"Coca leaf consumption is an integral part of Andean cultural tradition and world view. The principle uses are:

"• Energizer: provides an energy boost for working or for combating fatigue and cold. Although it reduces feelings of hunger, the coca leaf is not considered a food.

"• Medicinal: in teas, syrups and plasters for diagnosing and treating a series of illnesses. It is used as a local anesthetic.

"• Sacred: to communicate with the supernatural world and obtain its protection, especially with offerings to the Pachamama, the personification and spiritual form of the earth.

"• Social: to maintain social cohesion and cooperation among members of the community, it is used in community ceremonies, as a 'payment' for labor exchange and a social relations instrument."


"Coca yes, cocaine, no? Legal options for the coca leaf," Transnational Institute (Amsterdam, The Netherlands: May 2006), p. 6.