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Richard Evans Schultes

Albert Hofmann

Christian Ratsch


Their Sacred, Healing,
and Hallucinogenic Pow ers

"The more you go inside the world of Teonanacatl, the more things are seen.
And you also see our past and our future, which are there together as a single thing already achieved,
already happened: ... I saw stolen horses and buried cities, the existence of which was unknown,
and they are going to be brought to light. Millions of things I saw and knew. I knew and saw God:
an immense clock that ticks, the spheres that go slowly around, and inside the stars, the earth,
the entire universe, the day and the night, the cry and the smile, the happiness and the pain.
He who knows to the end the secret of Teonanacatl can even see that infinite clockwork."

-Marfa Sabina

Healing Arts Press

Rochester, Vermont
Caution: This bookis not intended as a guideto the use of
hallucinogenic plants. Its purpose is to offer scientific, his-
torical, andcultural documentation concerning a group of
plants thatare or have beenof importance to many societies.
Ingestion of some of these plants or plant products maybe
dangerous. The remedies, approaches, and techniques de-
scribed herein are meant to supplement,and not be a sub-
stitute for, professional medicalcare or treatment. They
should not be used to treat a serious ailment withoutprior
consultation with a qualified healthcare professional.

Healing Arts Press

One Park Street
Rochester, Vermont 05767

First published by Healing Arts Press in 1992

A productionof EMB-Service forPublishers,

Lucerne, Switzerland

Copyright © 1998 (updated version) EMB-Service for

Publishers, Lucerne, Switzerland
English translation second edition Copyright © 2001

All rightsreserved. Nopart of this bookmaybe reproduced

or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or me-
chanical,including photocopying, recording, or byany infor-
mation storage and retrieval system, without permissionin
writingfrom the publisher.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Schultes, Richard Evans.
Plants of the gods : their sacred, healing, and hallucino-
genicpowers I Richard Evans Schultes, Albert Hofmann,
Christian Ratsch.-2 nd ed.
Includesbibliographical references
1. Hallucinogenic plants. 2. Hallucinogenic plants- Uti-
lization. 3. Ethnobotany. I. Hofmann, Albert, 1906-11.
Ratsch, Christian, 1957- III.Title
OK99.A1 S39 2001
394.1'4-<Jc21 2001004425

HealingArts Press is a division of InnerTraditions

Picture on titlepage: Mayan "mushroom stone" from

EI Salvador, lateformative period (300 B. C.-A. D. 200);
height 13 V, in. (33.5cm).

Original concept and design: Emil M. BOhrer, Franz Gisler,

Joan Halifax, and Robert Tobler
New material translated by: Annabel Lee and
Michael Beasley
Composition: SatzWeise,F6hren, Germany
Photolithography:Pesavento AG, Zurich, Switzerland

7 PREFACE Psy chotria (Chacruna) The dreaming smoker stretchedout

Peganum (Syrian Rue) comfortably onhis chaiseenjoys visions
9 INTRODUCTION Tetrapteris (Yage) induced by Hashish. This engravingis
from M. von Schwind's Albumof Etch-
10 WH AT ARE PLANT 137 AYAH UA SCA ANA LO GS ings, published in 1843.
16 THE PLANT KINGDOM Brugmansia (Go lden Angel's Trumpet)
Brugmansia (Bloo d-Red An gel's
Lophophora (Peyo te)
PLANTS? Panaeolus cyanescens (Blue Meanies)
Panaeolus sphinctrinus (Hoop-
Panaeolus subb alt eatus (Da rk-rimmed
81 THE MOST IMPORTANT Mo ttlegill)
H ALLUCINOGENIC PLANTS Psilocybe cubensis (San Isidr o)
Psilocybe cyanescens (Wavy Cap)
Psilocybe mexicana (Teonanacatl)
Amanita (Fly Agaric) .
Psilocybe semilan ceata (Liberty Cap )
Atropa (D eadly N ightshade )
Salvia divinorum
H y oscyam us albus (Yellow H enb ane)
H y oscyam us niger (Black H enb ane)
M andragora (Mandra ke)
Trichocereus (San Pedro)
Cannabis (He mp, Marijuana,
H ashish) Ipom oea (Morni ng Glory)
Turbina (O loliugui)
Claviceps (Ergot) 176 SEMEN OF THE SUN
Virola (Epena)
D atura innoxia (Toloache) D uboisia (Pituri Bush)
D atura m etel (D atura)
Datura stram onium (Th orn Appl e)
Tabernanthe (Iboga) 188 USES OF HALLUCINOGENS
Page 4 left: Thewitches of medieval
116 BEANS OF THE HEKULA Europe induced inebriation with a great
varietyof brews, most of which had at
least one of theNightshades as a
Anadenanthera peregrina (Yopo)
198 PICTURE CREDITS psychoactive constituent.During their
120 SEEDS OF CIVILIZATION intoxications, theyengaged in many
Anadenanthera colubrina (Ce bil) 199 BIBLIOGRAPHY aspectsof hexing, both malevolentand
benevolent.Thisillustration, a woodcut,
124 THE MAGIC DRINK OF THE 199 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS published in 1459, portrays twowitches
AMAZON calling for rain and thunder, possibly
Banisteriopsis (Ayahu asca) 204 INDEX duringa dry spell, and preparing a brew
to help them achieve thisgoal.
For the Huichollndians of Mexico, the Peyote cactus (Lophophora wil/iamsii)
(see page 7) is not a plant but a god, a gift from the Earth Goddess to hu-
mans to assist them in attaining a connection to her in the mystical realms.
The Huichol celebrate a great Peyote festival every year (below), at which all
members of the tribe partake in eating the freshly harvested Peyote cactus.

.• - _. - -;' - - .- - -~ - ._ • • - . _ . -. - •.- - - ••• - •• • - • • ~ .- ~ .-.":'~ ~P7"- .~


The earliest forms of life on Earth were plants. Re-

markably preserved plant fossils have recently
been discovered dating back 3.2 billion years.
These early plants provided the foundation for
the development of all later forms of plants and
indeed of animals, including that most recent of
creatures, the human being. The green plant cover
of the earth has a marvelous relationship with the
sun: chlorophyll-bearing plants absorb solar rays
and synthesize organic compounds, the building
materials for both plant and animal organisms. In
vegetable matter, solar energy is stored in the form
of chemical energy, source of all life processes.
Thus the Plant Kingdom provides not only body-
building foods and calories but also vitamins es-
sential for metabolic regulation. Plants also yield
active principles employed as medicines. The inti-
mate relationship between the human and plant

world is easily discerned, but the production of

substances profoundly affecting the mind and
spirit is often not so easily recognized. These are
the plants that make up the substance of Plants ~f
the Gods, focusing attention on the origin of their
use and the effect that th ey have had on man's de-
velopment. Plants that alter the normal fun.ctions
of the mind and body have always been considered
by peoples in nonindustrial societies as sacred, and
the hallucinogens have been "plants of the gods"
par excellence.

