in no way comparable to alcohol. I do not mention these substances to decry them, but merely to illustrate the careless comparisons which have been advanced, through which imperfect conclusions must necessarily be drawn. Then again there is an unfortunate similarity between the pronunciation of the names Coca, and cocoa or cacao – the chocolate nut, and coco – the coconut, which has occasioned a confusion of thought not wholly limited to some of the laity.
The fact remains that though Coca is used by millions of people, it is not generally known away from its native country. Even many physicians constantly confound it with allied plants of dissimilar properties or with substances of like sounding name. That this is not simply a broad and hasty statement may be illustrated by the following fact. The writing of this work was prompted by the immense divergence of published accounts regarding the efficacy of Coca, in view of which an effort was made to learn the result of its use among a representative class of practitioners, each of whom it was presumed would be well qualified to express an opinion worthy of consideration. An autograph letter, together with an appropriate blank for reply, fully explaining the desirability for this data, was prepared, of which ten thousand were sent out. These were addressed to professors in the several medical colleges, and to those prominent in local medical societies – all eminent in practice. Many did not reply, while of the answers received, fully one half had “never used Coca in any form.” Of the balance, many are “prejudiced against its use,” through some preconceived notion as to its inertness, or through some vague fear of insidious danger which they were not prepared to explain, and even preferred not to inquire into, being “satisfied it is a dangerous drug.”
There are others who inadvertently confused Coca with some of the confusional drugs already referred to or with cocoa. That this was not merely an apparent fault, through some slip of the pen in hasty writing, is shown by direct answer to the question as to the form of Coca found most serviceable, stating so and so’s “breakfast coca” is used in place of tea or coffee. In some instances the benefits of Coca were enlarged upon with an earnestness that was inclined to inspire confidence. The physiological action was gone into minutely and its therapeutic application extolled, only to conclude with the amazing statement that the fluid extract, the wine, or “breakfast coca” were interchangeably used, thus displaying a confusion worse confounded which might be amusing if not so appalling.
These confusional assertions display one source of error, yet in view of the entwined facts concerning Coca through literature and science it must emphasize the unfortunate neglect of observation, and the refusal to recognize advancement manifest even in this progressive age, among some whose duties and responsibilities should have spurred to a refinement of discernment. It is suggestive of the anecdote told by Park, who when in his Eastern travels asked some Arabs what became of the sun at night, and whether it always was the same sun, or was renewed each day, was staggered with the reply “such a question is foolish, being entirely the reach of human investigation.” Replies fully as surprising were received in this inquiry.
Several have taken the “moral” side of the question quite to heart, and expressed a belief that through advocating the popularizing of Coca, I was tending to contribute to the increase of a pernicious and debasing habit which was already undermining the morals of the community. Others again have tried to show me the error I had fallen into when speaking of the dietetic uses of Coca. As one gentleman emphatically expressed it: “This is some terrible mistake, you are confounding Coca with Cocoa! Cocoa is used for food, but Coca – never.” So that even that part of my investigation pursued among modem medical men has not been as easily carried out as might at first be supposed. There has been the same or similar ignorance and error to sift apart from truth as encompassed the early historical associations of the plant.
This unfortunate confusion is probably to be accounted for because Coca was largely used empirically and without a proper appreciation of its physiological action before its properties were fully known. Writers who have described its local use among the Andean Indians have advanced statements regarding its sustaining qualities which have not been verified by some observers elsewhere located, even though these latter may have carried out a careful line of physiological experimentation. The explanation of this has only recently been determined, but is now known to be due to the extreme volatility of the associate principles of Coca.
Recent, or well cured and properly preserved Coca is wholly different from leaves which have become inert through improper treatment. Then again as our botanical knowledge of this plant has increased, it has indicated that not all leaves termed Coca are such. The family to which the classic leaves of the Incans belong has many species. Among the particular species of Coca there has only quite recently been determined several varieties. The properties of these differ materially according to the presence or absence of certain alkaloidal constituents. Some of the early experiments upon the properties of Coca were made at a time when these facts were unknown, and with this, was the added disadvantage of the impossibility of then obtaining appropriately preserved Coca in the open markets. Not only may the substance examined have been inert, but through different observers using different varieties of Coca the conclusions could not possibly agree. Unfortunately because of the apparent carefulness of research these early statements were accepted and given a wide publicity, and so from the marvelous apparent benefits of Coca among native users to the absolute inertness pronounced by some foreign observers, there has been a very wide space for the admission of much distrust. The busy physician must commonly accept the result of the provings of the experimentalist, and amidst so much doubt it may have seemed easier to set aside a possible remedy than to have personally verified the assertions. Indeed, trial has only too often depreciated hopes from a happy realization of the wonderful properties attributed to the use of native Coca on the Andes, to a realization of the uncertainty of the marketed product at command. In which connection it may not seem too astonishing to say I know of an instance where Senna leaves were sold by a whole sale drug house for “fresh Coca leaves,” while I doubt if any drug house would make a distinction in offering the casual purchaser any variety of Coca at hand.
