Coca tea is derived from the raw leaves of the coca plant. The plant is native to South America, particularly in the Andes region. This is an extremely interesting tea as the same plant is the source for basic cocaine. Drinkers of the tea can rest assured that the amount of the cocaine alkaloid that is present in the raw leaves of the tea is minimal.
The tea can go through a process which is similar to decaffeination and is legal in the US in this form only. The tea is illegal in South Africa unless it has gone through this process. It is legal in Ecuador, Colombia, Bolivia and Peru.
Health Benefits of Coca Tea
The tea is regarded as a mild stimulant due to the alkaloids that are present in its leaves. The alkaloid content of the tea can result in a consumer testing positive for cocaine.
Coca tea is used for the prevention of and to treat altitude sickness. Altitude sickness can occur during the first couple of days of your body acclimatizing to a high altitude. It can cause dizziness, nausea and vomiting. It is believed that coca leaves have been used as a remedy for this condition and the leaves are normally chewed for effect. It is also effective for digestive problems.
It is believed that coca tea is an effective weight loss remedy. Drinking coca tea on a regular basis may promote reduction of body fat with little or no side effects. The compounds contained in the leaves of the plant could stimulate the body much like caffeine does. It will boost your energy and make you mentally alert.
How to Brew Coca Tea
The drink has a greenish yellow tinge, with a mild flavour which is similar to green tea. It is slightly sweeter than green tea. The tea leaves are available at health food stores, organic markets and online.
Heat water, but do not allow the water to boil. Warm water releases the flavours better, similar to green tea.
Add one teaspoon of coca tea leaves to an infuser. Insert the infuser into the pot of water. Alternatively, add one tea bag to the warm water.
Allow the leaves to steep for about 10 minutes for a mild tea. You can leave it in the water for up to 20 minutes for a darker, more intense brew. When making the tea for the first time, it is best to steep for a shorter period of time until you become used to the taste.
If desired, you can sweeten the tea by adding a teaspoon of honey, sugar or syrup.
It is recommended that you dilute the tea during the first few days of consumption. The flavour of the tea and stimulant properties may be too intense for first time users. You should not consume more than two cups of coca tea daily. The tea acts as a stimulant and it is advised that you do not drink the tea during the evening as it may cause interrupted sleep.