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The History Of Cocaine

Old History of Cocaine

In traditional Indian cultures, Mama Coca was considered a benevolent deity. She was regarded as a sacred goddess who could bless humans with her power.

Before the coca harvest, the harvester would sleep with a woman to ensure Mama Coca would be in a favorable mood. Typically, a decoction of coca and saliva was rubbed onto the male organ to prolong erotic ecstasy.

Traditionally, the leaves have been chewed for social, mystical, medicinal and religious purposes. Coca has even been used to provide a measure of time and distance. Native travelers sometimes described a journey in terms of the number of mouthfuls of coca typically chewed in making the trip.

South American Indians have used cocaine as it occurs in the leaves of Erythroxylum coca (also called Erythroxylon coca) for at least 5000 years. In its native habitat, the coca plant is resistant to drought and disease. It needs no irrigation. Coca can be harvested several times a year. Traditionally, chewing the sacred leaf promotes contact with the spirit world.

Chewing or smoking coca leaves invigorates the user, allowing him to absorb the plant's magical powers and protect body and spirit alike.

The introduction of coca to England was pioneered early in nineteenth century by the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew; but the plant has yet to find a place in orthodox Western horticulture.

In pre-Columbian times, the coca leaf was reserved for Inca royalty. The natives subsequently used it for mystical, religious, social, nutritional and medicinal purposes.

They exploited its stimulant properties to ward off fatigue and hunger, enhance endurance, and to promote a benign sense of well-being.

It was initially banned by the Spanish. But the invaders discovered that without the Inca "gift of the gods", the natives could barely work the fields, or mine gold. So it came to be cultivated by the Catholic Church.

Coca leaves were distributed three or four times a day to the workers during brief rest-breaks. Returning Spanish conquistadors introduced it to Europe. Coca was touted as "an elixir of life".

In 1814, an editorial in Gentleman's Magazine urged researchers to begin experimentation so that coca could be used as "a substitute for food, so that people could live a month, now and then, without eating..."

New History of Cocaine
The active ingredient (an alkaloid) from the coca plant (erythroxylum) was first isolated by a chemist named Albert Niemann. In 1860 he gave the compound the name cocaine.

The drug induces a sense of exhilaration in the user primarily by blocking the reuptake of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the midbrain.

Soon after it was first synthesized, cocaine was available almost everywhere. Sometimes available in powder form, it was also mixed with various other products like wine and cigarettes. Doctors dispensed cocaine as an antidote to morphine addiction. Unfortunately, some patients made a habit of combining them.

Freud described cocaine as a magical drug. He wrote a song of praise in its honor and practiced extensive self-experimentation. To Sherlock Holmes, cocaine was "so transcendentally stimulating and clarifying to the mind that its secondary action is a matter of small moment".

Cocaine is now an integral part of the world economy. Its street price reflects the competitive pressures of today's global marketplace.

Coca has been grown commercially in Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Indonesia, Nigeria, Malaysia and Japan. The first cocaine cartel was formed, not in Columbia, but in Amsterdam.

Founded in 1910, the Cocaine Manufacturers Syndicate included pharmaceutical giants Merck, Sandoz and Hoffman-LaRoche. At present, however, most production occurs in clandestine laboratories in South America.

Since the 1980's, cocaine has become a significant export-earner for many poor South American countries. In the year 2000, South America exported some 1000 tons of refined cocaine.

In the 1980s, millions of drug-naive Americans were introduced to 'decocainised' coca tea imported from South America. In Peru, the legitimate cultivation of coca, and the production of all cocaine licensed for pharmaceutical export, was controlled by the government's own National Enterprise Of Coca.

In a bid to expand and diversify its product range, the National Enterprise Of Coca promoted the benefits of coca in the form of a wholesome traditional beverage.

This state-sponsored export-drive was successful: overseas demand proved brisk. From 1983, 'Inca Health Tea' sold especially well in the North American market.

Lemongrass and other flavors were added to cater to American palates. Soon mate de coca could be bought in tea-shops and grocery stores in US cities.

Mate de coca is an agreeable and invigorating mood-brightener. It is also benign, patients at the San Francisco National Addiction Research Foundation, for instance, were encouraged in the 1980s to drink as much mate de coca as they desired to help wean themselves off cocaine.

When consumed in generous quantities, the tea is good at easing drug-cravings; but this is because the average tea-bag contains 5 milligrams of cocaine.

Inca tea is now illegal in the USA.

The CIA And Cocaine
The cocaine trade continues to spawn eyebrow-raising alliances. Declassified documents now available at the CIA web site disclose that in the 1980s CIA operatives teamed up with cocaine dealers in the fight against Communism.

In 1979, the people of the small Central American country of Nicaragua overthrew the US-backed Samoza dictatorship. To the horror of US policy-makers, the Nicaraguans then elected a left-wing government.

Investigative journalist Richard Webb, in his book Dark Alliance first revealed how profits from cocaine sold in Los Angeles and Miami were used by the CIA to fund, and buy guns for the anti communist contra rebels.

Suitcases stuffed with coke-tainted US dollars were dispatched to Nicaragua to foment insurrection and civil war.

According to Internic records in 1998 the domain cocaine.com was registered in the name of the CIA.