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Can You Get Buzzed on Coca Leaves?

June 15, 2014|Posted in: Peru

coca tea

The first thing you notice when you step off the plane in Cusco, Peru is that it feels like there is no air. Just walking to baggage claim leaves you winded. The second thing you notice is that coca is ubiquitous. Coca tea, coca candy, even plain old coca leaves are everywhere. Plus, there’s a coca shop in Cusco that serves brownies so rich that it should be a sin to eat them.

I must admit that when I am trekking in Peru, I chew coca leaves like a cow chews its cud. I don’t get buzzed, high, or even super energetic from coca leaves. Although there are times, trekking uphill for example, when I wish they would make me super energetic.

Turns out that coca leaves help alleviate the symptoms of mild altitude sickness—something that becomes increasingly important the higher you go. So, if you are planning to go to Cusco, I hope that you’ll enjoy a cup of coca tea. Or better yet, head to the coca shop for a brownie!


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