Weil, Andrew T. College of Medicine, The University of Arizona Health Sciences Center, Tucson, Arizona.
Last reviewed:December 2019
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A shrub of the genus Erythroxylum in the coca family (Erythroxylaceae), whose leaves are the source of cocaine. The genus Erythroxylum contains more than 200 species. Most are found in the New World tropics. Two species, E. coca (see illustration) and E. novogranatense, are cultivated for their content of cocaine and other alkaloids. Leaves of cultivated coca contain 14 alkaloids, chiefly cocaine and significant amounts of vitamins and minerals. The cocaine content averages 0.5% and rarely exceeds 1.0%. See also: Alkaloid; Cocaine; Malpighiales
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