In the old book ‘Erythroxylon coca: a treatise on brain exhaustion, as the cause of disease” by W. TIBBLES, MD. A disorder is described we do not recognize anymore: brain exhaustion.

Dr. Tribbles believed coca leaves is the remedy of choice….

Brain exhaustion was a special case of nervous exhaustion, states of the nervous system we now know that those are probably related to slow inflammation. For symptoms of tiredness, irritability, lack of energy, chronic pain in the past doctors could only diagnose these as ‘exhaustion’.

Why palmitoylethanolamide is used.

Nowadays we know much more. For such states, the natural anti-inflammatory compound and supplement palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) seems quite a good fit.

Many patients suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome have benefited from PEA (eg. 2-3 times daily 400 mg). Patients often prefer the PeaPlex capsules, because the biological and physiological normalizing action of PEA has been supported by a special selection of low dose vitamins of the B group, suited to support the immune system and the nervous system.

For pain relief and for inhibiting inflammation, most patients choose:

  • PEA capsules produced in the Netherlands by Russell
  • PEA tablets produced in Italy by Epitech

Here we disclose an old text on brain exhaustion, part 5,

the last part of chapter 1 on the brain the Circulation of the Blood:


The Circulation of The Blood.

In order the better to understand the manner in which the blood is circulated (to supply with nutriment the tissues and organs) through the body, a brief description of the organs concerned may be here given. These are the heart, arteries, a minute class of vessels called the capillaries, and the veins.

The Heart.

The heart is situated almost in the center of the breast, between the lungs, a considerable portion of it is covered by the breastbone, the apex, however, inclines a little to the left side, where its movements may be felt between the fifth and sixth ribs, this is probably the reason why persons have come to the conclusion that the heart is much more to the left side than it really is. A pretty correct idea of the size of your heart may be obtained by doubling your fist. It may, with a considerable approximation to the truth, be stated that the size of a man’s heart is generally the size of his closed fist; and, as peoples’ fists are usually proportioned to their size, so are their hearts. The shape of the heart is pretty generally known so that I need not describe it. On looking at the outside, one might suppose it to be a solid organ, however, this is not so, it is a hollow muscle, down the center of which runs, from top to bottom, a partition wall, which entirely separates the right side from the left; each side is further divided by a partition stretched across it. Owing to this partition on each side of the heart are found two chambers, an upper chamber and a lower chamber, the upper chambers are called auricles, the lower chambers are called ventricles.

In the partition on the right side of the heart, there is an opening — the tricuspid valve, which allows the blood to flow from the upper chamber into the lower chamber, but not conversely. Although the blood is not permitted to flow back into the upper chamber, yet, it finds egress through an opening which is situated in the roof of this — the right ventricle — which opens outwards, and communicates directly with a tube which sends off branches to both lungs, the object of which will be afterwards described, at this opening three pouch-like valves, called semilunar valves are placed to prevent any return of blood. The left side is in every respect like the right side of the heart, except that the aperture leading from its upper to the lower chamber has two leaf-like lids instead of three, and is called the mitral valve.

The Arteries.

These are tubes which convey the blood from the heart to the various organs and tissues of the body. They are large tubes distributed throughout the entire system, in a similar manner to the mode in which pipes convey water from the great reservoirs of our towns to supply the wants of the inhabitants; they commence in the heart, and, after dividing and subdividing ramify and traverse the whole of the various parts of the body, not excepting some of the hardest. They are made up of a number of coats, which are not made of some substance, as gas pipes are made of lead; but, they are made of different materials woven together, one coat of which is elastic, another contractile, that is, the one is capable of being stretched by the flowing blood and again contracts, the other tissue contracts without being pressed outwards. These coats are influenced greatly in the performance of their functions by the force supplied to them by the brain and nervous system. The state of contraction and dilatation of the arteries is regulated like that of other muscles, by their nerves; the nerves thus determine whether the passage through these tubes should be wide or narrow, or free or obstructed. Besides these two coats, the interior of the arteries is lined with a layer of small cells, which allow the blood to flow smoothly over them.

The Capillaries.