" In co nsciou sn ess dw ells the wo ndrous,
w ith it man attains the rea lm beyond th e material,
and the P eyote tells u s,
w here to find it ."
- Amonin An aud, Th e Tarab um ars (1947)

The shamans of the Huichol Indians use the sacred Peyote cactus so that will changethe latter. The shaman in the middle of the yarn painting is
they may attain a visionary state of consciousness in the alternate reality, depicted with a skull because he is a "dead man" and thus has the ability to
which is causal to occurrences in mundane reality; what affects the former travel into the nether realms.

The use of hallucinogenic or consciousness- There is, however, another aspect that engages the
expanding plants has been a part of human experi- scientist's attention: Can a thorough understand-
ence for many millennia, yet modern Western so- ing of the use and chemical composition of these
cieties have only recently become aware of the drugs not lead to the discovery of new pharmaceu-
significance that these plants have had in shaping tical tools for psychiatric treatment or experimen-
the history of primitive and even of advanced cul- tation? The central nervous system is a most com-
tures. In fact, the past thirty years have witnessed pleX. organ, and psychiatry has not advanced so
a vertiginous growth of interest in the use and rapidly as many other fields of medicine, mainly
possible value of hallucinogens in our own mod- because it has not had adequate tools. Some of
ern, industrialized, and urbanized society. these mind-altering plants and their active chemi-
Hallucinogenic plants are complex chemical cal principles may indeed have far-reaching posi-
factories. Their full potential as aids to human tive effects when they are fully understood.
needs is not yet fully recognized. Some plants An educated public must be an integral part in
contain chemical compounds capable of inducing such development of scientific knowledge, espe-
altered perceptions, such as visual, auditory, tac- cially in so controversial a field as hallucinogenic
tile, olfactory, and gustatory hallucinations, or drugs. It is for this reason that we offer the present
causing artificial psychoses that, without any volume-directed neither to the scientists who are
doubt, have been known and employed in human deeply involved in research in this field nor to the
experience since earliest man's experimentation casual reader, but to the concerned public. It is our
with his ambient vegetation. The amazing effects belief that scientists-for the sake of humanity
of these mind-altering plants are frequently in- itself and its advancement-must make technical
explicable and indeed uncanny. knowledge available to those able to take advan-
Little wonder, then, that they have long played tage of its presentation. It is in this spirit that we
an important role in the religious rites of early ci- wrote Plants of the Gods, hoping that it may, in
vilizations and are still held in veneration and awe one way or another, further the practical interests
as sacred elements by certain peoples who have of mankind.
continued to live in archaic cultures, bound to an-
cient traditions and ways of life. How could man Richard Evans Schultes
in archaic societies better contact the spirit world Albert Hofmann
than through the use of plants with psychic effects
enabling the partaker to communicate with super- THE REVISION
natural realms? What more direct method than to
permit man to free himself from the prosaic con- When the book Plants ofthe Gods first appeared in
fines of this earthly existence and to enable him to 1979, it was a milestone in ethnobotany and ethno-
enter temporarily the fascinating worlds of inde- pharmacology. The book inspired and influenced
scribably ethereal wonder opened to him, even many young researchers around the world and en-
though fleetingly, by hallucinogens? couraged them to continue in their own work. Be-
Hallucinogenic plants are strange, mystical, cause of this there have been some new discoveries
confounding. Why? Because they are only now about the plants of the gods. Many questions about
beginning to be the subject of truly scientific the activity and constituents of psychedelic plants
study. The results of these investigations will, most have been clarified. I have tried to incorporate the
assuredly, increase interest in the technical impor- new information in a way that preserves the origi-
tance of the study of these biodynamic plants. For nal character of the book and reflects the current
man's mind, as well as his body and the organs of state of knowledge. I hope that the plants of the
-- the body, need curative and corrective agents. gods retain their valuable position in our world
Are these nonaddictive drugs of interest as and that they reach the many people upon whom
"mind-expanding agents," as media for attaining the sacredness of nature is dependent.
"the mystic experience," or as agents to be em-
ployed merely as aids in hedonistic adventure? Christian Ratsch


Many plants are toxic. It is no accident that the Datura haslongbeen connected to the
worship of Shiva, the Indian godasso-
etymological origin of the word toxic stems di- ciated with thecreative anddestructive
rectly from the Greek word rO;Lxov (toxikon), aspects of the universe. In thisextraor-
for "bow," referring to the use of arrow poisons. dinarybronze sculpture fromSouth-
Medicinal plants are useful in curing or alleviat- east Indiaof the eleventh or twelfth
ing man's illnesses because they are toxic. The century, Shivadances the Anandatan-
dava, the seventh andlastof his
popular interpretation tends to accept the term dances, which combines all inflections
toxic as implying poisoning with fatal results. of his character. Underhis left foot,
Yet, as Paracelsus wrote in the sixteenth century: Shivacrushes the demon Apasmara-
"In all things there is a poison, and there is noth- purusa, who is the personification of
ignorance. In Shiva'supperrighthand,
ing without a poison. It depends only upon the he holds a tiny drumthat symbolizes
dose whether something is poison or not." Timeby the rhythm of his cosmic
The difference among a poison, a medicine, and dance in the fieldof LifeandCreation.
a narcotic is only one of dosage. Digitalis, for ex- Hislowerrighthandis in the abhaya-
ample, in proper doses represents one of our most mudra, expressing Shiva's quality of
safeguarding the universe. In hisupper
efficacious and widely prescribed cardiac medi- lefthand, he holdsa flame thatburns
cines, yet in higher doses it is a deadly poison. theveil of illusion. His lowerleft hand is
We all realize the meaning of the term intoxica- heldin the gajahasta andpoints to his
tion, but it is popularly applied primarily to the raisedleft foot, which is freein space
andsymbolizes spiritual liberation.
toxic effects from overindulgence in alcohol. In
Shiva's hair is bound with a band, and
reality, however, any toxic substance may intoxi- two serpents holda skullas a central
cate. Webster defines toxic as "Of, pertaining to, ornament, thus showing Shiva's de-
or caused by poison." It might be more specific to structive aspects of TimeandDeath.
state that a toxic substance is a plant or animal On the rightis a Datura flower. Gar-
lands of Datura blossoms arewoven
substance or chemical ingested for other than among the locksof hiswhirling hair.
purely nutritional purposes and which has a no-
ticeable biodynamic effect on the body. We realize
that this is a broad definition-a definition that
would include such constituents as caffeine: while
employed in its usual form as a stimulant, caffeine
does not evoke truly toxic symptoms, but in high
doses it is a very definite and dangerous poison.
Hallucinogens must be classed as toxic. They
induce unmistakable intoxications. They are like-
wise, in the broad sense of the term, narcotics. The
term narcotic, coming from the Greek vaQxovv
(narkoyn), to benumb, etymologically refers to a
substance that, however stimulating it may be in
one or more phases of its activity, terminates its
effects with a depressive state on the central ner-
vous system. Under this broad definition, alcohol
and tobacco are narcotics. The stimulants such as
caffeine do not fall under the definition of narco-
tic, since in normal doses, they do not induce a
terminal depression, though they are psychoac-
tive. English has no term that, like the German
Genuflmittel ("medium of enjoyment"), includes
both narcotics and stimulants.
But the term narcotic has popularly been inter-

