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.”
Like far too many aspects of modern life the production of Cocaine has gotten cruder, and more toxic over the years. Legal small-scale high quality Coca Leaf production is the only viable alternative to failed suppression strategies that have resulted in the government-sanctioned poisoning of millions of people. If you ask “who benefits” from the War on Cocaine there is only one answer – the government bureaucracies who have managed to create millions of secure jobs for themselves worldwide. All they have to do is keep managing the media, keep the legislators under control, keep their Cartel partners happy, and they can laugh all the way to their fat, happy pensions. The trail of millions of bloody bodies they leave in their wake doesn’t bother them one bit.
For a detailed look at the crude, toxic methods and materials used by the drug cartels in producing the Cocaine that sells on the streets of the US and Europe, check out http://www.deamuseum.org/ccp/coca/production-distribution.html
Yes that’s a DEA website, with full instructions on how the bad guys make Cocaine. DEA likes to show off and mock the primitive methods used by the cartels. As if they aren’t knuckle-draggers themselves.
Also let’s remember that the cocaine cartels are forced into those crude jungle labs by the DEA drug Nazis, where all they have access to for the most part is primitive equipment and materials. But big joke – that’s all anyone really needs to produce a white (well, off-white really) powder ready for snorting by people who for the most part could care less about purity and quality as long as they get the buzz they’re seeking.
In my opinion poisoned Cocaine is an avoidable tragedy of monstrous proportions created and maintained by world governments that has resulted in the destruction of millions of lives. The enforcers of narcotics laws worldwide are fully complicit in the slaughter, and in spite of their self-righteous bullshit they know it, and the sickest of them get sexually aroused when they think about “enforcing the law”.
But all that is 100% about Cocaine – not Coca leaf.
The world of Mama Coca wasn’t always this way. Although readers of this blog know that I have no particular interest in Cocaine, since its relevance to health and healing is minimal when compared with the pure, natural Coca Leaf from which it is derived, it may be of interest to readers to discover that today’s Cocaine bears only a chemical resemblance to the Cocaine that was being produced in the 1800’s by pharmacy labs and even by doctors themselves for their patients.
Quality and purity were the primary concerns and since there weren’t any drug Nazis busting down doors Cocaine labs could focus on those higher concerns rather than having to huddle in the jungle and drink kerosene fumes for lunch while brewing “who gives a shit” Cocaine.
So here I’m offering a chapter on Cocaine manufacturing from “The History Of Coca” by Dr. William Golden Mortimer (1901) which is available in its entirety my E-Book “The Coca Leaf Papers”.
Fair warning; what follows here is pretty detailed – not a 3-minute quick read.
CHAPTER X: THE PRODUCTS OF THE COCA LEAF
“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.” –Cowley.
Search For The Secrets Of The Coca Leaf
Of all the problems in the study of Coca the search for the force producing qualities of the leaf is the most profound. Science, ever alert to trace with exactitude the secrets of Nature, has struggled in vain to isolate and explain this hidden source of energy. But so cleverly are the atoms associated which go to build up the molecules of power in this marvelous leaf, that though the chemist through the delicacy of analysis has from time to time placed these atoms in differing groups and thus often given to the world some new combination, the one sought element of pent-up endurance inherent in Coca has remained concealed. It is like the secret of life – though known to be broadly dependent on certain principles which may readily be explained, the knowledge of the one essential element remains as great a secret as before research began.
Though all the accounts of travelers had directed attention to the peculiar qualities of Coca in sustaining strength, at the period when the first knowledge of this leaf reached Europe chemistry was not sufficiently advanced to admit of an exact analysis of plant life. Indeed, science met with little encouragement when the great powers were engrossed in political preferment, and it was not until the latter part of the eighteenth century that an impetus seemed given to research after Lavoisier had laid the foundation for modern chemistry. Though he lost his life on the guillotine through the whirligig of political fate during the French Revolution, just as he was at the height of his labors, a new interest was established and the work of the French chemists became active.
Humboldt was then making his extensive explorations through South America, collecting data which was to serve as a basis of research during many subsequent years. Cuvier, the anatomist, was advancing his theories on the classification of animals; Fraunhofer had established a means for studying the heavenly bodies through the spectrum, while chemical electricity had progressed from the experiments of Volta to the electromagnet of Ampere.
The method for expressing chemical equations, such as are now shown by those symbolic letters and figures which appear to the uninitiated as so many hieroglyphics, was not understood until Dalton, in 1808, had perfected his law of proportions. This was an important advance in chemical knowledge, for from it was built up the sign language which in a chemical formula expresses not only the symbol of each element, but tells the chemist the relative proportion of the combining atoms.
These fundamental facts are of interest as bearing upon the chemical history of the Coca leaf, while the combining nature of atoms has suggested an interesting theory that the physiological action of a chemical medicine is influenced by its molecular weight. This has been a matter of discussion among physiological chemists for years, and was suggested by Blake as long ago as 1841 and since by Rabuteau. Thus an element of a fixed atomic weight may have special reference to the muscular system, while another of different weight may act upon the nervous tissue – qualities which are fulfilled in the action of the several Coca bases.
Early Clues & Misdirections
Boerhaave may be said to have been the father of the present system of organic chemistry in the early part of the eighteenth century. So important were his teachings held that his works were translated into most modern languages. Although his attempts at analysis of living things attracted a wide interest, they could be in no manner exact, because the fundamental elements entering into the composition of all organic structure – carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen – had not then been determined. Yet so skilled were his observations, even under limited opportunities, that many of his conclusions have not since been refuted in the light of improved methods. Perhaps the earliest hint upon alkaloids was that made by this scientist when he referred to the bitter principle in the juices from chewing Coca as yielding “vital strength” and a “veritable nutritive.”
It was reserved for Liebig some hundred years later to perfect the science of living structures, and to show there was not that exact separation between the chemistry of the organic and inorganic world that had previously been supposed. Following the teachings of this master mind, many compounds were constructed in the laboratory synthetically, and urea was thus produced in 1828 by Woehler, whose name is associated with the early investigators upon cocaine. Research upon the chemistry of organic bodies was now active. In England the work of Davy upon soils and crops, and the investigations of Darwin, unfolded in his theory of the origin of species, gave a new meaning to the study of organic life.
