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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The Real Power Behind the Coca Leaf

The sacred is divine!

Secret Ingredient in the Leaf

Cocaine is a central nervous system stimulant. The classification of central nervous stimulants spans many substances, including Ritalin, caffeine, nicotine and the highly dangerous cocaine hydrochloride.

Central nervous system stimulants increase motor activity, heart rate, respiration and mental activity.

Cocaine is the most infamous and culturally enduring central nervous system stimulant. It is available in forms that are can be snorted, injected and smoked. All these forms of cocaine come from the same source –the coca leaves from the coca shrubs found in Central and South America.


In earlier ages, the coca leaves were chewed by the Incas. The indigenous leaves provided energy and vitamins for the hard working people while the rest of the world lived in blissful ignorance of the true power of these leaves.

The Spanish became somewhat interested in the leaves during their conquest of the Incas people and eventually decided it was best to let the Incas chew their coca, because it kept them working. However, the early history of the coca leaves is relatively quiet and uneventful. No one could know at the time, what impact the leaves from a plant would eventually have in later times with more “civilized” peoples.

In the late 1800s coca leaf use became a bit more eventful when cocaine was created through an extraction and chemical process.

Two European researchers of the day, Sigmund Freud, the father of psychiatry and surgical pioneer, William Halsted became addicted.Working on opposite sides of the channel, both gave the same reason for their use of the drug- they wanted to research its therapeutic value for patients.Freud thought it was the cure for opiate addiction and depression and Halstad thought it was the new wonder drug to replace the current anesthetics in use. Both had accurately assessed problematic clinical situations, but the cocaine “cure” they forwarded through self-experimentation created new clinical problems.Cocaine turned out to be the proverbial cure that could kill the patient. Both became addicted to the point where their careers were temporarily affected.

Up until the early part of the 1900s, too many people thought cocaine might fix their problems and the attendant addiction cases caught the attention of the United States Congress. Cocaine became a controlled substance through the Harrison Narcotics act of 1914.

Modern History

This cocaine era came and went with a little turmoil, but nothing like the world would see in the 70s and 80s.

These same leaves that the Incas had chewed in an effort to get more work done had been turned into a product that had Miami in turmoil in the 70s. July 11, 1979 was described as one of the most violent days in United States history, described as making 1930s Al Capone Chicago look like a “Church Sunday Picnic.”

It was the event that the war on drugs as declared by Nixon became a real war. This was the day that President Regan called out the troops.

The day was infamously known as the Dadeland Massacre. On that day, the “Godmother of cocaine” Griselda Blanco ordered hits on rival dealers. The massacre occurred, first in the Crown Liquor Store where the targeted rivals were killed and continued in the parking lot as the shooters continued to fire, killing public.

This set off the chain of events known as the “cocaine wars”.

The leaf of a plant from South America had transformed Miami from a retirement – vacation paradise to the drug capital of the world and the most dangerous city in which to live.

The Politics of Cocaine

The next two decades found unrest and confusing political circumstances surrounding cocaine in countries like Mexico, Honduras, Panama, Columbia, Nicaragua and Peru. These countries fed the large American appetite for cocaine and there was plenty of money involved. The American government never seemed to be able to stop the cocaine from coming and was often accused of being in cahoots with the drug trade of these countries through CIA connections and shenanigans. The United States supplied arms and money to South American contras and through some back doors these actions seemed to be fueling the cocaine trade. The explanations were confusing and Americans probably didn’t really understand what was going on. South American governments and United States politicians were blamed but the end users kept partying and spending the big bucks . They are the ones that kept the cocaine “wars” fueled and the American emergency rooms hopping with overdoses.

The Nature of the Beast

'Cocaine Hydro-Chloride' is highly addictive. If governments and dealers can’t manage to control the flow of cocaine and it is available, then the market will do nothing but rise as the users themselves usually cannot control their cravings.

Individuals develop a tolerance to the pleasurable effects of cocaine quickly. In other words, it takes more and more of the drug to create the pleasurable effects that occurred with the first usage. Overdose is common because it takes more to get to that high and the crash of withdrawal can be unpleasant. Withdrawal includes restlessness, depression, malaise, bad dreams, fatigue and a general slowing down. These are not always overtly demonstrated and often it appears that a cocaine abuser is simply just sleeping a lot. Because it is not accompanied by the severe body reactions that accompany opiate withdrawal the power of the addictive quality of cocaine can be under estimated. However, many addicts will and have done almost anything to get that next fix. This addictive quality, more than the guns of the gangs in Miami, is the real power behind the money that had some politicians licking their lips and others looking away.

