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December 20, 2010



You cooked curry with your couchsurfers, oh please let me stay with you in Argentina!

Leigh Shulman

Most definitely! You're in Ecuador now as far as I can tell? Let me know when you hit Salta. We'll be here except for the first 3 weeks of February.


I just found your blog and love it! My husband and I also love to travel slow. We're currently living in BA, but planning out our next city. I'd love to talk to you more about life in Salta. It looks like an amazing place to live.


Oh wow. I am such a newbie to herbs I'm not sure I would have tried it(although in all honesty I think I would have also drank it up to keep up with them).

Glad to hear you made it through in one piece. <3

Leigh Shulman

Hey Sheryl,

Thanks for the compliment and the comment! Let's definitely talk more about Salta. Are you thinking you might come to live here?

I list a bunch of different ways to reach me in the Contact Me section above. Feel free to get in touch in whatever way is best for you.

Leigh Shulman

I think I probably did drink it a bit to keep up with everyone, but mostly, I just didn't think it would be that strong. The only other time I had coca was when we went to Chile and Lila had bad altitude sickness.

We bought a cup of tea made from a teabag at a little stand at the border. It seemed to help a bit, but the oxygen she got at the border station was better.

But please don't think my experience is what will happen to you. Just go slow and listen to your body.

One more question for you: What is your interest in herbs? What have you studied and what more would you like to know?


Merry Christmas, Leigh! Thank you for the inspiration to post again. I finally have a new one after 8 long months.
Glad you finally feel better. Sounds like some scary stuff. Thanks for the warning.
just wanted to say thanks again for your posts. If you get a chance, check out my new post. mybabciasbabushka.blogspot.com
Talk to you soon! (((HUGS)))


Yikes, what an awful experience!!! I had no idea that coca leaf tea could have that reaction--all I knew was that it made people's mouths feel tingly. I also thought it was a stimulant rather than a sedative. Good to know!


Hey, looks like you have a very interesting blog, although I am not sure I have time to be a regular reader. But did you know that coca leaf does indeed contain cocaine? According to Wikipedia it contains 0.8% cocaine. I have thought about trying the decocainized leaf available in the U.S. It supposedly still gives a gentle pick-me-up. The reviewers on Amazon said it has a light, pleasant taste. It sounds like you used way too much.


>But we were using relatively fresh leaves which were steeped in hot water for a few hours.

I have NO experience with coca tea but according to the interwebs, you should steep dried leaves for about 20 minutes in hot but not boiling water. Would fresh leaves require HOURS of steeping? Maybe that's what made you sick.

Leigh Shulman

Hey Paco,

It wasn't entirely intentional that we steeped the leaves so long. Someone else made the tea, and then we started chatting and no one thought to strain it.

There are plenty teas I like to steep for long periods of time. Nettles. Red raspberry. Very mild teas. From what I understand also, how strong the tea is depends on how water soluble the alkaloid. I didn't do my research properly before trying the tea. Highly likely it would have been too strong.


Interesting... but just wondering why no one else got sick too? ;as vomiting and a headache for two days sounds very much like a stomach bug. (which if it was, you could have picked up from anywhere in the previous 8-24 hours).

I have used coca many times over many years, and experimented with varying lengths of time soaking the leaves (days and even weeks), in water and even pure alcohol. I have had what I would consider 'too much' on a few occasions, but never experienced what you did from it.

Coca is amazing, and should be respected like all other beneficial plants. I would even go as for to say it's THE safest of all active plants that we can use.

Leigh Shulman

Hi ffrr,

It's a good question. My answer would be Noah and the birthday boy have a good 75 pounds on me each, and I drank the same amount as they did. Add to that, I tend to be extremely sensitive to the alkaloids in many plants. I tend to need less medication at greater effect, too. Don't know why. It's just how it's always been.

I suppose it could have been a stomach bug, but it didn't seem like one, and these particular effects of coca have been documented elsewhere. And they tend to come on approximately 12 hours after taking the herb.

I am in no way saying people shouldn't use coca, but it is most definitely not the safest active herb out there. Things like chamomile, lavender, calendula and a whole host of others are far safer. Those can pretty much be taken by anyone of any age in any health condition. I don't think the same can be said for coca because it is a rather powerful stimulant.

Natuerliche Mittel


i like your blog, good postings. I also have a blog, since it comes to herbal products, stuff all healthy, which can change your life.

Greetings from Germany


Great post on Cocoa Leaf Tea. Sorry you got sick but you're experience teaches me a great lesson. Thanks

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