The infusion of coca leaf, also known as mate, has a stimulating effect similar to that of coffee. It is also usually taken after eating to facilitate digestion.
Its consumption is becoming increasingly popular around the world thanks to its incredible health benefits. Get to know them, here.
Is it legal?
This drink is taken, in the first place, to combat altitude sickness or soroche, since it does not carry any side effects for health.
On the other hand, the coca leaf has always been chewed to increase the intake of oxygen to the blood and brain.
We must specify that the consumption of coca leaf infusion is legal.
The cocaine concentration in the leaf is very low (between 0.1 and 0.8%), so it does not cause toxicity or dependence.
Coca Leaves Benefits
The coca leaf is rich in vitamins (A, B1, B2, B3, C and E), and minerals (calcium, phosphorus, iron, sodium or potassium).
Next, we detail the Coca Leaves Benefits:
- On the one hand, it regulates blood pressure and improves oxygenation of the blood and brain.
- It also stimulates the respiratory system.
- On the other hand, it facilitates digestion and the expulsion of gases. It also regulates the metabolism of carbohydrates, which is very suitable for people who do not digest flour and sugars well.
- In turn, it prevents tooth decay and osteoporosis thanks to its calcium content, higher than that of milk.
- IAnother of the Coca Leaves Benefits is that it fights iron deficiency anemia.
- It has analgesic properties, so it calms all kinds of pain, such as arthritis or rheumatism.
- Improves liver function and cleanses the blood of toxins. The consumption of coca leaf helps to eliminate the fat that accumulates in the liver and to convert it into energy.
- Another of its benefits is that it combats fluid retention thanks to its diuretic properties.
- Improves attention, concentration and memory and increases physical endurance.
- It should be noted that it prevents obesity and bulimia, thanks to the control it exerts on the appetite without canceling it.
- Cleanses the urinary tract and prevents infections. It is also astringent, so it is very suitable for cases of diarrhea.
- Reduces high levels of cholesterol and triglycerides.
- Prevents premature aging.
- Finally, it strengthens the intestinal bacterial flora and, as a consequence, the immune system.
Coca leaves extract can replace sugar in chocolate making
According to research, “the Coca leaves extract has properties that reduce the natural bitterness of cocoa without the need to add sugar or artificial sweeteners, which could generate a revolution in an industry that currently has a value of more than 100 billion dollars, “said the state-owned National Coca Company (Enaco) of Peru in a note on its website.
According to Gregory Aharonian, researcher and general manager of the North American company KukaXoco, the Coca leaves extract used for the cocoa mixture is free of the alkaloids naturally present in the leaf, so its use is legal and safe for health.
The Coca Leaves and the Incas
The Incas inherited the consumption of the Coca Leaves by the cultures that already cultivated and consumed this plant.
For the Incas, the Coca Leaves was sacred. However, it could only be consumed by the Inca nobility.
The only exceptions were the chasquis (people who ran through the mountains transmitting the message of the Incas), the children who would be sacrificed in the ritual of the capacocha or in exceptional cases of famine in the population.
After the fall of the Inca empire, the population took over the consumption of coca leaf. The Spanish considered it a diabolical plant but its consumption could not disappear.
Coca leaves continue to be chewed by the Aymara and Quechua cultures of Peru, Bolivia, and other Andean countries.
Inca ceremonies with Coca Leaves
The Inca ceremonies of payments to the land included the use of Coca Leaves. These were offered to the land that supplied the world with different agricultural products.
Due to the sacred character of the coca leaf, it was held with reverence following a strict ritual that, in some cases, is still practiced today.
This ritual consisted of holding three coca leaves, joining them with two hands and offering them high up.
Then the leaves are blown as a sign of respect for the gods of nature such as the sun, the mountains, the lagoons, the earth, etc.
Only after performing this ceremony, the Incas proceeded to introduce the coca leaf to their mouths.
At all times, the person shows a solmene attitude and respect for this sacred ceremony.