La Hoja de Coca ...

There is much debate in the Andean countries over the use of coca leaves, and its cultivation. Many farmers depend on it for their income, but there is pressure against it because of its fundamental role in the production of cocaine.

Coca leaves have been used by the native peoples for thousands of years. Coca–Cola used coca leaf extracts from its introduction, although cocaine was completely eliminated from it around 1929.

In recent times, the governments of several South American countries, such as Peru, Bolivia and Venezuela, have defended and championed the traditional use of coca, as well as the modern uses of the leaf and its extracts in household products such as teas and toothpaste. Tourists, many of whom find coca leaves beneficial in combatting the effects of altitude, can buy T–shirts and other souvenirs bearing the slogan La Hoja de Coca No Es Droga – "coca leaf is not a drug".

© Haydn Thompson 2017