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


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Does This Seem Familiar?

Do these two 19th Century French aperitif labels remind you of anything familiar?

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Like perhaps beautiful young people dancing among flowers on hillsides singing about  “The Real Thing”?

Happy 2016 – Really


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Poppy Juice, Synthetic Pills, & The Trap Of Addiction

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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How Coca Leaf Could Balance & Heal Our Gut Microbiome

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

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

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

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

Fast forward to today.

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Were All These People Insane, Or Are We Missing Something Important?

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Angelo Mariani was without doubt the most successful, and probably the most ethical of all of the 19th Century manufacturers of Coca Leaf-based tonics. Unlike most other manufacturers, of which there were hundreds in Europe and the US, he practiced strict quality control, even to the point of developing proprietary Coca plantations in Peru and Bolivia where his proprietary Coca Leaf was grown, harvested, processed and shipped to Europe under carefully controlled conditions.

In contrast most other tonic manufacturers used cheap, dried-out Coca Leaf scrap that was the reject of Coca harvests in Peru and Bolivia – literally the scrapings from the Coca Leaf processing floors in those countries. And reminiscent of the Cocaine trade today these unscrupulous manufacturers didn’t hesitate to adulterate their products with whatever cheap crap they thought they could get away with to bulk out their products.

In addition, the Bordeaux wine that he used as the base and Coca solvent for his tonic was sourced from several prominent French chateau producers, whereas other manufacturers who tried to copy Mariani’s success used the cheapest red swill they could obtain. Again, exactly the kind of behavior we see in 99% of today’s Cocaine (and Heroin) markets.

As a result Mariani’s tonic delivered the same quality medication to patients from one bottle to the next, and it was also pleasant-tasting, and because of these qualities it remained the premium Coca Leaf tonic on the market for decades both in Europe and North America.

Mariani’s attention to detail, and his energetic marketing, primarily through the publication of testimonials from prominent users of his products worldwide, were responsible for his life-long success and should be studied carefully by entrepreneurs in the Medical Marijuana space today.

In this post you’ll get a sense of how doctors and patients of the late 19th Century viewed Vin Mariani tonic. As you read through these excerpts from their correspondence to Mariani you have to ask yourself – were all these people simply idiots, or were they competent physicians and completely sane patients? It follows that if they were neither insane nor idiots, then perhaps the insane idiots are those who stand in the way of sick people having access to pure, natural Coca Leaf remedies today.

These remedies are certainly available (see this post on medicinal tonics being produced in Bolivia today), and given the outstanding economic success of Medical Marijuana in those US states where it is finally legal, you have to ask yourself “What are we waiting for? Why aren’t we growing Coca and producing Coca Leaf medicines in the US today?”

Here are a few of the testimonials from the files of Angelo Mariani:

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Meulan, March 17, 1874.
I wish to inform you that I have nothing but good results to report in all the cases in which I have employed the Vin Mariani in my practice. Yours, very respectfully,
DR. GASTOK MARCEL


Paris, May 12, 1874.
One of my patients, Lady Superior of a convent in the environs of Paris, affected with a profound anemia, which has resisted all treatment, and which, by the long use of iron and quinine, had become complicated with constipation and gastric disturbance, was relieved of the latter symptoms after twenty days’ treatment with Vin Mariani, and under the influence of this same medicine her anemia gradually lessened, and in the course of three months disappeared.
DR. LAVILLE.

10 Rue Castiglione, Paris.
Obliged by professional duties to be continually near sick people, who often do not leave me time to take my meals, I desired to experiment with Coca as an analeptic. My trials have been with Vin Mariani. and here is what I have found :

A Bordeaux-glass full of this wine has always sufficed to make me forget hunger and to sustain my strength. I felt a slight warmth and general toning up of the body; the digestion of the meal which followed was always more easy than when I had not taken the Mariani Wine, and, although I had not a sensation of voracious hunger as I had without it, I ate very well, the stomach appearing more robust and more active.
DR. CHAPUSOT.

La Porta, February 15, 1877.
Having had such splendid results in my practice with the Vin Mariani since a number of years, I counsel you to have your vrine tried in London and New York, for I am persuaded that in all the great centres, where tlio incessant occupation and the abnormal kind of life led there fatally engender anemia, Vin Mariani is able to render the greatest services.
DR. H. CONNEAU,
Member of The Academie de Médicine, formerly Chief Physician of Napoleon III. , Emperor of the French, Grand Officer of the Legion of Honor.

Paris, December, 15 1876.
Since some time I prescribe to my patients Vin Mariani, and, in the cases of gastric trouble and anemia, I have had nothing but praise for the results obtained.
DR. CABANELLAS.

M. Mariani, Paris : London.
Since using your wine my digestion is splendid and my strength is returning. Respectfully,
DR. DELFER.

