By Gonçalo Valadas
In the depths of the Amazon rainforest, tribes remain without any civilized contact, they hunt as our primordials did centuries ago, for that same purpose they need to be always alert and have inhuman stamina and strength or sickness they seek for plants to provide those elements and only shamans (some languages translated to clever man) have that knowledge, in between them Mambe.
Mambe or Ypadú is a crude powder made out of Coca leaves (Erythrolixum Coca) and ashes of several other plants, traditionally the Coca leaves would be toasted in am earthenware pot, crushed and mixed with the ashes from Yarumo (Cecropia spp.) The Ypadú powder is stored in a hollowed-out calabash, and scooped out with a spatula made from the legbone of a peccary or tapir. About a teaspoon of the powder is placed between the cheek and gum and molded into a quid, which is not chewed but allowed to gradually dissolve and be swallowed, in recent experiments done by Anthony Henman in Lima and São Paulo have shown a modern way of creating Mambe and proved that any variety of coca leaf can be used and mixed with the ashes of quinoa straw.
Natives would use this method to increase their focus, give them a boost of strength, energy, and pain reliever, it helps in digestion and suppressing fatigue, hunger, thirst needed for long hunts, long expeditions looking for food or needed items for survival, as the name indicated the most known alkaloid present in Erythrolixum Coca is Cocaine (0.3 to 1.5%, averaging 0.8%) in fresh leaves.
Both Coca and Cocaine have a place in clinical and pharmaceutical history, as early as the 19th century some recipes have been scavenged, recipes such as:
1 in 6 of simple elixir, the dose would consist of 1 to 4 drachms in water.
Extractum Cocæ Liquidum
(Extractum Erythroxyli Fluidum) Dose 1/0.5 to 2 drachms.
The leaves would be exhausted by percolation with proof spirit, the second part of percolate concentrated and dissolved in the first portion, and the strength would be adjusted so that one ounce would equal one of leaves; this preparation would contain all the properties of the leaf. If the alkaloids are freed from the wax they are miscible with water and with a richer taste and purified, if added to a spirit beverage in the proportion of half a teaspoon to a
wineglass it becomes a mild stimulant.
By distilling the spirit and concentrating the mixture by evaporation, a solid semi-alcoholic preparation is obtained, this mixture is stronger than the recipe above. It is known as:
The dosage would vary from 2 to 15 grains in pills or tablets.
1 in 50 boiling water, as the name describes an infusion made from coca leaves, this brew would be prepared like a hot tea with milk and sugar or with a slice of lemon, it would also be used in tonsillitis administered by gargling with warm water.
Coca Pastils, 2 and a half grains of the extract, one every two to 3 hours. They would be administered to patients with asthma, hay fever, spasmodixaathma, and post-nasal catarrh.
1 in every 8 of sherry, this wine brew sometimes administered with water wasn't sold without a license. Coca Wine this was the most popular form, 1in 20 or 30 of a red wine, the dosages were measured by "wineglassful" this practice was used for irritable stomach and vomiting.
Often Cocaine (Cocaina) and its salts would be used.
Doses would vary from 1/20th to 1 grain in a pill or tablet, the alkaloid was first isolated by Niemann in 1860, the formula C32H20NO8 was given, later to be assigned as C17H21NO4 by Lossen in 1862. Cocaine crystalizes in monoclinic prisms and it requires around 700 ml to dissolve in water, it dissolves quicker in hot water, but rapidly decomposes forming an acid solution containing benzoyl-ecgonine, ecgonine, and benzoate of cocaine, these compounds don't separate after cooling down. Cocaine is also soluble in alcohol about 1 in 20, in chloroform, ether about 1 in 3, and plenty other volatile oils and fixed oils.
According to Hesse (A story of Coca Leaves and their Alkaloids 1891), the alkaloids Hygrine, Benzoyl-Ecognine and Ecognine, Cocamine and Cocaidine, as well as Coca-Tannin and Coca Wax were met, Hesse claimed that all the Coca alkaloids derived from Ecognine methyl ester and ecognine itself from pyridine, being cocaine the most notable among the others.
As pure Cocaine is soluble in fats and oils its salts are not, that meaning it should always be used when combined with fatty or oily substances.
Bougies of Cocaine
1/2 grain with cacao-butter was often used for painful affections of the urethra
In 30 of petroleum cerate. Used for burns, urticaria, and pruritus.
2% in collodion. Diminishes itching and cures inflamed chilblains
1 dissolved in 50 of lead plaster heating in a water bath. For intercostal neuralgia, sciatica, bruises.
A saturated solution of the alkaloid in oleic acid, which hasn't been proved to be satisfactory.