Coca is any of the four cultivated plants in the family Erythroxylaceae, native to western South America. Coca is known worldwide for its psychoactive alkaloid, cocaine.
Different early-Holocene peoples in different areas of South America independently transformed Erythroxylum gracilipes plants into quotidian stimulant and medicinal crops now collectively called Coca. Archaeobotanical evidence show that Coca crops have been grown for well over 8,000 years in South America. They have had and still have a significant role in spiritual, economic, social and political dimensions for numerous indigenous cultures in the Andes and the Western Amazon arising from the use of the leaves as medicine and mild, daily stimulant.The plant is grown as a cash crop in the Argentine Northwest, Bolivia, Alto Rio Negro Territory in Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, and Peru, even in areas where its cultivation is unlawful. There are some reports that the plant is being cultivated in the south of Mexico, by using seeds imported from South America, as an alternative to smuggling its recreational product cocaine.
It also plays a fundamental role in many traditional Amazonian and Andean cultures as well as the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in northern Colombia.The cocaine alkaloid content of dry Erythroxylum coca var. coca leaves was measured ranging from 0.23% to 0.96%. Coca-Cola used coca leaf extract in its products from 1885 until about 1903, when it began using decocainized leaf extract. Extraction of cocaine from coca requires several solvents and a chemical process known as an acid–base extraction, which can fairly easily extract the alkaloids from the plant.

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