Bolivian Coca, Coca de Java, Coca Péruvienne, Cocaine Plant, Erythroxylum coca, Erythroxylum novogranatense, Gu Ko Yi, Health Inca Tea, Huanuco Coca, Inca Health Tea, Inca Tea, Java Coca, Mate-de-Coca, Mate de Coca, Peruvian Coca, Spadic, Thé Inca, Truxillo Coca.


Overview Information

Coca is a plant. The leaves of the coca plant are the source of cocaine, which is an illegal drug that is used nasally, injected, or smoked for mind-altering effects. Cocaine is also an FDA-approved Schedule II drug. This means cocaine can be prescribed by a healthcare provider, but the process is strictly regulated. The worry about cocaine is that it is unsafe and highly addictive.

People use coca leaves to relieve hunger and fatigue, to enhance physical performance, and for asthma, altitude sickness, and other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses. Using coca can also be unsafe.

How does it work?

The cocaine found in coca can cause an increase in brain activity and have numbing (anesthetic) effects. Cocaine is highly addictive.


Uses & Effectiveness?

Likely InEffective for

  • Athletic performance. Coca increases heart rate, but doesn't seem to improve heart output or other bodily responses to physical exercise.

Insufficient Evidence for

  • Cocaine use disorder. Early research suggests that chewing coca leaf might improve mental health in people addicted to cocaine.
  • Altitude sickness.
  • Asthma.
  • Colds.
  • Stimulation of stomach function.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of coca for these uses.

Side Effects

Side Effects & Safety

When taken by mouth:Coca leaf without the cocaine (decocainized) is LIKELY SAFE for most people when used in normal food amounts. The cocaine contained in the coca leaf is LIKELY SAFE for use on the eye or skin when prescribed and monitored by a medical professional.

The cocaine contained in coca leaves is LIKELY UNSAFE when taken by mouth for medicinal uses and UNSAFE when taken by mouth for recreational uses. Cocaine is illegal and can cause hyperactivity, restlessness, excitement, migraine headaches, seizures, strokes, heart attacks, aneurysms, high blood pressure, and liver and kidney failure. As little as 1/4 of a teaspoon of cocaine can be deadly. Cocaine is highly addictive.

When inhaled: The cocaine contained in coca leaves is UNSAFE when inhaled for recreational uses. Cocaine is illegal and can cause hyperactivity, restlessness, excitement, migraine headaches, seizures, strokes, heart attacks, aneurysms, high blood pressure, and liver and kidney failure. As little as 1/4 of a teaspoon of cocaine can be deadly. Cocaine is highly addictive.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: It's UNSAFE to inhale coca or take it by mouth if you are pregnant. The cocaine in coca might cause a miscarriage or birth defects. Coca use is also associated with sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

It's also UNSAFE to inhale coca or take it by mouth if you are breast-feeding. The cocaine in coca is excreted into breast milk, and harmful effects can occur in infants breast-fed by mothers who were recently exposed to cocaine.

Asthma: The cocaine in coca can make asthma worse. Don't use it.

Heart disease: The cocaine in coca can make heart disease worse. Don't use it.

Diabetes: Coca or the cocaine found in coca might increase blood sugar levels in some people. Coca might affect blood sugar control in people with diabetes.

High blood pressure (hypertension): Coca or the cocaine found in coca might increase blood pressure in some people. People prone to high blood pressure should avoid using coca.

History of stroke or at risk for stroke: If you have a history of stroke or are at high risk for having a stroke, do not use coca. The cocaine in coca increases the chance of dying from a broken blood vessel in the brain.

A condition called plasma pseudocholinesterase deficiency (PPD): People with PPD are more likely than others to have seizures and/or die after using coca.



Major Interaction

Do not take this combination

  • Alcohol interacts with COCA

    Coca contains cocaine. Cocaine can affect your thinking. Alcohol can also affect your thinking. Do not take coca if you have been drinking alcohol.

  • Nifedipine interacts with COCA

    Coca contains cocaine. Taking cocaine with nifedipine increases the risk of serious side effects such as seizure.



