Traditional Usage and Benefits of the Coca Leaves

The coca leaves are one of the seven sacred master plants of America - Ayahuasca , Yopo , Peyote , San Pedro, the magic mushrooms and the tobacco . They have been used in rituals and ceremonies for thousands of years .


coca leaves


The first evidence of ceremonial usage of coca leaves can be traced back to 2500 B.C.  This sacred plant is part of the tradition of the tribes alongside the Amazon rainforest and the Andes . They has an important role as a medicine and as an offering to the spirits-guardians of the nature and the forest .


The indigenous tribes of south America use the coca leaves as a tool


A tool for provoking an open and honest conversation among the members of the community . When taken together with the Ambil tobacco paste , mambe(dried and powdered leaves of coca plant) positively influence the throat chakra . The people consume this mixture in the context of an ancient conversational ritual usually held after sundown . In this ritual the elders share their wisdom and knowledge with the younger generation . An interesting fact is that the women also attend these ceremonies , but they don’t consume coca leaves . This ancient tradition connects the people to one another and strengthen their connection with the nature and the spirits .


coca leaves


The preparation and the ceremony in which the coca leaves are consumed differ depending on the region and the shamanic tradition


The inhabitants of the Andean highlands chew fresh leaves , mixed with small doses of alkaloids . They don't swallow the leaves however , only chewing them until the juice comes out . Then what is left is placed down on the ground as an offering to the spirits . Furthermore , they use the the sacred medicine not only for its spiritual properties . There is another aspect to this special plant - his affects on the human body . The leaves increase the levels of oxygen in the blood and by doing so , prepare the human's body for proper functioning  on high altitude . The leaves are a perfect remedy for preventing altitude sickness . Above all the coca leaves can help overcome fatigue , hunger and thirst . These properties of the coca plant are essential for the indigenous population of the Andes . 


Unlike the highland people, the inhabitants of the rainforest use Mambe


Mambe consist of dried and powdered coca leaves mixed with Yarumo leaves ash  . This form of preparation and usage is preferred by them , as dried leaves are much easier for conservation it the humid environment of the rainforest . Mambe is poured in the mouth and later swallowed .

 coca leaves - preparation of mambe


The traditional healers apply the coca leaves for centuries as a painkiller . They also use the sacred medicine in cases of fractures, as it is calcium rich . It constricts the blood vessel and reduces bleeding . Curanderos and shamans prescribe the plant in cases of digestive problems , asthma, ulcers and malaria . It also improve longevity .


Many of the beneficial effect of the coca leaves are confirmed by the mainstream science and medicine


Beside the calcium, the coca leaves are rich on vitamins and minerals like B1, B2, C, and E , potassium, and phosphorus , as well as proteins and fibers . A gram of coca leaves contains five times the amount of proteins found in the red meat .

 coca leaves gathering


The Indigenous people of South America use coca leaves and the rest of the seven sacred plants , for their numerous spiritual and health benefits . Important part of almost every ritual , these plants has proven their good intentions . If approached with respect and reverence they can help us establishing a strong connection with the spiritual realm .They teach us how to live in symbiosis with the nature . And above all they can show us how to become better human beings .


Related Literature

Andean-Amazonian Shamanism, Master and Master Plants of Power - Coca, Ayahuasca, San Pedro

by Yanaanka Tasorinki


History of Coca: "The Divine Plant" of the Incas

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Plants of Power: Native American Ceremony and the Use of Sacred Plants

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The Hold Life Has: Coca and Cultural Identity in an Andean Community

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Plant Spirit Healing: A Guide to Working with Plant Consciousness

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