And the real weakness behind the inability to control the flow of this drug is an ethics matter. The coca leaf has innocently been growing for centuries, unchanged in character. It is man and his culture that has allowed this leaf’s power to travel the planet, start gang wars, fill emergency rooms and sent some of the best to their graves.

It is true that statistics tend to indicate that cocaine abuse is on the decline. However, until the real cultural problem is addressed and there is money to be made it is unlikely that the problem of the coca leaf will ever go away.

This post was written by Matt Hawk. Matt is dedicated to helping people understand the dangers of drugs, and helping those who have faced those dangers get into recovery. Matt writes for the Narconon Rehab network. Originally posted at WiseHealth-Edu

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Coca Leaf is a Natural Remedy and Superfood

How Coca Leaf Became Colombia’s New Superfood

Repost of article from Vice Munchies by Vice Contributor, Ocean Malandra

No other plant in human history has been as demonized as much as coca.

In 1961, it was placed on the Schedule I list at the United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, which stated that “The Parties shall so far as possible enforce the uprooting of all coca bushes which grow wild. They shall destroy the coca bushes if illegally cultivated.” The plant has been public enemy number one in the worldwide War on Drugs for decades.

While countries like Peru and Bolivia have fought back against the culturally myopic and violently neo-colonial enforcement of these laws, eventually legalizing the plant in their respective countries and even petitioning the UN to change its views worldwide, Colombia has historically played along. Although it has always honored the rights of indigenous groups to grow and use coca, for decades Colombia has allowed the US to aerially spray pesticides on its crops and fund violent military maneuvers in many of its prime coca-growing regions.

But when the World Health Organization announced last year that the Monsanto-made pesticide, glyphosate, was actually highly carcinogenic, Colombia’s days of kissing America’s ass came to a screeching halt. In an abrupt turnaround, Colombia’s president Juan Manuel Santos is now challenging the War on Drugs in its entirety; this a reflection of the national psyche of a country that has borne the brunt of failed policies for far too long and is ready for real change.

New Embassy in Colombia

Nowhere is that change more evident than on the streets of Bogotá, the country’s hip, two-mile-high capital. At new businesses like the Embajada de la Coca (The Coca Embassy) the green leaf is being restored to its rightful place as a powerful medicinal plant and super-nutrient that should be revered instead of reviled.

“We are trying to promote the proper use of this plant, as it has been perverted for centuries, and show how it is actually used as indigenous tradition,” says Ximena Robayo, who runs the restaurant/cafĂ©/health food store in the heart of the city’s bohemian La Candelaria district.

“What is beginning to happen now is that beyond the traditional indigenous use of coca, we are now implementing projects in which the leaf is organically cultivated for food for everyone.”

Coca is a Superfood

Ximena stocks coca products right alongside other traditional Andean superfoods like maca and quinoa. All are highly nutritious plants that were cultivated by the ancient civilizations that made this extensive mountain range, the second highest in the world after the Himalayas, their home.

Besides chewing the leaves of coca, or brewing them into a tea, a wide variety of cooked and baked goods and dishes can be made with coca by grinding the leaves into a flour, called harina. This harina can also be stirred into juices, blended in smoothies, and used to make green drinks of all types.

One of the Embajada de la Coca’s house specialties is the coca crepe, which Ximena prepares in the small back kitchen. After mixing the harina de coca into a batter of quinoa flour, she gently spreads out the crepe in the saucepan before adding your choice of ingredients: fresh veggies or curried chicken.

The result is a tasty, if deeply green, lunch dish that not only packs a powerful nutritional punch, but gives you a real shot of energy that lasts the rest of the afternoon.

“The use of the leaf as flour gives us a different way to use it as medicine,” Ximena explains, “since in food it can be prepared as a variety of plates that have the same nutritional properties.”

Coca is Nutrition

And in fact, the last in-depth exploration of coca leaf’s nutritional properties, which was conducted at Harvard University in 1975 before further studies were banned, found it to be a vitamin- and mineral-packed powerhouse without rival.