Below: This painting by the Peruvianshaman Pablo Amaringodepictsthe Page 13top: Thehallucinogenic useof Hemp (Cannabis) canbe tracedfar
creation of the drink Ayahuasca, the mostimportant medicine of theAmazo- back into history. It is possible that the ingestion of this plant wasresponsible
nian Indians. Themagical drink haspowerful visionary properties, which re- for thewild dances of the Mongolian shaman.
veal to theparticipant a glimpse of.'true reality," the fantastic realmof visions.

preted as referring to dangerously addictive agents, different hallucinations. Hallucinogens may like-
such as opium and its deri vatives (morphine, co- wise cause artificial psychoses-s-the basis of one of
deine, heroin) and cocaine. In the United States a the numerous terms for this class of active agents:
substanc e must be included in the Harrison Narco- psychotomimetic ("inducing psychotic stat es").
tic Act to be considered legally a narcotic: thus Modern brain research has shown, however, that
Marijuana is not legally a narc otic , although it is a hallucinogens trig ger brain activity entirely differ-
controlled substance. ent from that app arent with true psychoses.
Hallucinogens are, broadly speaking, all narco- Modern studies have demonstrated such a com -
tics, even though none is known to be addictive or plexity of psychophysiological effects that the
to have narcotic effects. term hallucinogen does not always cover the
There are many kinds of hallucinations: the whole range of reactions. Therefore, a bewilder-
most common and popularly recognized is the vi- ing nomenclature has arisen. None of the terms,
sual hallucination, often in colors. But all senses however, fully describes all known effects. The
maybe subject to hallucinations: auditory, tactile, terms include entheogens, deliriants, deluslono-
olfactory, and gustatory hallucinations can occur. gens, eidetics, hallucinogens, misperceptinogens,
Frequently a single hallucinator y plant-as in th e mysticomimetics, ph an erothymes, phantasticant s,
case of Peyote or M arijuana-may induce sever al psychotica, psychoticants, psych ogens, psychosomi-

Below right: In India the flowers of the potenthallucinogenic Thorn Apple
(Datura metel) are brought as an offering to the Hindu godShiva. They are
also ritually smoked.

Below left: Henbane (Hyoscyamus albus) is one of the most important hallu-
cinogenic plants of Europe. It was used for oracles and ritually burned in
ancient Greece.

metics, psychodysleptics, psychotaraxics, psycho to- But since these tw o term s-hallucinogen and psy-
gens, psychotomimetics, schizoge ns, and psychede- chotom imetic-are easily understood and widely
lics, among other epithets. In Europe, they are fre- used, w e shall employ the m in this book.
qu ently called phantastica. The most common A m on g the many definitions that have been of-
name in the United States-psychedelics-is ety- fered, that of H off er and O smond is broad enou gh
mologically uns ound and has acquired other to be widely accepted: "Hallucinogens are . . . che-
meanings in the drug subculture. micals w hich, in non-toxic do ses, produce changes
The truth is that no one term adequatel y delimits in percep tion, in thought and in mood, but w hich
such a varied group of psychoactive plants. The seldom produce me ntal confusion, mem or y loss or
German toxicol ogist Loui s Lewin, who fir st used disorientation for perso n, place and tim e."
the term ph anta stica, admitted that it "does not Basing his classification of psychoactive drui; s
cover all that I should wish it to convey." The word on the older arranzements
of Lewin, Albe rt Hot-
hallucinogen is easy to pronounce and to under- mann divides them into analgesics and cup1ro rics
stand, yet not all of the plants induce true halluci- (Opiu m, C oca), sed ativ es and tranquilizers (Re-
nations. Psychotom im etic, w hile often employed, serpine), hypnotics (Kava-kava), and hallucino-
is not accepted by many specialists because not all gens or psychedelics (Peyote, Marijuana, ctc.).
the plants in thi s grou p cause psychotic-like states. Mos t of these gro ups modify only the mo od,

Below: Marfa Sabina reverently ingests the nii'ios santos, "holy children:' as Page 15: The Mazatec shaman MarfaSabina incenses sacred mushrooms
she lovingly refers to the visionaryandhealing MagicMushrooms. prior to theiringestion during the healing ceremony of the velada.

