Cocaine: History of Use
Coca has been used for ages as a food substitute, a stimulant, a medicine, as an aphrodisiac, a means to stay warm, and as a measure of distance running. An important factor in the spread of coca-chewing among Indians was the need for a food substitute when the Incan agricultural economy broke down due to inter tribal wars. Nutritional analysis shows that 100 g of coca leaves contain 305 cal, 18.9 g of protein, and 46.2 g of carbohydrates, and satisfies the recommended dietary allowances for calcium, iron, phosphorus, and vitamins A, B, C, and E. As a medicinal herb, coca has been used in treating a variety of ailments and diseases, being applied by shaman or medicine men in rites and ceremonies. Studies show that coca leaves have peripheral vasoconstrictive effects that reduces the amount of heat loss through the extremities and produces a higher central body temperature keeping the user warmer.