Saturday, December 25, 2010
'COCA' INA !!!
Coca leaves are not cocaine, Evo Morales insists
Evo Morales, the Bolivian leader, ate a coca leaf in front of delegates at the UN summit on drugs, to underline his demand that the raw ingredient used to make cocaine be removed from the United Nation's list of prohibited drugs.
While coca can be turned into cocaine, Bolivians prize the small green leaf in its less-potent natural form for its medicinal uses, either chewing it or brewing it as a tea to stave off hunger and fight altitude sickness.
Bolivia is the third-largest coca producer after Colombia and Peru, where the leaf was chewed by nobles in the Inca empire and is considered sacred in Andean lore.
"We're for the coca leaf but against cocaine," Mr Morales, a former coca famer, said in Vienna. "The coca leaf should no longer be vilified and criminalized!"
He said the ban of the crop amounted to a ban of a culture, and was a "major historical mistake".
"Coca leaf consumption goes back to the year 3000 BC," Mr Morales said. "How are you going to end its consumption in 25 years, knowing that it is not harmful?"
Coca Leaves & Chewing Coca
"...in coca, they found stimulus for their bodies, relief from their pains." ( A.D. Villamil )
Coca (Erythroxylum coca) is a plant in the family Erythroxylaceae, native to western South America. The plant plays a significant role in traditional Andean culture. Coca is best known throughout the world because of its alkaloids, which include cocaine, a powerful stimulant.
Coca is traditionally cultivated in the lower altitudes of the eastern slopes of the Andes (the Yungas), or the highlands depending on the species grown. Since ancient times, its leaves have been an important trade commodity between the lowlands where it is grown and the higher altitudes where it is widely consumed by the Andean peoples of Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Bolivia and northwestern Argentina.
1-Seperation of coca leaves ( by hand or by teeth )
2-Light pressure from the teeth is applied to leaves in order to rupture its cellular walls. Additional leaves are added gradually.
3-10 to 30 g. ball of coca leaves is left to soak in saliva between the teeth and the side of the mouth, remaining there until consumption is complete.
4-After 10 to 15 mins, once the leaves are sufficiently moistened, the alkaloids (lehma) are released into the mouth.
Coca Historia (Museo de Coca, Mining, Magic... )
Traces of coca have been found in mummies dating 3000 years back. Other evidence dates the communal chewing of coca with lime 8000 years back. Extensive archeological evidence for the chewing of coca leaves dates back at least to the sixth century A.D. Moche period, and the subsequent Inca period, based on mummies found with a supply of coca leaves, pottery depicting the characteristic cheek bulge of a coca chewer, spatulas for extracting alkali and figured bags for coca leaves and lime made from precious metals, and gold representations of coca in special gardens of the Inca in Cuzco.
Traditional medical uses of coca are foremost as a stimulant to overcome fatigue, hunger, and thirst. It is considered particularly effective against altitude sickness. It also is used as an anesthetic to alleviate the pain of headache, rheumatism, wounds and sores, etc. Before stronger anesthetics were available, it also was used for broken bones, childbirth, and during trephining operations on the skull. Because cocaine constricts blood vessels, the action of coca also serves to oppose bleeding, and coca seeds were used for nosebleeds. Indigenous use of coca has also been reported as a treatment for malaria, ulcers, asthma, to improve digestion, to guard against bowel laxity, as an aphrodisiac, and credited with improving longevity. Modern studies have supported a number of these medical applications.
Coca has also been a vital part of the religious cosmology of the Andean peoples of Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia and northern Argentina and Chile from the pre-Inca period through the present. They follow the making and worship the coca beans when they are ready. Coca leaves play a crucial part in offerings to the apus (mountains), Inti (the sun), or Pachamama (the earth). Coca leaves are also often read in a form of divination analogous to reading tea leaves in other cultures. As one example of the many traditional beliefs about coca, it is believed by the miners of Cerro de Pasco to soften the veins of ore, if masticated (chewed) and thrown upon them.
THE CURSE OF THE LEGEND "...when the white conqueror touched the coca leaf, all he found was venom for his body and madness for his mind, and when coca tried to appease his heart, it only served to break it, like ice crystals destroy mountains..."
THE "SPELL" : "...guard your leaves with love and when you feel pain in your heart or obscurity in your mind, bring the leaves to your month..."
The War against Coca: A View from Bolivia
The United States has invented a war. It goes after coca to eradicate cocaine and blames Latin American coca growers for the cocaine addiction of its youth in the States. What hidden motives lurk behind this war?
In its fight against drugs, the US government has declared war on coca and thus on the peasant families who grow this prodigious plant in the valleys of the Andes. Presenting coca as the equivalent of cocaine—when it is only one of many alkaloids or chemical substances contained in coca leaves—and coca growers as the equivalent of drug traffickers, the United States has launched this "crusade" to "save humanity."
In recent times (2006), the governments of several South American countries, such as Peru, Bolivia and Venezuela, have defended and championed the traditional use of coca, as well as the modern uses of the leaf and its extracts in household products such as teas and toothpaste.
TBBA, the Center for Botanical research and Ecology (CIBE) and the French Institute for Scientific research and Cooperative development (ORSTOM) published, in 1977, its results from the study of coca leaf.
1. Coca contains three alkaloids - cocaine, cis-cinamilcocaine and transcinamilcocaine.
2. Traditional consumption of coca (by mastication):
a- Provides increased tolarance for work.
b-Stimulates the respiratory centers (increase oxygenation).
c-Inhibits the build-up of platelets.
d-Regulates the metabolism of glucose.
e-Does not inhibit the normal daily consumption of nutrients.
"Coca helps in adapting to life at high altitudes"