The appropriate dose of coca depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for coca. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

View References


  • Jenkins, A. J., Llosa, T., Montoya, I., and Cone, E. J. Identification and quantitation of alkaloids in coca tea. Forensic Sci.Int. 2-9-1996;77(3):179-189. View abstract.
  • Jozsa, L. [Dental care, dental diseases and dentistry in antiquity]. Orvostort.Kozl. 2009;55(1-4):43-57. View abstract.
  • Mazor, S. S., Mycyk, M. B., Wills, B. K., Brace, L. D., Gussow, L., and Erickson, T. Coca tea consumption causes positive urine cocaine assay. Eur.J Emerg.Med 2006;13(6):340-341. View abstract.
  • Middleton, R. M. and Kirkpatrick, M. B. Clinical use of cocaine. A review of the risks and benefits. Drug Saf 1993;9(3):212-217. View abstract.
  • Novak, M., Salemink, C. A., and Khan, I. Biological activity of the alkaloids of Erythroxylum coca and Erythroxylum novogranatense. J Ethnopharmacol. 1984;10(3):261-274. View abstract.
  • Prance, G. The poisons and narcotics of the Amazonian Indians. J R.Coll.Physicians Lond 1999;33(4):368-376. View abstract.
  • Reisner, L. Biologic poisons for pain. Curr.Pain Headache Rep. 2004;8(6):427-434. View abstract.
  • Rivera, M. A., Aufderheide, A. C., Cartmell, L. W., Torres, C. M., and Langsjoen, O. Antiquity of coca-leaf chewing in the south central Andes: a 3,000 year archaeological record of coca-leaf chewing from northern Chile. J Psychoactive Drugs 2005;37(4):455-458. View abstract.
  • Sharkey, J., Ritz, M. C., Schenden, J. A., Hanson, R. C., and Kuhar, M. J. Cocaine inhibits muscarinic cholinergic receptors in heart and brain. J Pharmacol.Exp.Ther. 1988;246(3):1048-1052. View abstract.
  • Siegel, R. K. New patterns of cocaine use: changing doses and routes. NIDA Res.Monogr 1985;61:204-220. View abstract.
  • Spielvogel, H., Caceres, E., Koubi, H., Sempore, B., Sauvain, M., and Favier, R. Effects of coca chewing on metabolic and hormonal changes during graded incremental exercise to maximum. J.Appl.Physiol 1996;80(2):643-649. View abstract.
  • Springfield, A. C., Cartmell, L. W., Aufderheide, A. C., Buikstra, J., and Ho, J. Cocaine and metabolites in the hair of ancient Peruvian coca leaf chewers. Forensic Sci.Int. 1993;63(1-3):269-275. View abstract.
  • Weil, A. T. Coca leaf as a therapeutic agent. Am.J.Drug Alcohol Abuse 1978;5(1):75-86. View abstract.
  • Weil, A. T. The therapeutic value of coca in contemporary medicine. J.Ethnopharmacol. 1981;3(2-3):367-376. View abstract.
  • Alexandrakis G, Tse DT, Rosa RH Jr, Johnson TE. Nasolacrimal duct obstruction and orbital cellulitis associated with chronic intranasal cocaine abuse. Arch Ophthalmol 1999;117:1617-22. View abstract.
  • Bedford JA, Lovell DK, Turner CE, et al. The anorexic and actometric effects of cocaine and two coca extracts. Pharmacol Biochem Behav 1980;13:403-8.. View abstract.
  • Bedford JA, Nail GL, et al. Comparative stimulus properties of two fractions of the coca leaf (E. coca). Pharmacol Biochem Behav 1981;15:907-9.. View abstract.
  • Bolla KI, Funderburk FR, Cadet JL. Differential effects of cocaine and cocaine alcohol on neurocognitive performance. Neurology 2000;54:2285-92. View abstract.
  • Buck AA, Sasaki TT, Hewitt JJ, Macrae AA. Coca chewing and health. An epidemiologic study among residents of a Peruvian village. Am J Epidemiol 1968;88:159-77.. View abstract.
  • Electronic Code of Federal Regulations. Title 21. Part 182 -- Substances Generally Recognized As Safe. Available at:
  • Engelke BF, Gentner WA. Determination of cocaine in "Mate de Coca" herbal tea. J Pharm Sci 1991;80:96.. View abstract.