either stimulating or calming it. But th e last gro up frogs, fish) and some are synthetic (LSD, TMA,
.produces deep changes in the sphere of experience, DOB). Their use goes back so far into prehistory
in perception of reality, in space and time, and in that it has been postulated that perhaps the whole
consc iousness of self. Depersonaliza tion may oc- idea of the deity could have arisen as a result of the
cur. Witho ut loss of cons ciousness, th e subject en- otherworldly effects of these agents.
ters a dr eam wo rld th at ofte n appears mor e real Indigenou s cultures usually have no concept of
than the normal world. Colors are freq uently ex- physica lly or organically induced sickness or
perienced in indescribable bri lliance; objects may death: both result from interference from the spir-
lose their symbolic character, standing detached it world. Therefore, halluc ino gens, which permit
and assuming increased significance since they the nati ve healer and sometimes even the patient
seem to possess th eir own existence. to communicate with the spirit world, ofte n be-
come greater medicines-the medicin es pa r excel-
lence-of th e native pharmacop oeia. They assume
far more exalted roles than do the medicines or
palliatives with direct ph ysical action on the bod y.
Little by little, the y became the firm basis for
"" practices of mos t, if no t all, aboriginal
Hallucinogenic pl ants owe thei r activity to a
limited number of types of chem ical substances
acting in a spec ific way upon a definite part of
the central nervo us system. The hallucinogenic
state is usually short-lived, lasting only until the
causa tive principle is metabo lized or excreted
fr om th e body. There would seem to be a differ-
ence between w hat we might call tru e hallucina-
tions (visions) and w hat p erhaps could be de-
scribed as pseudo-hallucinations. Conditions for
all practical purposes appa rently very similar to
hallucinations may be induce d by many highly
toxic plants w hich so up set the normal metabo-
lism th at an abno rmal mental condition may de-
velop. A number of th e plants (for example, Salv ia
divinorum) experimented with by members of the
so-called drug subculture and which were consid -
ered as newly discovered hallucinogens by their
The psychic chan ges and unu sual states of con- users belong to this catego ry as w ell. Pseud o-
sciousness induced by hallucinogens are so far re- hallucinogenic conditions may be induced w ith-
moved from similar ity w ith or dinary life th at it is out th e ingestion of toxic plants or substances;
scarcely p ossible to describe them in the language high fevers are known to cause such reactions.
of daily living. A person under the effects of a hal- Fanatics of the Mi ddle Ages w ho went without
lucinogen forsakes his familiar wo rld and operates foo d or w ater over long period s finally induced
und er other standa rds, in strange dimensions and such alterations in norm al metabolism that they
in a different time. did actually experience visions and hear voices
Whil e most hallucin ogens are of plant origin, a thro ug h pseudo-hallucinogens.
few are derived from th e Animal Kingdom (toads,

"t ."~."
- ~.. .

Before the eighteenth century, there was really no

logical or widely accepted classification or naming
of plants. They were known in Europe by the ver-
nacular names current in the various countries and
we re referred to technically in Latin by cumber-
some descriptive phrases, often several words long.
The invention of printing and movable type in
th e midd le of the 1400s stimulated the production
of herb als-th at is, bo tanical books-mainly on MONOC0ToYUEDONEAE
medicinal plants. The so-called Age of Herbals,
from about 1470 to 1670, led to the freeing of bot-
any and medicine from the ancient concepts of
Dioscorides and other classical naturalists that
shaped Europe for some sixteen centuries. These
two centuries saw more progress in bo ta ny than Hallucinogenic species occur among the highest-evolved
had taken place during the previous millennium flowering plants (angiosperms) andin the division fungi of
thesimpler plants. Angiosperms are subdividedinto mono-
and a half. cots (one seed leaf)and dicots (twoseed leaves).
Yet it w as not until the eighteenth century that
Carolus Linnaeus , or Carl von Linne, a Swedish Sweet Flag, Hemp(Marijuana), and Deadly Nightshade
naturalist-physician and professor at the Univer- (above, right) as well as Fly Agaric (below, right) are repre-
sentative psychoactive species.
sity of Uppsala, offered the first comprehensive
and scientific system of classificati on and nomen-
clature for plants in his monumental, 1,200-page
book Species Plantarum, published in 1753.
Linnaeus grouped plants according to his "sex-
ual system"-a simple system of twenty-four
classes based primarily on the nu mber and charac-
teristics of the stamens. He gave each plant a gen -
eric and a specific name, resulting in a binomial
nomenclature. Although other botanists had used
binomials, Linnaeus was the first to employ the
system consistently. While his sexual classifica-
tion-highly artificial and inadequate from the
point of view of an evolutionary unde rstanding
of the Plan t Kin gdom (w hic h was to come la-
ter)-is no longer followed, his binomi al nomen-
clature is now universally accepted, and botanists
have agreed on the year 1753 as the starting point
of current nomenclature.
Believing that he had classified most of the
wo rld's flora in 1753, Linnaeus calcul ated the size
of the Plant Kin gdom as 10,000 or fewer spec ies.
But Linnaeus's work and the influence of his
many students had stimulated interest in the flora
o~ th~ new lands that were being opened to colo-
mzano n and e:cploration . Consequently, nearly a
century later, m 1847, the Br itish botanist J oh n
Lindl ey increased th e estimate to nearly 100,000
species in 8,900 genera.

16 Haircap Moss
P",I" f,.;,..h" m r n m m, m .o
Mushroomsand molds (fungi), seaweeds (algae), mosses
andliverworts (bryophytes), and ferns(pteridophytes) are
simpler plants.

Below: A flower andleaves of the hallucinogenic Datura innoxia, which be- Page 19/eft: Thisfossil of blue-green algae (Collenia) is approximately 2.3
longs to oneof the mosthighly evolved families of theflowering plants. billion years old andis oneof theearliest known specimens of lifeon Earth.

Page 19right: A fossilized algae colony from the Cambrian period in Bolivia
demonstrates thatlife-forms canbe successfully preserved overbillions of