It was but a natural outcome of this spirit for research that turned the attention of explorers to South America, which had remained practically a new world since its discovery. Here were to be found innumerable strange plants indigenous to a country where everything was marvelous when viewed with the comparative light of the older world. In the height of this interest, the suggestive hints of naturalists and travelers were incentives to further the investigations of the European chemists. The writings of Cieza, Monardes, Acosta, Garcilasso and a host of others upon the wonderful qualities of the Coca leaf, stimulated a desire to solve its tradition of ages and prove its qualities by the test of science.
It is surprising to now look back over three centuries and recall these early authors, to consider under what conditions they wrote, and to read with what enthusiasm and exactness they gave expression to the knowledge they had gained from an observation of the novel customs about them. Thus the Jesuit father, Blas Valera, speaking of the hidden energy of Coca, wrote: “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.”
It was not until after Coca had been botanically described by Jussieu, and classified by Lamarck, that its chemical investigation approached thoroughness. The researches of Bergmann and Black upon “fixed air” – as carbonic acid was then termed, the discovery of hydrogen by Cavendish, of nitrogen by Rutherford and of oxygen by Priestley, each following upon the other in quick succession in the latter half of the eighteenth century, displayed the great activity of chemistry at that period. Although no result was then arrived at in the investigations upon Coca, the spirit of the time was eminently toward exactitude, and this was displayed in many endeavors to trace to a chemical principle the potency of the Coca leaf.
Attention was very naturally directed to the method in which Coca was used, and the llipta which was employed with the leaves in chewing was looked upon as having some decided influence. Dr. Unanue, who has written much concerning the customs of the Indians, was one of the first to suggest that possibly this alkaline addition to the leaf developed some new property to which the qualities of Coca might be attributed, while Humboldt, as elsewhere referred to, through an error of observation considered this added lime as the supposed property of endurance.
Stevenson, in 1825, described the action of the llipta as altering the insipid taste of the leaves so as to render them sweet, and in 1827 Poeppig expressed the opinion that there was a volatile constituent in the Coca leaf which exposure to the air completely destroys.
Attention had now been directed to the isolation of alkaloids from plants, and during the first quarter of the nineteenth century several active principles were thus obtained and the possibility of tracing the hidden properties of Coca through analysis was suggested. Von Tschudi, when engaged in his extended explorations through Peru, became so impressed with the qualities of Coca that he advised Mr. Pizzi, Director of the Laboratory Botica y Drogueria Boliviana at La Paz, to examine the leaves, which resulted in the discovery of a supposed alkaloid, but when on his return to Germany this body was shown to Woehler, it was found to be merely plaster of paris, the result of some careless manipulation.
Dr. Weddell, in 1850, after a prolonged personal experience in the Andes with the sustaining effects of Coca, pronounced it as yielding a stimulant action differing from that of all other excitants. This influence both he and other observers supposed might be due to the presence of theine, the active principle of tea, which had shortly before been discovered, and was then exciting considerable discussion. With this idea in view, Coca leaves were examined, and, though this substance was not found, there was obtained a peculiar body, soluble in alcohol, insoluble in ether, very bitter, and incapable of crystallization, and a tannin was obtained to which was attributed the virtues of Coca.
About this same period there was found in the leaves a peculiar volatile resinous matter of powerful odor, and two years later, from a distillation of the dry residue of an aqueous extract of Coca, an oily liquor of a smoky odor was separated together with a sublimate of small needle-like crystals, which was named “Erythroxyline,” after the family of which Coca is a species. So each new investigator made a little progress, and in 1857 positive results were very nearly reached through the following process: An extract of Coca was made with acidulated alcohol, the alcohol was expelled, and the solution rendered alkaline by carbonate of soda. Upon extracting this with ether, an oily body of alkaline reaction was obtained without bitter taste, which on application to the tongue produced a slight numbness. The reaction of platinum chloride yielded with the acid solution a yellowish precipitate, soluble in water. From a distillate of the leaves with alkali there was remarked a disagreeable, strongly ammoniacal odor. Subsequently a peculiar bitter principle, extractive and chlorophyl, a substance presumed to be analogous to theine, and a salt of lime was found.
These negative findings led some to assert that Coca was inert and its properties legendary, but more careful observation has shown the true difficulty was an inability to secure appropriately preserved leaves for examination. This was made evident through an essay upon Coca by an eminent Italian neurologist, from experiences while a resident of Peru, when a host of physiological evidence emphasized the powerful nature of Coca, wholly apart from any mere delusions of fancy or superstition. The weight of facts presented proved sufficiently forcible not only to stimulate the waning spirit for scientific inquiry, but to awaken a widespread popular regard in what was now generally accepted as a plant of phenomenal nature.
In the height of this interest Dr. Scherzer, who accompanied the Austrian frigate Novara on the expedition to South America, opportunely brought home specimens of Coca leaves from Peru. These were sent to Professor Woehler of Gottingen for analysis, who entrusted their examination to his assistant, Dr. Albert Niemann, who is regarded as the discoverer of the alkaloid cocaine. Thus this chemist entered upon the investigation of Coca not a mere accidental way, but with an understanding of the seriousness of his research and its probable importance.
The “Aha” Moment That Led To Cocaine
Niemann exhausted coarsely ground Coca leaves with eighty-five per cent, alcohol containing one-fiftieth of sulphuric acid; the percolate was treated with milk of lime and neutralized by sulphuric acid. The alcohol was then recovered by distillation, leaving a syrupy mass, from which resin was separated by water. The liquid then treated by carbonate of soda to precipitate alkaloid emitted an odor reminding of nicotine, and deposited a substance which was extracted by repeatedly shaking with ether, in which it was dissolved, and from which the ether was recovered by distillation. There was found an alkaloid present in proportion of about one-quarter of one percent, which was named “Cocaine” after the parent plant, and the chemical formula C32H20NO8, according to the old notation, was given it. Mechanically mixed with its crystals there was a yellowish-brown matter of disagreeable narcotic odor, which could not be removed with animal charcoal or recrystallization, and was only separated by repeated washings with alcohol.
Pure cocaine, as described by this investigator, is in colorless transparent prisms, inodorous, soluble in seven hundred and four parts of water at 120 C. (53.60 F.), more readily soluble in alcohol, and freely so in ether. Its solutions have an alkaline reaction, a bitter taste, promote the flow of saliva and leave a peculiar numbness, followed by a sense of cold when applied to the tongue. At 980 C. (208.40 F.) the crystals fuse and congeal again into a transparent mass, from which crystals gradually form. Heated above the fusing point, the body is discolored and decomposes, running up the sides of the vessel. When fused upon platinum the crystals burn with a bright flame, leaving a charcoal which burns with difficulty. The alkaloid is readily soluble in all dilute acids forming salts of a more bitter taste than the uncombined cocaine. It absorbs hydrochloric acid gas, fuses and congeals to a grayish white transparent mass which crystallizes after some days. The crystals from its solution are long, tender and radiating.
