Health Inca

In the early 1980s, imported coca leaf tea was marketed under the name "Health Inca Tea." The tea was "de-cocainized coca leaves" but it contained a detectable amount of cocaine (12). An individual who consumed one cup of "Health Inca Tea" had (peak) benzoylecgonine concentration of 1250ng/ml in the urine specimen collected 7h after consumption and 117ng/ml at 29 h (13). In another study by Jackson et al., four males each ingested one cup of "Health Inca Tea" which contained 1.87 mg of cocaine. Positive immunoassay results for benzoylecgonine were observed even 26 h post-ingestion. The maximum benzoylecgonine concentrations in urine ranging from 1400 to 2800ng/ml were obtained between 4 and 11 h post-ingestion (14). The US Food and Drug Administration has banned the import of this tea into the United States. Therefore, any current "Health Inca Tea" product should not contain any cocaine. South American countries such as Peru and Bolivia have a tradition of drinking medicinal tea made from coca leaf. Public markets there sell loose coca leaves and commercial tea bags made from coca leaves. Therefore, such product may come to other countries illegally or through travellers. A recent British report showed positive benzoylecgonine results in persons 24 h after ingestion of 250 ml of Mate de Coca tea. In the 1980s, de-cocainized Mate de Coca tea was sold extensively in the United States as "Health Inca Tea" (15).

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