Archaeologists discovered chewed coca leaves near Neolithic settlements in Peru dating to 8,000 years ago, way before the rise of great ancient civilizations. Traditionally, South Americans grow coca plant in Andean highlands, which offer favorable climate conditions and sufficiently high altitude.
Coca leaf: some quick facts
We have compiled a list of positive effects and useful properties of coca leaf.
√ Even if you chew coca leaf every single day, this won’t lead to addiction.
√ Chewing coca leaf makes it easier to chase away sleepiness and focus mentally on the task at hand.
However, this effect fades away completely in about twenty minutes after you stop chewing, and you can fall asleep without any problem.
√ As a remedy for headache, lack of energy, or drowsiness, coca leaf starts working within 30 seconds of chewing.
√ Coca leaf can be used to make an excellent bath water additive. High in the mountains, where the surrounding air is thin and cold, taking a steam bath might be quite tricky. The main difficulty is that the sweating effect, which is the No. 1 purpose of taking a steam bath in the fist place, lasts only mere minutes in these conditions. The indigenous folk of the Andes solve the problem by adding to the bath water a small amount of dried coca leaf mixed with lye. The modern recipe calls for a teaspoon of the dry mix added to a glass of water, stirred in a blender for five minutes, and then poured into the bath. The alkaloids absorbed through the skin prolong the beneficial sweating effect for up to an hour after the end of bathing.
√ A rejuvenating effect can be achieved by applying powdered coca leaf as a facial mask. This is a great way to combat wrinkles and age spots.
√ Chewing coca leaf has a long-term extra benefit based on the antimicrobial property of chlorophyll. This property explains why plant-eating animals in the wild never suffer from periodontal disease: the chlorophyll contained in the green plants kills pathogenic bacteria in the oral cavity. This is why chewing coca leaf regularly keeps oral cavity healthy and may even reverse an existing periodontal illness. This, in turn, significantly reduces the risk of diabetes.
√ The alkaloids contained in coca leaf also act as mild central nervous systems stimulants, improving concentration and boosting energy and enthusiasm.
√ The leaves of the coca plant contain a plethora of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, providing a perfect dietary supplement.
√ By stimulating the sympathetic nervous system and thus improving the smooth muscle tone, coca leaf serves to enhance sexual experience, intensifying orgasm in women and strengthening the erectile function in men.
√ Finally, the act of chewing has some benefits unto itself. Prolonged mastication causes the release of histamine in human brain. This prevents dementia and has an overall anti-aging effect.
Weight management and appetite control
Fresh coca leaves have a strong flavor, similar to that of regular tea, and a pleasant spicy taste. Drinking mate de coca helps lose weight by reducing appetite. When facing near-famine conditions, certain tribes in South America use coca tea to ease the feeling of hunger.
Over the last sixty years, the wide spread of a combination of factors such as fast food, sedentary lifestyle, and frequent stress has been contributing to the growing numbers of obesity cases. Not all incidents of gaining weight should be considered unhealthy – in fact, for many people gaining some weight is perfectly normal. However, true obesity is a serious medical condition that may have adverse effect on the person’s daily life and become a contributing factor in development of other illnesses, such as heart disease and diabetes.
Throughout the course of evolution, our bodies have developed a mechanism of regulating the amount of food we consume. In a nutshell, normally we lose appetite when our stomach is full. However, unhealthy eating habits in childhood, food products that have special gastronomic, cultural, or social appeal, stressful lifestyle, and even irregular sleep cause our natural appetite mechanism to malfunction.
On top of that, in today’s world we are constantly urged to buy and consume more food, by the means of advertisement as well as via the extensive use of special hunger-inducing chemicals in the food industry. Virtually any processed food product contains significant amounts of starch, sugar, and other substances that confuse our sense of satiety and practically cause addiction.
