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Emergency Medicine International
Volume 2016, Article ID 4048764, 5 pages
Review Article

Coca: The History and Medical Significance of an Ancient Andean Tradition

Department of Emergency Medicine, SUNY Upstate Medical University, 550 E. Genesee Street, Suite 103, Syracuse, NY 13202, USA

Received 19 January 2016; Accepted 24 March 2016

Academic Editor: Jeffrey R. Avner

Copyright © 2016 Amy Sue Biondich and Jeremy David Joslin. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Coca leaf products are an integral part of the lives of the Andean peoples from both a cultural and traditional medicine perspective. Coca is also the whole plant from which cocaine is derived. Coca products are thought to be a panacea for health troubles in regions of South America. This review will examine the toxicology of whole coca and will also look at medicinal applications of this plant, past, present, and future.