Besides cocaine, there was found in the alcoholic tincture precipitated by milk of lime a snowy white granular mass. This fused at 700 C. (1580 F.), was slowly soluble in hot alcohol, more readily so in ether, and was not acted on by solutions of acids or alkalies. This substance was named Coca wax and given the empirical formula C66H66O4.
Upon distilling one hundred grammes of leaves, a slightly turbid distillate was obtained, which when redistilled with chloride of sodium, yielded white globular masses lighter than water and having the peculiar tea-like odor of Coca.
In the dark red filtrate from which the cocaine had been precipitated by carbonate of soda there was found after suitable treatment a Coca tannic acid to which the formula C14H18O8 has been given. This latter result, it will be remembered, was as far as Wackenroder’s investigations had gone in 1853.
The atomic weight of the amorphous compound determined from the double salt with chloride of gold, was found to equal 283, and when crystallized from hot water 280, or from alcohol 288. On heating this double salt benzoic acid was sublimed from it, which was recorded as the first observation of this nature from any known alkaloid.
Chemists Go Crazy Over The “Magic Bullet”
Following this research, the late Professor John M. Maisch of Philadelphia verified the several results. The small percentage of nitrogen announced in the original formula suggested that possibly cocaine was a decomposition compound, while the nicotine odor was thought to result from a nitrogenous body or another alkaloid. To determine this, the liquor and precipitate which had been obtained by carbonate of soda were distilled over a sand bath. A syrupy liquid was left, from which the alkaloid was separated by ether, while from the distillate was collected a resin-like mass of an acrid taste, having a narcotic odor, soon lost on exposure to a damp atmosphere, while the mass became acid and was now rendered easily soluble in water and alcohol. Whether or not this principle was nitrogenous this investigator left undecided.
Continuing the same line of research as that of Niemann, and following the suggestions of Maisch, William Lossen of Gottingen carried out an extended inquiry as to the nature of cocaine, and established its formula C17H21NO4, in accordance with the new notation. In examining its composition he found by heating it with hydrochloric acid that it was split up into benzoic acid and another body, thereby confirming the observation which had been made concerning this sublimation from the double salt of chloride of gold and cocaine. This new base he named “ecgonine,” from the Greek for son or descendant.
The breaking down of cocaine was subsequently shown due to hydration, by saponifying it with baryta, and also with water alone. The first change being into benzoyl-ecgonine, followed by a sublimation of benzoic acid, while from the syrupy residue the ecgonine may be separated by repeated washings with alcohol and precipitation with ether. The crystals being only dried with great difficulty.
Ecgonine, C9H15NO3, crystallizes over sulphuric acid in sheaves. It has a slight bitter-sweet taste, is readily soluble in water, less so in absolute alcohol, and insoluble in ether. Heated to 1980, it melts, decomposes and becomes brown. It forms salts with the acids, most of which crystallize with difficulty. With alkalies, it forms crystallizable combinations soluble in water and alcohol. In aqueous solutions the hydrochloride yields no precipitate with alkalies. Chloride of platinum in presence of much alcohol gives an orange yellow precipitate, chloride of mercury throwing down a yellow precipitate under the same conditions.
The unstable nature of cocaine in the presence of acids has suggested their avoidance in its preparation, plain water being considered preferable. In this process Coca leaves are digested several times at 1400 to 1760, the infusions united, precipitated by acetate of lead, and filtered. The lead is removed by the addition of sulphate of soda, and the liquor concentrated in a water bath. Carbonate of soda is then added, and the whole shaken with ether to dissolve the alkaloid, when the ether may be recovered by distillation.
In his researches Lossen also described the liquid alkaloid that had been hinted at by Gaedcke in 1855, and subsequently noticed by Niemann and Maisch, which, at the suggestion of Woehler, who was associated in this investigation, was termed ”hygrine”, from vypos – liquid, to which the formula C12H13N was given. This was obtained by saturating the slightly alkaline mother liquor from which cocaine had been extracted with carbonate of soda and repeatedly washing with ether. Evaporation of the ethereal extract left a thick yellow oil of high boiling point with a strong alkaline reaction.
Hygrine thus found is described as very volatile, distilling alone between 140° and 230° F. It is slightly soluble in water, and more readily so in alcohol, chloroform and ether, not in caustic soda, but readily in dilute hydrochloric acid. Its taste is burning and it has a peculiar odor similar to trimethylamine or quinoline. The oxalate and muriate are crystallizable, but very deliquescent.
With chloride of platinum, hygrine gives a flocculent amorphous precipitate which decomposes on heating. Bi-chloride of mercury gives an opalescence, due to the formation of minute oily drops.
Thus far there had been found in Coca leaves a crystallizable compound of unstable composition – cocaine; a second base which was only to be crystallized with difficulty – ecgonine; an intermediate compound – benzoyl-ecgonine; and an oily volatile liquid of peculiar odor – hygrine; together with Coca-tannic acid, and a wax-like body. Meantime, considerable was done in a physiological way in experimenting with the new alkaloids, though little decided progress was made during the following twenty years, until 1884, when the use of cocaine in local anӕsthesia was announced. The importance of this application occasioned an increased activity of investigation regarding the Coca products. This interest tended to make our knowledge of the alkaloids more exact, as well as to enrich our understanding of those inherent sustaining properties of Coca which have for past ages excited wonder.
Entrepreneurs Capitalize On The Discovery
In the early days of the cocaine industry some manufacturers asserted that the several associate substances found in Coca leaves were decomposition products, developed by changes taking place in deteriorating leaves or arising during the process of obtaining the one alkaloid. The great demand for cocaine and the high price it commanded generated an apparent unwillingness on the part of manufacturers to admit the possible presence in Coca of any other principle than cocaine. Processes innumerable were devised to force the greatest yield of alkaloid from the leaves, and some of the earlier specimens of the salt placed upon the market were more or less an uncertain mixture, dirty white in color and having a nicotine-like odor. This was defended as a peculiarity of the substance, the therapeutic action of which was asserted to be identical with cocaine, even though the appearance was not so elegant as the purer crystals. An endeavor to purify the salt by studying its sources of decomposition resulted in the separation of several important alkaloids.
