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….

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 2


Man, the Book says, was formed of the dust of the earth, by an Almighty power, perfect in all his parts:

Man, the Book says, was formed of the dust of the earth, by an Almighty power, perfect in all his parts: every bone so arranged as to be perfectly moveable according to the various required positions — muscles adapted for all purposes — every organ formed for purposes of either secretion, absorption, or excretion — arteries to supply blood to every part, with veins as return pipes — and overall was placed the Brain with the various branches of nerve-fibres, diverging from it to govern every action and movement of the whole machinery — every part is now ready and adapted, the whole forms one complete organism. God now breathes into man life — not merely atmospheric air, dilating the nostrils and inflating the lungs, but imparting to his vitality, spiritual, intellectual, and animal life, in short, man, when created was a perfect being, morally, mentally and physically. But, sad to relate, man did not continue in this perfect state. There came a time when man, not content with the amount of the pleasure that naturally devolved upon him, sought to obtain, outside his ordinary sphere of life, by imbibing from external objects a larger amount of that pleasure — which was mere excitement, this unnatural pleasure, or excitement gradually brought retributive suffering, morally and physically, and thus created in and by himself the first germ of disease, due to the depression which constantly follows excitement. And thus commenced, by man’s own act, that process of defective Brainpower, which has been transmitted from generation to generation, in which successive generations a predisposition has been generated, which when aided by external exciting causes produces visible disease. Thus it is quite obvious that if the force of the fountainhead or the reservoir becomes low, shallow, or impure, the branches or streams supplying the various depots or organs of the body, must likewise be impaired: that when the fountainhead or reservoir is rendered partially unfit for supply, the various organs are supplied with depressed nervous force.

The brain

Man is fearfully yet wonderfully made; we may examine the working of the whole machinery of man: we may examine and analyze the various secretions of the Liver Stomach, and Pancreas, and tell their functions, but when we look at the Brain, the medium through which our mind operates, we are at a complete loss, here the physical of our nature ends, and commences the distinction between the lower animals and the mind of man, — here begins the compound or double nature of man. The bird may build her nest, and the ape look after its mate, but who has ever seen any deviation from the laws of their nature: as was the nest of the bird in the beginning, so it is now, and will ever be without alteration or improvement — and who has ever known the ape to change its nature, it was an ape, to begin with, and it will end an ape. But the mind of man is ever-changing, and as the Book says ” man has sought out many inventions,” yes, and is ever improving and expanding his capacities — is ever diving into the deeps and bringing to light riches and wealth — he soars aloft and examines and records various things relating to the starry heavens — the thoughts of man’s mind may, by his ingenuity be recorded upon paper, which may be read, in after ages, by his followers — the wildest of the lower orders may be subdued, but who can chain the mind of man! We must pass on. In this, the latter part of the nineteenth century, civilized society is living far too fast; but very few indeed estimate the bad effects produced by a life of such rapid speed, especially when the young continue habitually to live in such an atmosphere of excitement so fatal to the higher and deeper life. The subtle poison which iB infused through the whole system saps the foundation and strength of the mind, and daily exhausts and destroys the sensitive organization of the Brain; thus slowly but by sure influences the whole material universe so far as the solar system is concerned. So the power of the Brain affects the whole of the complicated machinery of the human body. Or, in other words, what the influence of the sun is to the material, carries them towards a mental and physical condition which may justly be pronounced unsound. It will thus be seen that the body becomes exhausted by the lack of Brainpower. The following analogy will illustrate the above: the grand orb of day, (the sun,) by the fiat of the Omnipotent Creator world, so is the influence of the Brain to man’s physical nature. For instance, the whole creation depends upon the sun’s influence, should that influence be diminished, the life, health, and vigour of the physical world must suffer proportionately. So, in like manner, exhausted or depressed Brainpower, affects the life, health, and vigor of the human body. Thus over excitement produced by joy or sorrow, will, by depressing Brainpower, debilitate a healthy system. The Brain may be weakened by continued study or physical exertion, exhaustion will be the effect. Now to restore the Brain to its normal condition, it must be relieved from a portion of its labor before it can be accomplished. It will, therefore, be clearly seen that in order to cure disease we must have a correct appreciation of the Brain and nervous system, which is the most important study of the practitioner of medicine. The center of life, of vitality, of existence, is in the nervous centers, and in all diseased conditions, there is impairment of these parts.