Lichens-a curious group of plants comprising

a symbiotic union of an alga and a fungus-num-
ber from 16,000 to 20,000 species in 450 genera.
The bryophytes comprise two groups: mosses
and liverworts. They are primarily tropical, and
many new species are to be expected from the tro-
pics with increased field investigations. That they
are not an economic group may be in part respon-
sible for our lack of understanding of their extent.
Present calculations assign 12,000 to 15,000 spe-
cies to the pteridophytes: the ferns and their allies.
An ancient group of plants, it is best represented
today in tropical regions. The seed-bearing plants,
or spermatophytes, clearly dominate the land
flora of the present time. The gymnosperms, or
cone-bearing plants, constitute a small group of
some 675 species; dating back into the Carbonifer-
ous Age, this group is apparently dying out.
The principal group of plants today-the plants
that dominate the earth's flora and which have di-
versified into the greatest number of species and
which, in the popular mind, comprise the world's
flora-are the angiosperms. Angiosperms are seed
plants in which the seed is covered or protected by
ovarian tissue, in contrast to the gymnosperms,
which have naked seeds. They are commonly
called flowering plants. Economically the most
Even though modern botany is only two centu- important group of plants today, they have domi-
ries old, estimates have greatly increased. They nated the several terrestrial environments of the
vary from some 280,000 to 700,000 species, the earth. Consequently, they may have a right to be
higher figures being generally accepted by bota- known as the "most important" plants.
nists whose research is centered in the still only Estimates of their extent vary. Most botanists
superficially explored tropical regions. hold that there are 200,000 to 250,000 species in
Modern specialists estimate the fungi at be- 300 families. Other estimates, probably more rea-
tween 30,000 and 100,000 species. The great var- listic, calculate 500,000 species.
iance is due partly to lack of comprehensive stu- There ar.e two major groups of angiosperms: the
dies of many groups and partly to inadequate monocotyledons, plants with one seed leaf; and
means of defining some of the unicellular mem- those with usually two seed leaves. The monoco-
bers. One contemporary mycologist, realizing tyledons are usually credited with one quarter of
that the fungi are very sparsely collected in the the total.
tropics, where they abound, suggests that the total Some sections of the Plant Kingdom are of
. figure might reach 200,000. b great importance from the point of view of biody-
All of the algae are aquatic, more than half being namic species with compounds of significance to
marine. This most varied group of plants is now be- medicinal or hallucinogenic activity.
lieved to comprise from 19,000 to 32,000 species. The fungi are of increasing interest: almost all
Algae have been found in pre-Cambrian fossils dat- antibiotics in wide use are derived from fungi.
ing from on e to n;t0re than three billion years of age. They are also employed in the pharmaceutical in-
These procaryotlc blue-green algae (Collenia) re- dustry in the synthesis of steroids and for other
present the old est known form of life on Earth. purposes. Hallucinogenic compounds may be

widespread in the fungi, but those that have been societies, although several ferns are employed in
of importance in human affairs belong to the asco- South America as additives to hallucinogenic
mycetes (Ergot) and the basidiomycetes (various drinks (Ayahuasca).
mushrooms and pu ffballs). The importance of Of the spermatophytes, the gymnosperms exhi-
fungi as sources of aflotoxins of foods has on ly bit few biodynamic elements. They are known
recently been recognized. primarily as the source of the sympathomimetic
Algae and lichens, interestingly, have as yet not alkaloid ephedrine and the very toxic taxine.
yielded any species reported as hallucinogens. An Many are of economic importance as sources of
impressive number of new biodynamic com- resins and timber. This group of seed plants is rich
pounds, some of possible medical value, have al- also in physiologically active stilbines and other
ready been isolated from algae. Recent research compounds that act as protective agents against
has heightened the promise of isolation of active heartwood decay (essential oils).
principles from lichens: they have yielded a large From many points of view, the angiosperms are
number of bacteria-inhibiting compounds and the important plants: as the dominant and most
have been shown to be rich in chemovars. There numerous group and as the elements basic to
are persistent reports of hallucinogenic lichens em- man's social and material evolution. They repre-
ployed in northwesternmost North America, but sent the source of most of our medicines of vegetal
as yet no identifiable specimens or reliable origin; most toxic species are angiospermous; and
information has been forthcoming. In South Amer- almost all hallucinogens used by man, as well as
ica, a lichen (Dictyonema) is used as a psychoactive. other narcotics, belong to this group. It is easy to
The bryophytes have been phytochemically understand why angiosperms have been chemi -
neglected; the few that have been studied have gi- cally more assiduously studied; but what is not
ven little hope as sources of biodynamic com- fully recognized is the fact that the angiosperms
pounds. Similarly, in ethnomedicine, the mosses themselves have been merely superficially exam-
and liverworts seem to have been ignored. ined. It is clear that the Plant Kingdom represents
Some ferns appear to be bioactive and psy- an on ly partially studied emporium of biodyna-
choactive. However, phytochemical investigation mic principles. Each species is a veritable chemical
has been far from exhaustive. Very recent investi- factory. Although indigenous societies have dis-
gations have indicated a hitherto uns uspected covered many medicinal, toxic, and narcotic prop-
wealth of biodynamic compounds of potential in- erties in their ambient vegetation, there is no rea-
terest to medicine and commerce; sesquiterpinoid son to presume that their experimentation has
lactones, ecdyosones, alkaloids, and cyanogenic brought to light all the psychoactive principles
glycosides. A recent survey for antibacterial activ - hidden in these plants.
ity of extracts from 44 Trinidadian ferns indicated Undoubtedly new hallucinogens are lurking in
the surprising fact that 77 percent were positive. the Plant Kingdom and, in them, possible consti-
No hallucinogenic constituents have yet been dis- tuents of extreme interest to modern medical
covered in laboratory research or by indigenous practice.