According to the Harvard study’s author, world renowned ethnobotanist Professor James A. Duke, coca leaves are not only higher in protein, iron, vitamin A, fiber, riboflavin, phosphorus, and calories than the 50 other vegetable foods they were compared against, but at over 2,000 milligrams per 100 grams, they contain more calcium than any other item on the entire INCAP Food Composition Table—the international nutritional database of food.

This helps explain coca’s reputation as the “plant of immortality” in the Andean region, as calcium is known to ward of many degenerative diseases that affect the aging population, including osteoporosis.

In fact, the oldest living human being ever documented, a Bolivian man who lived to be 123 years old, chewed coca leaf all day long, every single day of his life.

Consuming the coca leaf in food, as in a tasty little alfajor pastry that goes down quite nicely with a coca leaf tea, for example, not only ups your intake of important nutrients, it also provides an energetic boost to both body and brain due to the presence of cocaine—just one of the dozen or so alkaloids that the coca leaf contains.

There are no known cases of coca leaf intoxication when used in its natural organic state.None!

To really catch a buzz, however, you need to chew the leaf with a bit of something alkaline to activate and extract the alkaloids. In countries like Bolivia and Peru, coca chewers use a substance known as llipta, which is made from the ashes of leaves or bark mixed with mint leaves or stevia. In Colombia, the traditional activator is cal, a powder made from pulverized sea shells.

In a pinch, you can always use good old baking soda.

“We believe that in the future the leaf will take its traditional place as a food and medicine for the people,” Ximena explains, holding a bottle of coca leaf-infused rum up for inspection. “Colombia is quickly waking up to the power of this legacy and we hope the rest of the world will, too.

“The eradication of coca as a strategy strongly promoted by the governments of Colombia and the United States as part of its ‘War Against Drugs’ is dying ,” she says. “And it’s about time.”

“Now that the coca eradication taking place in the growing regions of Colombia have become intensely controversial because of their socioeconomic and environmental impacts, we have an opportune moment,” says Ximena. “We can become like Bolivia, where coca cultivation is promoted by the government of President Evo Morales.”

With its incredible health-promoting properties still being discovered, coca’s introduction to the mainstream culture of Colombia—the most populous and urbanized of the Andean countries—seems to be inevitable at this point. That’s a cause to celebrate for anyone who has tasted one of Ximena’s bomb coca alfajores.

The next step is for the US and the rest of the world to wake up and acknowledge that coca is a sacred medicine and powerful superfood that could contribute greatly to overcoming malnutrition in the world.

Unfortunately, that awakening might take a while.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

New Coca Tea Product to be Marketed Internationally

New Direction, Motive and Inspiration for the Coca Tea Company

Image of indigenous man drinking coca tea.
Coca Tea Company logo concept. ©William Trabacilo 2015
When I began the Coca Tea Company in Caracas, Venezuela selling a special coca leaf tea to local people and tourists that I would ever make much more than a decent living there from it. I never imagined people would contact me online and request our product from 38 different countries.

Unfortunately we stopped selling our product "Triple 3x Coca Tea" in December 2013, and then finally officially in March of 2014 we closed the Coca Tea Company (CocaVen) in Caracas, Venezuela after double digit (90%) inflation, currency devaluation, and my political illegal deportation for being a 'gringo' further made it impossible for us to continue business there. Since then I have been living as a tourist in exile away from my residence and family in Venezuela working with Globcal International. Some of my colleagues currently sell a similar tea beverage informally.

Traveling in Exile with Coca on my Mind

My journeys and travels have brought me to meet traditionalists in remote rural communities, street vendors, and indigenous peoples in Canada, Mexico, Belize and Guatemala while working with Globcal International. These experiences opened new doors of understanding relative to culture, tradition and further developed my personal interests of shamanism, good health, medicinal plants, business, and tea making. These travels have also given me time to contemplate and compound new business ideas based on my discoveries, enlightenment, and acquiring new perspectives internationally.

In Mexico, Guatemala, and Belize my personal interests paid-off as I was introduced to new economic markets, new medicinal plants, new processes, and also managed to develop a network of collectors and producers of natural products. Now today producers and others contact me as I continue to build a network based my special interests in bromatology, ethnobotany, and ethnomedicine online.