The intermediate base benzoyl-ecgonine C16H19N04, was described as a by-product of the manufacture of cocaine, and it has been shown may be also obtained by the evaporation of cocaine solutions. It has been prepared by heating cocaine with from ten to twenty parts of water in a sealed tube at 90° to 95° C, with occasional shaking until a clear solution is obtained. This is extracted with ether to remove all traces of undecomposed cocaine, and then concentrated on a water bath and crystallized over sulphuric acid. The crystals form as opaque prisms or needles, sparingly soluble in cold water, more readily so in hot water, acids, alkalies and alcohol, while insoluble in ether. It melts at 90° to 92° C, then solidifies, and again melts at about 192° C. The taste is bitter, its solutions are slightly acid, becoming neutral after recrystallization. The hydrochloride, at first of a syrupy consistency, forms tabular crystals which are freely soluble in absolute alcohol. Mayer’s reagent produces a white, curdy precipitate; iodine in potassium iodide, a kermes brown precipitate; chloride of gold, a bright yellow precipitate, soluble in warm water and alcohol.
It will be recalled that Maclagan, Niemann and Maisch had each alluded to an uncrystallizable residue in their processes of extraction, and an effort was made to definitely determine its true quality. But just as cocaine was at first regarded as the only alkaloid, so this amorphous substance was studied as a whole instead of being regarded as a mixture of bases. Coca leaves, it was asserted, contained a crystallizable cocaine and an uncrystallizable cocaine. The latter product has been named cocaicine, cocainoidine and cocaminey and is still the subject of investigation.
The relative amount of this non-crystallizable body left in the mother liquor after the precipitation of cocaine varies greatly and is wholly dependent upon the kind of leaves used, or the processes to which they are subjected. The color of various specimens varies from dark yellow to dark brown, while the consistence is from that of a syrupy liquid to a sticky, tenacious solid, which, after spontaneous evaporation, may form short, fine crystals. The odor, while recalling nicotine, is more aromatic and less pungent; the taste bitter and aromatic. This body is of alkaline reaction, soluble in alcohol, ether, benzole, chloroform, petroleum ether, acetic acid, etc., and of varying solubility in water, according to its consistence. On gently heating it becomes quite fluid. It is very soluble in dilute acids, with which it forms non-crystalline salts, all of which dissolve readily in water. Dissolved in rectified spirit and treated with animal charcoal or acetate of lead, to precipitate the coloring matter, a pale yellow, sticky, non-crystalline body is obtained, which will not form crystals, even after standing for months. Solutions of the substance in alcohol, repeatedly precipitated by ammonia, yield a nearly white non-crystalline flocculent body, which is very hygroscopic, the original odor and taste remaining, no matter how often the purifying process is repeated. Evaporated at gentle heat, the solutions darken, and if evaporated to dryness the substance becomes insoluble in water. The precipitation with permanganate of potash is brownish, which, on heating, yields an odor of bitter almonds; 5 c.c. of a solution 1-1000 reduces 20 to 40 drops of a permanganate solution of the same strength.
Professor Stockman, of Edinburgh, made an interesting study of these mixed bases, which he originally supposed to be a solution of ordinary crystalline cocaine in hygrine, basing his conclusions on the physiological action and chemical relations. As he stated, cocaine is extremely soluble in hygrine, and once solution has occurred it is practically impossible to separate the two bodies, as they are both soluble in the same menstrua and are both precipitated by the same reagents.
This is also the case with the salts of these bodies, though not to the same extent, the presence of hygrine rendering any such samples of the salt hygroscopic, as well as imparting the peculiar nicotine-like odor of hygrine. Subsequent investigation, however, has convinced this physiologist that the substance he experimented with was cocamine dissolved in hygrine, together with some benzoyl-ecgonine.
Thus it will be seen that the earlier conclusions regarding the Coca products were erroneous from imperfect knowledge. With the increasing usefulness of cocaine this confusion is a serious matter, because these mis-statements of the chemists and physiologists are often still quoted as authoritative. So positive were some of these earlier opinions that even after physiological proof showed the unmistakable presence of associate alkaloids with cocaine they were asserted, from interested motives, to be poisonous contaminations. In the face of this the result of physiological experimentation with the various Coca bases indicate that they are all more mild than cocaine, from which they differ markedly in physiological action. Dr. Bignon, Professor of Chemistry at the University of Lima, Peru, who from position and opportunities may be regarded as a competent authority upon Coca, long since asserted, when grouping the alkaloids of Coca in two classes, that the crystalline body is inodorous, while the non-crystalline has a peculiar odor and is weaker in action and less poisonous than the crystallizable cocaine.
Where Most “Magic Bullet” Hunters Went Astray
The wholly different action of cocaine therapeutically from the Coca leaves of the Andean, or the more exact scientific preservations of Coca such as exhibited in the preparations of M. Mariani – which fully represents the action of recent Peruvian Coca, clearly indicates the presence of certain important principles in Coca, the properties of which are sufficiently distinct to markedly effect physiological action in a manner different from any one of its alkaloids. Happily we are now learning more definitely through research and experimentation, and these earlier errors are being corrected.
The diametrically opposite findings of investigators of known repute indicate that these inharmonious conclusions were not wholly the result of carelessness nor prejudice. Just as Coca experimented with by one observer repeated the traditional influence, or in some other instance proved inert, so the chemists found the result of their labors at variance. Much of this confusion was cleared away when the botanists explained that there are several varieties of Coca. Those qualities which had formerly been attributed to superstitious belief, or which when reluctantly accepted as possibly present in an extremely fugitive form which was lost through volatility, were shown to be dependent upon the variety as much as upon the quality of the Coca leaf employed in the process of manufacture.
Cocamine, C19H23N04, was originally studied in the alkaloids obtained from the small leaf variety of Coca by Hesse. It was regarded by Liebermann as identical with a base which he described as y-isatropyl-cocaine and afterward termed a truxilline, because supposedly found only in the Truxillo variety of Coca.
The research leading to these conclusions provoked bitter controversy between these two investigators. It has since been determined that cocamine is of the same empirical composition as cocaine, though weaker in anaesthetic action. It is a natural product of several varieties of Coca, particularly of that grown in Java. From hydrolysis by mineral acids cocamine yields cocaic, iso-cocaic and homo-iso-cocaic acids, while from its isomeride there is formed in a similar way alpha-isotropic or beta-truxillic acid. Both cocaic and iso-cocaic acids yield cinnamic acid and other products on distillation. Subsequently a similar body was prepared synthetically from ecgonine and cinnamic anhydride, and named cinnamyl-cocaine. It forms large colorless crystals, melts at 1200, is almost insoluble in water, and readily soluble in alcohol and ether. This body has been proved to occur naturally in Coca leaves from various sources, being present in some specimens as high as 0.5 per cent.
