Yoco, The Natural Caffeine High • High Times

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In the November, 1981 issue of High Times, Dr. Andrew Weil explored why yoco may be just the thing for java junkies to detox on.


All over the world people grow and use stimulant plants. Many of these plants owe their properties to caffeine or drugs closely related to caffeine. Europeans and Americans consume great amounts of coffee, tea, chocolate and cola. Argentines drink yerba mate, an infusion of leaves of a holly. In Brazil the pause that refreshes is more often guaraná than cola; the beverage comes from the seeds of a large woody vine (liana) of the Amazon basin and contains considerably more caffeine than does coffee.

The most obscure of these caffeine-containing plants is yoco, also an Amazonian liana, used by a few tribes of Indians of southern Colombia and adjacent regions of Peru and Ecuador. Yoco contains more caffeine than any other plant: from 3 to 4 percent up to 6 percent in the bark. But yoco is much less well known than guarana. Even in Colombia very few people…

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