In support of this assertion, we could refer to many forms of disease-bearing on this point. Fever is known to be a condition of imperfect reaction and is most successfully combated by administering such stimulants as assist the nervous centers and increase vital energy. Improvement in inflammation of the lining membrane of the bowels speedily takes place when the nervous system is thoroughly stimulated by medicines having a direct action on that organism. In Consumption, that terrible destroyer of our race, we have, at the commencement, an impaired, or weakened, or deteriorated nervous system, which is so common in our civilized condition, whether this condition is due to the vices of civilized life we do not say, but we do say that this impaired nervous system deteriorates nutrition, lowers the physical and mental growth of the system, impairs the fountains of life, impedes the formation of perfect blood corpuscles; thereby causing the albuminous white cell condition of the blood, and, afterwards the deposition of this albuminous matter in the Lungs, glands, &c. The primary cause of cancer is traceable to a peculiar condition of nervous structure, under which a particular disease is elaborated in the blood. Asthma and chest affections are due, less or more, to impairment of the Brain and nervous system. Anemia, or deficiency of red corpuscles in the blood, is generally due to wanting of tone in the nervous system. The red globules are by far the most important part of the blood, and a high state of mental vigor is conducive, above all things, to a healthy condition of that fluid.

The exciting causes of fever are the inhalation of poisonous gases, arising from decomposing matter, bad water, &c. People are attacked by such things in proportion to their powers of vital resistance, in proportion to the strength of the nerve centers; for it is only on an enfeebled or predisposed body that morbid poisons operate. The chief characteristic effect of all poisons is on the nervous system, to destroy or induce partial death; but the blood and tissues of the body may become so saturated with the poison of a fever, that there may be an almost instant destruction of organic life. When nervous power is depressed or weakened, by any cause whatsoever, the action of the stomach is enfeebled, and its power of secreting gastric juice is diminished, and we have one or more forms of disease produced. Excessive mental labor diminishes nervous influence and by this means debilitates the stomach and capillary system.

The world is more exacting in its demands from all mental laborers. Success in public, professional, and commercial life depends upon a more strenuous and exhausting toil, sterner concentration, and a more harsh and rigid sacrifice of the amenities of life than was formerly the case. The eminent lawyer, the physician in active practice, the minister, the politician, even the literary workman, and eager man of science, are now condemned to such an amount and severity of exertion which forces one after another to break down in, what should be their prime of life, shattered, paralyzed, exhausted and reduced, prematurely, to inaction or senility. What study does for the ardent worker in science, and the learned professions, anxiety, and solicitude does for the merchant and manufacturer. Physical and cerebral toughness are the prime requisites for success in life; thus this ceaseless and severity of toil gives the prizes of life to men of exceptional physique. When the mind is over energetic, nervous force is withdrawn from the stomach, and that organ lacks power of digestion, consequently the body pines through want of nourishment — the blood does not receive that amount of nutritive blastema, necessary for the sustenance of the various systems or organs of the body — and all the functions of the body become, in turn, enfeebled, and the reaction is again in the nervous system, and there is further exhaustion, and if this state continues, nervous depression becomes greater and finally, life becomes extinct.

