. I HAVE been induced to compile this brochure, as supplementary to the short description of Coca given in the " Extra Pharmacopoeia," on account of the attention this plant, and its alkaloid Cocaine, have excited during the past eighteen months. Although made known to us soon after the conquest of Peru by Pizarro—more than three centuries ago— the accounts travellers have given of Coca have only received about the same credence, and been treated with about the same reverence as we pay to a myth. We have considered the writers as having been over-credulous, as in some cases they undoubtedly were. It was thought the use of the leaves by the Indians of Peru was only that of a masticatory, which simply increased the flow of saliva. We looked upon its so-called nutri-tive properties, or rather its hunger and thirst-appeasing effects, as well as its power to ward off fatigue and relieve oppressive respiration during mountain ascents, as superstitions unworthy of more attention than the betel-nut mastication practised in India. The surgical uses of Cocaine as a local anaesthetic have, however, to some extent dispelled these illusions, and we have been more ready to receive the accounts of early as well as  recent travellers, thinking " there may be something in them.'' I have endeavoured to reproduce what many ' have written, as much as possible in their own words.

 

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Coca and Cocaine Their History and Use Dr. William Martindale

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