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Coca leaves are widely used to relieve symptoms of altitude sickness in some South American countries, either chewed or brewed into a tea. Wikipedia says that no study has studied their effectiveness for this purpose, citing this as a source: https://www.wemjournal.org/article/S1080-6032(14)00257-9/fulltext

That was from 2014 and I could not find anything more recent on altitude sickness specifically, but https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3001837/ says

These experimental findings suggest that chewing coca leaves is beneficial during exercise and that the effects are felt over a prolonged period of sustained physical activity

suggesting that there could be some positive effect. Given how widely used coca leaves seem to be, I would be really surprised that nobody has studied this at all.

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    Welcome to the site! Nice question. – Nate Eldredge Apr 8 at 22:15
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    I’ll be surprised if it has no effect, because I heard it was a hell of a drug. :p – Andrew Grimm Apr 9 at 2:34
  • The lack of research shouldn't be too surprising. Coca is largely prohibited and that usually includes a de facto prohibition on scientific investigation. – sfmiller940 Apr 11 at 18:11
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    well if you're talking about fatigue or headache, there's lot of evidence to show stimulants would counter that. If you're talking about sleeplessness, then notsomuch. In short, it's indicated by some symptoms, but not others. I guess that would make it "true", since there are some symptoms relived by coca. – dandavis Apr 11 at 21:48
  • I don't have hard evidence, only anecdotal from friends traveling here its effects are likely of a strong coffee while being even less addictive. – jean Apr 12 at 16:19

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