Coca is a sacred plant to the people of the Andes. As coffee is for many of us, chewing or making tea from the leaves of coca stimulates the mind, enhancing alertness, focus, and energy. The leaves themselves have a plethora of nutritional benefits (including a high quantity of protein) and act as a food source for those making the arduous treks through the mountains on foot, often carrying their goods to market and back home. Coca leaves are very different from cocaine. Wade Davis, a renowned ethnobotanist, compares consuming the extracted alkaloid of cocaine from coca to the act of, rather than enjoying a cup of coffee, simply snorting caffeine powder. Cocaine is toxic, whereas coca is nutritive.