Ironically, coca leaf – vilified by some governments as a dangerous product while actually being completely non-addictive – provides an excellent, 100% natural way to combat the sense of hunger. First of all, chewing coca leaf for a certain amount of time leads to a release of histamine in the brain, which in turn results in the feeling of satiety. Secondly, the alkaloids contained in coca leaf also cause the release of a moderate amount of dopamine, which brings a feeling of satisfaction and lowered appetite. Last but not least, leaves of coca contain a plethora of nutrients, including vitamins and minerals, and thus provide some sustenance while being far less calorie-rich than most snacks.
Fatigue relief, Boosts energy and stimulates brain activity
The leaves of coca bush have been historically used by indigenous peoples in Colombia, Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador as a mild stimulant. The effect can be achieved by chewing the plants’ leaves or drinking mate de coca, thanks to coca’s ability to boost energy and brain activity.
Arterial hypotension, commonly called low blood pressure, has a number of causes, from genetic factors to lack of exercise to certain chronic diseases. This condition typically manifests itself in tiredness and fatigue, dizziness after physical effort, pale skin, and other symptoms.
Thanks to natural stimulants contained in Erythroxylum coca, chewing coca leaf is an excellent way to combat hypotension and fatigue. Once they get into our system, these stimulants tone up the miniature muscles that make up the blood vessel walls, increasing blood pressure and improving circulation. Combined with another useful property of coca leaf – that of lightening up the mood – this results in a more energetic and positive physical and mental state.
Acts as a moderate painkiller
Coca plant is a good local analgesic. When the molecules of cocaine from coca interact with the neurons of the peripheral nervous system, this particular area of the body becomes numb. Thanks to this property, cocaine has revolutionized surgery, which uses cocaine derivatives like novocaine or lidocaine even today. Mate de coca contains the natural coca analgesic as well, without undesirable side effects.
Stimulation of oral antioxidants production
The process of chewing induces the secretion of saliva – the first digestive fluid that works on food in human body. In addition to enzymes that break down food, saliva contains a number of other useful substances, including antioxidants. These oral antioxidants help maintain healthy conditions in the mouth cavity and throat. In particular, they destroy free radicals, which in turn prevents inflammation and tumor growth.
The amount and quality of saliva we produce depends on a variety of factors. For example, thorough chewing makes us salivate more, while old age is typically associated with lowered production of saliva.
Chewing coca leaf is a natural way to increase salivation. The average times of chewing coca vary from about forty minutes to a few hours, depending on personal preferences. This is enough to generate a copious amount of saliva and, consequently, to provide your mouth cavity with plenty of antioxidants and keep it healthy.
Remedies altitude sickness
Low amounts of oxygen in the mountains cause fatigue and other symptoms of altitude sickness. Chewing fresh coca leaf releases a small amount of cocaine alkaloid, which helps combat this condition. The same goes for coca tea, which also helps cope with the fear of heights.
Provides valuable nutrients
In addition to powerful alkaloids, coca leaves tea has plenty of different vitamins and minerals: magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, and vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, C, and E. Thus, even decocainized coca tea makes a good alternative to multivitamin dietary supplements. In addition, coca tea is a good source of dietary fiber and beneficial polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs).
Relieves headache and nausea
Coca tea helps combat the symptoms of migraine, fatigue, and other similar conditions. Among herbal teas, it is one of the most effective remedies for headache, nausea, and dizziness. Chewing the leaves of the coca plant produces the same effect.
Indigenous Andean peoples have long been known to chew coca leaves or drink coca leaves tea to relieve upset stomach and stimulate digestion. Regular consumption of this natural herbal remedy has been proven to prevent diarrhea and vomiting. For this reason, mate de coca is recommended to persons suffering from gastritis and other digestive system conditions.
Relieves flu symptoms
While serious inflammatory conditions require professional medical attention, most people prefer to combat common cold and flu while going on with their everyday life. Coca leaves tea can help with that, alleviating such symptoms as runny nose and sore throat and suppressing cough.
