Coca leaf tea is a traditional remedy that has been used for centuries by indigenous people in the Andean region of South America to combat altitude sickness. Altitude sickness, also known as acute mountain sickness (AMS), is a condition that can occur when a person ascends to high altitudes too quickly. Symptoms of AMS include headache, fatigue, nausea, and difficulty breathing.
The Andean people have long believed in the medicinal properties of the coca leaf, and it has been used to treat a variety of ailments, including altitude sickness. The active ingredient in coca leaves is a stimulant called coca alkaloids, which is chemically similar to the active ingredient in cocaine. The coca alkaloids are believed to help increase oxygen uptake in the body, which can help alleviate symptoms of altitude sickness.
Coca leaf tea is typically made by brewing the dried leaves in hot water. The tea is usually consumed before or during a high-altitude trek to help prevent or alleviate symptoms of AMS. Some people also chew the leaves or make a paste out of them to help alleviate the symptoms of AMS.
Coca Leaf tea for Altitude sickness: previous studies
There have been several studies conducted on the effectiveness of coca leaf tea in treating altitude sickness. A study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology in 2003 found that coca leaf tea was effective in reducing the symptoms of AMS in a group of trekkers who were ascending to high altitudes in the Andes. The study participants reported a significant reduction in headache, fatigue, and nausea after consuming the tea.
Another study published in the Journal of Travel Medicine in 2007 found that coca leaf tea was effective in preventing AMS in a group of trekkers ascending to high altitudes in the Andes. The study participants consumed the tea before and during the trek, and none of them developed AMS.
Coca Leaf Tea Recipe to avoid Altitude Sickness
To prepare coca leaf tea to help prevent or alleviate symptoms of altitude sickness, you will need the following materials:
- Dried coca leaves
- A tea strainer or cheesecloth
- A heat-proof container
- Hot water
Here are the steps to prepare coca leaf tea:
- Gather the materials you will need.
- Measure out the desired amount of dried coca leaves, typically around 1-2 tablespoons per cup of water.
- Place the dried coca leaves in a heat-proof container.
- Bring water to a boil, and then pour it over the coca leaves in the container.
- Allow the tea to steep for 5-10 minutes.
- Strain the tea through a tea strainer or cheesecloth to remove any debris.
- The tea is now ready to drink. You may want to sweeten it with sugar or honey if desired.
It is not clear exactly how many cups of coca leaf tea one can consume to avoid altitude sickness, as there is a lack of scientific evidence on the topic. However, traditional usage of coca leaf tea for altitude sickness typically involves consuming 1-2 cups per day. This amount can vary depending on the individual and their sensitivity to the active ingredient in coca leaves, coca alkaloids.
It is also important to note that coca leaf tea should not be considered as a sole solution to prevent altitude sickness and other methods such as proper acclimatization, hydration and avoiding strenuous activities during the first 24 hours of arrival to high altitude, should be used in combination.
Coca Leaf Tea Many have Side effects
Despite these studies, there is still a lack of scientific evidence to support the effectiveness of coca leaf tea in treating altitude sickness. Moreover, consuming coca leaf tea carries some risks. The active ingredient in coca leaves, coca alkaloids, is chemically similar to the active ingredient in cocaine.
Therefore, consuming coca leaf tea could lead to the same negative effects as consuming cocaine, including addiction, increased heart rate, and high blood pressure.
Moreover, coca leaf tea is illegal in some countries, including the United States, and it can result in severe legal consequences if you get caught with it. Therefore, it is important to consider the legal and health risks before deciding to consume coca leaf tea to treat altitude sickness.
Coca leaf tea is a traditional remedy that has been used for centuries by indigenous people in the Andean region of South America to combat altitude sickness. While there is some evidence to suggest that coca leaf tea may be effective in reducing symptoms of AMS, more research is needed to confirm its effectiveness.
Moreover, consuming coca leaf tea carries some risks, including legal and health risks. Therefore, it is important to consider these risks before deciding to consume coca leaf tea to treat altitude sickness. If you are planning to trek at high altitudes, it is recommended that you consult a medical professional for advice on how to prevent and treat altitude sickness.