Thus it will be seen there has been much discussion and uncertainty upon the Coca products, particularly so as to those of an oily nature, originally designated as hygrine and the amorphous substances previously described under various titles.
It is the opinion of Hesse that hygrine is a product of decomposition of one of the Coca bases, and does not occur in fresh Coca leaves; in support of which he asserted that while dilute acid solutions of hygrine have a strongly marked blue florescence which is characteristic, this reaction is not shown when fresh leaves are first operated upon. But as this reaction develops gradually, he inferred that hygrine was formed by the decomposition of amorphous cocaine, from the solution of which it could be separated by ammonia and caustic soda as a colorless oil having the odor of quinoline. In fact, he considered the oil thus obtained a homologue of quinoline, possibly a tri-methyl-quinoline.
Another observer, while experimenting with the alkaloids of Coca by means of their platinum salts, obtained an oily base, exceedingly bitter and differing in odor and solubility from that which had been described by Lessen, but which was presumably identical with the amorphous products, cocaicine and cocainiodine, and Hesse concluded there might really be two oily bases in amorphous cocaine, one found in the benzoyl compounds of the broad leaf variety and one in the cinnamyl compounds of the Novo Granatense variety, in both cases associated with cocamine and another base, which he named cocrylamine. Liebermann, on the other hand, considers hygrine a combination of two liquid oxygenated bases which may be separated by fractional distillation. One – C8H15NO, an isomeride of tropine, with a boiling point 1930 to 195°, the other, C14H24N20, not distilling under ordinary pressure without decomposition, while still other experimenters from distilling barium ecgonate obtained a volatile oily liquid which strongly resembles hygrine. Merck has shown this body yields, on decomposition, methylamine, from which it has been inferred that it is identical with tropine, and hence closely allied to atropine. With this fact in view it was presumed the dilating property of cocaine upon the pupil was due to hygrine, but this has been proved not to be the case.
The assertion that hygrine is never present in Coca leaves, but is merely a decomposition product in the manufacture of cocaine, lends an added interest to the research of Dr. Kusby upon fresh Coca leaves made while he was at Bolivia. From repeated examinations he found a certain yield of alkaloids, while specimens of the same leaves sent to the United States yielded from treatment by the same process less than half the percentage of alkaloid that he had obtained. This prompted him to search for the possible source of error, and it was found that after all the cocaine was eliminated there was still a decided alkaloidal precipitate. From this it was concluded that: “native Coca leaves contain a body intimately associated with the cocaine and reacting to the same test, which almost wholly disappears from them in transit.”
This result indicates the presence in Coca leaves of some extremely volatile principle to which decided physiological properties are attached, which may also be obtained from suitably preserved leaves. When a preparation made from recent leaves in Bolivia was submitted to Professor Remsen, of Johns Hopkins University, his assistant reported that he found a bitter principle, and an oil, which presumably differed in no way from that found at the time of the examinations made in Bolivia. This is comparable with similar findings of those who have experimented with Coca, whether the leaves were recent and examined on the spot, or the examination had been made thousands of miles distant upon well preserved leaves. In each instance similar volatile alkaloids have been obtained, which have commonly been pronounced “decomposition products,” yet, as these are always found by careful observers, it indicates they are the natural associate bases of Coca.
The conclusions are that crude cocaine is not merely a single alkaloid. As the yield of crystallizable cocaine from the crude alkaloid varies from fifty to seventy-five percent, the associate alkaloids, together with the impurities and contaminations of manufacture, must constitute the remaining twenty-five or fifty percent, of the substance. Though our knowledge of these alkaloids is not yet exact, each of them has been found to possess certain chemical characteristics and sufficient physiological influence to prove a factor in the action of Coca. While these several Coca bases have been experimented with physiologically to a limited extent, they have never been individually applied to therapeutic uses. They have been regarded by the manufacturers of cocaine as simply so much waste from their yield of cocaine, and the attention of chemists has been directed to converting them by some synthetic process to what has been regarded as the pure alkaloid.
In the chemical constitution of cocaine there is a methyl, CH3, and a benzoyl, C6H5CO2, radical, either of which can be replaced by other acid radicals and so give rise to various homologues – or compounds of similar proportions. The methyl radical has been shown to be essential to the anӕsthetic action, and its presence or absence in the chemical group constitutes a poisonous or non-poisonous Coca product. By heating the Coca bases with alkyl iodides the corresponding esters are obtained. Thus methyl-benzoyl-ecgonine (cocaine); ethyl-benzoyl-ecgonine (homococaine); methyl-cinnamyl-ecgonine (cinnamyl-cocaine), etc., are formed. Acting upon this data, Merck, by heating benzoyl-ecgonine with a slight excess of methyl-iodide and a small quantity of methylic alcohol to 100° C, evaporating the excess of methyl-iodide and methylic alcohol, obtained a syrupy liquid containing cocaine hydriodate, from which an artificial cocaine was produced. In a similar way Skraup, by heating benzoyl-ecgonine, sodium-methylate and methyl-iodide in a sealed tube, made a synthetic cocaine, although the yield was only about four percent, while that of Merck was nearly eighty percent of the theoretical quantity.
In following this process, but using ethyl iodide, Merck obtained a new base, or homologue, cocethyline, or homococaine, with the formula C18H23NO4, which crystallizes from ether in colorless, radiating prisms, and from alcohol in glossy prisms, which melt at 1080 – 1090 C. The alkaloid is sparingly soluble in alkalies; chloride of gold gives a voluminous yellow precipitate, and chloride of mercury a white, pulverulent one, soluble in hot water. Falck has ascertained that cocethyline has an anӕsthetic action similar to cocaine, though weaker.
In following a similar method, but employing propyl iodide and propyl alcohol, and again by the use of iso-butyl-iodide with its corresponding alcohol, coc-propyline and coc-iso-butyline have been respectively formed, both of which have a strong anaesthetic action, and, though chemically different, exhibit the same reactions as cocaine.