Paris, January 25, 1876.
M. Mariani, Paris :
“Ne pigeat ex plebeis sciseltari si quid ad curationem utile,” said Hippocrates (in prœceptis), that is to say, let us not disdain popular remedies. It was with eagerness that I welcomed in my practice the Vin Mariani, based upon Peruvian Coca, a plant so popularly used in its native place. I have proved the efficacy of your preparation, which is at the same time useful and agreeable, in cases of nervous over-excitation with sleeplessness, of uni-lateral headaches, in throat diseases accompanied with pain, in spasms of the stomach with intense thirst, and sometimes in bilious vomiting. By re-establishing the digestive functions, Vin Mariani restores the general strength of the organism, and becomes a tonic without having the inconvenience of other medicaments, called tonics, which produce constipation. As the first of all therapeutical rules is, for me, the one well known since Hippocrates, which has been newly brought forward in our days by Hahnemann, under the formula — Similia similibus curantur, I think that the efficacy of Coca, in the affections I have just enumerated, is due to the application of the homœopathic law; and the well-known fact, that the natives deceive their hunger and; calm the cravings of their stomach by chewing and swallowing a substance which habitually increases the appetite, is a confirmation of my idea.
DR. CONQUERET.

New York, August 16, 1884.
I have prescribed the Mariani Wine extensively during the last year, and with very favorable results. Its tonic and stimulant properties are very marked, particularly as manifested in its action on the nervous and muscular systems. It is well borne by even delicate stomachs. In my experience the weaker and more delicate the subject, the more pronounced its action and the more permanent its effects. While not a universal panacea for all the ills of life, it is a very valuable therapeutic agent, and certainly possesses most of the properties claimed for it.
E. S. BATES, M.D.
161 E. 31st Street, New York.

New York, February 5, 1884.
Dear Sir : — I have examined morphologically your Mariani Wine, and also have tested it on patients, and I can cordially recommend it as being up to its standard, and of utility in cases where wine and Coca are indicated. Yours very truly,
EPHKAIM CUTTER, M.D.

Fayetteville, N. C, February 21, 1884.
Messrs. Mariani & Co., New York,
Dear Sirs : — I find Vin Mariani a most excellent – in fact, an indispensable – remedy in nervous debility. A patient of mine, a constant sufferer in this way, experiences immediate and absolute relief by the use of Mariani’s Wine, while nothing else affords him the least comfort. Your preparation of the diug cannot be too highly recommended.
Yours truly, H. W. LILLY, M.D.

London, November 9, 1882.
M. Mariani :
At the special recommendation of Dr. Lennox Browne, of London, I have tested carefully the Vin Mariani, and I recognize that its splendid effect upon the voice is extremely satisfactory, and almost instantaneous. For over two years I have tried it, ordering it to my pupils, both ladies and gentlemen, whom I had under my care for the development of the voice, and I have invariably remarked that, whenever they had any difficulty in singing or elocution, the Vin Mariani enabled them to continue the lesson, •which, without it, would have been utterly impossible. I have thus every reason to be glad that my attention was called to this remarkable preparation, and am convinced that all artists and orators will welcome it and be happy to adopt it.
PROFESSOR EMIL BEHNKE.

Brevooet House,
Fifth Avenue (near Washington Square),
New York, December 5, 188i
Messrs. Mariani & Co.,
19 E. 16th Street, New York,
Gentlemen : — Madame Valleria has desired me to state that she was greatly benefited by the using of your wine. Dr. Morell Mackenzie, of Harley Street, London, W., some years ago (three or four) recommended Madame Valleria in a similar instance to use your wine, and then, as now, she obtained instant and complete benefit from so doing, and, with compliments, I remain
Your obedient servant, R. H. PERCY HUTCHINSON.

Paris, December 2, 1880.
My Dear Sir: – Well ! yes; know it, and let me write it to you, though I have frequently told it you. Your Vin Mariani is indeed excellent, and equalled by nothing. I drink it, I absorb it, and so also does my family, and we are all deriving so much good from it that I shall never be without it. On my voice it acts like a charm. My friends and brother artists, to whom I have recommended it, drink it regularly and likewise speak in highest terms of the Vin Mariani, and I can only say I advise all artists to give it an experiment, and guarantee they will adopt its use and thank you for it, as I do with all my heart .
MELCHISSÉDEC,
Of the Opera.

Dear M. Mariani : Paris, November 12, 1881.

“Your wine indeed has again saved me! Upon my arrival at the opera and just before the commencement, when I was to sing, I found I had got a severe attack of aphonia, which has disappeared as if by enchantment after I had taken slowly a glassful of your wonderful Vin Mariani. It is to be hoped that all singers will become aware of and utilize the excellent properties of your preparation.