Most important is that I have kept up with my friends and colleagues while travelling becoming indisposed by using Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter, and other friendly computer networks. So now thanks to that constant contact and letting people see into the reality of my life I have been able to develop new appealing community based ideas that include all of them and keep all my dreams alive. Lots of very special people have given me great advice and assistance.

A New Tea and Infusion Business

We (my friends and I, from CocaVen), will begin making the special coca tea product we were so successful with from 2011-2013 beginning again this year sometime by mid-2015 for the international market; however to do it we need to develop an open-minded liberal forum of supportive people through the social networks, at least as liberal and supportive as the wonderful people of Caracas were toward our efforts there. To accomplish this we are attempting to establish our new logistical operations office internationally in the Netherlands with our production based in Bolivia through a crowdsourcing effort beginning this summer as a formal start-up.

We are achieving our infrastructure by getting special cooperative development assistance from Globcal International and Ecology Crossroads Cooperative Foundation in the United States to help establish an international foundation and endowment fund from which to operate our international cooperative coca tea business. We will be specializing in the production and development of traditional, nutritious, and medicinal infusions from cultures around the world. It is our understanding that we will be able to ship the special produced tea anywhere on the planet for private consumption as medicine and as a nutritional supplement drink.

Its been a fun and exciting time getting here, now we are looking forward to producing our special coca leaf tea 'super-energy, super-medicinal' formula beverage for others to enjoy as well as the new products we have developed for introduction. If you are interested in our coca tea or the other products we will be producing please follow our updates as @CocaTeaCo and @InfusionCulture. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Why Coca Leaf Should be Available as a Recreational Drug

Observations on Consciousness Alteration

Why Coca Leaf Should be Available as a Recreational Drug

Article by Andrew T. Weil, M.D. Journal of Psychedelic Drugs 9(1), Jan-Mar 1977: 75-78.

With marijuana decriminalization well underway, pressure is now mounting for reform of laws against the private, recreational use of cocaine, and there is even growing support from respectable persons and institutions for the legalization of heroin. It is no longer fanciful to envision an end to the entire structure of control of drugs by means of the criminal law.

Of course, the folly of this system has long been evident to those who would see it. Laws against the possession and use of psychoactive drugs have never worked; in fact, they are always counterproductive, worsening the very situations they aim to improve. Society's attempts to control cocaine provide an illuminating model of this counter productivity.

Coca leaf was a sacred and revered substance in the ancient Incan empire, and its use was an integral element of the fabric of society. Use of the leaf was restricted to certain classes and purposes and was regulated by a system of social controls accepted by all (Mortimer 1974; Grinspoon & Bakalar 1976). The Spanish destroyed this system when they conquered Peru. As a result , coca use spread throughout the native population and lost its sacred character.

After a brief attempt to eradicate coca chewing as a satanic vice, the new Spanish authorities decided to allow it as a means of getting more work out of Indians. Most of the conquerors had low opinions of the Indians and did not believe their tales of wonderful effects of the divine leaf. Those Europeans who condescended to try coca often did not feel anything from it, possibly because they did not bother to learn the art of chewing it in the Indian manner and possibly because they approached it with a negative set (Mortimer 1974; Grinspoon & Bakalar 1976).

By the late 1800's, when Europeans finally did wake up to the real virtues of coca, they tried to incorporate it into their medicine, mostly in the form of alcoholic tonics and wines containing extracts of the leaf. The most famous of these tonics was Vin Mariani a la Coca du Perou (Mariani 1896; Andrews & Solomon 1975; Mortimer 1974; Groff 1975). But by this time, a German chemist, Albert Niemann, had isolated cocaine from coca and pharmacologists represented this pure alkaloid to be the sole substance of interest in the leaf, embodying all of the therapeutic properties of coca in a more concentrated and easily administered form. This idea persists today even though it is sadly mistaken. Average coca leaves contain only 0.5% cocaine, and as the Indians chew them, this low dose enters the body very slowly (Martin 1970; Weil 1975). Moreover, cocaine is but one of a number of compounds that act synergistically to produce the characteristic effects of coca; its separation from all the flavors and nutrients of the whole leaf as well as from the other alkaloids that modify its stimulating action is major meddling with the chemistry of coca (Martin 1970; Weil 1975).