Ecgonine has been converted into a new base by heating it for twenty-four hours with aqueous potash. This differs from ecgonine by being less soluble in absolute alcohol, in having a higher melting point, and in being dextro-rotary, and hence termed dextro-ecgonine. From this there has been prepared synthetically a dextro-cocaine, a colorless oil which solidifies and forms crystals on standing which are readily soluble in ether, alcohol, benzine and petroleum spirit. This body resembles cocaine, but its action is more fugitive.
Patenting The Magic Bullet – And Ignoring The Divine Leaf
From the ready conversion of the various Coca bases experimentally it was but a step to the building up of the associate bases into a synthetic salt of cocaine. This has given rise to a profitable industry, the process for which has been patented in Germany. In this process the mixed bases are converted by hydrolysis to ecgonine, then to a solution of hydrochloride of that salt in methyl alcohol. The hydrochloride of ecgonine methyl-ester is formed, and from this the salt is crystallized and heated over a water bath with benzoyl chloride, the homogenous mass being washed and separated from benzoic acid, and the cocaine precipitated with ammonia and crystallized from alcohol.
(From) American Druggist, January 1889
As is well-known, coca leaves, upon extraction, do not yield at once pure cocaine. The latter is always accompanied by a number of amorphous secondary alkaloids, which have to be separated before pure, crystallized cocaine can be obtained.
The nature of one of those secondary alkaloids has recently been cleared up by one of the authors of the present paper. As a general result of the preliminary studies, it was found that all the amorphous alkaloids, upon being boiled with acid, yield the base ecognine. The latter is very easily obtained by boiling the alkaloids for about one hour with hydrochloric acid, filtering off the separated acids (benzoic, etc) evaporating the acid filtrate to dryness, and boiling the dry residue with alcohol to remove further portions of benzoic or other acids. Pure hydrochlorate of ecognine is left behind.
The base is set free with soda, and purified by recrystallization from alcohol. Ecognine thus obtained was found to be absolutely identical with ecognine derived from crystallized cocaine.
It now became a question whether ecognine could not be converted back into cocaine by some simple, practical process. Between ecognine and cocaine there is an intermediate base, benzoyl-ecognine, which consists of ecognine in combination with the benzoyl nucleus. Heretofore benzoyl-ecognine had only been obtained either as a companion of cocaine or as a [product of the decomposition of the latter, but never as a synthetic product. This synthesis has now been accomplished by the authors and the gap between ecognine and cocaine thereby bridged over.
The problem was how to cause the benzoyl nucleus to combine with the ecognine. This was easily accomplished by means of anhydrous benzoic acid (benzoic anhydride) as well as by benzoyl chloride. The following method is given by the authors from their patent dated August 17th, 1888.
Make a hot saturated solution of ecognine ( one molecule) in about half its weight of water, and digest it at the temperature of the water bath for about one hour with somewhat more than one mol. Of benzoic anhydride added gradually. The n set it aside. It will solidify on cooling or standing, or while being agitated with ether, which is required to remove the excess of the benzoic anhydride added and the benzoic acid formed. The benzoyl-ecognine which has been formed, as well as any unaltered ecognine, are almost insoluble in ether and remain behind. The ethereal solution, upon evaporation, leaves behind all the benzoic acid used in excess. In order to obtain the synthetic benzoyl-ecognine pure, the residue, after treatment with ether is titrated with a very small quantity of water, and the liquid portion separated with a filter pump. Benzoyl-ecognine remains behind, while the much more soluble ecognine is dissolved out. If care is taken, the yield of benzoyl-ecognine amounts to eighty percent of the weight of the original ecognine. From the mother liquids some more benzoyl-ecognine may be obtained by evaporation. And all the unconverted ecognine is recovered and added to the next operation.
Benzoyl-ecognine thus obtained was found to absolutely identical with that previously known as a decomposition product.
The conversion of benzoyl-ecognine into cocaine had already been accomplished or at least pointed out some time ago by Einhorn. In 1885 W. Merck found that by heating benzoyl-ecognine with iodide of methyl and methylic alcohol in sealed tubes the former was partly converted into cocaine. But the yield was only about 4% of the amount of benzoyl-ecognine employed. Einhorn subsequently discovered a much more simple and efficient method for converting benzoyl-ecognine into ethylic or other compound ethers.
Cocaine is chemically benzoyl-ecognine-methylic ester. The method which Einhorn used to produce the ethylic ester was as follows:
Make a solution of benzoyl-ecognine in ethylic alcohol and pass dry hydrochloric acid gas into it, which will cause a considerable rise in temperature for some time. Keep on passing the gas until the liquid has become cold. Then boil it for one hour under an upright condenser and afterwards evaporate it on a water bath. Dissolve the residue in water and precipitate the filtered solution with soda. The precipitate in this case was a base which differed from natural cocaine by containing the ethyl nucleus C2H3 instead of that of Methyl CH3 which exists in true cocaine. In order to obtain the latter it is only necessary ( at least this is implied by the statements of Lieberman an d Giesel) to substitute pure methylic alcohol for the ethylic, to pass dry hydrochloric gas through the solution, and to proceed further as described. By this method an extremely pure cocaine is obtained which forms magnificent crystals. This synthetic cocaine has been tested for its physiological effects by Prof. O. Liebreich and ascertained by him to be identical with that directly obtained from coca.”
The proportion of alkaloids contained in Coca leaves is influenced by the method of the growth of the plant, and the yield is dependent upon the manner of curing the leaves and their preservation. The percentage ranges from a mere trace to about one per cent. Bignon considers that well preserved leaves will yield fully as much as recent leaves, varying from nine to eleven grammes of the mixed alkaloids per kilogram, the latter being more than one per cent. Niemann obtained from his original process 0.25 per cent, of cocaine, while the present yield is more than double that. From a number of assays made during the last few years in the laboratory of an American manufacturer the following percentages of alkaloid were obtained: 0.53, 0.51, 0.63, 0.63, 0.57, 0.60, 0.66, 0.55, 0.70, 0.70, 0.65, 0.67, 0.54, 0.70, 0.32, 0.42, 0.52, 0.85, 0.48, 1.3, 0.78, 0.70, 0.40, 0.63. This will serve as an index of the quantity of total alkaloid commonly found in the average leaf of good quality as it reaches North America.