I have tried everything, and never have found anything like it. If the government understood all its duties, it would provide a certain quantity daily for the use of our corps of lyric artists— at all events for all the pupils pf the Conservatory of Music.
Gratefully, I am yours, VICTOR CAPOUL,
Of the Opera,

Fifth Avenue Hotel
Deae Doctor : August 24, 1884
We wish to pay a tribute to the excellence of the Mariani Wine. We invariably use it during our professional labors, and find it very efficient as a tonic which strengthens the vocal organs. We never travel without it, and thank you very much for recommending us to use it. Yours, etc.,
MR. & MRS. W. J. FLORENCE.

No. 21 Fifth Avenue,
New York, December 10, 1883.
Dear Sir: – I have had occasion to speak with many of my brother-artists of the Vin Mariani. Yesterday 1 was suffering with a lowering of the voice and determined to take this wine. Well, I can assure you that it gave me im- mediate relief, and that I shall always make use of this Vin Mariani on all occasions that I have any trouble with my voice. If 1 had a singing school, I should give to my pupils, as a specific for strengthening the vocal cords, this Mariani Wine. Accept my most sincere congratulations, and believe me,
Yours faithfully, GIUSEPPE DEL PUENTE.

220 W. 38th Steeet
March 20th, 1884.
My Dear Sir: – I desire to testify to the excellent effects of the Vin Mariani. Having been for months troubled with nervous prostration, I was delighted to find the wine a most strengthening tonic. It was prescribed for me by my physician. Recommending it heartily to all who all called upon to endure the fatigues of public life, I am, dear sir,
Very sincerely yours, HENRIETTA BEEBE.

New York, July 16, 1884.
Deae Sir :— I have often wished to express to you the wonderful results produced upon my voice by the use of the Vin Mariani, prescribed by my physician eighteen months ago. During my sojourn South I had occasion to use it many times, with marvellous results; when my voice was exhausted from excessive use and so hoarse that not one word out of ten was understood, I would take a sherry glass full of the Vin Mariani and captivate my audience by my full and brilliant voice, really astonishing myself thereby. It certainly is invaluable to vocalists and elocutionists— soothing irritation of the throat, and giving strength and brilliancy to the voice. Feeling deeply grateful, I am,
Most respectfully yours, MARG. BOULIGNY.

Messrs. Maeiani & Co., New York, December 16, 1883.
Gentlemen : — I have used your wine during several years, and have found it excellent. I am well satisfied with it, and cheerfully authorize you to use my name.
Very respectfully, E. FURSCH MADI.

Mariani & Co., Mystic Bridge, Ct., August 12, 1884.
Deae Sirs :— I have taken your Wine of Coca since July 24th, as directed by my physician. I am pleased to write you that I have been greatly benefited by it. My lungs are better, and my general health is in every way improving. I can safely recommend it to my friends as the best tonic I have ever taken. My home physician is so much pleased with the effect of the wine upon me that he has already sent to you for a dozen bottles.
Respectfully yours, FANNIE S. WILLIAMS.

St. James’ Hotel
Mariani & Co., N. Y. City, February 25, 1884.
19 East 16th Street, N. Y. City,
Gentlemen: – For several years I have been using various preparations of Coca, and within the last few months, having had my attention called to your Vin Tonique Mariani, have been using it. I think it by far superior to any that I have yet seen, and I have derived great benefit from its use. Judging it from my own experience, I can and do most heartily recommend it.
Yours, etc., EMORY A. STORRS,
Chicago.

Continental Hotel
Mariani & Co., N. Y., August 25, 1884.
Gentlemen: — It affords me great satisfaction to give you the result of my personal experience in the use of Vin Mariani. For the past three years I have, under the direction of my physician, relied upon it in serious emergencies of illness and overwork. It sustains vitality in conditions of extreme exhaustion, and restores strength more quickly than any other tonic I have used, never causing the least unpleasant reaction.

I have tested it during long journeys, under the pressure of continued physical and mental strain, and have found it unfailing in its good effects. Frequently, when in travelling I have been unable to obtain my regular food, a small quantity of Vin Mariani has afforded me satisfactory nourishment.

I am so convinced of its beneficial nature, that I have induced many of my friends to use it, and their experience coincides with mine.
Respectfully yours, JULIET CORSON.

(The following is from the eminent Professor J. M. Carnochan, M.D., of New York, Professor of Surgery, former Surgeon-in-Chief to the State Emigrants’ Hospital, Health Officer of the Port of New York, and one of the Commissioners of the Health Department of the City of New York, etc.)

M. Mariani, Paris : New Yoek, August 29, 1884.
I have for the last eight or ten years often recommended the Vin Mariani to patients laboring under abnormal conditions of the system, re- quiring a mild tonic and stimulating influence, with marked and excellent results. For convalescents, also, I consider it a very useful remedial agent.
J. M. CARNOCHAN, M.D.