In 1884, Carl Koller "discovered" the local anesthetic effect of cocaine when he watched a colleague lick the drug from the point of a knife and heard him comment on the numbness of his tongue (Becker 1963). Doctors on both sides of the Atlantic hailed the drug as a new panacea and began prescribing it quite indiscriminately and in high doses for all sorts of conditions, including dependence on alcohol and opiates (Grinspoon & Bakalar 1976; Ashley 1975). This kind of use soon produced cases of acute toxic reactions, some of them fatal, as well as cases of chronic dependence, mostly in persons already addicted to opiates. Sensational publicity about these untoward results quickly gave cocaine a bad reputation and led to Its rejection by the medical profession as dangerous (Grinspoon & Bakalar 1976; Ashley 1975); it also engendered the attitude that coca leaf was the source of all the trouble. After all, if coca had not come to Europe and America, the cocaine problem would never have developed.

It is most significant that the "terrible effects" of cocaine, which justified passage of anti-cocaine laws at the turn of the century, were consequences of unwise medical use of the drug by physicians. To this day, the vast majority of deaths from cocaine have occurred in medical circumstances rather than recreational ones (Woods & Downs 1973; Ashley 1975; Grinspoon & ,Bakalar 1976).

In the United States, we have tried to solve the cocaine problem through criminal legislation for almost three-quarters of a century. What has that accomplished?

Consumption of cocaine, mostly in adulterated form by the intranasal route, has vastly increased, and its grossly inflated price has diverted huge sums of money to groups that probably do not have the best interests of society at heart. Coca leaf, the safe, natural form of the drug, has disappeared from the country; it is unknown to medical doctors and cannot be obtained even for legitimate therapeutic use. Scientific research on cocaine has been minimal and on coca nonexistent.

The recreational use of cocaine in the U.S. is now so widespread and is growing so rapidly, especially in affluent sectors of society, that the chances of making the drug disappear or significantly curtailing its availability are vanishingly small. Cocaine is here to stay, thanks to the activities of pharmacologists and doctors of the last century and the direct effects of laws designed to prohibit its use.

I believe' we can still do something to save the situation and that is to make coca leaf available as a recreational stimulant.

For a number of years I have been investigating the uses of coca among Indians in South America, mostly in the Colombian Amazon and the Peruvian Andes. In the course of meeting and living with many hundreds of coqueros, I have never seen an instance of coca toxicity nor a single case of coca dependence, either physiological or psychological. There is no development of tolerance to the effect of coca, even in regular, daily use over many years, and, certainly, no appearance of any withdrawal syndrome on sudden discontinuance of it. Nor have I seen any signs of physical deterioration attributable to coca (Weil 1975).

Of course, I am familiar with propaganda against coca that comes from non-Indian officials of South American governments and international narcotics agencies. (For an example of this kind of writing, see Granier-Doyeux [1962].) The thrust of this propaganda is that coqueros are undernourished and unproductive. My observations, like those of others with first-hand experience of Indian life, are that excessive use of coca, when it occurs, is a result of social and economic deprivation rather than a cause of it.

Aside from its regular use as a mild stimulant, coca enjoys a great reputation as a remedy in the folk medicine of South America. It is considered the best treatment for the symptoms of altitude sickness and a useful remedy for all painful and spasmodic conditions of the gastrointestinal tract. Indians also use it as general tonic and restorative, especially to combat fatigue during physical exertion. They, believe it invigorates and tones the body, prolongs life, increases the digestion and assimilation of food, promotes dental hygiene, and confers resistance to disease (Martin 1970, Mortimer 1974).

In South America I had a chance to prescribe coca as a treatment for various ailments and was able to confirm some of its folk medicinal applications' I found it particularly useful in relieving gastrointestinal symptoms and as an adjunct in programs of weight reduction and physical fitness. In giving coca as a remedy, I taught patients how to chew the leaves as learned from Indian coqueros. Most people liked the flavor of the leaves and the novel sensation of topic oral anesthesia. I saw no adverse reactions. I believe that coca in whole leaf form is less toxic than many drugs now in common use and may be effective in a number of common diseases. I would like to see North American physicians take interest in coca and experiment with it because I think it would make a safe and useful addition to the modern pharmacopoeia (Weil in press).