It was because of “this uncertainty” – of the conflicting stories and the impossibility to unify facts – that interest in Coca, which had been stimulated in Europe by Dr. Mantegazza about 1859, soon declined until disuse almost left it in forgetfulness. About this time Niemann, then a pupil of Professor Woehler, isolated the alkaloid cocaine from the leaves, and attention was again awakened to the possible usefulness of the parent plant. It was supposed, however, that the active principle to which all the sustaining energy of Coca was due had been discovered in cocaine. Here again was a radical error, and an unfortunate one as it has since proved, to still more confound an intricate problem. This is particularly serious because it is widely accepted as truth, not only among many physicians, but also because it has been spread by this misunderstanding through the secular press, and so falsely impressed the laity. As a result, cocaine has been promiscuously used as a restorative and sustainer under the supposition that it is but Coca in a more convenient and active form. The evils which have followed this use have fallen upon Coca, which has often been erroneously condemned as the cause. It is owing to the wide spread of this belief as well as its resultant evil and because of the difficulty for the lay mind to appreciate the radical difference between Coca and cocaine – between any parent plant and but one of its alkaloids – that it must necessarily require long and persistent effort on the part of educated physicians to explain away this wrong, to reassure those who have been falsely informed as to the real merits of Coca, and so reflect credit upon themselves through the advocacy and use of a really marvelous remedy.
One Forceful Truth
The truth cannot be too forcibly impressed, that cocaine is but one constituent, and no more fully represents Coca than would prussic acid, because found in a minute quantity in the seeds of the peach, represent that luscious fruit. In emphasizing this a recent investigator who passed a long period in the Coca region, studying as a scientist the peculiarities of the plant, and watching as a physician its effect upon native users of the drug, says: “With certain restrictions it may be said that the properties of cocaine, remarkable as they are, lie in an altogether different direction from those of Coca as it has been reported to us from South America.” So it will be seen that because of misconstruing early tales and superstitious beliefs, because inert leaves have not yielded results of the sound plant, because some different variety has not yielded the same results as the classic type, because one of its alkaloids does not represent the whole, the parent plant is condemned. Because of this ignorance of certain investigators the historical accounts of the use of Coca and its sustaining qualities among the natives, have been set down to exaggeration or absolute fabrication. As one physician replying to my inquiries would have others believe “The Indians are great liars.” Thus from ignorance, neglect or from false conception, Coca was either wholly ignored or little understood in a popular way, until in 1884 a renewed interest was awakened through the discovery of the qualities of cocaine as an anaesthetic in the surgery of the eye. Then, as though forgetful of all preceding investigation or condemnation, a renewed discussion commenced regarding the asserted qualities of Coca, the failure to realize them, and the probable source of potency of the plant as represented by cocaine.
This was followed by frequently reported accounts of a new and terrible vice which was springing up everywhere – the so-called “cocaine habit.” For this Coca was condemned as its enemies pretended to now see the real element of perniciousness. Yet before cocaine was ever dreamed of and during the long centuries in the history of Coca, not one case of poisoning from its use has ever been recorded. The accusation of “habit” had, however, long before been erroneously directed against the leaves. But of this, one who wrote scientifically and extensively on Peru after personal observation, sets forth his conclusions in the following positive way: “Coca is not merely innocuous, but even very conducive to health. ”He even calculated the improbability of harm by estimating, if an Indian reached the age of one hundred and thirty years – which seems to be the only “habit” to which these people are addicted beside the “habit” for hard work – he would have consumed two thousand seven hundred pounds of leaves, an amount sufficient to have quite fully determined all pernicious possibilities. Indeed, to think of Coca as an injurious substance suggests the character in one of Madison Morton’s farces who wished to “shuffle off” speedily, and determined to chew poppy heads “because poppy heads contain poppy seeds, and poppy seeds eaten constantly for several years will produce instant death.”
