Pope plans to chew coca leaves in Bolivia

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Pope Francis waves as he leaves after visiting the parish of San Michele Archangelo in Rome February 8, 2015. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Giampiero Sposito. * Editors: This photo can only be used with RNS-VATICAN-REFORM, transmitted on Feb. 9, 2015 or with RNS-POPE-ITINERARY, originally transmitted on June 30, 2015.

Pope Francis waves as he leaves after visiting the parish of San Michele Archangelo in Rome February 8, 2015. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Giampiero Sposito. * Editors: This photo can only be used with RNS-VATICAN-REFORM, transmitted on Feb. 9, 2015 or with RNS-POPE-ITINERARY, originally transmitted on June 30, 2015.

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LA PAZ, Bolivia (Reuters) Although it is the key ingredient in cocaine, the unprocessed leaf is legal to use and still widely chewed in Bolivia and other Andean countries.

  • KABerg

    from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vin_Mariani
    Vin Mariani (French: Mariani wine) was a tonic and patent medicine created about 1863 by Angelo Mariani, a French chemist who became intrigued with coca and its economic potential after reading Paolo Mantegazza’s paper on coca’s effects. In 1863,] Mariani started marketing a wine called Vin Tonique Mariani (à la Coca du Pérou) which was made from Bordeaux wine and coca leaves……
    The ethanol in the wine acted as a solvent and extracted the cocaine from the coca leaves, altering the drink’s effect. It originally contained 6 mg of cocaine per fluid ounce of wine, but Vin Mariani that was to be exported contained 7.2 mg per ounce…. Queen Victoria. Pope Leo XIII and later Pope Saint Pius X were both Vin Mariani drinkers. Pope Leo awarded a Vatican gold medal to the wine, and also appeared on a poster endorsing it. https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/48/Mariani_pope.jpg

  • Larry

    This is just for show. The guy is from argentina, he already knew where to get the really good stuff.

  • Daniel Berry, NYC

    Actually, kidding aside, the Andean folks have chewed the coca leaves, time out of mind, because they improve oxygenation of the blood, making it easier to live in and adapt to the high elevations of the Andes.

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