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Some species have red wood; hence the name of the genus, which derives from Gr. Erythros= red, and xylon= wood.
Other Names: Erythroxylon Coca.
Common Names: Bolivian coca.
Homeopathic preparation: Tincture of leaves. (Allen’s Encyclopedia).
N.O. Subclass: Magnoliphyta; Order: Rosidae; Family: Linales; Erythroxylaceae or Coca family.
Provings: Allen: Cyclopoedia, V. 3, V. 10. Cyclop. Drug Path, V. 2. Hering: Mat. Med., 1873. Guid. Symptoms, V. 4. Mat. Med., V. 1. Possart: Hom. Arz., pt. 1.
Bresgen: A. H. Z., V. 111, pp. 178, 188.
Frankel: Zeits. Ges. d Aerzte in Wien, 1860, V. 13, p. 14. A. H. Z. Monatsbl., V. 1, p. 48. U. S. Jl. Hom., V. 2, p. 549.
Berridge: N. A. J. Hom., V. 21, p. 505; V. 23, p. 165.
Grubenmann: A. H. Z., V. 100, p. 133. Hahn. Mo., V. 15, p. 489.
- - - - - -: Mo. Hom. Rev., 1863, p. 59.
Lilienthal: N. A. Jl. Hom., V. 23, p. 165.
Muller - Rausch: Hom. Viertelj., V. 7, p. 443. Brit. Jl. Hom., V. 15, pp. 529, 543.
Montegazza: Hygienic and Med. Value of Coca. Hom. Viertelj., V. 11, p. 203.
Landesberg: Med. Couns., V. 11, p. 161.
Lewis: Hahn. Mo., V. 19, p. 751.
Ott: Phila. Med. Times, V. 1, p. 56.
Stokes: Mo. Hom. Rev., V. 3, pp. 163, 274, 291. Hom. Viertelj, V. 10. Am. Hom. Rev., V. 1, p. 356.
Thomas: Hahn. Mo., V. 19, p. 754.
Hering: N. A. J. Hom., V. 12, p. 590.
Scott: Thesis. Hom. Med. Coll., Pa., 1869.
Haller: Monatsbl. A. H. Z., V. 60, p. 2, sem., Nos. 2, 3, 5.
Gumpert - Martin: Hahn. Mo., V. 15, p. 73. (Bradford’s Index).
Description of the substance
The Coca Plant
By Cliff Krol
Erythroxylum coca Lamark is a tropical shrub of the order Geraniales and the family Erythroxylaceae. Two tropical genera of the dicotyledons totaling approximately 250 species of trees and shrubs compose this family. Family characteristics are alternate, undivided, lobeless, toothless leaves, and small flowers in clusters from the leaf axils with persistent calyces with five lobes or sepals, five petals often with appendages, ten persistent stamens united at their bases, and three styles. The fruits are small drupes. (see Everett, 1981and Angiosperms in Brittanica Online) The name Erythroxylum comes from the Greek erythros, red, and xylon wood. Lamarck described the species E. coca in 1786. (Plowman,1982)
Erythroxylum coca is cultivated in Africa, northern South America, southeast Asia, and Taiwan. It grows from 2-4m (8 feet) tall. The plants thrive best in hot, damp situations, such as the clearing of forests, but the leaves most preferred are obtained in drier locations, such as on the sides of hills. (Boucher) The Plants are found mainly in relatively small areas of Peru and Bolivia, the major producing countries.
The upper Huallaga Valley, along a tributary of the Amazon in Peru, produces 60% of the world's coca. In Bolivia, the crop traditionally was grown on steep eastern slopes of the Yungas region of the Andes Mountains at elevations of 1000 to 2000 meters. However, in recent decades, the lower-elevation Chapare Valley overtook the Yungas in production, and cultivation is now expanding into lowland rain forests. (see "Coca" in Britannica Online)
Initially cocaine had been used as a local anesthetic. Modern medicine has used coca to treat shingles and has been found to be an effective bactericide against gram-negative bacteria, and coccus bacteria. (Bastien, 1987) Coca has always been a part and parcel of Peruvian life and, above all of Peru's economy. Yet its importance has varied enormously throughout the countries history. The lawful gross domestic product of Peru for 1989 has been estimated at US $16 billion. (MacGregor) It is said that Bolivia " lives" off cocaine. An American Congressional committee recently indicated that Bolivia's yearly "income" from cocaine exports amounted to US%900 million. (Clawson, 1996) The profit margin is the difference between the above costs and prices paid for cocaine. The Undersecretariat for Alternative Development estimated that in 1987 the sale of cocaine paste had earned US$1, 036 million for local drug traffickers, and that as cocaine hydrochloride sold in the international market, it might have generated approximately US$7,800 million in 1987. (Mac Gregor, 1993) It is clear that North American cocaine dealers make ten times more than the Bolivian producers do. Although the overall make-up is enormous, the peasants who grow the coca receive less than 1.5% of the value for which cocaine is sold in the United States.
