Coca

Publication Year: 
2003

Coca leaves are a powerful tonic and can also excite the libido.
The word coca comes from the Aymara language and means nothing more than "tree" (Weil 1995). This may hint at the plant's great cultural importance.
In the indigenous lands of Bolivia, Peru, and Columbia, the leaves of the coca shrub are considered sacred, since they make possible the connection between human beings and gods. (Allen 1988, 132; Lloyd and Lloyd 1911), and function as a love potion and strong aphrodisiac, deepening the connections between people (Mortimer 1974, 429).

The evergreen coca shrub has been cultivated by Amerindians for more than two thousands years. Coca leaves have been found at archaeological excavation sites in the Andes dating to 100 BCE. Without the extensive use of these stimulating leaves, the entire Andean civilization could not have existed. at the Korikancha palace in Cuzco, the Inca had a magnificent pleasure garden in which there stood a coca plant fashioned in pure gold.

The myth of the coca plant's origin, recorded in Peru in early colonial times, has erotic undertones: the plant's spirit, Mama Coca, "was a very beautiful woman, and because she had an impure body, they killed her and chopped her in half and buried her, and from her a bush was born, which they named Mama Coca or Cocamama, and then they began to eat her, it is sad that they carried her in a pouch, and you could not open the pouch to eat her except after you had slept with a woman, as a reminder of her" (Ratsch 1998B). Since then, Mama Coca has been a goddess of love. The first leaves of each new coca harvest are sacrificed to her, and it is in her honor that coca leaves are used to enhance one's capabilities for lovemaking.

Use as an Aphrodisiac
Coca's use as an aphrodisiac goes back to ancient times in South America, and it is still very popular for this purpose among the indigenous peoples. They also snort coca powder (Ott and Ratsch 2002). In Westernized nations, cocaine, derived from the leaves, is snorted in order to increase sex drive.

Coca leaves are typically chewed with some form of slaked lime. The presence of this alkaline agent helps to release to cocaine present in the leaves so that this can be absorbed through the mucous membranes of the mouth. (Cruz Sanchez and Guillen 1948; Nieschulz and Schmersahl 1969; Rivier 1981). Without the addition of slaked lime, the effects of the leaves are negligible. Dried coca leaves can also be inhaled as an incense or smoked in smoking blends (sometimes mixed with hemp flowers.) Shamans, sorcerers and soothsayers prefer to smoke coca leaves. They say that they cross a "bridge of coca smoke" to get to the world beyond. Once in that world, they will encounter Mama Coca, the young, beautiful, and seductive woman of the coca origin myth.

The pre-Columbian Mochica people, who lived in the desert areas of northeastern Peru, used coca as an aphrodisiac and for erotic rituals. These rituals have been immortalized in the predominantly erotica Mochica ceramic pieces unearthed from gravesites. Unfortunately, little is known about these erotic rituals. The ceramic pieces indicate a culture that was extremely openminded in erotic matters. In their view, sex was not only for reproduction (95 percent of the erotic images depict heterosexual anal sex),* but rather primarily for bringing about altered states of consciousness, the aim being to gain a view into the invisible world that is inaccessible to everyday consciousness (Larco Hoyle 1979, 145).

The Kogi people of the Sierra Madre in Columbia base their use of coca upon a complex system of erotic-sexual symbolism (Baumgartner 1994; Ereira 1993; Muller-Ebeling 19950. During his initiation into adulthood, each boy is given his own lime gourd (poporo), and he will keep this with him for the rest of his life. The initiate is told that the gourd symbolizes a woman. As part of the initiation ceremony, he is ritually married to this woman/goard. During this ritual, the initiate will insert the wooden stick (the utensil that is used to stir the lime) into his gourd for the first time, thereby "deflowering" his "partner" as he takes her for his 'wife'. The stick represents coitus. The men of the Kogi are required to suppress their sexual activities, and are told that they must continuously consume coca when they do have sex (Reichel-Dolmatoff 1985, 1:87-90B; Uscategiu M. 1959, 282B; Ochiai 1978): "The small, figure-eight shaped gourd [poporo] that serves as a container for lime is an image of the cosmos, and the stick that is inserted into it represents its axis. According to the cosmology of the Kogi, it follows that the gourd represents a uterus and the stick a phallus; the coca leaves they chew are female, while the powdered lime represents the semen of the male." (Reichel-Dolmatoff 1987, 78)

Text: The Encyclopaedia of Aphrodisiacs Psychoactive Substances For Use In Sexual Practices. Christian Ratsch and Claudia Muller-Ebeling, 2003.
Image: http://www.galdu.org/web/index.php?odas=1792

coca leaves
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