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Erythroxylum coca Lamarck.
from Sp. coca, from Quechua cuca
English: Bolivian coca.
Part used: Leaves, recently dried and carefully selected preserving their characteristic odour.
Mother Ticcture Q Drug strength 1/10
Coca, in coarse powder 100 g
Plantae; Spermatophyta, Angiospermae - Flowering Plants; Dicotyledonae; Rosiflorae / Rosidae; Geraniales; Erythroxylaceae
Proved by Mueller in 1856, Allen: Encylop. Mat. Med., Vol. III, 369: Hering Guiding Symptoms Vol. IV, 244.
Proved by Uta Santos- Koenig, Austria, in 1996
Description of the substance
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).