In this excerpt from the writings of Dr. Searle (1881) ( full digitized text in “The Coca Leaf Papers”) you’ll find an enlightening discussion of the essential differences between Coca Leaf and Cocaine as therapeutic agents.
In 1881 when Dr. Searle was writing Cocaine had only recently been synthesized in Germany and doctors worldwide were experimenting with this potent extract from natural Coca Leaf. At the same time, the natural Coca Leaf itself had been in use to treat and cure disease for generations, so the question naturally arose – “Are there benefits to the use of the whole leaf that cannot be obtained with the extract, or is the extracted alkaloid Cocaine the entire source of Coca’s healing powers?”
Of course the scientist/entrepreneurs who had worked to identify, extract, refine and finally synthesize the alkaloid Cocaine were hoping – or rather intending – that its use would dominate the market and bring them untold wealth. Rather typical of the thinking of Western allopathic medical science these doctors reasoned that since Coca Leaf was such a remarkable medicine, one ought to be able to define the (single) source of its healing properties and just manufacture that compound. After all, no self-respecting scientist wants to believe that nature can do better than their own laboratory in producing healing medicines (sarc).
In the following passages you’ll read about many of the serious diseases and conditions that doctors were treating successfully with Coca Leaf – and a few that were being treated with Cocaine. It should be obvious to any careful reader that pure, natural Coca Leaf has a far higher therapeutic value than Cocaine, and of course that is the proposition to which I have dedicated this blog.
However, as you read through this material and review the conditions being successfully treated in the 1800’s with Coca Leaf, I ask that you to pay special attention to the references to the value of Coca leaf in treating heart conditions, and particularly the references to the treatment of “dropsy”.
That’s because what used to be called “dropsy” is now called Congestive Heart Failure – one of the leading causes of death and, prior to death, to loss of quality of life among older people. Doctors who specialize in treating people with CHF really have no effective treatment for the condition. They prescribe diuretics and “blood thinners” ( usually rat poison) to relieve the tissue edema that accompanies CHF, but this is not really an effective treatment, and the side effects of diuretics and blood thinners on kidneys and other organ systems are commonly devastating. Modern medicine takes the attitude that once a person has CHF they are on the road to death anyway so why worry about the side-effects of diuretics and blood thinners, since reducing edema at least gives the patient some improvement in quality of life.
What crap – to put it politely. In my next post, Coca Leaf & Congestive Heart Failure – Part Two, I will detail all of the evidence that far from being untreatable, CHF was being effectively treated (and, incidentally prevented) 150 years ago by the use of a few cups of Coca Leaf Tea a day. It is nothing short of criminal negligence on the part of the government, which makes Coca Leaf unavailable to Americans suffering from CHF, and the medical profession, which could advocate for this simple, natural, effective treatment but chooses instead to live and “practice” in complete ignorance of this option. Shame on all of you!
And dear reader, if you have a elderly family member who has CHF, and you are being told by their doctors that there is little that can be done except to give them diuretics and rat poison – please don’t let them get away with this crap. Please confront them with the evidence that I am making available to you. If you do a “find” search of my ebook “The Coca Leaf Papers” for the words “dropsy” and “heart” you will find dozens of instances of physicians and scientists speaking about the efficacy and safety of Coca leaf Tea in treating and reversing this fatal condition.
And just in case you think that this is a cynical attempt by me to sell you a book, if you’ll go to the “Request A Free Book” page of this blog you’ll find that I am offering you “The Coca Leaf Papers” at no cost, unconditionally. Just fill out the contact sheet and press “Send” and I’ll receive your request by email and will send you the complete ebook as a multi-platform .mobi file attachment. Of course it would be nice if you could afford the $3.99 the book costs on Amazon, but if you want to have it for free just ask – if enough people have this information and confront their doctors with it perhaps we can change the cynical, ignorant positions of the government and the medical community.
Just remember the core fact here – Coca Leaf is not Cocaine, and furthermore, Coca Leaf is 100% legal in both Bolivia and Peru so it isn’t as if the whole world agrees that Coca Leaf is an evil drug that should be banned. When you combine this indisputable fact with the equally indisputable fact that hundreds of thousands of elderly people were being routinely cured of “dropsy” in the 1800s, isn’t it time that Americans began insisting that the negligent slaughter of literally millions of our elderly parents and grandparents by government “drug war” bureaucrats, Pig Pharma, and willfully ignorant doctors cease altogether?
A New Form Of Nervous Disease Together With An Essay On Erythroxylon Coca By W. N S. Searle, A.M., M.D., Fellow Of The Medico-Chirurgical Society Of New York, Etc., New York: Fords, Howard, & Hulbert, 1881.