In determining the amount of alkaloids present in a given specimen of Coca, it is essential that the selected leaves be finely powdered, and mixed with a suitable menstruum that will not cause undue annoyance from gummy and resinous matters while setting free the essential constituents. These are washed out of the solution by an appropriate solvent, dried and weighed, or estimated by using some reagent the equivalent values of which have been determined by experiment. Various alkalies, as lime, soda or magnesia, have been suggested for admixture with the leaves for the purpose of liberating the alkaloids, which are transformed to soluble salts by acidulated water and washed out with strong alcohol. The details of the production of the Coca alkaloids commercially are kept as a trade secret, but the broad methods of manufacture are all similar, as several will illustrate.
Dr. Squibb has suggested the following process for the preparation of cocaine on a small scale: One hundred grammes of finely ground leaves are moistened with 100 c.c. of 7 percent solution of sodium carbonate, packed in a percolator, and sufficient kerosene added to make 700 c.c. of percolate. This is transferred to a separator, and 30 c.c. of 2 percent solution of hydrochloric acid added and shaken. After separation the watery solution is drawn off from below into a smaller separator, and this process is repeated three times, the alkaloid being in the smaller separator as an acid hydrochlorate. This is precipitated in ether with sodium carbonate, and evaporated at low heat with constant stirring and the product weighed.
Another process is to digest Coca leaves in a closed vessel at 700 C. for two hours with a very weak solution of caustic soda, and petroleum boiling between 2000 to 250°. The mass is filtered, pressed while tepid, and the filtrate allowed to stand until the petroleum separates from the aqueous liquid. The former is then drawn off and neutralized with weak hydrochloric acid. The bulky precipitate of cocaine hydrochloride being recovered from the aqueous liquid by evaporation.
Gunn made a series of tests to determine what relation the methods of extraction had to the alkaloidal yield, and concluded that the modified method of Lyons obtained the most alkaloids. This is substantially as follows: Shake 10 grammes of finely powdered leaves with 95 c.c. of petroleum benzin and add 5 c.c. of the following mixture: Absolute alcohol, 19 volumes; concentrated solution ammonia, 1 volume. Again shake for a few minutes, and set aside for twenty-four hours with occasional shaking. Decant rapidly 50 C.C. of the clear fluid, or, if it is not clear, filter it, washing the filter with benzin. Transfer to a separator containing 5 C.C. of water, to which has been added 6 to 8 drops of dilute sulphuric acid (1 to 5 by weight). Shake vigorously; when the fluids have separated draw the aqueous portion into a one ounce vial. Wash the contents of the separator with 2 c.c. of acidulated water (1 drop of the dilute acid). Shake, draw off into the vial, and continue this two or three times, until a drop tested on a mirror with Mayer’s reagent shows only faint turbidity. Add to the aqueous fluid 15 c.c. of benzin, shake, and when separation is complete, pour off the benzin. Add to the vial 15 c.c. of stronger ether, U. S. P., with sufficient ammonia to render the mixture decidedly alkaline. Shake, and when separation is complete, decant the ether carefully into a capsule. Wash the residue in the vial with two or three successive portions of fresh ether until the aqueous fluid is free from alkaloid, as shown by the test. Evaporate the ether over a water bath. Dry the alkaloid to constant weight, weigh, multiply the result expressed in decigrammes by two, which will present the percentage of crude cocaine.
Instead of extracting the alkaloid from the acid aqueous solution a simple method adapted to use in the field may be followed, in which the alkaloid is estimated by titration with Mayer’s reagent. An acid solution representing 5 grammes of the leaves should be made up to a volume of 15 c.c, and the reagent added as long as it continues to precipitate in the clear filtrate. In this way, with half strength solution, 3.5 c.c reagent represents 0.2 per cent, of alkaloid.
Mayer’s reagent, or the decinormal mercuric potassium iodide of the U. S. P., is prepared as follows: Mercuric chloride, 13.546 grammes, dissolved in 600 c.c. of water; potassium iodide, 49.8 grammes, dissolved in 190 c.c. of water; mix the two solutions and add sufficient water to make the whole measure, at 590 F., exactly 1000 c.c.
When Mayer’s reagent is added drop by drop to an acid solution containing cocaine (1:200 to 1:600) there is at first produced a heavy white precipitate, which collects at once into curdy masses; a drop of solution should be examined on a mirror, and should not show more than slight turbidity when determining the final traces. Dr. Lyons suggests that after adding a certain quantity of the reagent it will be found that the filtered fluid which still gives a heavy precipitate with Mayer’s reagent produces a precipitate also in a fresh solution of cocaine. It is thus evident that the precipitation is complete only when an excess of reagent is present in the fluid; and it is found advisable to correct the reading from the burette by subtracting for each c.c. of fluid present at the end of the titration 0.085 c.c. (if the half strength reagent is used); the remainder multiplied by ten will give the quantity of alkaloid indicated in milligrammes. The best method of following the process is to throw the fluid on a filter after each addition of reagent. Solutions of the alkaloid 1 :400 appear to yield better results than solutions stronger or weaker than this.
One c.c. of Mayer’s reagent will precipitate about 7.5 milligrammes of the mixed alkaloids from solutions in which alcohol is not present. As a rule the quantity of alkaloidal precipitate by this reagent is greater than the quantity of cocaine that can be extracted by washing out the alkaline solution with ether, so that in exact examinations a recourse to weighing is considered advisable. The dried precipitate weighed and multiplied by 0.406 will give about the amount of alkaloid present. With Mayer’s reagent used in half strength the following values for the equivalent of the reagent are given:
The following table may also be of service:
The principal tests employed to determine the purity of cocaine hydrochloride are the permanganate of potash and Maclagan’s ammonia test. When one drop of a one percent solution of permanganate of potash is added to 5 c.c. of a two percent solution of hydrochloride of cocaine mixed with three drops of dilute sulphuric acid, it occasions a pink tint which should not entirely disappear within half an hour. When added to a stronger solution it occasions a precipitate of rhombic plates, which decompose on heating. If cinnamyl-cocaine be present the odor of bitter almonds is given off with the decomposition.
The Maclagan test is based upon the supposition that the amorphous alkaloids of Coca when set free by ammonia are separated as oily drops and so form a milky solution. It is employed by adding one or two drops of ammonia to a solution of cocaine, which is then vigorously stirred with a glass rod. If the salt is pure a formation of crystals will be deposited upon the rod and upon the side of the vessel within five minutes, while the solution will remain clear. If isatropyl-cocaine be present crystallization will not take place and the solution will become milky.
