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coca

coca (kō´kə), common name for shrubs of the genus Erythroxylum, particularly E. coca, of the family Erythroxylaceae, and found abundantly in upland regions and on mountain slopes of South America, as well as in Australia, India, and Africa. Certain South American peoples chew the leaves of one of several species mixed with an alkali, lime, which acts with saliva to release the drug cocaine from the leaves. In the low doses obtained in this way, the drug acts as a stimulant and an appetite depressant with physiological effects similar to those of tobacco. Coca leaves have been used for at least 8,000 years. Until the time of the Spanish conquest, only the Inca aristocracy was privileged to chew the coca leaves, but afterward, the Spanish encouraged the enslaved Native Americans all to use coca in order to get them to endure long periods of heavy labor and physical hardships. A cocaine-free extract of coca leaves is used in some soft drinks. Coca, a different plant than the cocoa plant cacao, is grown commercially in the N and central Andean countries and in Sri Lanka, Java, and Taiwan. Much coca is also grown in Andean countries for the illegal international drug trade. Coca is classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Linales, family Erythroxylaceae.

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Coca

Coca

Coca plants are the only natural source of the alkaloid cocaine and related compounds. For several thousand years, the leaves of the coca plant have been used by South American Indians as a mild stimulant, a remedy for medical problems, and for ritualistic or religious purposes. Coca chewing reduces hunger and increases endurance. It also eases the nausea, dizziness, and headaches associated with altitude sickness and relieves the symptoms of various stomach ailments. From pre-Columbian times coca has been an integral part of Andean cultures, and the commerce of coca leaves is still a legal and accepted practice in Peru and Bolivia.

The extraction and purification of cocaine hydrochloride from coca leaves, first accomplished in the mid-1800s, yields a drug with very different pharmacological effects than those associated with traditional coca chewing. Recreational use of cocaine produces a quick sense of euphoria and heightened awareness. Its use became widespread in the United States and elsewhere in the 1970s. It has since resulted in profound economic and sociological impacts both in the South American countries where it is grown and refined as well as in countries worldwide where it is consumed.

Coca leaves can be harvested several times a year from two shrubby species of the genus Erythroxylum. Erythroxylum coca has two varieties, the main one occurring along the lower slopes of the Andes in Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia, and a lesser-known variety called ipadu in the lowlands of the upper Amazon basin. This is the species grown most intensively for cocaine extraction. Erythroxylum novogranatense is a related species that differs slightly in its chemical composition and leaf and floral features. This species, which grows naturally from northern Peru to Colombia, is part of the original formula of Coca-Cola® and is still used today as a flavoring in the popular soft drink (but only after the cocaine is first extracted from the leaves).

In traditional use, coca leaves are dried before they are chewed, and to increase the release of alkaloids, small amounts of lime are added to the quid of masticated leaves. In lowland Amazonia, where the alkaloid content is generally lower, a fine powder is made from the leaves and mixed with leaf ashes before being made into a quid. To extract cocaine from coca leaves, a large volume of leaves is required, and they are first soaked and mashed in a series of solvents such as kerosene and sulfuric acid and neutralizers like lime, which results in the precipitation of a crude cocaine paste. To produce purified cocaine hydrochloride from the paste, more controlled laboratory conditions are required, using reagents such as acetone, ether, and hydrochloric acid.

Cocaine is most often inhaled through the nostrils, but it can also be smoked as a paste or as crack cocaine, or even freebased using an organic solvent. All of these chemically concentrated forms of cocaine have proven to be highly addictive. From the local growers to the paste producers to the clandestine laboratories, then through the international and local drug distribution networks, cocaine demands a high street price and forms the basis of a multibillion-dollar illicit economy.

see also Alkaloids; Medicinal Plants; Psychoactive Plants.

Paul E. Berry

Plowman, T. "Botanical Perspectives on Coca." Journal of Psychedelic Drugs 11 (1979): 103-117.

. "The Ethnobotany of Coca (Erythroxylum spp., Erythroxylaceae)." Advances in Economic Botany 1 (1984): 62-111.

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coca

coca Shrub native to Colombia and Peru which contains the alkaloid drug cocaine. Native Americans chew the leaves for pleasure, to quell hunger and to stimulate the nervous system. The plant has yellow-white flowers growing in clusters, and red berries. Height: c.2.4m (8ft). Family Erythroxylaceae; species Erythroxylon coca.

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coca

co·ca / ˈkōkə/ • n. a tropical American shrub (Erythroxylum coca, family Erythroxylaceae) that is widely grown for its leaves, which is a source of cocaine. ∎  the dried leaves of this shrub, chewed as a stimulant by the native people of western South America.

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coca

coca shrub, Erythroxylon coca, of which the dried leaves are used as a masticatory, etc. XVI. — Sp. — Quechua cuca.
Hence cocaine alkaloid occurring in the leaves of the coca; see -INE 5.