Erythroxylum: The Coca Plant
By April Rottman
The coca plant is a member of the order Geraniales and the family Erythroxylaceae. There are four genera with an estimated 200 species in Erythroxylaceae (De Witt, 1967). Coca was first described as Erythroxylum by A.L. Jussieu in 1783. It was given the binomial Erythroxylum coca by Lamarck in 1786.
Early botanists believed that all coca plants were of the same species. Later researchers found that two species of domesticated coca existed. These are Erythroxylum coca Lam. and Erythroxylum novogranatense (Morris) Hieron (Rury and Plowman, 1983). The two species have two varieties, Erythroxylum coca Lam. var. coca, E. coca var. Ipuda Plowman, E. novogranatense (Morris) Hieron var. novogranatense, and E. novogranatense var. truxillense (Rusby) Plowman (Plowman, 1983).
Coca is grown in South America, Africa, Ceylon, Taiwan, Indonesia and Formosa (De Witt, 1967). Coca is most commonly associated with its center of origin, the South American Montana zone of the eastern Andes below 2000m (Bray & Dollery, 198:3).
According to Rury and Plowman (1983) E. coca var. Coca, Huanuco or Bolivian coca is the ancestral variety. Bolivian coca grows in the moist tropical forests of the eastern Andes of Peru and Bolivia. This variety is the only one of the four found growing wild. Bolivian coca is the major source of commercially produced coca leaves and cocaine.
Amazon coca, E. coca var. ipuda is cultivated in the lowland Amazon. It has been suggested that this variety is a lowland cultigen of Bolivian coca. In contrast to Bolivian coca it is not found growing wild (Rury and Plowman, 1993).
E. novogranatense var. truxillense or Trujillo coca is a hardy, drought resistant variety. It is found growing in river valleys of coastal Peru and other arid areas of this region. Bohm, Ganders & Plowman (1982) state that this variety displays many characteristics that are intermediate between E. coca var. coca and E. novogranatense var. novogranatense, and may represent an evolutionary stage between these species.
E. novogranatense var. novogranatense or Colombian coca is cultivated in both moist and dry areas in the Colombian mountains. It is also drought tolerant and is not found growing outside Cultivation. Evidence shows that this variety maybe the most evolved species (Rury & Plowman, 1983).
Coca plants are small evergreen shrubs with reddish brown bark. They have many small branchlets with elliptical-obovate opposite leaves measuring 4-7 cm. in length and 3-4 cm. wide. The plants possess small yellowish-green flowers, which develop into red drupes. The leaves of the Colombian coca are smaller and less pointed at the end than Bolivian coca leaves (De Witt, 1967).
Andean natives grow coca from seed. The women collect the drupes when they are almost ripe. The drupes are placed in a basket and allowed to set until the fruit becomes soft. The pulp is then washed away and the seeds are allowed to dry in the sun.
The seeds are then placed in seed beds and germinate in approximately 24 days. When seedlings have four leaves a lattice covering is placed over them protecting them for a year.
When the young plants reach a height of 30-40 -cm. they are transplanted to prepared fields. This transplanting is done during the rainy season. At three years the plants may produce a small harvest of leaves. After the third year leaves are harvested, by the women, three or four times a year (Bastien, 1987). Yields may range from 1,500-2,000 lbs. of dry leaves/acre/year and planting are renewed every twenty years (Purseglove, 1977).
Pests that affect the coca plants range from weedy species that rob seedlings of soil nutrients and light to insect species such as the cuqi, an ant, which cuts roots and chews leaves, and ulo, a butterfly and its larva, which eat the plant. Another insect species known as mounga burrows into the trunk and destroys the plant and taja, a fungus, grows on leaves and branchlets (Gottlieb, 1976).