The ancients, after following the blood vessels until they became invisible to their unaided eyes (they did not possess that invaluable instrument — the microscope,) came to the conclusion that they must have terminated in small open mouths. And from these little mouths, they thought blood was poured into the tissues so that they might help themselves to what they wanted. Nature, however, does not do her work after this fashion. After they become invisible to the naked eye, the arteries still pass on for a certain distance as such, still possessing the three coats, they then empty themselves into a network of minute tubes with very thin single walls, which frequently anastomose or run into one another. They vary in diameter from l-5000th to l-2000th of an inch. The interspaces between the capillaries consisting of the substance of the tissue through which the capillaries permeate are sometimes not wider than the diameter of a capillary, sometimes very much wider. In form, the capillary network varies, the more general forms being long and narrow, and at other times round, these capillaries are largely under the control of nervous influence. Branches of nerves from the organic nerve centers accompany every blood vessel, from the largest artery to the most minute capillary, and without direction from our will regulate the contraction and dilatation of these minute vessels. It is impossible to tell where the arteries end and where the capillaries begin, the process is so gradual that we are only capable of determining the one from the other by the difference in coats, the arteries having three coats, the capillaries only one, and this is composed of an exceedingly fine, transparent, and apparently homogenous membrane. It may be asked, how and where do these fine hair-like vessels end? Why they pass into another set of vessels in a manner just as gradual as the arteries ended in the capillaries, and it is even of so gradual a nature that it is impossible to say where these fine vessels end and where their continuous vessels — called the veins — begin. And just as the arteries grow gradually smaller as they join the capillaries, so do the veins, commencing in the capillaries, grow in a continuous manner, larger and larger until they terminate in the force pump — the heart. The veins, so far as their general structure is concerned, closely correspond with the arteries, and like the arteries differ from the capillaries in possessing several coats, with a smooth lining membrane in the interior for the express purpose of allowing the blood to flow easily along them. One great point in which they differ from the arteries is that they possess a number of valves, or at least all those veins possess these valves which are placed between or near muscles likely to be subject to pressure. Their object, like that of valves in general, is to prevent the blood from passing in an opposite direction to that which is intended to take. The margins of these valves are turned towards the heart, so as only to allow the fluid to pass towards that organ.

Let us now glance at the blood and the manner in which it circulates through the body to repair the waste of tissue.

We have previously traced the chyle and its white corpuscles into the current of the blood, we will now look at the blood. Blood, if allowed to stand for a short time, will separate into two parts, — one part, a sticky jelly-like mass, settles to the bottom, and is called the clot, the other is a thinnish fluid, of a salt taste, and of a yellowish tint, this is called the serum. The clot has a scarlet color, a stream of water will, however, readily remove this coloring matter, which proves that there are two entirely distinct principles, in the clot. One of which is the fibrous mass of the clot — and is called fibrins, and it is the presence of this fibrine that causes the blood to coagulate. This substance serves an important part in the economy of nature — it may be looked upon as nature’s glue, for whenever we fracture a bone or meet with an injury, be it ever so slight a cut, &c, this fibrine is poured out to unite and bring the parts together. Let me here make one practical remark, let it be impressed upon your minds that alcoholic stimulants act upon it injuriously — they lessen its power of coagulating, thus persons that are in the habit of drinking such so-called stimulants are very bad subjects for accidents. The coloring matter of the blood consists of a countless number of little red bodies, wonderfully minute little sacs or bladders, which float about in the blood and make the whole appear an even colored fluid. In diameter, these corpuscles are about l-3500th of an inch, in shape, they are circular and depressed in the center. The exterior of each corpuscle is denser than the interior, which contains a fluid matter of a red color, called hemoglobin. These red corpuscles are considered to be formed from the white corpuscles carried into the blood from the chyle. If we carefully examine one of these white corpuscles it will appear to have a smaller body inside itself. This smaller body — called a nucleus — has at times a pinkish color. The corpuscle, in the blood, becomes somewhat enlarged and changed by the development within its interior of this nucleus, which is ultimately set free as a distinct red corpuscle, by the bursting of the sac or wall of the white corpuscle. The blood contains about 12 percent of these globules. The serum or liquid part of the blood is composed of a number of substances dissolved in about nine times their weight of water, it is alkaline, and its principal constituent is albumen.