I hope also that coca will eventually be available here as a recreational drug, particularly to persons who now use cocaine, amphetamines, and other stimulants, that are more toxic and more encouraging of abuse.

Coca leaf has several characteristics that recommended it as a recreational stimulant. It tastes good, produces immediately perceptible sensations in the mouth, and it easily becomes a stimulus for high states of consciousness that can be used productively. I have contend that high states experienced after taking psychoactive drugs are latent in the human nervous system and are not direct effects of the drugs (Weil 1972). People learn to associate them with physical cues that are direct effects of drugs, and this association is shaped more by expectation than by pharmacology. Highs can be had without drugs (and might be preferable that way), but drugs can be useful as long as they remain effective over time and do not compromise health or productivity.

The topical anesthesia of coca is a striking physical change that lets you know something is happening to you. It can become a strong cue for good moods and feelings of physical energy, especially since the historical and cultural aura of coca encourages expectation of these results. Aside from the oral anesthesia, the actual pharmacological effects of coca are quite subtle. Persons who approach the leaf with no expectation may feet nothing outside of the mouth. This is all to coca's credit because it is healthier to learn to get high on subtle drugs rather than strong ones.

The abuse potential of coca is low relative to cocaine and many other common drugs. This is so, first, because the concentration of active compounds in the leaf is small and, second, because the best way of using coca -holding a quid of leaves in the mouth in an alkaline solution and sucking the juices out of them over the better part of an hour - ensures a gradual rise of cocaine in the bloodstream. In leaf form, coca provides some essential vitamins and minerals (Duke, Aulik & Plowman 1975). Moreover, chewing coca is work much more work than snorting a powder or swallowing a pill. Having to work to get the reinforcing effect of a stimulant is a safeguard against overusing it.

Although outsiders who visit Indian communities in the Andes may come to like chewing coca in the traditional way, many North Americans might be unwilling to masticate a large handful of dry leaves into a manageable quid and keep it in the mouth in the required manner. To be a useful recreational drug in our society, coca would have to be available in a culturally acceptable form that left the chemical composition of the leaf intact as well as those physical characteristics that discourage overuse.

The coca wines and tonics of the last century failed on three counts. They changed the route of administration for the worse: coca that is simply swallowed does not have as good an effect as coca retained in the mouth in alkaline solution. They made the drug too easy and attractive to take, eliminating the requirement for work Imposed by the whole leaf. And they combined coca with alcohol, a much stronger and more dangerous drug. am not in favor of reviving those preparations.

The best solution to the problem of how to use coca in our society is a chewing gum. An extract of whole coca, containing all the alkaloids in standardized doses, as well as the natural flavors, vitamins, and minerals, can be incorporated into a sugarless gum base together with an appropriate alkali. Coca in chewing gum form would closely reproduce the traditional method of use, including the necessity of working for a reinforcing effect; 'it should also be acceptable to people of modern, industrialized cultures. Several colleagues and I are currently working on such a product.

As a natural stimulant of low abuse potential that provides some nutritional factors and may have some beneficial effects on the body, whole coca can be useful to some people. It can serve as a stimulus to physical activity, such as hiking, running, and athletics, and may motivate individuals who are so inclined to develop better habits of exercise. It can be an aid to concentration and mental activity, as coffee can be, although coca does not produce the jitteriness of caffeine and is much better for the digestive system. It can provide a useful break from routine work and, especially in the company of friends, an occasion for pleasant social interaction. Using the effect for such purposes rather than simply feeling it is one way of building good relationships with coca.

For too long we have tried to control drugs by means of legal prohibitions. These laws have not only failed, they have made things worse. In the case of coca, they have driven out of circulation the natural substance that easily lends itself to the formation of good relationships while steadily encouraging the growth of a black market in cocaine, which is less useful, more dangerous, and much easier to abuse.

Perhaps it is time to try a positive action instead of a negative one. Making coca leaf available, first as a therapeutic agent on medical prescription, and later as a recreational drug for those who wanted it, would be a positive step. It would help shift the burden of control from the legal process to the social process. Only social controls are effective in modifying patterns of drug use, and they depend on right education and experience (Jacobson & Zinberg 1975). Socially controlled drug use, in which abusive patterns of consumption simply do not develop because people recognize their inutility, will not come about overnight, especially after so many years of misinformation and repressive legislation. But it will never begin to come about until we provide those who want to use drugs with forms of them that can be used constructively.

