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Coca is a plant in the group Erythroxylaceae, native to north-western South America. The plant plays a central role in customary Andean culture. It is used by Andean cultures such as the Chibcha family of Colombia and Quechua family of Peru as a messenger from the Gods, but is best known in most of the world for the stimulant drug cocaine that is chemically extracted from its new fresh leaf tips in a similar manner, to tea bush harvesting. Unprocessed coca leaves are also commonly used in the Andean countries to make herbal tea with mild stimulant effects similar to strong coffee.
The plant resembles a blackthorn bush, and grows to a height of 710 ft. The branches are straight, and the leaves, which have a green tint, are thin, opaque, oval, and taper at the extremities. A marked feature of the leaf is an areolated portion bounded by two longitudinal bowed lines, one line on each side of the midrib, and more conspicuous on the under face of the leaf.
The flowers are tiny, and disposed in little clusters on short stalks. The corolla is composed of five yellowish-white petals, the anthers are heart-shaped, and the pistil consists of three carpels united to form a three-chambered ovary. The flowers mature into red berries. The people from the altiplano (an Inca heritage) love coca. They celebrate an Inca festival (ground hog day), and worship a goddess called Pachamama. Pachamama is a goddess revered by the indigenous people of the Andes.
In Inca mythology, Mama Pacha or Pachamama is a fertility goddess who presides over planting and harvesting. She causes earthquakes. Llamas are sacrificed to her. After conquest by Catholic Spain her image was replaced by the Virgin Mary, with whom she is identified in some parts of Chile, Bolivia and Peru. They now worship both. Pachamama is usually translated as "Mother Earth."
Since Pachamama is a "good mother", people usually toast to her honor before every... [continues]
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(2007, 11). Coca. StudyMode.com. Retrieved 11, 2007, from http://www.studymode.com/essays/Coca-125785.html
"Coca" StudyMode.com. 11 2007. 11 2007 <http://www.studymode.com/essays/Coca-125785.html>.
"Coca." StudyMode.com. 11, 2007. Accessed 11, 2007. http://www.studymode.com/essays/Coca-125785.html.