Today in Bolivia, March 12th it is National Coca Leaf Awareness Day and in the rest of the world it is the 119th Anniversary of the First Bottle of Coca-Cola.
Most of us have heard something about the history of Coca-Cola and know that the potion was first presented as a medicinal tonic invented by John Pemberton in 1886. We also know his beverage was quickly discovered by businessmen of the time and the Coca Cola Company was born. Shortly after the corporation that we know today was formed in 1888, the inventor of Coca-Cola, John Pemberton died.
In reality the Coca-Cola that people drink today barely resembles the original concoction created by its maker in the 19th Century, who originally produced coca wine until the Victorian temperance era. When Pemberton created Coca Cola he was actually looking to create a non-alcoholic feel good drink that produced noticeable benefit. We know today from all the claims and well-documented evidence that the drink the invented that day became well-known as nerve tonic for anxious ladies, it became a cure for a great number of afflictions, helped with common disease conditions like diabetes and hypertension, and it served as a panacea to everyone who was not sick that drank it.
For the 15 years following Pemberton's death, the owners of the Coca Cola Company took the drink to market making it exclusively available at soda fountains and ice cream parlors that were associated with/or a part of neighborhood pharmacies of the era. Those who drank Coca-Cola were energized, alleviated of joint pains, then were sent off singing and feeling great. Driven by the well earned popularity, effectiveness, and demand of their product as a cure-all they put their plans in action to capitalize on their investment, so on March 12, 1894 in Vicksburg, Mississippi when they began bottling the drink commercially for the very first time.
In later years it's often said that they removed the cocaine from Coca-Cola. However this is simply not the case, what we do know is, that around 1903 Coca-Cola stopped using fresh coca leaves and began using the spent coca leaves leftover after the alkaloids had been extracted by pharmaceutical firms when cocaine sulfate and hydro-chloride were widely used as an anesthetics.
Today they still use the spent or "de-cocainized leaves" which are in essence a waste product of the controlled and regulated coca laboratories in the US, and thanks to modern technology they manage to squeeze enough out of the spent leaves to create an extract that Coca-Cola uses today as a flavoring and a part of their so-called secret formula.
There is no documentation that the corporation was looking to remove the cocaine specifically from their beverage at this particular moment in history, because the pure crystalline form was available in most pharmacies for many years afterwards until it was discovered that many people began abusing it around 1910. In 1914 the pure cocaine powder came to require a prescription or doctor's order.
What has become evident while doing research is that the demand for cocaine increased among the pharmaceutical firms during the early 1900's and coca leaves from Peru and Bolivia became very hard to acquire especially for the Coca Cola Company. In order to stay as true to their recipe as possible, they opted for and used the coca leaf residuals of the pharmaceutical firms which appeared was their only option nine years after the first bottle was produced.
The Secret Formula that Changed the World
The secrets of a successful business are often shrouded in mystery and the idea of the secret itself is even more intriguing. This is the case of the Coca-Cola Company, we already know that we are not drinking the same naturally produced Coca-Cola recipe invented by John Pemberton or even really a facsimile thereof, the formula today has new chemicals that were not even invented until the mid 20th Century and on top of it all, the corporate hand of Coca Cola a replaced the fresh leaves with spent washed coca leaves probably to cut costs or out of need to use coca as an ingredient. The original formula had clear medical benefits and was marketed as a medicinal feel good drink.
The result today is a soft drink that has added artificial coloring, caffeine, caramel, phosphoric acid, sugar, vanilla, other spices and of course spent coca leaves, it even still contains trace amounts of cocaine and related alkaloids. In chemical analyses on Coca-Cola produced after 1929 only trace amounts less than 1 mg of cocaine per bottle compared to the whopping 7-9 mg per bottle in 1900.
According to Wikipedia, "The Coca-Cola formula is The Coca-Cola Company's secret recipe for Coca-Cola syrup that bottlers combine with carbonated water to create "Coca-Cola" soft drinks. As a publicity, marketing, and intellectual property protection strategy started by Robert W. Woodruff, the company presents the formula as a closely held trade secret known only to a few employees."
It is a Violation of Human Rights to Stop the Bolivians from Growing Coca
Coca leaves can be found growing wild and naturally in the Western Amazon and in the lush forested foothills of the Andes from Venezuela to Chile and even parts of Argentina. Indigenous Americans have been using coca leaves at least 6000 years based on archaeological evidence of their use as food and medicine throughout this region.
Indigenous people long before the Inca, used coca in rituals, as medicine, and as food. The coca leaf is used today the very similarly by these same traditional peoples.
In 1961 however the United Nations created a law called the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs which called for the eradication of the coca plant in Peru and Bolivia by 2011, as well as other places it is cultivated illicitly in sequential global narcotics accords, sometimes referred to colloquially as the Vienna Convention, which were approved in 1971 and 1988, that 188 member nations have ratified.
The Secrets between the World Government, the Coca Cola Company and the Public
The secrets between the government and the Coca-Cola Company involves money, taxes, jobs, commerce and control over the world's coca resources. Their secrets are mass marketing, advertising, more advertising and the romance developed with the public when they began. There is certainly no secret in the bottle.
If people knew about natural herbal coca and used it like Pemberton did then the Coca Cola Company would be no more, because everyone would prepare beverages, teas and candies using coca and would have no need for any watered down or less effective beverages, they would want the "Real Thing."