Plants of the gods interest various disciplines: eth- in animal organisms-their purpose being the
nology, religious studies, history, and folklore. elimination of excess nitrogen. If this theory were
The two major scientific disciplines that concern true, one would expect all plants to contain such
themselves with these plants, however, are botany nitrogenous constituents: that is not the case.
and chemistry. This chapter describes the work of Many of the psychoactive compounds are toxic if
chemists who analyze the constituents of plants taken in large doses, and it has therefore been sug-
used in religious rites and in the magic of medicine gested that they serve to protect the plants from
men and discusses the potential benefits from animals. But this theory likewise is hardly convin-
such research. cing, because many poisonous plants are in fact
The botanist must establish the identity of eaten by animals that are immune to the toxic con-
plants that in the past were used as sacred drugs stituents.
or which are still employed for that purpose to- It remains, therefore, one of the unsolved rid-
day. The next step to be explored by scientists is: dles of nature why certain plants produce sub-
What constituents-which of the substances in stances with specific effects on the mental and
those plants-actually produce the effects that emotional functions of man, on his sense of per-
have led to their use in religious rites and magic? ception, and actually on his state of consciousness.
What the chemist is looking for is the active prin- Phytochemists have the important and fascinat-
ciple, the quintessence or quinta essentia, as Para- ing task of separating the active principles from
celsus called the active compounds in plant the rest of the plant materials and of producing
drugs. them in pure form. Once active principles are thus
Among the many hundreds of different sub- available, it is possible to analyze them to deter-
stances that make up the chemical composition of mine the elements of which they are composed;
a plant, only one or two (occasionally up to half a the relative proportions of carbon, hydrogen,
dozen) compounds are responsible for its psy- oxygen, nitrogen, etc.; and to establish the mole-
choactive effects. The proportion by weight of cular structure in which these elements are ar-
these active principles is usually only a fraction ranged. The next step is the synthesis of the active
of 1 percent, and frequently even of one part per principle: that is, to make it in the test tube quite
thousand of the plant. The main constituents of independently of the plant.
fresh plants, usually more than 90 percent by With pure compounds-whether isolated from
weight, are cellulose (which provides the support- the plant or synthetically produced-exact phar-
ing structure) and water (as the solvent and trans- macological assays and chemical tests can be
port medium for plant nutrients and metabolic made. This is not possible with whole plants be-
products). Carbohydrates (such as starch and var- cause of the varying content of the active princi-
. ious sugars), proteins, fats, mineral salts, and pig- ples and interference from other constituents.
ments make up several more percent of the plant. The first psychoactive principle to be produced
Together with these normal components, they in pure form from a plant was morphine, an alka-
constitute practically the whole plant, and they loid present in the opium poppy. It was first iso-
are common to all higher plants. Substances with lated by the pharmacist Friedrich Sertiirner in
unusual physiological and psychic effects are 1806. This new compound was named for the
found only in certain special plants. These sub- Greek god of sleep, Morpheus, because of its
stances as a rule have very different chemical sleep-inducing properties. Since then, enormous
structures from those of the usual vegetal consti- strides have been made in developing more effi-
tuents and common metabolic products. cient methods for the separation and purification
It is not known what function these special sub- of active principles, with the most important tech-
stances may have in the life of the plant. Various niques evolving only during the last decades.
theories have been offered. Most psychoactive These include the techniques of chromatography:
principles in these sacred plants contain nitrogen, methods of separation based on the fact that
and it has therefore been suggested that they may different substances adhere in varying degrees on
be waste products of metabolism-like uric acid absorbent materials or are more or less readily

The psychoactive latexof the Poppy (Papaver somniferum) emerges white
andturnsto a resinous brown substance, rawopium.In 1806 morphine was
successfully isolatedout of the poppy, the first timein history that a single
constituent was isolated.

Below: Papaversomniferum from Kohler's Medizinal-Pflanzen-Atlas. 1887.

This atlas is oneof the outstanding plantbooks of the twentieth century.
Morphine is not hallucinogenic; it hasbeenclassifiedas a euphoric drug.

i ~\
I \


I! \


-Pap[HI Somniffl rum1.

Some psychoactivecompounds arealsoproduced byanimals. TheColorado
River toad (Suto alvarius) secretes considerable amounts of 5-MeO-DMT.

taken up in solvents that do not mix. The methods isolated in pure form and crystallized as a salt with
used in qualitative analysis and to establish the hydrochloric acid.
chemical structure of compounds have also under- With the active principles of the mushrooms
gone fundamental changes in recent years. For- available in pure form, it became possible to ex-
merl y, several generations of chemists would be tend research into various fields, such as psychia-
needed to elucidate the complex stru ctures of nat- try, w ith useful results.
ural compounds. Today; it takes just a few weeks By determining the presence or absence of psi-
or even onl y days to determine them with the locybine and psilocine, an objective method was
techniques of spectroanalysis and X-ray analysis. now available for distinguishing true hallucino-
At th e same time, improved methods of chemical genic mushrooms from false ones.
synthesis have been developed. The great ad- The chemical structure of the hallucinogenic
vances made in the field of chemistry, and the effi- principles of the mushrooms w as determined (see
cient methods now available to plant chemists, structural formulas in the next chapter), and it was
have in recent years made it possible to gain found that these compounds were closely related
appreciable knowledge of the chemistry of active chemically to substances (serotonin) occurring
principles found in psychoactive plants. naturally in the brain that playa major role in the
The contribution made by chemists to the regulation of psychic functions.
study of sacred plant drugs may be illustrated As the pure compounds can be given in exact
with the example of the Magic Mushrooms of doses, their pharmacological actions could now
Mexico. Ethnologists had found Indian tribes in be studied under reproducible conditions in ani-
the southern parts of Mexico using mushrooms in mal experiments, and the spectrum of their psy-
their religious ceremonies. Mycologists identified chotropic actions in man determined. This was
the mushrooms used in these rituals. Chemical not possible with the original mushrooms, be-
analyses showed clearly which species were psy- cause their content of active principles tends to
choactive. Albert Hofmann tested one species of vary, between 0.1 and 0.6 percent of the dry
mushroom on himself; he discovered that it was weight of the plant tissue. The greater part of this
psychoactive, that it could be grown under la- content is psilocybine, with psilocine present usu-
boratory conditions, and he was able to isolate ally only in traces. The median effective dose for
two active compounds. The purity and chemical humans is 8 to 16 milligrams of psilocybine or
homogeneity of a compound can be demonstra- psilocine. Instead of swallowing 2 grams of the
ted by its ability to crystallize, unless of course it dried mushrooms, which have a rather unpleasant
be a liquid. The two hallucinogenic principles taste , one merely needs to take about 0.008 gram
now known as psilocybine and psilocine, found of psilocybine to experience the hallucinogenic ef-
in the Mexican Magic Mushroom Psilocybe rnex- fects, which generally last for several hours.
icana, were obtained in the form of colorless crys- Once the active principles were available in
tals. pure form, it was possible to study their use and
Similarly, the active principle of the Mexican effective application in medicine. They were
cactus Lophophora williamsii, mescaline, had been found to be particularly useful in experimental

, . ~
-..;. ' . ~--
til.J=~~\ 0
! \-J

»i' ~i 1

Mescaline-HCI Psilocybine Psilocine

(mescaline-hydrochloride, crystallized fromalcohol) (crystallized from methanol) (crystallized from methanol)

psychiatry, as valua ble aids to psychoanalysis and Manyalkaloids crystallizepoorly as freebases. They will separate as a crys-
tallized salt, however, when neutralizedwith a suitable acid,eitherby cooling
the saturated solutionor byevaporation of thesolvent. Crystallization of sub-
One migh t think tha t with the isolation , struc- stances fromsolutionsis carried out mainly fQr purification, since by-products
tu ral analysis, and synthesis of psilocybine and remain in the solvent.
psilocine, the mushroom s of Mexico had lost th eir As each substancehas its ownspecific crystalline form , thisformserves for
magic. Substances th at because of their effects on identification and characterization of a substance. A modern method for the
elucidation of chemical constitutions is the X-raystructure analysis. For the
the mind had led Indians to believe for thousand s application of this method, alkaloids and other substancesmust be available
of years that a god dwelt in th ose mushrooms can in crystallized form .
now be synthetically produced in th e chemist's
reto rt. It should be remembered, however, th at
scientific investigation has merely shown that th e
magic prop ert ies of the mushrooms are th e prop-
erties of two crystalline comp ou nd s. Their effect
on the human mind is just as inexpli cable, and just
as magical, as th at of the mu shro oms th emselves.
This also holds true for the isolated and purified
activ e principles of other plants of th e gods.