Mr.. A. Mariani, Paris, October 19, 1880.
Dear Sir : — As a rule I object to having my name used as recommending any special preparation of a drug, for this very easily and frequently leads to abuse; but I am willing to make an exception in your case, and to express at your desire, in writing, my opinion of your Wine of Coca – an opinion with which you are personally well acquainted. Since my attention has been called to the good effects of your wine by Drs. Morell Mackenzie and Lennox Browne, of London, I have tried it myself, and have observed its use by Dr. Fauvel, in his clinique and in his private practice. There can be no doubt that, properly used, it is an excellent general tonic; that it has a special beneficial action upon the digestive and respiratory organs, and that, by its stimulation of the nervo-muscular system, it enables persons to undergo physical exertions to which, without it, they would at the time not be equal, and seemingly – certainly so far as I have been able to discover – without consequent reaction of over-fatigue. The latter effect I have particularly observed, as to vocal efforts, in the cases of speakers and singers.
DR. LOUIS ELSBERG, Of New York.

19 Harley Street, Cavendish Square, W.
London, July 6th, 1885
Gentlemen: – I have much pleasure in stating that I have used the Vin Mariani for many years, and consider it a valuable stimulant, particularly serviceable in the case of vocalists.
Yours faithfully,
MORELL MACKENZIE, M.D., London,
Consulting Physician to the Hospital for Diseases of the Throat; late Physician to the London Hospital.

Wiener K. K. Allgem. Krankenhaus
Vienna, July 20th, 1885. f
Messrs. Mariani & Co.
Dear Sirs : — I have used your Vin Mariani for the past three years, and have much pleasure in testifying to its many excellent qualities, combining as it does the well known constitutional effects of Cocaine with that of a mild stimulant exhibited in an acceptable form. Among the conditions in which I have found it of valuable service, I may mention in the debility occurring after prolonged illness – in Oedema of the Larynx accompanying albuminuria, in the slow convalescence after diphtheria, and especially in Graves’ disease, in which latter it not only acts as a cardiac sedative, but also diminishes the accompanying exophthalmos and laryngeal congestion.
I have the honor to be, Yours respectfully,
GEORGE W. MAJOR, B.A., M.D.,

Montreal, Canada.
Professor in Laryngology, McGill University, and Laryngologist and Rhinologist to Montreal General Hospital.
Saratoga Springs, July 20, 1885.
Gentlemen : — I have used the Vin Mariani in my practice quite largely for the last four years with most excellent results, and I consider it greatly superior to any other preparation in the market.
Very truly yours, CLINTON WAGNER, M.D.,

341 5th Avenue, New York.
New York, August 28th, 1883.
Gentlemen : — I have been acquainted with Mariani Wine for a considerable time, and have had occasion to recommend it frequently. I deem it a most excellent adjuvant in the class of cases to which it is recommended, and I hope in the future to still further demonstrate its usefulness.
Very respectfully,
WALTER R. GILLETTE, M.D.,
149 W. 23rd Street.

Utica, New York, July 17th, 1885.
My Dear Sirs : — I have used the Vin Mariani in many cases, and have had considerable experience with it. In my opinion it is the best preparation of Coca attainable, and can be relied upon in many conditions of debility and feeble heart action when this valuable drug is called for.
Very sincerely yours,
EDWIN HUTCHINSON, M.D.

Boston, December 15, 1884.
Messrs. Mariani & Co.: – Enclosed please find amount for two cases Vin Mariani, which please send by Adams’ Express. I use it in my own family. I have been more than pleased with its action, and consider it far ahead of any other preparation of coca, be they wines, fluid extracts, or elixirs. I have tried in my practice no less than six different preparations.
Yours very truly,
CHARLES G. BROOKS, M.D.

Hudson, New York.
Gentlemen : — Your Vin Mariani is giving excellent results. I am well pleased with its effects.
Yours truly,
C. P. COOK, M.D., Health Officer.

New York, June 24th, 1885.
Dear Sirs: — Permit me to say that I am, and have been for years past, using your preparations of Coca, and that I fully endorse all the views that I formerly expressed about them. They are the only preparations of Coca from which I can obtain any medicinal results, and necessarily I use them exclusively, and consider your wine superior to any other makes. Many thanks are due you for your excellent preparations, and I trust others will obtain as good results from them.
Very respectfully yours,
WILLIAM H. MORSE, M.D.,

153 East 77th Street.
Vicksburg, Miss.
Gentlemen : — The “Thé Mariani” is certainly a surprising invigorator. 1 am using it with great satisfaction in debilitated subjects. Were the several fluid extracts and preparations of Coca now on the market of better grade, Coca would hold the place it deserves. Yours is the only preparation I use with confidence. Very respectfully,
H. P. BRISBANE, M.D., Health Ofiicer.

