Hidden in Plain Sight (Coca-Cola)

Hidden in Plain Sight (Coca-Cola)
Photo by Vinzent Weiskopf / Unsplash

This article will be short and sweet, it will touch on a world-famous brand and the two ingredients which give rise to its name.

Coca-Cola has often been described as the most well-known brand in the world, and while this ebbs and flows as time passes and newer entrants like Apple and Amazon come along, the situation remains relatively fixed with Coca-Cola a world-renowned brand etched into the consciousness of people's minds.

So what is Coca-Cola, other than Coca and Cola?

Coca Leaf

As one might know, Coca leaf is the raw commodity that is used to produce Cocaine.  Only by multiple steps of various processes is the alkaloid cocaine separated from the multitude of other elements found within the leaf.  The leaf, which I might add, was referred to as "The Plant" by the Aztecs, Incas, etc.

It is with this raw ingredient that Coca-Cola incorporated one of its major stimulants.  Yes, there were other stimulants too, like caffeine and possibly a touch of theobromine (from the next ingredient below), but the active key ingredient was the extracted cocaine from the coca leaf.

It was more than likely that the use of cocaine, in my mind at least, gave Coca-Cola the momentum to become such a behemoth of an industry.  Only later did the company remove cocaine from the beverage, but by this stage, the market had changed and regulation was fast approaching.

By the early 1960s, the Coca plant and leaf were made illegal by a convention led by the U.S. through the body of the United Nations.  Naturally, Coca-Cola retained the right to be in effect the sole importer of Coca leaves despite it being deemed illegal, as a matter of fact, they also invested in projects to try to cultivate the respected plant in Hawaii with limited success.

Coca Plant

While it is debatable as to the pros and cons of cocaine, the debate as to the pros and cons of coca leaf is very one-sided, in favour of the pros.  Coca leaf comes out with a treasure trove of benefits to the human mind and body.  To give just two dashes of info:

  • Coca leaf may be one of the best sources of Nitric Oxide (search "benefits of nitric oxide")
  • The leaf is not addictive in the slightest with men chewing X amount per day when they were young and still around X amount per day when they are in old age.

Cola Nut

While less well known, Cola nut is the ingredient that originally gave Coca-Cola its distinct flavour.  This flavour which was originally made with the West African nut is now more commonly made with synthetic versions which as one would expect are much cheaper and exclude other compounds present in the raw product.

This tropical nut can be consumed fresh or dried and is said to have a wide range of benefits.  As a matter of fact, West Africans and now myself consider it to be a medicine rather than a pure stimulant.  

Stimulant?  Yes, a stimulant.  A single cola nut has more caffeine than a regular americano black coffee, or an espresso, pick your poison.  In addition to this, it also has other interesting compounds such as theobromine, which you might know as the key stimulant which makes chocolate oh-so-great.

Cola Plant

While caffeine in a way gets a bit of a bad rep, it's my personal opinion that where the caffeine is contained makes all the difference.  Think about your mood on coffee, tea, cola nut, vs other forms.  It isn't binary.

Regardless, the benefits of cola nut appear to be robust, particularly for the central nervous system reducing inflammation and giving clarity which cannot be nailed down to the caffeine content.

Illegal by Design?

So we have both Coca plant and Cola nut which have been used by many civilizations for thousands of years.  

Both of which offer benefits to the mind and/or body.  

Both of these are in effect forgotten but formed the core of one of the most successful brands in the world.  

One was made illegal in the basins of demand and population density, and the other was underappreciated (likely because Cola nut doesn't offer the full depth of mind and body benefits which are associated with the Coca leaf (search benefits of Nitric Oxide as a start)).

"Real Magic"

In conclusion, is Coca-Cola indeed "Real Magic"?

See you on Twetch,