The Discovery Of Cocaine & The Neglect Of Coca
In considering the action of any of the Coca alkaloids on man, it may be well to suggest that possibly one cause of conflicting testimony may have resulted from reporting the influence of the alkaloid upon animals, the effects of which are not always uniform with their action on man. In experiments upon animals those symptoms which follow doses full enough to create some outward sign are alone seen, while the agreeable exaltation such as would be experienced in man from a relatively much smaller dose can not be appreciated. A dose of cocaine which in one of the lower animals would cause depression, would under the controlling influence of a greater cerebral development in man occasion exhilaration, an effect probably resulting from inhibition of certain of the brain cells, thus inducing slight loss of coordination similar to that following a small dose of opium or alcohol. Both alcohol and opium seriously disturb the normal relations of one part of the brain with another, the nerve centers being paralyzed in the inverse order of their development. The primary exhilaration being succeeded by a narcotic action when the inhibitory paralysis permits the emotions full sway. Coca, however, appears to stimulate the brain by an harmonious influence on all the brain cells so the relation of its functions is not deranged.
Essential Differences Between Coca & Cocaine
The action of cocaine has been placed midway between morphine and caffeine. In man the initial effect of Coca is sedative, followed by a rapidly succeeding and long continued stimulation. This may be attributed to the conjoined influence of the associate alkaloids upon the spinal cord and brain, whereby the conducting powers of the spinal cord are more depressed than are the brain centers. In view of these physiological facts it is unscientific to regard strychnine as an equivalent stimulant to Coca or a remedy which may fulfill the same indications, as erroneously suggested by several correspondents. For immediate stimulation Coca is best administered as a wine, the mild exhilaration of the spirit giving place to the sustaining action of Coca without depression.
The action of Coca and cocaine, while similar, is different. Each gives a peculiar sense of well being, but cocaine affects the central nervous system more pronouncedly than does Coca, not – as commonly presumed – because it is Coca in a more concentrated form, but because the associate substances present in Coca, which are important in modifying its action, are not present in cocaine. The sustaining influence of Coca has been asserted to be due to its anӕsthetic action on the stomach, and to its stimulating effect on brain and nervous system. But the strength-giving properties of Coca, aside from mild stimulation to the central nervous system, are embodied in its associate alkaloids, which directly bear upon the muscular system, as well as the depurative influence which Coca has upon the blood, freeing it from the products of tissue waste. The quality of Coca we have seen is governed by the variety of the leaf, and its action is influenced by the relative proportion of associate alkaloids present. If these be chiefly cocaine or its homologues the influence is central, while if the predominant alkaloids are cocamine or benzoyl ecgonine, there will be more pronounced influence on muscle. When the associate bodies are present in such proportion as to maintain a balance between the action upon the nervous system and the conjoined action upon the muscular system, the effect of Coca is one of general invigoration.
It seems curious, when reading of the marvelous properties attributed by so many writers to the influence of Coca leaves, that one familiar with the procedure of the physiological laboratory should have arrived at any such conclusion as that of Dowdeswell, who experimented with Coca upon himself. After a preliminary observation to determine the effect of food and exercise he used Coca “in all forms, solid, liquid, hot and cold, at all hours, from seven o’clock in the morning until one or two o’clock at night, fasting and after eating, in the course of a month probably consuming a pound of leaves without producing any decided effect.” It did not affect his pupil nor the state of his skin. It occasioned neither drowsiness nor sleeplessness, and none of those subjective effects ascribed to it by others. “It occasioned not the slightest excitement, nor even the feeling of buoyancy and exhilaration which is experienced from mountain air or a draught of spring water.”
His conclusion from this was that Coca was without therapeutic or popular value, and presumed: “The subjective effects asserted may be curious nervous idiosyncrasies.” This paper, coming so soon after the publication of a previous series of erroneous conclusions made by Alexander Bennett, created a certain prejudice against Coca. Theine, caffeine and theobromine having been proved to be allied substances, this experimenter proceeded to show that cocaine belonged to the same group. As a result of his research he determined that “the action of cocaine upon the eye was to contract the pupil similar to caffeine,” while the latter alkaloid he asserted was a local anesthetic; observations which have never been confirmed by other observers.
In view of our present knowledge of the Coca alkaloids, it seems possible that these experiments may have been made with an impure product in which benzoyl-ecgonine was the more prominent base. However, the absolute error of Bennett’s conclusions has been handed down as though fact, and his findings have been unfortunately quoted by many writers, and even crept into the authoritative books. Thus Ziemssen’s Cyclopcedia of the Practice of Medicine which is looked upon as a standard by thousands of American physicians, quotes Bennett in saying: “Guaranine and cocaine are nearly, if not quite, identical in their action with theine, caffeine and theobromine.” The National Dispensatory refers to the use of Coca in Peru as being similar to the use of Chinese tea elsewhere – as a mild stimulant and diaphoretic and an aid to digestion – which are mainly the properties of coffee, chocolate and guarana, and Bennett is quoted to prove that the active constituents of all these products: “Although unlike one another and procured from totally different sources possess in common prominent principles, and are not only almost identical in chemical composition, but also appear similar in physiological action.”
