6 Potential Health Benefits Of Coca Leaf Tea

Give your immune system that extra kick with this aromatic herbal infusion.

Medically Reviewed by Gabrielle Kane, RDN, CSP, LD
By Sindhu Koganti, BTech (Biotechnology), Diploma In Nutrition

Coca leaf tea is a herbal concoction made with the leaves of the coca plant. It is also known as mate de coca and has been used in traditional medicine by the indigenous people of South America for centuries. The benefits of coca leaf tea can be attributed to its rich phytonutrient, alkaloid, and vitamin (A, C, E, B2, and B6) composition and antioxidant properties that are helpful in treating many ailments. Drinking this herbal tea promotes weight loss, boosts energy, enhances the immune system, alleviates altitude sickness, and reduces diabetes risk. In this article, we have discussed the health benefits and possible side effects of coca leaf tea. Keep reading!

What Are The Health Benefits Of Coca Leaf Tea?

1. May Promote Weight Loss

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Mice studies state that coca tea may have a beneficial effect on weight loss (1). Alkaloids found in the tea may have the ability to promote weight loss. These compounds may play a role in increasing lipolysis (breakdown of fatty acids in the body for energy).

The intake of coca tea suppresses appetite (2). This also may contribute to weight loss. Anecdotal evidence suggests that drinking the tea regularly may increase the body’s natural ability to burn fat.

2. May Boost Energy

Some theories suggest that individuals often use coca tea for its purported stimulant properties (3). The leaves are a good source of carbohydrates, calories, minerals, and vitamins that helps boost energy levels(3). This tea’s stimulatory effect is similar to coffee. But coca leaves lack caffeine – their tea could be ideal for those intolerant to caffeine.

3. May Boost The Immune System

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Coca tea leaves contain various minerals and vitamins, such as vitamin A, calcium, iron, and riboflavin (4). These may play a role in boosting your immune system (5), (6). Though direct research is lacking, the rich nutrients in the tea may help in this regard.

4. May Alleviate Altitude Sickness

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Coca tea has been used to relieve the various symptoms of altitude sickness for centuries. A study conducted by the SUNY Upstate Medical University found that consumption of coca leaf products may decrease high altitude sickness (7).

Another study conducted on 136 travelers found that the intake of coca tea reduces altitude sickness (2). Coca tea may help in improving the oxygen uptake and blood flow at high altitudes.

5. May Reduce Diabetes Risk

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Coca leaves have a therapeutic potential in the treatment of type 2 diabetes (8). They contain nutrients, such as vitamin A, calcium, iron, and riboflavin, that may help managing diabetes and its associated complications (9), (10), (11). This, in turn, enhances metabolism and may lower the risk of diabetes.

6. May Relieve Indigestion

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The presence of alkaloids and vitamins in coca tea make it an effective remedy for indigestion. It has been used to treat stomach pain, nausea, bloating, and vomiting for centuries (12). It is commonly used in South America as an effective natural treatment for many problems that are associated with indigestion.

If you want to learn how to make coca tea, we’ve got you covered. In the following section, we have discussed the recipe.

How To Make Coca Leaf Tea

Ingredients
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 teaspoon of coca leaves
  • 1 teaspoon of honey (or sugar)
Procedure
  1. Bring a cup of water to a boil. Reduce heat and allow it to simmer.
  2. Add coca leaves to the hot water (195o F).
  3. Allow the mixture to brew for 4-5 minutes; the longer it steeps, the stronger the tea.
  4. Strain the mixture into a cup, separating the leaves.
  5. Add honey or sugar if desired.

Coca tea could be simple to make. It contains no caffeine, which could be an added benefit to those sensitive to caffeine. However, the tea may also have certain side effects.

Side Effects of Coca Leaf Tea

Decocainized coca tea, or the tea made of leaves without cocaine, is safe for most people when taken in normal amounts (13). Excess consumption of coca tea may lead to irritability, headaches, and some issues during pregnancy.

  • May Cause Irritability

Excess consumption of this stimulant beverage can result in irritability due to the concentration of cocaine, which is a very powerful stimulant drug (14). While only decocainized coca products are legal in the USA, they do contain trace amounts of cocaine (13). However, when taken in moderation, coca tea does little more than a strong cup of coffee.

  • May Cause Heart Issues

The little cocaine in coca tea may strain the cardiovascular system (15). Hence, patients with heart disease should avoid coca tea.

  • May Cause Problems During Pregnancy

Cocaine present in coca leaves may cause preterm birth, low birth weight, and certain birth defects (16). Hence, pregnant women should avoid the intake of coca tea. It may also cause Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) (17). Breastfeeding mothers should also stay away from coca tea as it may have adverse effects on infants.

  • May Lead To Addiction

Coca is nature’s addictive plant (18). If you consume coca tea in excess, it is possible you may get addicted. While a chemical process is required to extract cocaine in high concentrations from the same leaves, drinking this tea every day may result in addiction.

  • May Worsen Asthma

The cocaine present in coca leaves, even in trace amounts, may make asthma worse (19). People who have asthma should avoid the consumption of coca tea.

The benefits of coco leaf tea can be attributed to its beneficial nutrients. It can promote weight loss, boost energy, alleviate altitude sickness, and strengthen the immune system. In addition, this tea can reduce diabetes risk and relieve indigestion. This tea can be prepared at home easily with simple ingredients. However, excess intake can cause irritability, addiction, and cause issues during pregnancy. Hence, caution is advised.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much coca tea can I drink?

You can have 3 to 4 cups of coca tea per day.

How long does coca tea stay in your urine?

Ccoca tea with detectable concentrations of cocaine metabolites can stay in your urine for at least 20 hours (13).

Sources

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Check out our editorial policy for further details.
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Sindhu Koganti is a health and wellness writer with over 5 years of experience. She has a bachelor’s degree in... more

Gabrielle Kane

(MS, RDN, CSP, LD )
Gabby is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and the founder of Peak Performance Nutrition LLC in Houston, Texas. She coaches both... more

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