"Th e larges t river in th e w orld
ru ns through the largest forest ... By little and little,
I began to comp rehend
th at in a forest which is practically unlimited-
near three millions of squa re mil es
clad wi th trees and little else but tr ees,
and where th e natives
think no more of destroying the nobl est trees,
when the y stand in their wa y, than w e th e vilest wee d,
a sin gle tr ee cut do wn
makes no greater a gap, and is no more missed,
than when one pulls up a stalk of groundsel
or a poppy in an English cornfield. "
- Richard Spruce

Below: The photograph depicts an aerial viewof the Kuluene River, the southernmost tributary
of the Xinqu River, a mainaffluentof the Amazon.

> ';;.-:'"

Right: "There were enormous trees, crowned with magnificent foliage, decked with fantastic
parasites, and hung over with Iianas, whichvaried in thickness from slender threadsto huge
python-like masses, werenow round, now flattened , nowknotted and now twisted with the
regularity of a cable. Intermixedwith the trees, and often equal to them in altitude, grew noble
palms; while other and far lovelier species of the same family, their ringedstems sometimes
scarcelyexceedinga finger'sthickness, but bearing plume-like frondsandpendulous bunches
of blackor red berries, quite like those of their loftier allies, formed, along with shrubsand
arbuscles of manytypes, a bushy undergrowth, not visually very denseor difficult to penetrate
. . . It is worthyto be noted that the loftiest forest is generally the easiest to traverse ; the lianas
and parasites . . . being in great part too high to be much in the way. . ."
-Richard Spruce


Many more hallucinogenic plants exist than those Nightshade family. The fungus Ergot, a parasite
that man has put to use. Of the probable half- on rye, frequently poisoned entire regions if acci-
million species in the world's flora, only about dentally milled into the flour. Such attacks led
one thousand are known to be employed for their hundreds of citizens to go mad and suffer hallu-
hallucinogenic properties. Few areas of the globe cinations, often causing permanent insanity, gang-
lack at least one hallucinogen of significance in the rene, or death. This plague was known as St.
culture of the inhabitants. Anthony's fire. Although Ergot was apparently
Despite its size and extremely varied vegeta- never purposefully used in medieval Europe as a
tion, Africa appears to be poor in hallucinogenic hallucinogen, there are suggestions that the Eleu-
plants. The most famous, of course, is Iboga, a sinian mysteries of ancient Greece were associated
root of the Dogbane family employed in Gabon with this fungal genus.
and parts of the Congo in the Bwiti cult. The The famous and widely employed Kava-kava is
Bushmen of Botswana slice the bulb of Kwashi not a hallucinogen but has been classified as a
of the Amaryllis famil y and rub it over scarifica- hypnotic narcotic.
tions on the head, allowing the active principles in It is in the New World that the number and
the juice to enter the bloodstream. Kanna is a cultural significance of hallucinogenic plants are
mysterious hallucinogen, probably no longer overwhelming, dominating every phase of life
used: the Hottentots chewed the plant material among the aboriginal peoples.
from two species of the Ice Plant family that in- There were some hallucinogenic species in the
duced gaiety, laughter, and visions. In scattered West Indies. In fact, the early indigenous popula-
regions, relatives of Thorn Apple and Henbane tions used mainly the snuff known as Cohoba;
were used for their intoxicating properties. and it is believed that this custom was imported
In Eurasia there are many plants employed for by Indians invading the Caribbean Islands from
their hallucinatory effects. Most significant, it is the Orinoco regions of South America.
the home of Hemp, today the most widespread Similarly, North America (north of Mexico) is
of all narcotics: as Marijuana, Maconha, Daggha, quite poor in hallucinogens. Various species of
Ganja, Charas, etc., the drug and its use have Datura were employed rather widely, but most in-
spread nearly throughout the world. tensely in the Southwest. The Indians of the region
The most spectacular Eurasiatic hallucinogen is of Texas and adjacent areas used the Red Bean or
the Fly Agaric, a mushroom consumed by scat- Mescal Bean as the basis of a vision-seeking cere-
tered tribesmen in Siberia and possibly the sacred mony. In northern Canada, Indians chewed the
god-narcotic Soma of ancient India. roots of Sweet Flag as medicine and supposedly
Datura was employed over wide areas of Asia. also for the hallucinogenic effects.
In Southeast Asia, especially in Papua New Gui- Mexico represents without a doubt the world's
nea, sundry poorly understood hallucinogens are richest area in diversity and use of hallucinogens
used. The rhizome of Maraba, a member of the in aboriginal societies-a phenomenon difficult
Ginger family, is believed to be eaten in New Gui- to understand in view of the comparatively mod-
nea. In Papua, natives ingest a mixture of leaves of est number of species comprising the flora of the
Ereriba of the Arum family and bark of a large tree, country. Without any question the Peyote cactus ·
Agara, to produce a sleep during which visions oc- is the most important sacred hallucinogen,
cur. Nutmeg may once have been taken in India although other cactus species are still used in
and Indonesia for its narcotic effects. Tribesmen northern Mexico as minor hallucinogens for spe-
in Turkestan drink an intoxicating tea made from cial magico-religious purposes. Of almost equal
the dried leaves of a shrubby mint, Lagochilus. religious importance in early Mexico and surviv-
The heyday of the use of hallucinogens in Eur- ing until today in religious rituals are mush-
ope occurred in ancient times, when they were rooms, known to the Aztecs as Teonanacatl, At
used almost exclusively in witchcraft-and divina- least twenty-four species of these fungi are em-
tion. The major plants involved-Thorn Apple, ployed at the present time in southern Mexico.
Mandrake, Henbane, Belladonna-belong to the Ololiuqui, the seeds of Morning Glories, repre-

