Traces of coca leaves found in northern Peru dates the communal chewing of coca with lime 8000 years back. Other evidence of coca traces have been found in mummies dating 3000 years back in northern Chile. Beginning with the Valdivian culture, circa 3000 BC, there is an unbroken record of coca leaf consumption by succeeding cultural groups on the coast of Ecuador until European arrival as shown in their ceramic sculpture and abundant caleros or lime pots.
The pharmacologically active ingredient of coca is the cocaine alkaloid, which is found in the amount of about 0.3 to 1.5%, averaging 0.8%, in fresh leaves. Besides cocaine, the coca leaf contains a number of other alkaloids, including methylecgonine cinnamate, benzoylecgonine, truxilline, hydroxytropacocaine, tropacocaine, ecgonine, cuscohygrine, dihydrocuscohygrine, nicotine, and hygrine.
When chewed, coca acts as a mild stimulant and suppresses hunger, thirst, pain, and fatigue.
It is also used in shamanic rituals as an offering/sacrifice to the spirits/god and to induce trance-like and visionary states.
Chew about 1 to 10 leaves one after another carefully until you feel the effect kick in and you enter the trance-like state.