Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Hot Coca

"Yes to coca, no to cocaine." That's the slogan of Evo Morales, Bolivia's first indigeous president, as he battles the 46-year-old United Nations ban on the international trade of coca. Mainly targeting cocaine, the coca plant's infamous derivative, the ban blocks exports from Bolivia, Colombia, and Peru that use the leaf in legal coca-based items - even a soda called Evo Cola. 
Morales has politicized the plant's cultural roots, as have manufacturers. "To defend coca is to defend our sovereignty" is printed on bags of coca flour from Peru (right). Long before Europeans arrives, the people of the Andes made ritual offerings of the hoja sagrada, or sacred  leaf, and chewed it as a mild stimulant, - traditions  that continue today.  Modern coca goods give the same lift, much like  coffee, along with vitamins and minerals. The leaf's buzz-producing alkaloids are absorbed only in minute amounts during digestion. Snorting cocaine, however, blasts super-concentrated alkaloids into the bloodstream for what can be a dangerous high. 

From Coca Leaf to Grocery Shelf

Products made with powdered coca leaf cater to many tastes and benefits. A 1975 Harvard study cited the leaf's protein, fiber, and calcium content. Coca leaf is also used in toothpastes, soaps, and skin creams.  

For further information on coca-based food and drinks please visit http://manaintegral.com/mi/ 

                                                                                                          - A. R. Williams, National Geographic, July 2007

No comments:

Post a Comment