  • Favier R, Caceres E, Guillon L, et al. Coca chewing for exercise: hormonal and metabolic responses of nonhabitual chewers. J Appl Physiol 1996;81:1901-7.. View abstract.
  • Favier R, Caceres E, Sempore B, et al. Fluid regulatory hormone response to exercise after coca-induced body fluid shifts. J Appl Physiol 1997;83:376-82.. View abstract.
  • Galarza Guzman M, Penaloza Imana R, Echalar Afcha L, et al. Effects of coca chewing on glucose tolerance test. Medicina (B Aires) 1997;57(3):261-4. View abstract.
  • Heesch CM, Wilhelm CR, Ristich J, et al. Cocaine activates platelets and increases the formation of circulating platelet containing microaggregates in humans. Heart 2000;83:688-95. View abstract.
  • Jackson GF, Saady JJ, Poklis A. Urinary excretion of benzoylecgonine following ingestion of Health Inca Tea. Forensic Sci Int 1991;49:57-64.. View abstract.
  • Mazor SS, Mycyk MB, Willis BK, et al. Coca tea consumption causes positive urine cocaine assay. Eur J Emerg Med 2006;13(6):340-1. View abstract.
  • McEvoy AW, Kitchen ND, Thomas DG. Intracerebral haemorrhage in young adults: the emerging importance of drug misuse. BMJ 2000;320:1322-4. View abstract.
  • Mendelson J, Tolliver B, Delucchi K, Berger P. Capsaicin increases the lethality of cocaine. Clin Pharmacol Ther 1998;65:(abstract PII-27).
  • Potter SM, Zelazo PR, Stack DM, Papageorgiou AN. Adverse effects of fetal cocaine exposure on neonatal auditory information processing. Pediatrics 2000;105:E40.. View abstract.
  • Roldan CA, Aliabadi D, Crawford MH. Prevalence of heart disease in asymptomatic chronic cocaine users. Cardiology 2001;95:25-30.. View abstract.
  • Favier, R., Caceres, E., Koubi, H., Sempore, B., Sauvain, M., and Spielvogel, H. Effects of coca chewing on hormonal and metabolic responses during prolonged submaximal exercise. J.Appl.Physiol 1996;80(2):650-655. View abstract.
  • Galarza, Guzman M., Penaloza, Imana R., Echalar, Afcha L., Aguilar, Valerio M., Spielvogel, H., and Sauvain, M. [Effects of coca chewing on the glucose tolerance test]. Medicina (B Aires) 1997;57(3):261-264. View abstract.
  • Grzybowski, A. [The history of cocaine in medicine and its importance to the discovery of the different forms of anaesthesia]. Klin.Oczna 2007;109(1-3):101-105. View abstract.
  • Grzybowski, A. Cocaine and the eye: a historical overview. Ophthalmologica 2008;222(5):296-301. View abstract.
  • Hanna, J. M. Further studies on the effects of coca chewing on exercise. Hum.Biol. 1971;43(2):200-209. View abstract.
  • Hanna, J. M. The effects of coca chewing on exercise in the Quechua of Peru. Hum.Biol. 1970;42(1):1-11. View abstract.
  • Harland, E. C., Murphy, J. C., Elsohly, H., Greubel, D., Turner, C. E., and Watson, E. S. Biological effects of nonalkaloid-containing fractions of Erythroxylon coca. J Pharm Sci 1982;71(6):677-679. View abstract.
  • Homstedt, B., Lindgren, J. E., Rivier, L., and Plowman, T. Cocaine in blood of coca chewers. J.Ethnopharmacol. 1979;1(1):69-78. View abstract.
  • Hurtado-Gumucio, J. Coca leaf chewing as therapy for cocaine maintenance. Ann.Med.Interne (Paris) 2000;151 Suppl B:B44-B48. View abstract.
  • Rome LA, Lippmann ML, Dalsey WC, et al. Prevalence of cocaine use and its impact on asthma exacerbation in an urban population. Chest 2000;117:1324-9. View abstract.
  • Sauvain M, Rerat C, Moretti C, et al. A study of the chemical composition of Erythroxylum coca var. coca leaves collected in two ecological regions of Bolivia. J Ethnopharmacol 1997;56:179-91.. View abstract.
