Two shrubs, the coca and the cola, from South America and Africa respectively, supplied the main ingredients for many of our soft drinks and helping to stimulate pastifies. Their names have become household words in our daily language.
Since pre-Inca times the leaves of the coca plant (Erythroxylon coca), native to the mountainous regions of Peru and Bolivia, were chewed by the Indians as a stimulant and narcotic. The name is the Latinized form of the Peruvian name for the plant, cuca. The coca plant is the source of cocaine used since 1884 as a local surgical anesthetic. The dried nuts of the gurru or kola shrub (Cola acuniinata), native to the Sierra Leone and Guinea regions of western Africa, were highly valued in bygone times and used by the natives as money in local trading.
Cola nuts, a source of caffeine, were chewed as a stimulant making one insensible to fatigue and hunger, and were a potent supportive for intoxication and hangover. A stimulating brew called Coffee of Sudan, was made from the roasted and ground cola nuts. The name is the Latinized form of the native name of the plant, kola.
Today cola plants are grown extensively in Brazil and the West Indies to fill the growing demand of the international market for medical drugs. The narcotic coca leaves are no longer used in the manufacture of soft drinks. Other ingredients are now substituted for them and these provide equivalent stimulation without any harmful side effects.
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More Photographs - Kola Nut Extract (12% Caffeine) - 450 mg
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