Among sophisticates in Los Angeles, New York, and Miami, cocaine is now used as a form of currency, since it has great monetary value and can be traded for goods and services without having to report anything to the IRS. The fact is, you don't have to be a sophisticated urbanite to use drugs in place of dollars. For many years natives of certain parts of Africa - people who can barely write their names in the dirt with sticks - have been trading kola nuts for everything from slaves to wives. About the only disadvantage we can see to this economic practice is the need for a very fat wallet.

Kola nuts come from the African Cola nitida tree. Tribesmen use kola nuts for a variety of purposes. Some believe them to be an effective aphrodisiac for men. Others feel they help women to conceive easily. Many find they reduce fatigue, sharpen the mind, and add to physical strength. Much of this latter feeling can be attributed to the 2 percent caffeine content of kola nuts, almost the same as that found in coffee. There is, however, a little extra kick in the essential kola oil found in the nuts, which acts as a stimulant when ingested.

Those interested can take their kola nuts in one of two ways: chewed or brewed. Chewers should start with about two nuts. Brewers should use about one tablespoon of ground nuts per cup; add a couple of teaspoons of honey and you'll really have a delicious tasting concoction.

Use a little caution when dealing with kola nuts, just as you should with coffee (see Caffeine). Excessive use can cause such troubles as insomnia and nervousness, and in some cases too much consumption will reduce sexual drive. You might want to limit your intake to one or two cups daily, for just as coffee can be habit-forming if you use too much too often, so can kola nuts.