Effect on the brain

Whatever be the external exciting causes of disease, in obedience to the governing law of man’s nature, the primary effect is the Brain and nervous system. The patient has a feeling of heat or cold. The muscular movements are less under the control of their respective influences, become tremulous, spasmodic, or wearied, the functions of particular muscles ceasing. Hurried to breathe on slight exertion, or it is maintained slowly and at intervals, and with long occasional inspiration and expiration — sighing. The heart is quick, palpitating; or languid and remittent in its beats; appetite craving, capricious, or lost. Secretions either hurried and increased; or sluggish and diminished. The body shows a partial waste or general emaciation; or becomes, locally or generally, preternaturally tumid or bloated. Alive to the slightest stimulus, easily impassioned or depressed; the mind comprehending in its various relations every shade of unreasonable sadness or gaiety, prodigality or cupidity, vacillation or pertinacity, suspicious, cautious, or too confident security; with every color of imagination, from highly intellectual conception to the dream-like vagaries and reverses of hallucination. Light and sound affect him, variabely. Change in temperature affects him — the smallest increase makes the patient uncomfortably hot; the slightest breeze shivers and discomforts him; or, as may be observed in some cases of old age or imbecility, the patient may become equally insensible to excess or decrease of light, sound, heat, and cold. And it is by predisposition, either inherited or acquired, by predisposition is meant, the readiness or fitness of one part of the body more than another, to be influenced or acted upon by an external cause; in this way, we all have our particular predisposition to one form of disease or another; but so long as our powers of vital resistance are sufficient — so long as our Brain and nervous system has sufficient Nervous influence over the predisposed organ, the organ of our body which is thus predisposed will not be injuriously affected by any external cause, but when the power of vital resistance is diminished, when nervous force is depressed, then the organ predisposed will become diseased whenever excited by an external cause — be that cause whatever it may. Thus we have, according to the predisposition. “Maladies of ghastly spasms, or racking tortures, qualms of heart-sick agony, all feverish kinds, Convulsions, epilepsies, fierce catarrhs, Intestine stone, and ulcer, colic pangs, Demoniac frenzy, moping melancholy, And moonstruck madness, pining atrophy, Marasmus, and wide-wasting pestilence, Dropsies and asthmas, and joint racking rhemna !

In all diseased states of the system, a cure is to be affected by the use of such medicines as promote vital power, and increase the amount of nervous influence. Dr. Buchanan says “drug effects very little by its chemical or neutralizing influence; it is the amount of vital power that the drug imparts that is the true healer. The action of a remedy by which a diseased part becomes sound is a vital act of the body itself, aided by the remedy used, and the true secret in curing or healing is in the establishment of vitality — a vitality that tends to create, renew, or energize diseased tissue.” The primary effect of all drugs is on the Brain and nervous system, and through this system the various organs are affected either in producing an abnormal or a normal condition of the body.

Treat the stomach

It is the custom of some Medical Practitioners to treat the stomach as the cause of all disease and apply the universality of treatment to that organ. They say restore the digestive organs to a healthy action and by that means to restore the system to health and vigor forgetting that unless we can first promote vital power and increase the quantity of nervous influence, we cannot establish and maintain a healthy action of the digestive apparatus. Digestion may be performed, but unless the nervous system is sufficiently vigorous, good blood will not be produced, so that in its turn will become a source of exhaustion to the Brain.

Coca leaves

Seeing then that health depends, for its continuance, upon the proper influence of the Brain and nervous system over the organs, and that disease is due to a diminution, or depression of nervous force, and having read of the very wonderful effects of the leaves of Erythroxylon Coca in sustaining vital force in the natives of South America who are in the habit of chewing these leaves, which they call Cuca, it occurred to me that these leaves would be of use in the treatment of disease. Knowing that disease was due to a diminution of vital force, I tried its effects upon a few of my patients, and the effects were so wonderful in preventing that destructive metamorphosis and restoring them to a more normal condition, as to be truly marvelous. It is now many years since I first used Coca Leaves in the treatment of disease, and, with various modifications, it has been the means of restoring to health thousands of deceased individuals during that period. Having so frequently witnessed the beneficial effects of my mode of treatment with various preparations of the leaves of Erythroxylon Coca, not only in the diseases expressly mentioned in the following pages, but in others also, whether occuring in children or adults, I have ventured to publish the present work, with the view of calling the attention of the general public to the subject.


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