How to use Coca Leaves – Health Benefits Revealed

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Regardless of popular belief, coca leaves are actually good for you. Yes, I said coca leaves – responsible for the additive drug we know as cocaine. Sadly, due to the ignorance towards South American cultures, stigmatization of the coca plant, and straight-up propaganda against this amazing plant, people are left scared and unable to experience the benefits that the coca leaf has to offer. Furthermore, it’s illegal to consume coca leaves in the United States. Thank god, I’m currently visiting Argentina for the next few months — lucky me!

How to use Coca Leaves - Health Benefits Revealed 2


Right: Here’s a bag of coca leaves I purchased for 10 Argentine pesos (about 2.70 USD).


Last week I went up north to an area known as Salta, Argentina. While there, I spoke to people who trace their lineage back to indigenous Inca tribes that have used coca leaves for thousands upon thousands of years. They spoke of these benefits from coca leaves:

1. Coca leaves increase the amount of oxygen in your blood,

allowing you to travel to high altitudes. In Argentina, it’s very mountainous, so it’s important to use coca leaves when traveling to higher regions above sea level. A bit of history: when the Spaniards conquered Argentina, they couldn’t understand why the natives had large heaps of green leaves in their mouths while working in the mountains. Since they didn’t understand it, they passed laws to make coca leaves illegal to chew.

Shortly after, they noticed a sharp decrease in production (they were forced to work themselves) and in time, they realized it was because the natives were now weaker and had less energy to work because they were no longer “chewing on the green leaves.” Which brings us to what I learned next…

2. Coca leaves are a mild stimulant,

like coffee, but better. Why better? Because coca leaves provide your body with all sorts of vitamins and nutrients like: calcium, phosphorous, iron, potassium, magnesium, sodium, ascorbic acid, etc and vitamins A, C and E. Current research is also saying that “the coca leaf contains more proteins (19.9 per cent) than meat (19.4 per cent) and far more calcium (2,191 per cent) than condensed milk, and that it is richer in vitamin B-1 (276 per cent) than fresh carrots.”

3. Coca leaves are also used to prevent the absorption of alcohol.

Put simply, if you pack about 20 coca leaves in your mouth and suck on the juices for an hour before preparing to drink all night, you’re going to be able to drink a lot without getting totally wasted and having a nasty hangover the next day. Pretty sweet, eh?

4. Coca leaves curb your appetite,

I was also told. This is good for all you people on a diet or trying to lose weight. You may want to give coca leaves a shot instead of popping all those poisonous diet pills advertised left and right.

Now how do you use coca leaves?

A Bunch of Coca Leaves

Coca Leaves

Well, it’s pretty darn simple.

Step 1: Get a hold of 15 – 30 coca leaves. If you’re in South America, that’ll be easy. If you’re in the United States, you’ll have to get creative. But trust me, it’s possible to get some if you think about it…. Now, tear off the little stem of the leaf. This is done so you don’t scratch your mouth. Here is how:

A Single Coca Leaf

Step 2: Start placing the leaves on the side of your mouth, right against your cheek wall, between your cheek and your teeth. Yup, just pack them in there. For your first time, you may want to start with 5 or so, then slowly work you way up to 30 leaves (as they do here in Argentina!) as you become more accustomed to the leaves. Here is how:

Packing Coca Leaves Inside Mouth

Step 3: You basically want to continue swallowing the juice in your mouth produced by the leaves. Do this for a period of 1 hour, then discard the leaves (and repeat if you’d like). Once in a while you may want to bite on the leaves and bruise it to produce a stronger dosage of those healthy chemicals.

Demystifying the Cocaine and Coca Leaf Myth

“In spite of coca being persecuted for being the raw material of cocaine, scientists discovered that the sap in its leaves contains more then ten different alkaloid substances, and that cocaine strictly speaking amounts to less than 1% of that total. According to pharmacological studies carried out at the University of Caldas, Colombia, if consumed in its natural form, the leaf is not toxic and doesn’t produce dependency. It acts like a mild stimulant, improving attention and the coordination of ideas, akin to concentrated coffee.” – University of Caldas, Colombia

And remember, coca leaves are not cocaine. You are not doing cocaine when consuming these leaves. You’d need, literally, pounds of coca leaves in your mouth in order to produce the effects of 1 gram of cocaine.

Disclaimer: I am not advocating the usage of coca leaves, simply sharing anecdotal information about my personal experiences with coca leaves. Please use your own judgment and consult with your authorities (local country/state laws and regulations) and doctors before consumption.


David AskaripourDavid Askaripour, a prominent blogger based in New York, writes on the subject of natural healing among other things. His work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Television Talk Shows, books and local news channels.


  1. says

    Yea man. People misconstrue what harmful drugs are here in the states. The big companies with their well packaged drugs with a 1000 side effects are “safe”. Coca leaves all the way. Im in the Cayman Islands right now and I know they have some great local medicines for just about everything.

  2. Maria Pollari says

    Whoa, that’s very interesting, David! I never knew about the benefits of this leaf — probably because it’s been so persecuted by the media.

  3. says

    Glad that you guys liked the article. I’m sure that we’re all constantly surprised to learn about things that have been so-fervently stigmatized, all the while are good for our health! Ha, go figure.

  4. Jayse says

    It’s nice to know that there are peoplelike you guys who understand the benefits of the various herbs found all over the world, regardless of their legality in the United States. Knowledge truly is power, so keep spreading it. I salute all of you.

  5. Blah blah blah says

    I liked the pictures of you stuffing the coca leaves in your maw.


    coca leaf is good for you.

    Good medicine that works.

  6. Conor says

    absolutely incredible. I’m just 16 but I can tell that the government is stupid. Especially when it comes to drugs, and the nutritional information on those leaves is breathtaking. Thank you very much for your info as I will use it to get myself a good grade in my English argument to replace tobacco with weed or coca leaves. :)

  7. Robert Shrewsbury says

    I have repeatedly read on the web that Coca leaf is not illegal in the USA.
    Actually you can purchase it at and I did.
    It has reduced my sever arthritic pain in half. It has increased my stamina a lot, etc, etc.

  8. Dan says

    Here in Peru; the leaves are always chewed with ash in order for you to absorb some of the beneficial ingredients. If I don´t use the ash my mouth does not go slightly numb.

  9. hamed says

    i use it all the time it cure my headache and my arthritis and i lost weight after using it 80 lb in 9 months

  10. birdinsun says

    I just was given a coca plant. I’m wondering how to use the fresh leaves. Do I need to dry them? Do I need to add something – ash, baking soda? to get the benefits?

    Very interesting article.

  11. Jens says

    I love the taste of coca leafs that comes after chewing them nice & goopy.
    I live in Norway & have been ordering Mate de Coca for a while now,not having any problems with customs.
    The drug war is seeing its last days i like to believe.
    Thank you for exciting reading,David.

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