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Drug Addictions of the Times

This discussion on "Drug Addictions of the Times" is in the Health Medicine and Hygiene section; Cocoa leaves, Lee? Now that's really living dangerously - death by chocolate. But that reminds ...

      
   
  1. #21
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    Cocoa leaves, Lee? Now that's really living dangerously - death by chocolate. But that reminds me of something. Legend has it that the designer of the famous bottle was looking through a book of alphabetically-arranged botanical drawings, seeking inspiration for a suitable shape. He checked out the cola nut and wasn't impressed, then while backtracking for the coca leaf he saw a pic of the cocoa bean and the rest is history (or myth, as the case may be). The amount of cocaine in Coca Cola, by the way, was never more than a trace and eventually (before it disappeared completely) it was down to one part in fifty million.
    .

  2. #22
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    I didn't forget the bella donna. In fact, I invited two of you!
    Bob Godfrey, are you smooth or what? But hang on, I'm in a muddle - I though Coca-Cola was cocaine not cocoa. Or is it the same? Forgive me, I am such an ignoramus concerning these things (preening, whilst reaching for another Benson & Hedges...)

  3. #23
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    No mystery - the magic ingredient was the coca leaf. Lee's 'cocoa' was a typo (I think!). The only reference I've ever seen to cocoa and coca cola together is in the recipe for 'Coca Cola chocolate fudge cake'. Don't even look that up - you might be tempted.

  4. #24
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    You're right, cocaine is refined from the leaves of the coco plant - first time I knew that. (Blushes). I guess the names caused the confusion.

    Apparently, the Coke bottle was actually formed in the shape of the coca pod. Good catch!

  5. #25
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    Nearly there. Just to get those confusing names straight - the brand name came from two of the original ingredients, the coca leaf and the cola nut. The bottle shape came from the cocoa pod (not from the beans inside - my mistake!).

  6. #26
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    According to This Article on Snopes.com, "Coca-Cola
    was named back in 1885 for its two "medicinal" ingredients: extract of coca leaves and kola nuts. Just how much cocaine was originally in the formulation is hard to determine, but the drink undeniably contained some cocaine in its early days." It also points out that by 1902, what was left in the formula amounted to little more then 1/400th of a gram per ounce of syrup. Mix this in with carbonated water and what you have left wouldn't be sufficient to have any sort of real effect. Compared to other patent medicines of the time, Coca-Cola was mild stuff.

  7. #27
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    Katrina:
    It would be a shame to forget about Absinthe, which is/was a liquor based on wormwood extract and mildly poisonous. It was all the rage in Parisian society in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, but it's illegal in most countries now. At its height, it was probably more popular than cocaine.
    Regards,

  8. #28
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    Ah, Absinthe...which is making a comeback in Europe, albeit not quite the same as it was in its decadent hey-day. I blame a certain boisterous night I spent in Dublin on its effects (nothing to do with the pints of Guinness, of course). Such a pretty drink...such a vile taste! I have a vintage cocktail book with quite a few Absinthe based drinks - keep meaning to get another bottle and try a few.

    Then there are the great Edwardian and Victorian ads for the medicinal properties of cannibis...there are some lovely illustrations advocating the cure-all properties of 'marijuana cigarettes' (and with their heavy lidded eyes and a joint in their pretty pursed little lips, the women in these ads certainly look like stoners).

    Here's a 'medicinal cannabis picture gallery', with lots of links to period bottles:

    http://www.conquestdesign.com/uncler/html/CoughSyrup/

    Links to some ads here for cannabis - that well known cough and flu cure:
    http://www.conquestdesign.com/uncler...Ads/index.html

    There are quite a few good links on the site regarding quakish and other uses cannibas has been put to.

    No wonder Victorian ladies spent so much time languishing on the settee, given the laudanum they got through! Poor old Elizabeth Siddal - was it suicide or accidental overdose? Given the quantities she was going through when she o.d.'d, and the lack of standardised measuring of the doses, I wouldn't be surprised if it was the later.

  9. #29
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    Absinthe is making a comeback (minus the hallucinagenic wormwood oil) in Europe, thanks to the Jack the Ripper film "From Hell." The lead actor has been known to send cases of the stuff to his friends. However, it's still not legally available in America (except online overseas sales). It's become the hottest imbibe among the tinseltown set when they're in Europe.

    Kyrila

    (I can just hear Bob Godfrey press the reply button now.)

  10. #30
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    Ahhh...that's right - you're a Johnny Depp fan, aren't you, Kyrila? I've no doubt that the star of From Hell did manage to help it's popularity along, but it was taking off in London before the film (which wasn't really influential in the UK). Absinthe also had a bit of a starring role in Moulin Rouge and a cameo in Francis Ford Coppola's Dracula. Its resurgance in popularity in the UK had a lot to do with a very canny importer in the 90s realising that - unlike countries such as France that had pretty much banned it by 1915 - it was never banned in the UK. Nor was it banned in Spain or Portugal, where it continued to be made. European Union regulations recently enabled wider distribution, but the EU keeps close tabs on the level of the psychoactive compound thujone. Thujone is a natural oil of wormwood, often concentrated in the stem. Most of it is removed in the distillation process. It is structurally close to THC and has been credited with hallucinogenic properties, one of the reasons it was banned early in the 20th Century, but there have been no recent scientific studies into claims about its dangers as a drink besides its high alcohol content. Thujone is linked with episodes of epilepsy, but only in doses far higher than in normal drinking patterns.

    Another visit from the green fairy, anyone?

 

 
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