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coca

cocabalalaika, biker, duiker, Formica, hiker, mica, pica, pika, piker, striker •blocker, chocker, docker, Fokker, interlocker, knocker, locker, mocha, mocker, ocker, quokka, rocker, saltimbocca, shocker, soccer, stocker •vodka • polka •concha, conker, conquer, Dzongkha, plonker, stonker •Oscar • Kotka • Knickerbocker •footlocker •caulker (US calker), corker, hawker, Lorca, Majorca, Minorca, orca, porker, squawker, stalker, talker, walker, yorker •deerstalker • jaywalker • sleepwalker •streetwalker • hillwalker •shopwalker •Asoka, broker, carioca, choker, coca, croaker, evoker, invoker, joker, mediocre, ochre (US ocher), poker, provoker, revoker, Rioja, smoker, soaker, soca, Stoker, tapioca •judoka • shipbroker • stockbroker •pawnbroker • troika

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COCA

COCA (USA) consent order and compliance agreement

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Coca

COCA

COCA (Cauca) , town in Castile, central Spain. The first documents regarding its Jewish community date from the 13th century. An episode in 1320 brought it into prominence. A Jewish woman had committed adultery with a Christian and then had their child baptized. The infante Juan Manual permitted his Jewish courtier Judah ibn Wakar to judge her according to Jewish law; he ordered her nose to be cut off, and R. *Asher b. Jehiel (Responsa, 18:13) endorsed the decision as providing a deterrent to immorality among the Jewish communities.

In 1474 the community paid 700 maravedis as its annual tax. Taxes for the war against Granada reached 16,300 maravedis in 1491. No details are known about the fate of the community in the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in the following year.

bibliography:

Baer, Spain, 1 (1962), 323; Baer, Urkunden, index; Suárez Fernández, Documentos, 67, 78.

[Haim Beinart]

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Coca

Coca

The coca plant, genus Erythroxylum, family Erythroxylaceae, order Linales, is native to the Andean slopes of South America. The genus Erythroxylum comprises approximately 250 species, of which the most cultivated species are Erythroxylum coca (southern Peru and Bolivia) and Erythroxylum novogranatense (Colombia and northern coastal Peru). The coca plant is a shrub, growing to about 15 ft (5 m). Cultivated plants are pruned to about 6 ft (2 m). The leaves are oval, smooth-edged, dark green, and 1.63.1 in (48 cm) long, 11.6 in (2.54 cm) wide. Unlike other short term crops such as maize and rice, or other mountain grown commodities such as coffee, coca plants require little care. Coca plants can thrive in poor soil, have few pests or predatorsan ideal crop for the bleak growing conditions in the Andes. After planting, leaves can be harvested in six to 12 months. Coca plants can yield four to five crops per year for 3040 years.

The coca plant is the source of cocaine, one of about 14 alkaloids obtained from the leaves. The concentration of cocaine in the leaves varies from about 23% to 85%, depending on the species and growing conditions. The cocaine alkaloid was first extracted

from the leaves in the 1840s. It soon became a popular addition to powders, medicines, drinks, and potions. The popular American soft drink Coca-cola, introduced in 1885 by John Pemberton (18311888), uses coca leaves in its preparation. Since 1906, when the Pure Food and Drug Law was passed, Coca-Cola has been made with decocainized coca leaves, so modern Coca-Cola contains only very small trace amounts of cocaine.

Today, some species of Erythroxylum are grown in other regions of the world, such as India and Indonesia, where the climate is similar to the Andean tropics, and cultivated primarily for cocaine extraction. Before cocaine became a popular street drug, coca was grown mainly for traditional consumption among the Andean peoples, and for legal industrial medicinal use.

The indigenous people of the Andean mountain range have been chewing the leaves of the coca plant for thousands of years. Archeological evidence indicates that Peruvians were chewing coca as early as 1800 BC. Ancient sculptures show the heads of warriors with the characteristic bulge in the cheek, depicting coca chewing. The coca plant was one of the first cultivated and domesticated plants in the New World. During the reign of the Incas, coca was regarded as sacred and it was used only by chieftains, priests, or privileged classes. Coca was the link between man and the supernatural. It was used for various social and religious rituals, ceremonies, and fortune telling. Leaves of the coca plant were buried with the dead to help with the journey to the after-world. Coca leaves were used in traditional medical practices, aiding in diagnosis and treatment. When the leaves are chewed with an alkaline substance such as lime, or plant ash, the active ingredients that stimulate the central nervous system are released. Stamina was increased, hunger depressed, pain easeda feeling of well being and strength was achieved.

