Thursday, September 11, 2008

Coca Tea

I recently received a package of coca tea, also called mate de coca, from a Columbian friend in Boston. Depending who you talk to, this tisane made from the plant that, when more seriously manipulated will yield cocaine, is either a big deal or not. As usual, if you consult the internet, it will tell you all kinds of crazy sh*t, like that it has more protein than meat

When I asked my friend who gave me the box whether coca was legal in the U.S., he began rapidly shrugging and blowing out little puffs of exasperated air, as if to say "How would I know what your crazy gringo government thinks about it?"

In my two times drinking the tea, I have felt no effects that should even approach illegality, this coming from someone too caffeine sensitive for anything but the occasional cup of coffee on a full stomach. The tea is mild and smooth, even buttery, with a slightly fruity aroma and flavor. It is said to help with altitude sickness, and friends of mine who have traveled through Peru have attested to its soothing powers in potentially nauseating situations.

Traditionally used by indigenous peoples of the Andes region as a sacred plant with powerful healing and nutritive qualities, the leaves have been found alongside 3,000 year old mummies. Of course it took modern Europeans to refine it into cocaine, a substance that in turn destroyed many of the cultures in which coca originated.

Through the lens of the local food movement, which touts the many benefits of eating foods grown in your immediate vicinity, it would make sense that something that grows at a relatively high altitude is helpful for people living at a relatively high altitude. Similarly, I'm sure the cherry tomatoes growing in my backyard are imbuing me with some special fortitude, though they, too, originated in Peru.

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4 comments: said...

hello everybody!!!!
We tried this tea while recently visiting Peru and we were blown away! We couldnt have completed any of the amazing hikes we went on without this tea - it is essential for combating altitude sickness. Also, I loved how it gave us all a burst of energy without the jitters that coffee gives me and a lot of my friends. And of course, it does curb your appetite ( I lost 5 pounds on vacation - how many people can say that???).
Now we selling this amazing TEA....
visit Us

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