Prevention or control of gum disease and diabetes
At the cellular level, the main source of energy all living beings require is glucose. In humans, as in most other higher animals, the flow of blood delivers glucose to the cells of certain body tissues and organs. Once there, glucose enters the destination cell by attaching to another compound, insulin. If insulin levels in the body become low, excessive amounts of glucose remain in the bloodstream. This has a double negative effect of cells lacking fuel and extra sugar in the blood harming the blood vessels. The entire condition, known as diabetes, together with the associated complications, results in estimated 4 million deaths per year worldwide.
Latest research indicates a strong bidirectional link between diabetes and periodontal disease. On one hand, circulation issues and susceptibility to infection caused by diabetes may exacerbate gum inflammation. On the other, as recent evidence suggests, periodontal disease increases the risk of oral bacteria entering bloodstream, complicating diabetes.
Chewing coca leaf helps prevent or stop the development of gum disease, owing to the antibacterial properties of chlorophyll present in the leaf mass. This, in turn, may slow down the progression of diabetes.
Assists in depression management
A cup of coca tea is more than just a great way to start your morning: it can actually lighten up your mood and give you some positive vibes, making you more likely to strike up a conversation and form or renew relationships with others.
Helps prevent cancer
Recent studies have shown that chewing coca leaf or drinking coca tea on a regular basis promotes overall colon health, thus reducing the risk of colon cancer – the fourth most common cause of cancer death in the world.
Short-term effects of coca tea consumption can make premenstrual syndrome easier, reducing painful cramps, headache, and bloating, as well as tempering the mood. Given that this herbal drink is 100% natural, mate de coca makes an excellent alternative to artificial painkillers.
Acts as a source of antioxidants
Certain natural compounds present in coca tea inhibit oxidation processes, thus promoting general health at the cellular level, reducing the risk of tumors, and having a moderate anti-aging effect. Additionally, some of these antioxidants, called polyphenols, lower cholesterol levels and so may be beneficial to people with heart disease and high blood pressure.
The anti-aging potential of coca leaf
Since ancient times, humankind has been searching for a substance that would reverse or at least slow down the process of aging. The magical Apples of Youth, Fountain of Youth, and other similar legends are found in old mythology of different peoples and cultures across the world. While modern scientists haven’t discovered any magical cure for aging, they have indeed come across a few promising candidates. The Erythroxylum coca plant is one of them.
The mechanism behind physiological aging involves lowered permeability of the cell membrane due to the accumulation of oxidized fat in it. Such a cell gets less nutrients from the system, at the same time being unable to get rid of toxic material fast enough. As a result, the cell becomes both undernourished and poisoned by the byproducts of its own metabolism. This weakened cell is significantly more susceptible to the damaging effects of free radicals, including upon the cell’s DNA. The damaged DNA, in turn, causes a number of serious issues on the higher level, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, tumors, etc. – or, in the best-case scenario, aging.
While experimenting with the local anesthetic procaine, Dr. Ana Aslan, who laid the foundations of the modern anti-aging research and coined the term “gerontology”, discovered the rejuvenating effect of this synthetic drug. As it turned out, procaine facilitates the recovery of damaged cell membrane, slowing down natural aging as well as pathological changes on the cellular level.
Curiously, certain natural alkaloids contained in coca leaf are somewhat similar to procaine in terms of chemical structure. It stands to reason that they might possess anti-aging properties analogous to the properties of this synthetic drug. The fact that indigenous South American highlanders are able to withstand significant exposure to the sun and wind, living at the heights of several thousand feet above sea level, may be explained by the effect of their coca leaf chewing habit.
However, this theory can be proven only through rigorous scientific testing, which, in addition to laboratory equipment and competent research staff, requires significant amounts of study material. Unfortunately, in many countries the coca plant is included in the list of controlled materials. This makes any kind of research involving coca leaf difficult if at all possible.
These health benefits of mate de coca demonstrate why this traditional herbal tea is no less nutritious than many popular superfoods and may be aptly named a super-drink. All the more reasons to buy it at our online store!