How Coca Leaf Became Colombia’s New Superfood

No other plant in human history has been as demonized as coca.

In 1961, it was placed on the Schedule I list at the United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, which stated that “The Parties shall so far as possible enforce the uprooting of all coca bushes which grow wild. They shall destroy the coca bushes if illegally cultivated.” The plant has been public enemy number one in the worldwide War on Drugs for decades.

But when the World Health Organization announced last year that the Monsanto-made pesticide, glyphosate, was actually highly carcinogenic, Colombia’s days of kissing America’s ass came to a screeching halt. In an abrupt turnaround, Colombia’s president Juan Manuel Santos is now challenging the War on Drugs in its entirety; this a reflection of the national psyche of a country that has borne the brunt of failed policies for far too long and is ready for real change.

“We are trying to promote the proper use of this plant, as it has been perverted for centuries, and show how it is actually used as indigenous tradition,” says Ximena Robayo, who runs the restaurant/café/health food store in the heart of the city’s bohemian La Candelaria district.

Besides chewing the leaves of coca, or brewing them into a tea, a wide variety of cooked and baked goods and dishes can be made with coca by grinding the leaves into a flour, called harina. This harina can also be stirred into juices, blended in smoothies, and used to make green drinks of all types.

Read the full article at Q Costa Rica