Boston, Mass., October 3rd, 1885.
Dear Sirs: – My first acquaintance with the use of Vin Mariani was made in Paris, France, in the summer of 1880, when my attention was called to it by Dr. J, Marion Sims, who recommended it as a superior tonic for nervous prostration. I have continued to use it and prescribe it ever since with entire satisfaction. I prescribe your Elixir Mariani as a brain food, and as a stimulant to the nervo-muscular system it gives immediate and lasting effect. I also have used your “Thé Mariani” in sweetened milk, and think it excel- lent. I am so convinced of the beneficial effect of these preparations that I hardly know how I could practice without them in such cases.
I am, respectfully yours,
A. W. K. NEWTON, M.D.

Brooklyn, New York, June 23rd, 1885.
Gentlemen: – As regards your preparations of Coca, it gives me pleasure to say that at the present time I can obtain none which is so satisfactory as your Vin Mariani and your Thé. I have always found same uniformly excellent and reliable. My opinion of the value of Coca in general is so well known that I need not express it.
Respectfully yours,
W. S. SEARLE, M.D.
Health Department, Sanitary Bureau,

New York, October 3rd, 1885.
Mariani & Co.
Gentlemen: – I have frequently prescribed your Vin Mariani, and am familiar with its merits. I have, however, never seen any of your other preparations of Coca, and would be indebted to you for samples you so kindly offered. If they are up to the standard of your wine, you deserve to reap great rewards for devising and introducing them.
Very truly yours,
CYRUS EDSON, M.D.

New York, September 14th, 1883.
Dear Sirs: – I have used your Vin Mariani with decided benefits. Of the many preparations of Coca I find the Mariani wine the best, and I have tried many of the others. It produces an immediate tonic effect, and the improvement is lasting. I have ordered it for many of my patients, and it has not disappointed me.
Very truly yours,
S. A. FOSTER, M.D.

Augusta, Ga., January 13th, 1885.
Gentlemen: — I have been prescribing your Vin Mariaiii for some time, and with entire satisfaction. I am just recovering from an attack of diphtheria, which 1 contracted from a patient, and on account of my extreme debility I took your wine and have finished the fourth bottle, and can say I am a new creature since I commenced it, and certainly shall continue taking it for some time. Without doubt it is the greatest tonic ever made, and I am prescribing it every day.
Very truly yours.
E. C. GOODRICH, M.D.

Yonkers, New York, May 6, 1884.
Dear Sirs : — When in Paris I heard of the Vin Mariani, and the good results from using the same, particularly in the treatment of certain obscure nervous diseases. Since my return home I have advised in quite a number of these nervous cases the taking of the Vin Mariani, and with most favorable results. Am pleased to say that the Vin Mariani continues its reputation, and is growing in favor.
Yours respectfully,
GEO. B. UPHAM, M.D.

Amherst, N. H., November 12th, 1884.
Gentlemen: – I had occasion many times to use the Vin Mariani in my practice, and found it the most elegant and efficacious preparation of Coca. It entirely covers and conceals the rather disagreeable taste of the drug, and in my estimation the wine itself is a most happy adjunct to the Coca, in that the alcohol therein contained quickens the absorption of it into the circulation, and, with the essential ether of the wine, adds to the strength-giving properties of the Coca. I consider that the Vin Mariani has saved my wife from sickness, which would have resulted from the breaking down of her nervous system. I have every reason to congratulate myself on the marked effect which the Vin Mariani has upon her. I am glad to recommend it as a superior preparation.
Yours, etc.,
HERBERT D. HICKS, M.D.

From Columbus Medical Journal:
“Cocaine in Headache.”
We received several months ago a supply of the justly celebrated Vin Mariani, with the request that we use it personally for the relief of headache – which is the bane of our life. This wine has for its active ingredient a concentrated extract of the leaves of Erythroxylon Coca – the plant from which the new anӕsthetic is obtained. Each wine-glassful contains the equivalent of about 30 grains of the leaves. Although we have used the Vin only when we felt the attack coming on, it has uniformly aborted the attack promptly and thoroughly. We have used it with others, and with essentially the same success. We have also prescribed it as a tonic in dyspepsia and nervous prostration, and with excellent results.”— J. F. Baldwin, M.D., Editor.


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Essential Differences Between Coca & Cocaine

It has been a while since I have posted selections from the Coca Leaf literature of the 19th Century, and I thought that readers of this blog might enjoy browsing some more of the insightful observations of Dr. Golden Mortimer and others on the topic of Coca leaf vs. Cocaine. 