After the Spanish conquered the Incas in the sixteenth century, coca was given to the peasants, or working classes. The Spanish realized that coca enabled the peasants to work harder, longer, and that they needed less food. What was once exclusive to the ruling class was made available to the common people. Thus chewing coca leaves became a way of life for an entire peasant nation. The Indians, then and now, chew the leaves with other substances and never ingest the cocaine alkaloid alone, and apparently do not experience the addictive mind-altering effects associated with cocaine. Coca leaf chewing is still identified with religious practices, social rituals, traditional medicine, and work situations. The leaves are used for bartering or as a form of currency, to obtain other goods such as food items. In the past few decades however, growing coca has become associated with obtaining material goods and becoming rich. An entirely new economy, mostly illegal or underground, has developed around coca. Many plantation owners have changed their focus from leaf production to the extraction of the cocaine alkaloid in paste form. Coca production is now the most lucrative industry in Peru and Bolivia, the worlds leading producers. The coca industry is heavily scrutinized by several international governmental groups. Realizing the cultural significance of coca chewing among certain sectors of people living in the Andes, the Peruvian government developed a separate agency to protect and supervise legal trade. Most of the annual production of coca however, goes to the black market.

A former coca union member, Evo Morales, was elected president of the Indian-majority South American country Bolivia in 2005. Overturning a government policy of coca eradication that had been pursued with United States funding since the late 1990s, Morales promised that his administration would legalize cocaine, stressing its traditional uses. In his speech to the United Nations General Assembly in New York, in September, 2006, he held up a coca leaf, declaring that the leaf itself was not a harmful drug.

Christine Miner Minderovic

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Coca

Coca

The coca plant , genus Erythroxylum, family Erythroxylaceae, order Linales, is native to the Andean slopes of South America . The genus Erythroxylum comprises approximately 250 species , of which the most cultivated species are Erythroxylum coca (southern Peru and Bolivia) and Erythroxylum novogranatense ( Colombia and northern coastal Peru). The coca plant is a shrub, growing to about 15 ft (5 m). Cultivated plants are pruned to about 6 ft (2 m). The leaves are oval, smooth-edged, dark green, and 1.6-3.1 in (4-8 cm) long, 1-1.6 in (2.5-4 cm) wide. Unlike other short term crops such as maize and rice , or other mountain grown commodities such as coffee, coca plants require little care. Coca plants can thrive in poor soil , have few pests or predators—an ideal crop for the bleak growing conditions in the Andes. After planting, leaves can be harvested by 6-12 months. Coca plants can yield 4-5 crops per year for 30-40 years.

The coca plant is the source of cocaine , one of about 14 alkaloids obtained from the leaves. The concentration of cocaine in the leaves varies from about 23% to 85%, depending on the species and growing conditions. The cocaine alkaloid was first extracted from the leaves in the 1840s. It soon became a popular addition to powders, medicines, drinks, and potions. The popular American soft drink Coca-cola, introduced in 1885 by John Pemberton, uses coca leaves in its preparation. Since 1906, when the Pure Food and Drug Law was passed, Coca-Cola has been made with decocainized coca leaves. Today, some species of Erythroxylum are grown in other regions of the world, such as India and Indonesia, where the climate is similar to the Andean tropics, and cultivated primarily for cocaine extraction. Before cocaine became a popular street drug, coca was grown mainly for traditional consumption among the Andean peoples, and for legal industrial medicinal use.

The indigenous people of the Andean mountain range have been chewing the leaves of the coca plant for thousands of years. Archeological evidence indicates that Peruvians were chewing coca as early as 1800 b.c. Ancient sculptures show the heads of warriors with the characteristic "bulge" in the cheek, depicting coca chewing. The coca plant was one of the first cultivated and domesticated plants in the New World. During the reign of the Incas, coca was regarded as sacred and it was used only by chieftains, priests, or privileged classes. Coca was the link between man and the supernatural. It was used for various social and religious rituals, ceremonies, and fortune telling. Leaves of the coca plant were buried with the dead to help with the journey to the afterworld. Coca leaves were used in traditional medical practices, aiding in diagnosis and treatment. When the leaves are chewed with an alkaline substance such as lime, or plant ash, the active ingredients that stimulate the central nervous system are released. Stamina was increased, hunger depressed, pain eased—a feeling of well being and strength was achieved.

After the Spanish conquered the Incas in the sixteenth century, coca was given to the peasants, or working classes. The Spanish realized that coca enabled the peasants to work harder, longer, and that they needed less food. What was once exclusive to the ruling class was made available to the common people. Thus chewing coca leaves became a way of life for an entire peasant nation. The Indians, then and now, chew the leaves with other substances and never ingest the cocaine alkaloid alone, and apparently do not experience the addictive mind altering effects associated with cocaine. Coca leaf chewing is still identified with religious practices, social rituals, traditional medicine, and work situations. The leaves are used for bartering or, as a form of currency, to obtain other goods such as food items. In the past few decades however, growing coca has become associated with obtaining material goods and becoming rich. An entirely new economy, mostly illegal or underground, has developed around coca. Many plantation owners have changed their focus from leaf production to the extraction of the cocaine alkaloid in paste form. Coca production is now the most lucrative industry in Peru and Bolivia, the world's leading producers. The coca industry is heavily scrutinized by several international governmental groups. Realizing the cultural significance of coca chewing among certain sectors of people living in the Andes, the Peruvian government developed a separate agency to protect and supervise legal trade. Most of the annual production of coca however, goes to the black market.

Christine Miner Minderovic

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