The theory has been advanced that because cocaine is one of the chief alkaloids of Coca, it represents whatever sustaining quality the leaf can possibly have, and manufacturers base their choice of leaves upon the percentage of cocaine determined by assay. But this is not in unanimity with the selection of the native users of Coca, any more than would the quality of a choice tobacco leaf be governed by the amount of nicotine it contains. The fact is the Andean Indian selects Coca that is rich in the more volatile associate alkaloids and low in cocaine. It is what is known as the sweet in contra-distinction to the bitter-leaf, which latter is made bitter by the large amount of cocaine it contains. On this very point an authority says: – “It only remains for me to point out that the relative amount of cocaine contained in native Coca leaves exerts no influence in determining the Indian’s selection of his supply. As a matter of fact, the ordinary conditions to which the leaves are subject during the first two or three months after they are gathered have but little effect upon their original percentage of cocaine. The Indian, however, makes his selections from among such leaves with the greatest care, eagerly seeking the properly dried leaves from some favorite cocal, whose produce is always most readily brought out, and absolutely rejecting other leaves, notwithstanding that the percentages of cocaine may be almost identical.”
The absolute reliance of the Andean Indians upon Coca not only for sustenance, but as a general panacea for all ills, has naturally led them to feel a superstitious regard for the plant. This reverence has descended to them from the Incan period, during which the shrub was looked upon as “a living manifestation of divinity, and the places of its growth a sanctuary where all mortals should bend the knee.” However much the Incas reverenced Coca they did not worship it; it was considered the greatest of all natural productions, and as such was offered in their sacrifices. Their ceremonial offerings were made to their conception of deity – the sun, which they held to be the giver of all earthly blessings.
The ideas of moral depravity, and the fears of debasing habit following the use of Coca, have sprung from false premises and early misconceptions as to the true nature of the plant. As a matter of fact, neither “habit,” as that is understood, nor poisoning has ever been recorded against Coca among the natives where it has been continued in use for centuries. Those early writers on Andean customs who allude to Coca chewing all speak positively against any evil result following its use. One physician, after being intimately associated among the natives for nearly a year, where he had witnessed the constant use of Coca, failed to find a single case of chronic cocaism, although this one subject chiefly occupied his attention, and he searched assiduously for information. Speaking of the amount used, he says “what it does for the Indian at fifteen it does for him at sixty, and a greatly increasing dose is not resorted to. There is no reaction, nor have I seen any of the evil effects depicted by some writers and generally recorded in books.”
The early objections by the Spanish against the use of Coca were rather as persecutions, intended to still further oppress this conquered race by taking from them what was looked upon as an idle and expensive luxury. But Coca-chewing could never be an expensive luxury in a country where it grows wild, and where it is given by those in charge of laborers as a regular portion of each man’s daily supplies. The later cries against its perniciousness, as has been shown, were based wholly upon the action of cocaine following the widespread use of that alkaloid as a local anӕsthetic. The reports in the medical press of injurious effects from the use of cocaine all date from the period when the entire medical world was active in the discussion of the merits of this great boon to minor surgery. It would seem that many then rushed into print without regard to method so long as something was said about the all-absorbing topic of the time, which might direct a portion of attention to themselves. A new opportunity had arisen when old tales and early prejudices might be again reiterated concerning Coca. The lay press was not slow to take up the sensational side of the subject, and the ‘cocaine habit” soon became a well-determined condition in theory, and a fashionable complaint. I have personally investigated a number of such reported cases and in every instance have found either that it was a condition engrafted upon some previous “habit” in a nervous subject, or else that the report was absolutely false. There is no motive – as the lawyers would say – for the offense, there is no reason for the establishment of a habit such as exists in the case of alcohol or opium. The fact is there exists a certain class of subjects who are so weak in will power, that if they should repeat any one thing for a few consecutive times they would become habituated to that practice. But such cases are the exceptions, and have no especial bearing upon Coca. In the collective investigation among several thousand physicians, this matter was particularly impressed as an important point of inquiry and the answers sustained the facts already explained, that a “ Coca habit has never existed. During the early part of 1898 a case was reported very sensationally in the secular press regarding a Dr. Holmes who had died in an asylum at Ardendale, N. Y., a hopeless wreck as a result of cocaine habit. I communicated with the physician in charge of that institution and was promptly assured “Dr. Holmes did not die as a result of ‘cocaine habit,’ nor had he ever been addicted to it.”