The story of Western civilization's interaction with coca, from the Spanish conquest of Peru to the explosion of cocaine use in contemporary America, makes fascinating study. It shows clearly how we have gone wrong in our relationships with Nature's pharmacological gifts and reminds us again and again that drug abuse is not inherent in substances but rather in the ways we think of them and what we do with them. If we had set out deliberately to get ourselves in a colossal mess with coca we could not have done it better. The process has been one of unremitting folly and almost willful failure to see the error of our ways. If we are to reverse it, after all this time, we must go back to the very beginning and try to understand the natural substance, the coca leaf itself, that the Incans said was sent from heaven to improve our lives.


  • Andrews, G. & Solomon, D. 1975. Pp. 38-42; 243-246, in: The Coca Leaf and Cocaine Papers. New York; Harcourt, Brace & Jovanovich.
  • Ashley, R. Pp. 18-53; 54-81; 164-165, in: Cocaine: Its History, Uses and Effects. New York: St. Martin's Press.
  • Becker, H.K. 1963. Carl Koller and cocaine. Psychoanalytic Quart. Vol. 32; 309-373.
  • Duke, J.A.; Aulik, D. & Plowman, T. 1975. Nutritional value of coca. Bot. Mus. Leafl., Harvard Univ. Vol. 24: 113-119.
  • Granier-Doyeux, M. 1962. Some sociological aspects of the problem of cocaine. Bull. Narc. Vol. 14: 1-16.
  • Grinspoon, L. & Bakalar, J.B. 1976. Pp. 9-19; 21-44; 111-115, in: Cocaine. New York: Basic Books.
  • Groff, J. Aug-Sep, 1975. The golden age of cocaine wine. High Times No. 5: 31-34.
  • Jacobson, R. & Zinberg, N.E. 1975. The Social Basis of Drug Abuse Prevention. Washington, DC: Drug Abuse Council.
  • Mariani, A. 1896. Jaros, J. (Trans.). Coca and Its Therapeutic Applications. New York. (Original 1888.)
  • Martin, R.T. 1970. The role of coca in the history, religion, and medicine of South American Indians. Econ. Bot Vol. 24. 422-438.
  • Mortimer, W.G. 1974. History of Coca. San Francisco: And/Or Press. (Original 1901.)
  • Weil, A.T. 1972. The Natural Mind. A New Way of Looking at Drugs and the Higher Consciousness. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
  • Weil, A.T. 1975. The Green and the White. J. Psyched. Drugs Vol. 7: 401-413.
  • Weil, A,T. Coca Leaf as a Therapeutic Agent. (in press).
  • Woods, J.H. & Downs, D.A. 1973. The psychopharmacology of cocaine. Technical Papers of the 2nd Report of the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse. Vol 1: Appendix. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office.

If you liked this article by Dr. Andrew Weil, you may also like to read other articles by and about him relative to the coca leaf as natural medicine. A great work was A Letter from the Andes: The New Politics of Coca, look it up!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Three has Many Meanings

The Power of Three

I hold three crisp green Coca leaves

Arrange carefully their graceful elongated shapes

Admiring the small bouquet

An offering, grasped between my thumb and two fingers.

The chime of the bell signals it’s time

To inhale and expel three breaths imbued with my intentions

One for the underground snake

One for the prowling puma

One for the condor in the clouds.

Bits of fluffy cotton ask for rain

Sugar candy begs for a sweet life

Quinoa for sustenance and strength.

We sprinkle many things and make our requests

On the cloth of our existence

Creating a small bundle to be buried or burned

Messages delivered to the fabric of the universe.

Our demands are great.

Our offerings small.

The lack of balance spins the circle around

Creating a never ending spiral

Propelling us to repeat the journey

Humans on a spinning top, likely to fall from grace.

An altar placed within a church where once a temple stood

A holy place filled with memories and dreams

The trinity of life; past, present and future

The father, the son the Holy Ghost

The sun, the moon, the stars

The father, the mother, and the child

The three points of the triangle, a mountain stretching towards the sky.

We reach for the heavens

Forgetting to embrace the present

We stumble and repeat past mistakes

Searching for the answers

Trying to find our way back home. Nadja Maril 1/27/2015