Cocaine distribution in wild Erythroxylum species

J Ethnopharmacol. 2006 Feb 20;103(3):439-47. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2005.08.021. Epub 2005 Sep 30.


Cocaine distribution was studied in leaves of wild Erythroxylum species originating from Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Mexico, USA, Venezuela and Mauritius. Among 51 species, 28 had never been phytochemically investigated before. Cocaine was efficiently and rapidly extracted with methanol, using focused microwaves at atmospheric pressure, and analysed without any further purification by capillary gas chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry. Cocaine was reported for the first time in 14 species. Erythroxylum laetevirens was the wild species with the highest cocaine content. Its qualitative chromatographic profile also revealed other characteristic tropane alkaloids. Finally, its cocaine content was compared to those of two cultivated coca plants as well as with a coca tea bag sample.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Coca / chemistry*
  • Cocaine / analysis*
  • Dopamine Uptake Inhibitors / analysis*
  • Erythroxylaceae / chemistry*
  • Erythroxylaceae / classification
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Mauritius
  • Microwaves
  • North America
  • Plant Leaves
  • South America
  • Tropanes / analysis


  • Dopamine Uptake Inhibitors
  • Tropanes
  • Cocaine