Afternoon eKa CIRCLE,
Today I tried semi dried coca leaf as a tea for the first time in Northern Chile where we are currently staying. Often seen as a taboo in my culture (so note to self don’t bother packing any leaves to take home) – yet strangely the whole world knows the very popular coca cola. As our bus entered this town Arica; a whole desert mountainside was branded in the sand with the familiar red lettering of coke adds life, I’m not sure how I feel about that in a natural environment- sigh? Interestingly coke was modelled off a recipe for coca wine and is rumoured to have had cocaine in the original recipe. Today I think that addiction is more to the copious amounts of sugar added to the “new” formula. Another addictive ingredient that is highly overlooked in our society. It’s strange to me how a natural substance is taken advantage of and because of that it destroys the true medicinal qualities of a culture’s original custom. The world knows this leaf as the highly addictive drug cocaine when in fact in its raw state the leaf is non-addictive and has many medicinal qualities. It takes an awful LOT of natural leaf to create a small amount of the highly processed cocaine. So while its a mild pick me up much as coffee or tea is you won’t be experiencing anything more than that from a simple cup of tea.
I just found out today that coca is beneficial for high altitude sickness (which explains why we couldn’t find any of those types of tablets to restock, at any of the local chemists!) Coca leaf is grown in high altitude across South America across the Andes and upper Amazon. Andean indigenous people often chew the leaves then spit them out as they are rather woody. Or they are brewed as a tea or made into candy for medicinal purposes.
I am reminded of Genesis 1:29 “and Elohiym said, behold I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in which is the fruit of the tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for food. You either take this at face value or you don’t – as ultimately in the scheme of things food is medicine. We are what we eat and I am of the train of thought that necessary plants grown in regions that need that medicinal assistance. Nature just doesn’t get things wrong.
Coca leaves have essential minerals like potassium, phosphorus, iron, vit B1, B2, C and E. It is also said to be very high in plant protein and calcium. Coca is antibacterial and an analgesic. It can help with muscle relaxation so is very beneficial for menstrual cramps and headaches. The locals here tell me they also assist with digestion, stave off hunger and assist with constipation.
The taste of coca leaf is rather strong, slightly salty and for me not unlike the bitter taste of papaya leaves. Don’t attempt to swallow the leaf it is rather tough. We tried adding a leaf to a cup of coffee as well and that was pleasant and an amazing pick me up. Bucket list tick and new knowledge learned. Thank you Chile.
love & light
M + E
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