Surprising Health Benefits of Coca Leaf Infusion

December 21, 2018
The infusion of coca leaves, also known as mate, has a stimulating effect similar to that of coffee. Also, it is usually drank after eating to facilitate digestion.

The infusion of coca leaf is increasingly popular throughout the world thanks to its incredible health benefits. In addition to its symbolic value in Andean countries, this remedy is a powerful stimulant similar to coffee. Discover in this article all the healing properties of the coca leaf infusion.

What is the coca leaf?

Coca Leaf Vendor
The coca leaf (Erythroxylum coca) is native to the Andean areas of Bolivia and Peru, although it has also spread to Colombia, Ecuador, Chile and Argentina.

In these countries you drink what is known as mate or coca tea, which is the infusion of this millennial, magical, and medicinal plant.

Its stimulating effect is similar to that of coffee, and in the same way it is also usually drank after the meal to facilitate digestion, accompanied by a little sugar or honey.

Although it is a natural stimulant, the infusion of coca leaf is not an excitant, so it can be taken at any time of day without the risk of nervousness or insomnia.

Is it a legal product?

This drink is taken, first of all, to combat mountain sickness or altitude sickness, since it does not have any side effects for health.

Coca has always been chewed to increase the entry of oxygen into the blood and brain.

It is what is known as “chaqchada”, which consists of chewing it until it creates a bolus that is then dried and can be smoked as if it were a cigarette.

We must specify that the consumption of coca leaf infusion is legal.

The concentration of cocaine in the leaf is very low (between 0.1 and 0.8%), so it does not cause toxicity or dependence.

Health benefits
Coca Leaves

The coca leaf is rich in vitamins (A, B1, B2, B3, C and E), and minerals (calcium, phosphorus, iron, sodium or potassium).

It also contains tannins and fourteen alkaloids, one of which is cocaine.

Below we detail the benefits of the coca leaf infusion for health:

  • It regulates blood pressure and improves the oxygenation of blood and brain.
  • Stimulates the respiratory system.
  • 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 flours and sugars well.
  • Prevents decay and osteoporosis thanks to its calcium content, which is higher than milk.
  • Combat iron-deficiency anemia.
  • It has analgesic properties, so it calms all kinds of pains, such as arthritis or rheumatism.
  • Improves liver function and cleanses blood of toxins. The consumption of coca leaves helps to eliminate the fat that accumulates in the liver and convert it into energy.
  • It fights the retention of liquids thanks to its diuretic properties.
  • It improves attention, concentration and memory, and increases physical endurance.
  • Prevents obesity and bulimia, thanks to the control exercised over the appetite without nullifying it.
  • It cleans 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.
  • It reinforces the intestinal bacterial flora and, as a result, the immune system.

What is its symbolism?

Coca is a sacred plant in the Inca culture. The Indians of Peru consume it in order to achieve some mystical skills such as clairvoyance or vision of the aura through fasting and rituals.

However, it heals the body in a holistic way: physically and spiritually.

How do we prepare the infusion?

We can get the coca leaf in bulk or in individual bags:

In bulk

  • We will put water to boil and, when it reaches a boil, we will add 5 or 6 leaves per infusion.
  • Let them cook for a maximum of 5 minutes.
  • After steeping, we can strain and drink it with a little honey or brown sugar.

In sachets

  • We will add boiling water to the bag and let it stand for 5 minutes.

Likewise, the coca leaf is also sold in the form of flour, which we can add to our stews.

  • Bailey BA. Purification of a protein from culture filtrates of Fusarium oxysporum that induces ethylene and necrosis in leaves of Erythroxylum coca. Phytopathology, 1995 –
  • Gonzales-Carazas EF, Melgarejo-García GC, Chávez-Conde LK, Arellán-Bravo LJ, Carbajal-Lázaro E, Cabrera-Gómez YA, Quiróz-Sáenz GM, García-Antúnez IN, Llanto-Aguirre M, Choque-Nolasco FG. Efecto terapéutico del extracto etanólico de Erythroxylum coca spp. en anemia ferropénica inducida en ratas Holtzman macho. An. Fac. med. Lima 2013;74(1)