Dr. Mortimer was acutely aware of the controversy regarding the potential dangers of the newly discovered alkaloid Cocaine, as well as the widely accepted efficacy of natural Coca Leaf in the treatment of a wide range of diseases and conditions.

The following comments will give the reader a good perspective on the thinking among physicians of the day on this subject. For more depth see Coca Leaf Papers.

“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.”


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Coca Leaf, Hashish, & Poppy Juice – A Perspective From 1871

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Just as Coca Leaf was rather deliberately turned into the plague of Cocaine, the natural juice of the Opium Poppy was quite purposefully turned into the plague of morphine and heroin. But this wasn’t because people were growing their own Coca plants and Poppies and then setting up labs to convert their garden’s production into high powered toxic drugs that they used to addict little kiddos at the neighborhood playground. It was because the same commercial and political interests that profit today from the “War On Drugs” were around centuries ago profiting from taking pure, natural drugs like Coca leaf and Poppy juice and finding ways to make them irresistibly addictive in order to grow more rich and more powerful at the expense of millions of destroyed lives.

So as long as I have my wits about me – and at my age that is always an iffy proposition – I intend to keep speaking out on what I think is one of the great travesties in history which is the fear and loathing that established powers-that-be feel toward anything that is free and natural and potent and creates happiness and a desire for freedom from oppression. The withered souls that inhabit the halls of power, whether political, religious, corporate or inherited wealth have always opposed even the slightest degree of freedom for the People and have given way only inch by inch, and that grudgingly, as awareness of their evil game has increased over the years.

My hope is to move that frontier forward an inch or two by these efforts. Please join me any way that you can.

Opium And The Opium-Appetite: With Notices Of Alcoholic Beverages, Cannabis Indica, Tobacco And Coca, Coffee And Tea, And Their Hygienic Aspects and Pathologies Related By Alonzo Calkins, MD 1871

Chapter XXV: Opium And Cannabis Indica Contrasted

“Fallax Herba veneni.” – Virgil.

“That juice – the bane, And blessing of man’s heart and brain – That draught of sorcery, which brings Phantoms of fair forbidden things.” – Moore

The authorities upon Cannabis besides those to be specified are Rhases, Kaempfer, D’Herbelot, Herault, Mantegazza, and others. The solid extract (which is procured from the summitates of the herb) is called Hashisch in Arabia, Gunjah and Chumts in India (where it is also familiarly known as the “Herbe des Fakirs”), Bust or Shoera in Egypt, El Mogen by the Moors, and among the Hottentots Dacha or Dagga (Von Bibra). Bangue (Bang) or Bendji is the spirituous extract.

Cannabis as a stimulating narcotic has for some centuries at the shortest been known and familiarly used in India, Persia, Bokhara, and other countries, and in some of the Islands. In Egypt, particularly among the lower orders, it takes precedence of opium, and is chewed or sometimes smoked from the gozeh (Lane). Bhang – the more active preparation – is conspicuous for its inebriative and delirative operation.

The Massagetce (as is related by Herodotus), a people on the Araxes, had a seed (conjectured to have been this same seed of Indian Hemp or perhaps of the Datura), which thrown upon hot stones sent forth a vapor that excited boisterous mirth and shout- ing. Davis the navigator on visiting Sumatra found such a seed, a little only of which being eaten gave to every object a metamorphosed appearance and turned the man for the time into a fool. Dampier observed among the natives of this island an herb which produced exhilaration and then stupefaction, making the eater lively or dull, witty or foolish, or merry or sad, according to the predominant temperament.

Hashisch far surpasses opium in relative power. A dose of twenty centigrammes of the resinoid repeated three or four times shows activity in half an hour, but the full effect is not attained short of three times this space. The duration of action is three to four hours (Steeze of Bucharest). Irregularity and uncertainty in action are doubtless to be ascribed to adulteration (Schroff).

The full impression once produced the brain is speedily affected with a sensation of extraordinary elasticity and lightness and the senses become wondrously acute, a tingling as from an electric shock is felt shooting from the spinal centre to the periphery of the body, the vault of the cranium is lifted off as it were by the expansive force within, the skull seeming as if enlarged to the dimensions of a colossus; and now with one impetuous rebound the experimenter rises above this low commonplace of terrene existence to soar in a purer ether above.

If still conscious of a lingering upon the confines of earth he sways himself along in a balancing gait as though he were under a sort of ivresse. External impressions as from the pricking of a pin or a stroke from the hand may perchance pass unheeded. Objects in the immediate range seem invested with an unwonted splendor, human faces take on a seraphic lustre, and the man for the time feels himself to be possessed of the power of ubiquity. According to the varying humor things around may seem to have assumed a fantastic dress, when peals of laughter will break forth; or suddenly a change will have come over the spirit, when under the impressions produced by lugubrious images and depressing apprehensions the mind will be wrapped in cloudiness and gloom (Polli).

