Did the original Coca-Cola drink really contain cocaine?

Invented by pharmacist John Pemberton, Coca-Cola debuted as an "Intellectual Beverage and Brain Tonic" in Atlanta in 1886

A c1880 advertisement poster for Coca-Cola. The name derived from its extracts of coca leaves and kola nuts – the former did contain small amounts of cocaine. (Photo by Bettmann via Getty Images)

The name derived from its extracts of coca leaves and kola nuts – and yes, the former did contain small amounts of cocaine.

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But this was by no means unusual. In fact, the drink was considered a healthy alternative to the alcoholic ‘French Wine Coca’, and was marketed as a cure for headache, hysteria and melancholy.

In 1903 – following concerns about the narcotic effect the drink could be having on the general population – caffeine replaced cocaine as the stimulating ingredient, but tiny traces of the drug were probably present until the extraction process was refined in 1929.

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This article was taken from BBC History Revealed magazine