Considerable stress has been laid upon the value of this test for determining the purity of cocaine salts. Dr. Guenther asserts that a perfectly pure cocaine will not show the Maclagan reaction, while if a small quantity of a new base which he described as cocathylin, with a melting point of 1100 C, be present, the test will be pronounced. In endeavoring to show that this was an error, one of the largest manufacturers of cocaine in Germany worked up four thousand kilos of Coca leaves, and though they failed to find the new base which had been mentioned, they also proved that a pure cocaine will respond positively to the Maclagan test. In support of this Paul and Cowley have expressed the opinion that any cocaine which does not satisfy this test should not be regarded as sufficiently pure for pharmaceutical purposes, views which are also maintained by E. Merck.
Of the various reagents that have been found delicate in testing for cocaine Mayer’s reagent will detect one part in one hundred thousand, while a solution of iodine in iodide of potash will determine one part in four hundred thousand, with a very faint yellow precipitate.
It has been shown by Gerrard that mydriatic alkaloids have a peculiar action with mercuric chloride, from the aqueous solution of which they precipitate mercuric oxide, the other natural alkaloids giving no precipitate at all, or at least not separating mercuric oxide. The late Professor Flückiger, verifying this action on cocaine, found the test recorded a very abundant purely white precipitate, which very speedily turned red, as in the case of the other mydriatic alkaloids.
It has been found, on treating cocaine or one of its salts in the solid state with fuming nitric acid, sp. gr. 1.4, evaporating to dryness and treating with one or two drops of strong alcoholic solution of potash, there is given off on stirring this with a glass rod a distinct odor suggestive of peppermint. This odor test has been pronounced very delicate and is distinctive for cocaine, no other alkaloid having been found to yield a similar reaction.
There are several cocaine manufacturers in Peru. A few years ago there were five in Huanuco, one in the District of Mozon, one in Pozuso, two at Lima, one at Callao, at least two of which are run on an extensive scale. In 1894 the amount of the crude product manufactured in Peru and sent abroad for purification was four thousand seven hundred and sixteen kilos. A personal communication from Peru, dated January 15, 1900, states that the local manufacturers of cocaine are increasing their facilities and claim that they work with a better method than is followed elsewhere.
In 1890 Dr. Squibb called attention to the fact that crude cocaine was made so efficiently in Peru that it seemed highly probable that the importation of Coca leaves to this market was nearly at an end. This crude cocaine has a characteristic nicotine odor; it comes in a granular powder or in fragments of press cake, generally of a dull creamy white color, but rarely quite uniform throughout, the color ranging from dirty brownish white to very nearly white. Some of the fragments are horny, compact and hard, while others are softer and more porous. The following process has been given for determining the amount of cocaine present in the crude product:
A small quantity being taken from a large number of lumps in the parcels, selected on account of their difference in appearance, the determination of moisture in the samples so selected is found by fusion at 910 C. The solubility of the samples in ether at a specific gravity .725 at 15.60 C, is then tested. The insoluble residue is thoroughly washed with ether, dried and weighed. The alkaloid dissolved by the ether is converted into oxalate, and the oxalate shaken out by water. The residue which is soluble in ether is then determined by evaporation of the ethereal solution. The aqueous solution of cocaine oxalate is rendered faintly alkaline by soda; the freed alkaloid shaken out with ether, and after spontaneous evaporation of the ether and complete drying of the crystals produced, the pure alkaloid is estimated. The usual yield of pure crystallizable alkaloid from this crude product varies from fifty to seventy-five percent.
Crude cocaine when united with acids assumes an intense green color, due to the presence of benzoyl-ecgonine, while its characteristic chemical reaction is its property of splitting into benzoic acid and methyl alcohol. Cocaine combines readily with acids to form salts, which are readily soluble in water and alcohol, though insoluble in ether. These salts, owing to their more ready solubility, have a more marked anӕsthetic action on mucous surfaces than the pure alkaloid. There has been prepared benzoate, borate, citrate, hydrobromate, hydrochlorate, nitrate, oleate, oxalate, salicylate, sulphate, tartrate, etc.
According to the U. S. Pharmacopaia the following are the characteristics of cocaine hydrochlorate, the salt commonly employed: “Colorless, transparent crystals, or a white crystalline powder, without odor, of a saline, slightly bitter taste, and producing upon the tongue a tingling sensation, followed by numbness of some minutes’ duration. Permanent in the air. Soluble at W C. (59o F.) in 0.48 part of water and in 3.5 parts of alcohol; very soluble in boiling water and in boiling alcohol; also soluble in 2,800 parts of ether or in 17 parts of chloroform. On heating a small quantity of the powdered salt for twenty minutes at a temperature of 100° C. (212° F.), it should not suffer any material loss (absence of water of crystallization). The prolonged application of heat to the salt or to its solution induces decomposition. At 193° C. (379.4° F.) the salt melts with partial sublimation, forming a light brownish yellow liquid. When ignited it is consumed without leaving a residue. The salt is neutral to litmus paper.
In reviewing the research of many workers it may be seen how each has closely approached, often with a mere hint or suggestion, results which later have been verified and described more in detail. Through this repetition many new facts have been made positive to us. Assertions have been strengthened or have been cast aside, and while the result has been to render a cocaine of purer quality, it has at the same time emphasized the immensity of our ignorance concerning the subtleties of alkaloidal formation. More than all, these researches must impress the fact that similar changes to those which are possible in the laboratory of the chemist are also at work in Nature’s laboratory, and that the therapeutic influence and efficiency of Coca, as of any remedy taken into the body, must be markedly affected by the transmutations of the organism.” (End of Chapter)
In this unique digital archive you can explore the natural medical uses, botany & cultivation, history & traditions of Coca using new digital editions of lost and forgotten books!
And you won’t be reading scanned images of stained old pages. “Coca Leaf Papers” is a crisp, new collection of fully searchable digitized editions of 5 full-length Coca Classics, each with original bibliography citations hyperlinked to online archival resources:
”History of Coca”, Dr. Golden Mortimer, 1901
“A New Form Of Nervous Disease: An Essay On Erythroxylon Coca”, Dr. William Searles, 1884
“Erythroxylon Coca: A Treatise On Brain Exhaustion”, Dr. William Tibbles, 1877
“Coca Erythroxylon: Its Uses In Treatment of Disease”, Angelo Mariani 1885
“Coca – Its Therapeutic Applications”, Angelo Mariani, 1890
Plus a groundbreaking English translation of the detailed inside story on Andean Coca
“Drug Wars & Coca Leaf In Brazil”, Ivan Barreto 2014