"Your Guide to the Inca Empire"
About Peru History

Coca Plant

Coca Plant


The coca plant is one of the most misunderstood plants, most commonly known for being the plant which cocaine is derived from, it has the stereotype of being a dangerous plant. The first known documentation of the plant was in 1783, but it was not classified until 1786, where it was given the name Erythroxylum coca.



The coca leaf was used (and still is) by the Incas, Quechuas and many other Andean cultures. Many uses of the coca plants are valid and safe, they have been used by herbalists since discovered and in certain parts of south America, the plant still plays an important role in everyday life.

The Incas regarded coca as the divine plant, mainly because of its ability to confer resistance, and used it in every aspect of life and mythology of the Inca Empire. Millions have chewed coca on a daily basis and the practice has continued for hundreds of years. More than a habit, not because coca (the basis for cocaine) is a drug habit, but because it is part of the Andean culture.

Even today, distances are measured in cocadas - how far a load can be carried under the stimulus of one chew of coca plants. A mouthful of leaves is carefully chosen from an exquisitely woven coca bag or chuspa and lliptia is chewed with the leaves to liberate their active ingredients.

Coca's turning point in Europe came in 1860 when Albert Niemann extracted pure cocaine powder from coca leaves. American doctors learned of the pharmacological possibilities of coca and cocaine in the late 1870s and 1880. Articles in medical journals recommended cocaine as an all-purpose stimulant, a cure for depression, a specific for hay fever and asthma and other conditions.

Freud was a fervent supporter of the use of cocaine as an anti-depressant, even publishing a manuscript detailing its virtues, he began experimenting with cocaine at that time, consumed in small quantities to combat depression. Other European physicians also found cocaine to an effective local anesthetic.

This refinement allowed the use of cocaine in many different medicinal products and beverages, most notably Coca-Cola and Vin Mariani. As years went by and cocaine's popularity increased, health risks were noted and seized upon by American legislators, who made the substance illegal in 1916.

Peru Coca Plant Video






Related Information

Coca Plant
The coca plant is one of the most misunderstood plants, most commonly known for being the plant which cocaine is derived from, it has the stereotype of being a dangerous plant. The first known documentation of the plant was in 1783, but it was not classified until 1786, where it was given the name Erythroxylum coca.

Ayahuasca
The Amazon rainforest is a habitation for many different tribes; among them are the Amerindians of the Amazonia, Colombia. The Amerindians have sacred ritualistic brew they have created that is used for healing, call Ayahuasca.

San Pedro Cactus
San Pedro cactus is native from the Andes Mountains of Peru. It is mainly used with medicinal purposes and in shamanic healing ceremonies and religious divination in the Andes Mountains region for thousand of years.






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