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Table 1 Studies on cocaine content in coca tea and benzoylecgonine concentration in urine

From: Travel medicine, coca and cocaine: demystifying and rehabilitating Erythroxylum – a comprehensive review

Authors Year Preparation of infusion Cocaine content of infusion Urinalysis Benzoylecgonine (BE) concentration in urine Comments
Siegel et al. [121] 1986 N = 36? HIT*: ~  4.8 mg
Mate de Coca: ~  5.7 mg
(= 0.13–0.68% as normally found in coca)
   No evidence of ‘decocainisation’,
No ill effect, no abuse
ElSohly et al. [122] 1986 N = 1
1 teabag HIT in 1 cup
2.15 mg 6 samples within 29 h Total amount excreted after 29 h: 818.8 μg + 31.1% of ingested dose. Consider HIT consumption when interpreting data
Ferreira-Engelke et al. [123] 1991 40 teabags of HIT
- 20 teabag (1 teabag/cup/10 min
- 20 teabags extracted in ethanol/15 min (method by Turner [124]
X ± SD
0.04% ± 0.017
0.33% ± 0.035
   Not decocainised;
If stored for long (e.g. 3 years) cocaine in brewed tea 0.006–0.004%, in ethanol extraction 0.06–0.05%
Jackson et al. [125] 1991 N = 4 males
1 cup of HIT
1.87 mg Samples over 36 h Maximum BE concentration 1.4–2.8 mg/l
Total BE excretion in 36 h 1.05–1.45 mg (= 59–90% of ingested cocaine)
Consider HIT when interpreting data
Floren et al. [126] 1993 N = 2
1 cup/240 ml of tea brought from Bolivia
Technical problems prevented cocaine testing.
Estimated 0.8 mg of BE
(3.4 μg/ml)
  In one subject 2608 ng/ml after 4 h;
Both subjects negative after 24 h
Authors concerned about having had coca tea for 10 days in Bolivia. ‘Experiment’ poorly described. Emphasise ‘illegality’.
‘Decocainisation cannot be done’
20-30 mg per line of cocaine
Jenkins et al. [32] 1996 N = 1
Coca teabags from 1) Peru and 2) Bolivia randomly selected weighed and tea prepared 1 bag in 180 ml deionized water at 94 °C.
Infusion times: 6, 9, 12, 15 min
Subject drank 1 cup Peruvian tea; same subject drank 1 cup Bolivian tea on separate occasion
2 methods of methanolic extraction for both sources
Peruvian tea: 4.14 mg (range 3.40–4.76 mg)
Bolivian tea: 4.29 mg (range 4.09–4.49 mg)
Samples over 48 h BE in urine for at least 20 h Steeping time increased cocaine content in Peruvian tea (3.94–5.88 mg), approx. 80% of available cocaine transferred to tea.
Consider tea when interpreting data.
Turner et al. [127] 2005 N = 1
1 teabag of Mate de Coca from Peru in 250 ml boiling water
Steeped for 25 min.
2.5 mg Samples prior to consumption and 2, 5, 8, 15, 20, 21, 24, 43, 68 h after Positive for BE 2–24 h after consumption [IB: Nobody would steep tea for 25 min!]
Consider tea when interpreting data in sports drug testing
Mazor et al. [128] 2006 N = 5
1 teabag of Peruvian coca tea in 8 fluid ounces.
Steeped for 15 min
Each volunteer drank 1 more cup than the previous (A = 1 cup; B = 2 cups, etc)
  Samples prior and at 2, 12, 24, 36 h after ingestion Mean BE concentration in all samples: 1777 ng/ml (95%CI: 1060–2495) Consider tea when interpreting data.
  1. *HIT = Health Inca Tea