GEORGE BERNARD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY GEORGE BERNARD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Coca plant. Historical artwork of the coca plant (Erythroxylon coca), the shrub from which cocaine is obtained. Coca leaves have been chewed as a stimulant for centuries by the native people of the Amazon basin, where the plant is found. Usually, a wad of dried leaves is chewed and formed into a small pad held against the cheek. The leaves contain the alkaloid cocaine, which acts directly on the central nervous system causing mental exhilaration and resistance to physical and mental fatigue. Cocaine has become a drug of abuse, and its use is illegal throughout the world. Artwork from a book published in 1901.
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