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DRCNet Library | Schaffer Library | Cocaine
The invading Spanish conquistadores were more practical - and cynical. They were impressed at coca's efficacy as a stimulant: 'The herb is so nutritious and invigorating that the Indians labour whole days without anything else. The Spanish also needed native labour in their silver-mines. Work in the mines was extremely arduous; and taking coca reduces appetite and increases physical stamina. Hence there was a great surge in coca-use and the number of coqueros (coca-chewers).