Coca tea: properties, benefits, how to drink it, risks
Coca is a plant that is considered an alkaloid, like tea or coffee. One of the alkaloids it has is cocaine, although its content in coca leaves is between 0.5% and 1%. Coca tea is becoming better known due to the benefits it brings to health. This tea is made from the dried leaves of the plant.
Coca leaf tea: properties and benefits
Next, you will find the properties of coca tea and its health benefits:
- Coca leaves are a natural source of vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, C and E and minerals such as calcium, iron, sodium, potassium and phosphorus.
- They have 14 alkaloids and several tannins, which help to alkalize the body.
- Eating coca leaves stimulates oxygenation and, consequently, the respiratory and nervous systems, improving oxygenation of the brain and blood, and helps regulate blood pressure.
- Fight iron deficiency anemia.
- It contributes to good digestion and the expulsion of gases and reinforces the intestinal flora. In addition, it regulates the metabolism of carbohydrates, which is ideal for people who do not digest sugars well.
- It can help relieve pain from arthritis or rheumatism due to its analgesic properties.
- Reduces high levels of triglycerides and cholesterol.
- By stimulating the nervous system through oxygenation, it also helps improve memory, concentration and attention.
- The improvement of oxygenation allows the whole organism to work better, it even helps to increase physical resistance.
- It prevents urinary tract infections, as it helps clean them.
- It helps regulate appetite, which helps in cases of eating disorders.
- It has diuretic properties so it helps prevent and treat fluid retention.
- Due to its diuretic properties and its alkalinity, this medicinal plant from the Andean regions eliminates toxins accumulated in the blood and improves liver function and helps clean it.
- The vitamins contained in these leaves have antioxidant properties that stimulate and strengthen the immune system.
- In addition to all this, coca tea helps prevent cavities and osteoporosis because they are rich in calcium.
- Coca leaf tea is used to avoid altitude sickness.
Is it legal to drink coca leaf tea in USA?
In the United States, it is legal to purchase and consume coca leaves in the form of tea, but it is illegal to possess or consume coca leaves that have been processed in any way, such as being turned into powder or paste, which is the form that is typically used to make cocaine.
This is because the coca leaf contains the alkaloid cocaethylene which is a Schedule II controlled substance under the Controlled Substances Act. However, the possession and consumption of coca leaves or tea made from coca leaves is legal in many countries in South America where the plant is native, including Bolivia and Peru.
How to drink coca tea – forms and dosage
The reality is that there are different ways in which coca tea can be ingested. If you wonder how to drink coca tea, take note of these ways to consume it, as they are the best.
- Powdered or floured coca leaves can be found and can be used to flavor dishes.
- You can also buy envelopes of whole coca leaves to make a tea. Add boiling water to the sachet and let stand for 5 minutes before eating. You can do it with both dried leaves and fresh leaves. In this case, the usual dose of coca tea for an adult is a maximum of 2 or 3 cups a day, and it is convenient to drink less.
- You can chew coca leaves. In this case, you will need the fresh leaves.
- They are also sold in coca leaf mate preparations.
The usual doses and when it should be taken or not and how to take it should be indicated by a doctor in each case, since each person may have different needs and other health aspects to take into account.
Coca tea contraindications
So, is coca tea totally safe? Nothing is harmless, whether it is synthetic or natural, everything has several effects, some more beneficial and others not so much or not, at least, for the purpose we have when taking it, and this usually depends on the format in which it is consumed and the the dose or amount. Thus, there are some side effects and, although they are not usually common, certain precautions must be taken before drinking coca tea.
These are the contraindications of coca tea and some precautions to take into account:
- Never exceed when drinking coca tea, always drink it in normal amounts. Specifically, the normal dose is no more than 2 or 3 cups a day.
- If you are pregnant, refrain from ingesting this infusion, as it can cause problems such as defects or malformations in the fetus and abortions.
- Also, if you are breastfeeding, you should not drink coca tea either because it could cause serious health problems for the little one and even the sudden death of the baby.
- If you suffer from asthma, it is better that you discuss it with your doctor beforehand, so that he can tell you if in your case (depending on the degree of asthma and if you take medication or not) it suits you and in what dose or if it is better that you do not consume.
- If you have serious heart problems you should not drink this tea either due to the stimulation and improvement of oxygenation that it produces.
- Coca leaves facilitate the metabolism of sugars, so if you are diabetic or have insulin resistance, do not ingest them on your own, but you will always have to consult your doctor about their consumption to adjust it with the medication you usually use.
- Avoid these leaves if you are on medication for stress issues, either for hypertension or hypotension.
As you have seen, coca tea or mate contains many benefits for your body and helps improve your health, but it also has certain side effects, so it is recommended to see a doctor if you want to include this drink in your diet.