Besides the constituents already enumerated, others are found in the composition of the blood. Our tissues contain a considerable proportion of mineral constituents, such as lime, iron, soda, sulphur, silica or flint, phosphorus, and, indeed, many others. If these ingredients exist in the tissues it is natural to suppose that they are contained in the blood, because the tissues all derive their food from the blood. It is quite natural that you ask the question, how do they get there? How, for instance, does such a substance as lime find its way into the blood? Well, lime does get there, but does not enter the blood as a solid, nor does it exist there in the form most generally known as lime, but it is dissolved through the blood, by the aid of various acids which are present in that fluid and the gastric juice, &c. Chloride of sodium, or common salt, is found dissolved in the blood. The red color of the globules is due to the presence of a salt of iron. Likewise, all the other mineral substances of the blood are held in solution by the chemical agency of such acids as muriatic, phosphoric &c. Therefore to supply these minerals — which are really food — to the blood, it is necessary that our articles of diet be well chosen. Not only does the blood contain mineral substances in solution, but likewise various gases are contained within it. Blood is capable of absorbing some gases in a much larger quantity than water can at the same temperature and pressure. The total quantity of gaseous matter contained in the blood is equal to a little less than half the volume of the blood, thus, 100 cubic inches of blood will contain nearly 50 cubic inches of gases. The gases generally contained are carbonic acid (about two- thirds), oxygen (one-third), and nitrogen (about one-tenth.) Thus in one quart of blood there is dissolved nearly one pint of these gasses in the named proportions.

The motion of blood.

We will now describe, in as few words as may be deemed consonant with definiteness of expression, the motion of the blood, its actual circulation through the vessels. Suppose the great veins of the body have just emptied their black blood into the right upper chamber— the receiving cistern of the heart. The walls of this chamber immediately contract, and the black blood is passed into the right lower chamber, the walls of this chamber press forcibly upon its contents, the valve which admitted the blood from the upper chamber is at once closed, and its cords stretched, the door in the roof instantly opens, and a swift current of the blood is carried along tubes which taper from a comparatively wide mouth and end in the fine capillaries of the lungs. The length of these vessels, if united, would extend for many miles, these fine tubes ramify over the whole substance of the lungs, and here, as it were, the blood is spread out to be purified, for by the action of the oxygen of the air, in these minute capillaries of the lungs, the blood is changed from the dark colour to a bright scarlet colour; after this change it returns to the left side of the heart — to the left auricle, the walls then contract, and it passes down into the left lower ventricle or chamber; it is then forced out, through the upper door of this chamber, into the great artery of the body, and is thus distributed and supplied to every organ and tissue of the body. In the course of this circulation, the blood nourishes the body. The blood after leaving the heart passes through the arteries and from them into the capillaries, it is here that nutrition goes on. The walls or coats of these capillaries are composed of such material that matters can pass freely from the blood to the tissues, and, conversely, from the tissues to the blood, by a process called transudation. In the capillaries, we have a fluid of one density, and in the tissues outside them we have a fluid of another density, and wherever two fluids of different density are separated by a thin animal membrane, where an interchange of material is set up, the thicker liquid passing somewhat tardily to the thinner, while the thinner liquid passes very readily’ to the thicker. In this manner, the corpuscles of the blood exert their vivifying influence, and the waste of the body is repaired. But in the capillaries, another change takes place, the blood when it left the arteries and entered the capillaries was a bright scarlet color, now it is changed to a dark colour. This change is due to the fact that the red corpuscles give out a portion of their oxygen and take in its place a certain amount of carbonic acid, and it is in virtue of this process — which is a chemical one — that a large amount of the heat of the body is generated.


  1. Tibbles (1859-1928) Erythroxylon coca: a treatise on brain exhaustion, as the cause of disease, 1877, Helmsley: W. Allenby; Leeds: Joseph Dodgson; Leicester