Coca Chewing Paraphernalia
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Mon, 05/16/2022 – 12:43
“The coca plant is at the center of daily life and ritual practice for Indigenous people throughout South America. When Arhuaco men meet, for example, they exchange handfuls of coca leaves instead of shaking hands. Chewed with lime powder (calcium carbonate, which acts as a catalyst) created from burned seashells, it has a mild stimulating effect that aids focus and thinking, but not the highly intoxicating effects of chemically refined cocaine. As ethnographer Wade Davis has noted, “comparing coca to cocaine is like comparing potatoes to vodka.”
The basic coca chewing paraphernalia has remained virtually unchanged over millennia: a bag for dried coca leaves, a poporo (container for lime powder), and a dipper stick, which allows the coca and lime to be combined in the chewer’s mouth (see video).”