6 Potential Health Benefits Of Coca Leaf Tea

by Sindhu Koganti

Coca tea (mate de coca) has been used by the indigenous people of South America for centuries. The tea is said to possess compounds, such as inulin, phytonutrients, and alkaloids, that offer several health benefits. The tea is also rich in vitamins A, C, E, B2, and B6 and has antioxidant properties.

Coca tea intake may help promote weight loss, boost energy, improve immune health, and alleviate altitude sickness. In this article, we will discuss the benefits, preparation, and side effects of coca tea. Read on.

What Are The Health Benefits Of Coca Leaf Tea?

1. May Promote Weight Loss

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 contain carbohydrates, calories, minerals, and vitamins that offer energy to the user (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

Coca tea leaves contain various minerals and vitamins (3). These may play a role in boosting your immune system. Though direct research is lacking, the rich nutrients in the tea may help in this regard.

4. May Alleviate Altitude Sickness

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 (4).

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

Coca leaves have a therapeutic potential in the treatment of type 2 diabetes (5). They contain nutrients, such as vitamin A, calcium, iron, and riboflavin, that help in regulating blood glucose levels in your body (6). This, in turn, enhances metabolism and may lower the risk of diabetes.

6. May Relieve Indigestion

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 (7). 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 the cocaine, is safe for most people when taken in normal amounts (8). 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 (9). 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 (10). 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 (11). Hence, pregnant women should avoid the intake of coca tea. It may also cause Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) (12). 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 (13). 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 (14). People who have asthma should avoid the consumption of coca tea.

Conclusion

Coca tea is rich in several vitamins, minerals, and certain alkaloids that offer benefits. The antioxidant properties of nutrients available in coca tea may help in treating certain ailments excess body weight, altitude sickness, diabetes, and constipation.

However, excess consumption of this herbal tea may cause some adverse effects, like irritability, miscarriage, and heart issues. Hence, it is important to keep these in mind before deciding to consume this beverage and consult a doctor in case of any emergencies.

Expert’s Answers for Readers 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 (8).

14 sources

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Sindhu Koganti

Sindhu Koganti is a Biotechnology graduate and has been in the writing field for over 4 years now. She specializes in writing on Health and Wellness. She has hands-on experience in writing articles and press releases on Life Sciences and Healthcare, Food and Beverages, and Chemicals and Materials. When she’s not writing, she loves watching movies and listening to music. She also enjoys traveling.
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