That Coca has survived the attacks which have been periodically hurled against it during several hundred years, and that its use is not only continued, but its therapeutic application constantly increasing, must suggest to the thinking mind that it is possessed of remarkable value. It has continued with the Andeans not because they have formed a “habit” for it, not because it fills their minds with that ecstatic and dreamful bliss as habit drugs would do, but because experience has taught them that they can perform their work better by its use. There is a practical utility in it which, as will be seen when detailing some of the customs of these people, is so exact that they measure their distances by the amount of Coca that they chew instead of by the rod and chain, or chronometer. Their use of this plant is continued day after day during a long lifetime, yet the amount of Coca which sustains them in young adult life is not increased in their old age. Its force product is a constant factor, just as a given amount of water under proper conditions wall make a known amount of steam. The fuel taken and the work performed is always the same, other conditions being equal.
Can it be presumed for a moment that if this general and persistent use of Coca is a depraved habit, sapping the best of moral qualities, even manhood, unfitting its users to perform their duties, that these people would be capable of the immense amount of physical work which they do? It is known to be a fact by those employing large forces of workmen in the Peruvian mines, that the Indian would not and could not perform the tasks he is set to under the exposure he is subjected to without Coca. This is well shown by contrast when foreigners are compelled to work with them, and are unable to perform an equal amount of labor to theirs until they too have recourse to the use of Coca. Thus it must be seen that Coca is as worthy today as it was in the time of the Incas of being termed the “divine plant.” It is Nature’s best gift to man. It neither morally corrupts nor undermines manhood, or vitality, as is well shown in these Indians, who are long-lived and are held by those who know them best, to be conservative, respectful, virtuous, honest and trustworthy, addicted to hard work – and the use of Coca, that they may more thoroughly and successfully do that work.
That any plant or substance which has been continued in daily use by millions of people over a vast territory, for many hundreds of years, should have so long remained unrecognized by the world at large seems almost incredible. Yet the fact is undoubted, as has been shown, and Coca is even today unknown to a great majority of not only the masses, but of physicians. Since the date of the Conquest, the constant use of Coca leaves by the Indians has been frequently referred to by travelers, often superficially, yet commonly agreeing as to its sustaining qualities. But so wonderful have these accounts seemed that their simple relation has usually excited doubt rather than belief. They have been looked upon as “travelers’ tales,” relations due to an imagination, which possibly had been expanded by the conjoined influence of a rarefied atmosphere, and an exalted desire to enhance the wonders of travel. So from doubting qualities which were long looked upon as improbable or unexplainable, and from the inaccuracies recorded by those who affected scientific research on old leaves, it was but a simple step to relegate the very existence of the plant to the legendary.
It has been shown in outline how varied were the causes to account for this unbelief, and the consequent neglect which followed. Primarily to superficial observation on the part of early explorers in an unknown country, where consideration for mere existence was to the unacclimated often of the first importance. Added to this was the conservative reticence of the Indians, and their superstitious regard for this plant so
intimately linked with their religious and political life. This alone was sufficient to prevent the ready acquirement by travelers of a detailed knowledge of the use of Coca, or even of native customs and the reason for them.
Here was sufficient possibility for hasty conclusions, aside from the forceful attacks of both Church and State against what they were pleased to regard as the continuance of a superstitious practice or vulgar habit, which possibly linked the desires of these people whom they hoped to Christianize, with an idolatrous past. Then, too, there existed as now, a class of zealots seeing imaginative wrong in every custom, who would have every act discontinued simply because it is done, in dread of some direful consequence which may result. In furthering each of these negative influences, theories were often advanced at variance with existent facts, and so many conflicting tales and much confusion has resulted. Absurd stories have been published, and these again copied without apparent attempt at verification, the whole establishing a falsity from which there has grown a diversity of opinion wholly inconsistent with the exact requirements of science. Meanwhile the rapid progress of the world in exploration often engrossed attention to the exclusion of details. The demand of commercial interests, for broad facts and immediate results in the amassing of wealth, diverted attention from the tales of travelers or the disputes of scientists. But as a higher civilization demands the resources of the universe to maintain its conditions, the secret of Nature’s gift to the Andean could not remain long hidden, and the means which afforded support for these simple people was recognized as of possible benefit to the rest of the plodding, toiling world. As Coca was shown to be a necessity to the Andean in his toilsome travels of exposure, its adaptability was suggested to other members of the human family elsewhere located who are comparatively as subject to privation and hardship as are these primitive people. Even in our great cities among modern resources the labor is exacting and exhaustive, and whether the work done be a strain of muscular exertion or a prolonged mental effort, the resultant wear and tear is similar, and the conditions are to be met by recourse to the most expedient means available.
