Monday, October 21, 2013

Cocaine as medicine in ancient time

Cocaine leaves grow on trees and the earliest know use of cocaine dates back nearly 5000 years, to sometime in the year 3000 BC.

In southwestern Ecuador and northern Chile, researchers found traces of cocaine from hair and remain of human mummies of 4000 years old.

In Peru drawings on old pats and other artifacts show cocaine being chewed by humans. One 2500 years old pot made by the Moche tribe shows people with their cheeks full of cocaine leaves and carrying gourds full of leaves.

Cocaine was known to the Incas of ancient Peru, who chewed coca leaves for stimulation and applied the spittle to the skull to reduce the pain of trepanning.

The Incas believed this plant was a divine gift created to alleviate hunger and thirst and they tightly controlled coca cultivation.

It was viewed by those who tended it as a scared symbol of endurance, strength and even fertility. Its use was reserved for the most important members of Incan society: royalty and certain nobles.

Cocaine was first identified as the active alkaloid in the coca leaf in 1857. It was not identified medically as a local anesthetic until 1884.

Sir William Hook published the first English illustration of coca in 1835 along with a translation of a book by the German naturalist, Edward Poeppig that contain warnings about the addictive properties of cocaine.
Cocaine as medicine in ancient time

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