These statements, which are diametrically opposed to the present accepted facts concerning Coca, are not merely a variance of opinion among different observers, but are the careless continuance of early errors, and suggest the long dormant stage in which Coca has remained, and has consequently been falsely represented and taught through sources presumably authentic.
As may be inferred from its physiological action, Coca as a remedial agent is adapted to a wide sphere of usefulness, and if we accept the hypothesis that the influence of Coca is to free the blood from waste and to repair tissue, we have a ready explanation of its action.
Bartholow says: “It is probable that some of the constituents of Coca are utilized in the economy as food, and that the retardation of tissue-waste is not the sole reason why work may be done by its use which can not be done by the same person without it.”
Stockmann considers that the source of endurance from Coca can hardly depend solely upon the stimulation of the nervous system, but that there must at the same time be an economizing in the bodily exchange. An idea which is further confirmed by the total absence of emaciation or other injurious consequences in the Indians who constantly use Coca. He suggests that Coca may possibly diminish the consumption of carbohydrates by the muscles during exertion. If this is so, then less oxygen would be required, and there is an explanation of the influence of Coca in relieving breathlessness in ascending mountains.
Coca Leaf As A Safe And Effective Medical Treatment
Prominent in the application of Coca is its antagonism to the alcohol and opium habit. Freud, of Vienna, considers that Coca not only allays the craving for morphine, but that relapses do not occur. Coca certainly will check the muscle racking pains incidental to abandonment of opium by an habitué, and its use is well indicated in the condition following the abuse of alcohol when the stomach can not digest food. It not only allays the necessity for food, but removes the distressing nervous phenomena.
Dr. Bauduy, of St. Louis, early called the attention of the American Neurological Association to the efficiency of Coca in the treatment of melancholia, and the benefit of Coca in a long list of nervous or nerveless conditions has been extolled by a host of physicians.
Shoemaker, of Philadelphia, has advocated the external use of Coca in eczema, dermatitis, herpes, rosacea, urticaria and allied conditions where an application of the Fluid Extract of Coca one part to four of water lends a sedative action to the skin. The influence of Coca on the pulse and temperature has suggested its employment in collapse and weak heart as recommended by Da Costa, and it has been favorably employed to relieve dropsy depending on debility of the heart, and for uraemia and scanty secretion of urine. In seasickness Coca acts as a prophylactic as well as a remedy. Vomiting of pregnancy may be arrested by cocaine administered either bv the mouth or rectum.
In the debility of fevers Coca has been found especially serviceable, and in this connection Dr. A. R. Booth, of the Marine Hospital Service, at Shreveport, Louisiana, has written me that he considers cocaine one of the most valuable aids in the treatment of yellow fever. By controlling nausea and vomiting, as a cardiac stimulant, as a haemostatic when indicated, to hold in abeyance hunger, which at times would be intolerable but for the effect of cocaine. One who has seen a yellow fever stomach, especially from a subject who has died from “black vomit,” must have been impressed with the absolute impossibility of such an organ performing its physiological functions. Dr. Booth makes it an inflexible rule, never to allow a yellow fever patient food by the mouth until convalescence is well established. In cases of fine physique he has kept the patient without food for ten or twelve days, and in two cases fourteen and fifteen days respectively, solely by the judicious administration of cocaine in tablets by the mouth. Of two hundred and six cases of yellow fever treated in this manner there was not one relapse. A similar use is made of cocaine to abate the canine hunger of certain cases of epilepsy and insanity, as well as to appease thirst in diabetes.
The Peruvian Indians employ Coca to stimulate uterine contractions and regard it as a powerful aphrodisiac. Leopold Casper, of Berlin, considers Coca one of the best of genital tonics, and many modem observers concur in this opinion. Vecki says that cocaine internally to a man aged fifty-six invariably occasioned sexual excitement and cheerfulness. The Homœopaths who have long regarded Coca as a valuable remedy, employ Coca in sexual excesses, especially when dependent on onanism. Allen has given a “proving” of Coca that covers twelve pages, and Bering’s Materia Medica gives provings by twenty-four persons, and recommends Coca in troubles coming with a low state of the barometer.
Hempel says: “I have found a remarkable aversion to exertion of any kind in consequence of nervous exhaustion frequently relieved with great promptness by Coca.” But it is not my intention to here enumerate the various symptoms for which Coca is regarded as a specific. I have only space to briefly suggest its possible application as a remedy. A resume of the various conditions in which Coca has commonly been found serviceable, and its relative employment as classified from the experience of several hundred physicians, correspondents in this research, will be found tabulated in the appendix. Coca may be given in doses equivalent to one or two drachms of the leaves three or four times a day, either as an infusion or as a fluid extract or wine; the latter especially being serviceable for support in acute disease as well as an adjunct indicated in those conditions where its use may tend to maintain the balance of health.