The appetite is assisted by moderate doses but made ravenous for the time by large ones, and the digestive function is correspondingly aroused while constipation is obviated, and the various secernent processes go on in their normal way (Dr. Teste). Not until after long-continued and excessive use does appetite decline, as is observable of the Arabs, says Auber, who finally get fleshless and withered as the general tendency to decay becomes more distinct and progressive.

An excessive dose hinders the approach of sleep; a moderate one brings on a sopor speedy and irresistible. This sleep may be profound and stertorous, or it may partake more of the dreaminess of ecstasy. In the story of Mahmoud lord of the Black Isles, the wife, to cover up her absence for the night, administers just before going out a powder that soporizes him immediately and effectually for the time, or until she shall return again to awaken him with a perfume placed under the nostrils.

This powder there is reason for believing was some preparation (simple or compounded) of the hemp. In another of the stories of the “Nights,” that of the Jew Physician, is a similar incident described. So the chamberlain of Ala-ed-Deen is suddenly thrown into a profound sleep by the use of a powder which Ahmed Kamakim an arch-thief throws upon his face. Unlike that after the opium-sleep, the sensation on awaking is one of refreshing.

The mental condition is an ideal existence, the most vivid, the most fascinating. Time and space both seem to have expanded by an enormous magnification; pigmies have swelled to giants, mountains have grown out of molehills, days have enlarged to years and ages. De Moria in wending his way one evening to the opera house, seemed to himself to have been three years in traversing the corridor. De Saulcy having once fallen into a state of insensibility following upon incoherent dreamings, fancied he had lived meanwhile a hundred years. Rapidity as well as intensity of thought is a noticeable phenomenon. De Lucca after swallowing a dose of the paste saw as in a flitting panorama the various events of his entire life all proceeding in orderly succession, though he was powerless in the attempt to arrest and detain a single one of them for a more deliberate con- templation. Memory is sometimes very singularly modified nevertheless, there being perhaps a forgetfulness not of the object but of its name proper, or the series of events that transpired during the paroxysm may have passed away into a total oblivion.

The normal mental condition is that of an exuberant enjoyance rather than the opposite, that of melancholy and depression, though the transition from the one state to the other may be as extreme as it is swift. Oftener the subject is kept revolving in a delirious whirl of hallucinatory emotions, when images the most grotesque and illusions the drollest and most fantastic crowd along, one upon another, with a celerity almost transcending thought (Mirza Abdul Roussac).

Command over the will is maintainable, but temporarily only. As self-control declines the mind is swayed by the mere fortuitous vagaries of the fancy; and now it is that the dominant characteristic or mental proclivity has its real apocalypsis. The outward expression may reveal itself under a show of complacency and contentment in view of things around, or suspicion, distrust, and querulousness of disposition may work to the surface, or maybe a lordly hauteur that exacts an unquestioning homage from the “profanum vulgus” by virtue of an affected superiority over common mortals, is the ruling idea of the hour; or peradventure the erotic impulses may for the time overshadow and disguise all others.

Amid the ever-shifting spectacular scene the sense of personal identity is never perhaps entirely lost, but there does arise in very rare instances the notion of a duality of existence; not the Persian idea precisely, that of two souls occupying one and the same body in a joint-stock association as it were (the doctrine as alluded to by Xenophon in the story of the beautiful Panthea), but rather the idea of one and the same, soul in duplication or bipartition else, and present in two bodies.

The rapturous deliglits inspired by the beatific visions thus find expression in an exclamation of an aged Brahmin: “O sahib, sahib, you can never know what perfect pleasure is until you see as I have seen and feel as I have felt – spectacles the most gorgeous, perfumes the most delicious, music the most transporting and bewildering.”

The inspiration of the Pythian priestess at Delphi has been attributed to opium and again to hashisch, and not unlikely both conspired to the effect. This improvisatore power was amusingly developed one day in a pupil of Dr. O’Shaughnessy’s, upon a trial of ten minims of the tincture. The young man in the ecstasy of the excitement assumed the airs and language of an Indian rajah, talking learnedly and haranguing with great volubility in a lively display of brilliant fancy and logical acuteness, to the admiration of friends no less than to his own astonishment as subsequently felt (for the recollection of his scenic personations survived the performance), inasmuch as a habitual taciturnity and an unostenta tious carriage were so congenial and habitual to the young man. The paroxysm having lasted six hours, a retransformation occurring somewhat suddenly was complete nevertheless.