  • Spielvogel H, Rodriguez A, Sempore B, et al. Body fluid homeostasis and cardiovascular adjustments during submaximal exercise: influence of chewing coca leaves. Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol 1997;75(5):400-6. View abstract.
  • Turner M, McCrory P, Johnston A. Time for tea, anyone? Br J Sports Med 2005;39(10):e37. View abstract.
  • Vitzthum VJ, von Dornum M, Ellison PT. Brief communication: effect of coca-leaf chewing on salivary progesterone assays. Am J Phys Anthropol 1993;92(4):539-44. View abstract.
  • Altman, A. J., Albert, D. M., and Fournier, G. A. Cocaine's use in ophthalmology: our 100-year heritage. Surv.Ophthalmol. 1985;29(4):300-306. View abstract.
  • Bedford, J. A., Turner, C. E., and elSohly, H. N. Comparative lethality of coca and cocaine. Pharmacol.Biochem.Behav. 1982;17(5):1087-1088. View abstract.
  • Bedford, J. A., Turner, C. E., and elSohly, H. N. Local anesthetic effects of cocaine and several extracts of the coca leaf (E. coca). Pharmacol.Biochem.Behav. 1984;20(5):819-821. View abstract.
  • Bieri, S., Ilias, Y., Bicchi, C., Veuthey, J. L., and Christen, P. Focused microwave-assisted extraction combined with solid-phase microextraction and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry for the selective analysis of cocaine from coca leaves. J Chromatogr.A 4-21-2006;1112(1-2):127-132. View abstract.
  • Borghelli, R. F., Stirparo, M. A., Andrade, J. H., Centofanti, M. H., and Barros, R. E. [Lesions of the oral mucosa caused by the use of coca leaves (Erythroxyloncoca) in 20 year old men in the Province of Jujuy (Argentina)]. Rev.Asoc.Odontol.Argent 1973;61(7):250-254. View abstract.
  • Borghelli, R. F., Stirparo, M., Andrade, J., Barros, R., Centofanti, M., and de Estevez, O. T. Leukoedema in addicts to coca leaves in Humahuaca, Argentina. Community Dent.Oral Epidemiol. 1975;3(1):40-43. View abstract.
  • Calatayud, J. and Gonzalez, A. History of the development and evolution of local anesthesia since the coca leaf. Anesthesiology 2003;98(6):1503-1508. View abstract.
  • Cartmell, L. W., Aufderhide, A., and Weems, C. Cocaine metabolites in pre-Columbian mummy hair. J Okla.State Med Assoc. 1991;84(1):11-12. View abstract.
  • Casale, J. F. and Moore, J. M. Detection and determination of pseudococaine in coca leaves and illicit cocaine samples. J Forensic Sci 1994;39(6):1537-1543. View abstract.
  • Dagnino, J. Coca leaf and local anesthesia. Anesthesiology 2004;100(5):1322. View abstract.
  • Fairley, H. B. [Anesthesia in the Inca empire]. Rev.Esp.Anestesiol.Reanim. 2007;54(9):556-562. View abstract.

Vitamins Survey

Have you ever purchased COCA?

Did you or will you purchase this product in-store or online?

Where did you or where do you plan to purchase this product?

Where did you or where do you plan to purchase this product?

What factors influenced or will influence your purchase? (check all that apply)

Vitamins Survey

Where did you or where do you plan to purchase this product?

Do you buy vitamins online or instore?

What factors are most important to you? (check all that apply)

This survey is being conducted by the WebMD marketing sciences department.Read More

More Resources for COCA

CONDITIONS OF USE AND IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.

This copyrighted material is provided by Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Consumer Version. Information from this source is evidence-based and objective, and without commercial influence. For professional medical information on natural medicines, see Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Professional Version.
© Therapeutic Research Faculty .