Unfortunately the Spanish invasion of Peru so largely destroyed all native records that it has been difficult to readily retrace a continued history of the remarkable people of this early civilization, among whom our story of Coca must begin. But from the period of the Conquest, after it had been made known to the outer world Coca was frequently sung in poetry or recounted in the tales of travelers. It however continued, since the privilege was extended from its early users to their descendants, to almost exclusively be enjoyed by these people until less than half a century ago.
In properly determining the benefits of Coca it seems desirable to trace back its historical connections and its associations between past uses and present necessities, as well as to inquire into those surroundings which have prompted its use and called for its continuance. This must necessarily lead us through many interesting fields where the view may seem remote from our narrative, yet is essential to the full under standing of a story the first impulse for which was generated in the horrors of the Conquest. Before entering upon this more prosaic story, I wish to recall a writing of long ago that is fittingly associated with our History of Coca.
Dr. Abraham Cowley, of whom Dr. Johnson said “In Cowley’s mind botany turns into poetry”, in 1662 wove the qualities of Coca through a legendary tale so accurately and charmingly that these have scarce been added to by the research of other scientists.
At a convention of the gods, which was presided over by Venus, to discuss various fruits, the merits of each was set forth by its god. The poem is taken up where Bacchus, in illustration of the virtues of the vine, has offered a cup of wine to a South American godling:
He, unaccustomed to the acid juice,
Storm’d, and with Blows had answer’d the Abuse.
But fear’d t’engage the European Guest.
Whose Strength and Courage had subdu’d the East ;
He therefore chooses a less dangerous Fray.
And summons all his Country’s Plants away ;
Forthwith in decent order they appear.
And various Fruits on various Branches wear.
Like Amazons they stand in painted Arms,
Coca alone appear’d with little Charms,
Yet led the Van, our scoffing Venus Scorn’d
The shrub-like tree, and with no Fruit adorn’d,
The Indian Plants, said she, are like to speed
In this dispute of the most fertile Breed,
Who choose a Dwarf and Eunuch for their head;
Our Gods laughed out aloud at what she said.
Pachamama defends her darling Tree,
And said the wanton Goddess was too free ;
You only know the fruitfulness of Lust.
And therefore here your judgment is unjust.
Your skill in other offsprings we may trust.
With those Chaste tribes that no distinction know
Of Sex, your Province nothing has to do.
Of all the Plants that any Soil does bear.
This Tree in Fruits the richest does appear.
It bears the best, and bears them all the Year.
Ev’n now with Fruits ’tis stor’d – why laugh you yet ?
Behold how thick with Leaves it is beset ;
Each Leaf is Fruit, and such substantial Fare.
No Fruit beside to rival it will dare.
Mov’d with his Country’s coming Fate (whose Soil
Must for her Treasures be exposed to spoil)
Our Varicocha first this Coca sent,
Endow’d with leaves of wond’rous Nourishment,
Whose juice Succ’d in, and to the Stomach tak’n
Long Hunger and long Labour can sustain ;
From which our faint and weary Bodies find
More Succor, more they cheer the drooping Mind,
Than can your Bacchus and your Ceres join’d.
Three Leaves supply for six days’ march afford ;
The Quitoita with this Provision stor’d
Can pass the vast and cloudy Andes o’er,
The dreadful Andes plac’d ‘twixt Winter’s Store
Of Winds, Rains, Snow, and that more humble Earth,
That gives the small, but valiant, Coca birth ;
This Champion that makes war-like Venus Mirth.
Nor Coca only useful art at Home,
A famous Merchandize thou art become ;
A thousand Paci and Vicugni groan
Yearly beneath thy Loads, and for thy sake alone
The spacious World’s to us by Commerce Known.
Thus spake the Goddess (on her painted Skin
Were figures wrought) and next called Hovia in,
That for it’s stony Fruit may be despis’d,
But for its Virtue next to Coca priz’d.
Her shade by wond’rous Influence can compose
And lock the Senscs in such sweet Repose
That oft the Natives of a distant Soil
Long journeys take of voluntary Toil,
Only to sleep beneath her branches’ shade ;
Where in transporting Dreams entranc’d they lye
And quite forget the Spaniards’ Tyranny.
– Book of Plants.