Note. In a Prize-essay lately read before the American Philosophical Society by H. C. Wood, M.D., the Professor records an experimentation with somewhat unexpected results, as conducted upon himself. The preparation used was an extract made from Kentucky hemp, in quantity about half a drachm. The effect, which began in three hours, lasted into the following day. At midnight a profound sleep had come over him, and in the hours of waking there was noted an anaesthesia affecting the entire skin. The characteristic expansion of time and space was a conspicuous symptom. Mental action as an effect of volitional effort was mostly restrained, from the embar- rassment experienced in attempts towards a concentration of the thoughts. A sense of impending death besides hung over him at intervals. In a student who experimented with a grain dose, there was developed a hilarious excitement simply, with a sexual erethism ensuing which did not relax short of three days. This scientific paper (the first contribution of the kind to the medical literature of America) should command the attention of the Profession.

This singular excitant, extensively known in the age of the Crusades appears to have been used by the Saracens for a double purpose, to kindle up the ardor of the soldier against the Paynim, and in larger dose to beguile his adversary into a careless security and so to facilitate the stealthy use of the poignard. In the neighborhood of Mount Libanus there existed from the beginning of the twelfth century for about one hundred and fifty years a military organization, made up for the most part of rude hordes gathered out of the tribes of Kurdistan. Ishmaelitish by genealogy, vindictive in their passions and implacable in their resentments, while professing fealty to the Crescent they campaigned oftener in reality, “their hand being against every man and every man’s hand being against them. Their generalissimo was known as “Le Vieux de la Montagne” (Von Hammer).

At Allamut and Massiat were their famed gardens, secluded by high walls from the vulgar gaze but within adorned with every decoration and luxury that could entrance the vision and capti- vate appetite; and here presided girls of enchanting beauty and ravishing seductiveness, the houris of the scene. Into this “outer court of the temple,” the youthful aspirant to the honor of a matriculatory membership having been previously drugged with hashisch, was mysteriously conveyed, here to breathe the balmy airs of a terrestrial paradise, introductory to the solemn oath of covenant which at once exacted entire and unquestioning obedience and which denounced an abjuration on peril of life.

Such were the Herb-eating Assassins, the “Hashasheen” (De Sacy). A final dispersion was carried out by the victorious sword of Hulakii, when Aldjebal, Khalif of Baldrach, after sustaining a siege of three years was shut up in a tower by Ulau, there to perish in his solitude by a lingering death (Benjamin of Tudela).

Hashisch, more energetic in action than opium, is in comparison prematurely exhaustive also. Rapid deterioration of the physical forces is to be expected, and as is thought a determination towards phthisis may be established. The ultimate mental condition is that of dementia. The santons (holy men) of Egypt, those distinguished objects of popular veneration in their wanderings from town to town, are living illustrations of this degenerescence, in their corporeal as well as in their mental decay.

Quite unlike opium in one characteristic, hashisch is a powerful aphrodisiac (O’Shaughnessy), ranking second on the list perhaps, or after arsenic. The power of the latter indeed appears remarkable. In the Edinburgh Medical and Surgical Journal is a case from Dr. Parker, that of a young man thirty years old at his death, who began the use at the age of four. A double effect ensued, a prodigious development of the sexual organs in size, and a proportionate exaltation of function amounting to an impetuous and uncontrollable salacity.

Deleterious as is hashisch in the ordinary habitual use, it may be counteracted or neutralized very effectually for the time by the free use of lemon-juice. Dr. Castelnuovo a resident in the country for thirty years observes, that the people of Tunis understand the secret thoroughly and avail themselves habitually of the benefits.

Bearing an analogy to the poppy from their more intimate relationship to cannabis are Hyoscyamus, Belladonna, and the Datura family. The first – reckoned by Von Hammer to have been identical in origin with the bendji – produces giddiness and stupidity. Belladonna, that “insane root that takes the reason prisoner” (rather is it one out of a number of such), excites delirium and the risus sardonicus (Ray).

The pathologic mental phasis is described by Winslow as a species of “hallucination without fantasia,” i.e. a metamorphosis of things actual in idea rather than a display of mere fanciful creations without analogies in natural things. A pathologic condition has been remarked simulating delirium tremens. The recollection of past phenomena is found to have been obliterated “at once and irrecoverably.”

Datura brings spectral illusions, but leaves a persistent, perhaps incurable stupidity. A singular effect wrought upon the memory is in the interchanging of the names of objects, there being at the same time a conscious perception of the incongruities. The daturas possess strong erotic powers, and a species is used in India by courtesans upon themselves and for the benefit of their visiting friends. The cordial sometimes made by digesting the seeds in wine is especially dangerous to the sex by a double action, exciting physical desire most actively for the time and making the subject oblivious altogether of any faux-pas adventures hazarded


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Coca Leaf & Chronic Low-Level Whole Body Inflammation

                                   Tea Time!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Coca Leaf For Rheumatism – Bolivia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Abstract (Excerpts)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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