Coca Leaves in Peru

Her name comes from the Quechua language kuka, the indigenous people of South America call her mother coca lkuka mama, referring to her as the mother who leads their lives.

Origin of the coca leaves

The coca plant has its origin in South America, in the current countries of Bolivia and Peru. It grows in the tropical zone between 500 to 2000 meters above sea level.

For approximately 5000 years ago, the ancient men who inhabited the high jungle domesticated and cultivated it, expanding to Ecuador and Colombia.

It became food for daily consumption, but the large Andean population was settled along the Andes mountain range and the coca leaf was highly prized. So to get coca leaves they made long walks to the high jungle, trips that took weeks. They bartered with dried meat, llama hides, alpaca wool, dried potatoes and other crops that do not grow in the jungle.

When they chewed the coca, akulliy in Quechua, it gave them energy in agricultural work and for the long walks they made in the difficult geography of the Andes.

Coca leaf ritual ceremony and connection with Mother Nature

The coca leaves is considered the spiritual language of the Pachamama or mother earth, through which man communicates with her and the deities. It is a fundamental element in understanding the world and soul dialogue.

That is why until today they are used for ritual purposes in order to improve the spiritual balance in the relationship between man, nature and deities, three entities that make up the cosmic community or family called ayllu in Quechua.

In the indigenous ritual ceremony, it acts as a psychoactive agent to induce trances in the ritual ceremony and heal spiritual or energetic ills.

The coca leaves is not a drug

Since its discovery by the western world, it was initially considered a panacea for the benefits that its consumption generated. Experiments were made and synthesized, making it available on a large scale. Then the misuse through the transformation into cocaine caused it to become an evil and was declared as a prohibited substance.

The coca leaves was confused with cocaine, campaigns were made to eradicate the coca leaf, but traditional consumption and use was a habit of thousands of years. It was part of the culture and had a spiritual meaning.

Currently its consumption is limited but more sensitive studies have been done with the culture and some indigenous nations led by the plurinational state of Bolivia have proposed to reinvind the consumption of the coca leaf by the Quechua and Aymara indigenous people.

Properties and medicinal benefit of Coca leaf

The coca leaf has high nutritional value since it contains vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, C and E; also Calcium, Sodium, Potassium, Phosphorus, zinc and proteins. So it is to be understood that it has multiple medicinal uses.

For example, as a digestive, it is recommended to consume it as coca tea after meals, especially when you are in the mountains at unusual altitudes.

As a diuretic it helps regulate the system. Also as painkillers, so since ancient times coca with alcohol and urine has been used as a painkiller and to cure fever.

It can help in the work as energetic, likewise for long walks, hiking, adventure or any sport activity in the high mountains.

Due to its calcium content, it helps to prevent osteoporosis. It can contribute to lose weight because its consumption decreases appetite. It has the property of cleaning toxic substances from the liver.

Coca leaf effects

We have been able to observe that in older people, excessive consumption may contribute to memory loss and the habit of taking excessive care of their belongings, even accusing the people around them of robbery, although we cannot affirm this with certainty, as cases that we are referring to are few.

Coca leaves legal in Peru

Its production and consumption is limited, it is the state through ENACO the only entity to transport and market. Coca leaf producers are duly registered and have to sell only to this institution.

The Peruvian people, especially indigenous people, have consumed coca leaves since ancient times, so its consumption is allowed in Peru.

It is prohibited to transport or carry coca leaves in quantities.

Buy coca leaf in Cusco

If you want to buy coca leaves in the city of Cusco you can do it in the markets, you will also find it as candies and cookies.

Coca leaves for altitude sickness

The coca leaf has the property of helping people who are not accustomed to altitude, where the higher the altitude, the less amount of oxygen that limits walking and adventure activities. The consumption of coca leaves will help reduce the effects of height, allowing you to avoid headaches, dizziness and nausea. But for this you must follow recommendations.

In principle, although chewing akullikiy is the popular use, it has also been called acullico, chacchado, akulliku, acuyico, pijcho in an attempt to translate it into Spanish, we recommend drinking tea before and during your activity. This coca tea should be hot or warm at all times, since the temperatures in the mountains are low despite the fact that it could be sunny and you feel that it is hot. Drinking cold can further lower your body temperature which would lead to other ailments, such as stomach pain for example.

So we recommend you consume the coca leaves in hot or warm tea the time you are in the mountains.

How to make coca tea

It is important to have boiled water, in a cup the coca leaves are made first. About 10 leaves for a 200 milliliter cup, then make the boiled water and let it rest for about 5 minutes after which you can start drinking.

How long do coca leaves stay in your system

We have seen that the traditional consumption of coca leaves is an energy stimulant, its effects last a couple of hours and if the physical and mental wear is strong, the effect lasts approximately half an hour.

However they are found in your body for up to two days, and if consumed often can be found in hair for more than a year.