Cocaina. Cocaine, official.
Erythroxylon Coca, Lamarck, and its varieties.
An alkaloid from the leaves.
Habitat. Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador - eastern slopes of the Andes (Colombia, Brazil, India, Ceylon, Java); cultivated.
Syn. Erythroxylon, Spadic, Coca leaves, Cuca, Hayo, Ipado, Coca Folia; Fr. Feuilles de Coca; Ger. Kokablatter; Cocain, Methyl-benzoyl-ecgonine; Br. Cocaina; Fr. Cocaine; Ger. Cocainum, Kokaina.
Plant. - Shrub 1-2 M.(3-6°) high, with many spreading, purplish-brown branches, wrinkled bark, smooth twigs; flowers small, yellow, petals 5; stamens 10; fruit reddish drupe, oval, 12 Mm. (1/2') long, sareoearp scanty; leaves oval-elliptical, 2.5-7.5 Cm. (1-3') long, 2-4 Cm. (4/5- 1 3/5') broad, greenish-brown or clear brown, smooth, slightly glossy and coriaceous, shortly petioled, base short and abruptly narrowed, entire, midrib prominent underneath, with conspicuous line of collenchyma tissue running longitudinally on either side, one-third the distance between it and the margin, the enclosed areola of slightly different color; odor characteristic; taste bitterish, faintly aromatic, followed by numbness of tongue, lips, and fauces; powder yellowish-green. Dose, gr. 15-60 (1-4 Gm.).
Fig. 210. - Erythroxylon Coca.
Fig. 211. - Coca leaf: under side, usual size.
Adulterations. - Leaves that are smudgy brown or with dull surface, also small jaborandi leaves, sometimes 40-50 p. c.; Inga and Pacay flowers by accident.
Commercial. - Coca, although not introduced into England until 1870, was used in S. America prior to the Spanish conquest, 1569, by the aborigines, who extolled it as a God-given plant ("The Divine Plant of the Incas") that satisfied hunger, strengthened the weak, and banished man's misfortunes; but the invaders, intolerant of such homage forbade its use and cultivation until they observed that it enabled the conquered to perform better work and service. Previous to 1884 the alleged properties were thought legendery and imaginative, when, being considered simply a mild stimulant like tea, Koeler proclaimed its local anaesthetic power. Species differ when wild and under cultivation, and escaping this soon degenerate and show marked changes in leaf-characteristics. It is cultivated extensively in the Andes on terraced plantations, cocales, cleared from the forests on the warm
Fig. 212. - Coca leaf, cross-section: ep a, upper epidermis; p, palisade layer; m, spongy parenchyma (in the centre a small fibrovascular bundle); K, a crystal, magnified 160 diam.; ep i, epidermis of lower side with papilla and a stoma (sp).
declivities, thriving best in a moist atmosphere amid scattered trees, but not deep shade, which, as well as low elevation, develops bitterness, consequently any variation in this or in the prescribed soil, exposure, and curing may affect quality. Propagation is similar to our peach, yielding leaves the second year and continuing for fifty thereafter. Leaves when bright green above and yellow-green below are picked carefully to avoid breaking, or injuring young leaf-buds that form the
Fig. 213. - Coca leaf: Epidermis of lower side with the papillae and stomata seen from above, magnified 160 diam.
next crop, removed in baskets, spread on unroofed floors, and dried quickly for a few hours in the sun, if too rapidly losing odor and green color, if too slowly acquiring disagreeable odor and taste; after remaining 2-3 days in the coca-house, in loose piles, they are exposed again for a short time to the sun, to drive off developed sweat, and then compressed into bales (cestos), 25-50 pounds; 11.6-23.3 Kg., or better, tin-lined boxes that prevent likely deterioration in shipping through fermentative decomposition. Irrespective of the care in drying and keeping impairment begins at once, cocaine decreasing materially, especially in dampness, owing to which they should be discarded after a few months. Although in some localities collection is almost continuous there are at least 2-3 yearly harvests, the September being best, the April next, each yielding when dried 60-80 pounds (27-37 Kg.) per acre; the annual production is about 80,000,000 pounds (37,383,177 Kg.), exported largely from Huanuco, Lima, Truxillo, etc. There are two varieties: 1, Huanuco (Cuzco - E. Coca, short-styled), after cities of S. Peru, has best aroma, most cocaine, and less isotropyle-cocaine; grown mostly in Bolivia, S. Peru, thriving and yielding maximum product at 1,050-1,800 M. (3,500-6,000°), in 18° south, and inferior grades at lower elevations; the true Bolivian (E. bolivia'num, long-styled) is prized most highly, has larger fruit, smaller leaves, and owing to home demand seldom is exported; 2, Truxillo (Trujillo - E. truxillense, short-styled), leaves ovate-oblanceolate, 1.6-5 Cm. (2/3-2') long, one-half as broad, pale green, thin, brittle, usually much broken, smooth, shining, petiole short and stout, slight point at apex, entire, the two collenchyma lines underneath frequently incomplete or obscure; odor more tea-like than preceding; taste and numbing effect similar; powder pale green; grown more northward, thriving well at lower elevations and preferred by natives for chewing. Java and India coca (E. Coca, var. Sprucea'num, long-styled, styles exceeding stamens) seems identical with this variety but owing to inferiority is not exported.