Top: At the Shiva Temple of Pashupatinath near Kathmandu, Nepal, Indian Below: Visions reveaiedby hallucinogenscan be SUbsequentlyprocessed
yogis smoke Marijuana in preparation for the arduous body practiceand andrenderedartistically. In this waythe experience is carried into andcon-
meditation. nected with everyday life. (HallucigeniabyChristianHatsch, watercolor, circa

sents another hallucinogen of great importance known by the Mixtecs as Gi ' -i-Wa; and many
in Aztec religion and is still employed in south- others.
ern Mexico. There are many hallucinogens of South America ranks a close second to Mexico
secondary importance: Tolo ache and other spe- in the number, variety, and deep magico-religious
cies of the D atura group; the Mescal Bean or significance of hallucinogens. The Andean cul-
Frijolillo in the north; Pipiltzintzintli of the tures had half a dozen species of Brugmansias,
Aztecs; the diviner's sage now known as Hierba known as Borrachero, Campanilla, Floripondio,
de la Pastora; Genista among the Yaqui Indi- Huanto, Haucacachu, M aicoa, Toe, Tongo, etc.
ans; Piule, Sinicuichi, Zacatechichi, the puffballs In Peru and Bolivia a columnar cactus called San
Pedro or Aguacolla is th e basis of the drink
cimora, used in a vision-seeking ceremony. Ma-
puche Indian witch doctors (who are mostl y
female) of Chile formerly employed a hallucino-
genic tree of the Nightshade family-Latue or
Arbol de los Brujos. Rese arch has indicated the
use in various parts of the Andes of the rare shru?
Taique (D esf ontainia), th e mysterious Shanshi,
and the fruits of Hierba Loca and Taglli, both of
the Heath family. Most recently, a tYEe o~ Petunia
has been reported as an intoxicant used ill Ecua-
dor. In the Orinoco and parts of the Am azon, a
powerful snuff called Yopo or Niopo is made
from the toasted seeds of a tree of the legume

::.-:- ~ -.
~ . ... ";.,. , .
. .: :i.~"": '5-
i.. <;: ,;.: ::~:-
" -1'-. '"':';""_
~ ;.. ,
'i' . :
r·.~ ~
.!.. ~ \ .

0 -. '-. - , ' , ~ 'I.

~ 0
There arefew cultures in theWestern Hemisphere that
did notvalue at least one hallucinogenic plant in
magico-reiigious ceremonies. Many cultures had
several. In additionto hallucinogens,a number of
,-.' otherwise psyc~oact ive plants' sharedthehonors:
Tobacco, Coca, Guayusa, Yoco, Guaranca,Some of
. these-especially Tobacco andCoca-rose to exalted
positions in thesacred native pharmacopoeias.These
majorhallucinogens areculturallysignificant in the
areas indicatedbythe symbols.

1 &~.
o Hyoscyamus spp.
® Amanita muscaria @
.'* Atropa belladonna


' - Claviceps purpurea

'-' O
· .'
rf!!f Datura spp.

, Tabernanthe iboga
,b c'W Q
.~ Anadenanthera peregrina
~ J, 40 ~
~ J, qp~ ~
'! ~~~~
!~ ~t5lP
. ~ t5lP~
······i ! ~

, ::
,.' ! °0
' .. , ....

', ." .':.:: ~

... _- ....
..... ,' ~
,. ' - " _ ~-.- '~"

.. .-
~ " -- 7 : - . :., ~ '--T - - . "::::: -: - : -:. •
--'- _._.'- ' - ' .'."._'.-:_'--- ....
Right: Shamans remain theguardiansof wisdom concerning themagical ef-
fects of thepsychoactive plants. Thisphotograph wastaken at theholy
mountainKalinchok (4,OOOm) in the Himalayasof Nepal.

family. The Indians of northern Argentina take a

snuff-Cebfl or Villca-prepared from seeds of a
species closely related to Yopo. Perhaps the most
important lowland hallucinogen in South America
is Ayahuasca, Caapi, Natema, Pinde, or Yaje. Em-
ployed ceremonially in the western Amazon and
in several localities on the Pacific coastal areas of
Colombia and Ecuador, it is made basically from
several species of lianas of the Malpighia family.
Brunfelsia, a member of the Nightshade family,
known widely in the westernmost Amazon as
Chiricaspi, is taken for hallucinatory purposes.
There are more plants utilized as hallucinogens
in the New World than in the Old. Nearly 130
species are known to be used in the Western
Hemisphere, whereas in the Eastern Hemisphere
the number reaches rou ghly 50. Botanists have no
reason to presume that the flora of the New World
is richer or poorer than that of the Old in plants
with hallucinogenic properti es.


.' v/~

The plant lexicon includes basic de - easily visible characteristics of the The botanical investigation of medicinal
plantshas, over the years, become
scriptions, primarily botanical in plant. Whenever space permits, ad-
moreandmore exactand sophisticated.
nature, of ninety-seven plants that ditional information of historical, In 1543, thewriter of oneof the most
are kn own to have a hallucinogenic ethnological, phytochemical, and, beautifully illustratedherbals, Leonard
or psyc hoactive effect. very occasionally, psychopharma- Fuchs, presented this accurate sketch
Emphas is is given to plan ts that col ogical interest is added . In th is of Datura stramonium, the Thorn Apple
(left). Some three hundred years later,
are known fro m the literature, field way, an attempt has been made in Kohler, in his lvIedizinal Pflanzen, pub-
experience , and/or labora to ry evi- this introductory lexicon to give as lisheda more detailed pharmacognostic
dence to have definite psych oactive broad an int erdi scipli nary view as rende ring of this very important thera-
effects. Some spec ies th at are re- p ossib le. T he illustration s in the lex- peutic plant (center). In the 125 years
sincethe establishmentof Linnaeus's
ported to have" narcoti c" or" intox- icon are of two kinds : some of them
herbarium and the binomial system of
icating" uses are included as wel l. are wa tercolors made wheneve r nomenclature, our herbaria have greatly
T he plants are arranged alphabe- possible from living plant material enhanced the understanding of the
ticall y according to the Latin name or herbarium specimens. Most are morphological variation of vegetal
of the genus . This order has been direct reproductions of color photo- species through the collection of dried
specimens around the world. The third
followed in view of th e man y differ- graphs . A number of the plants de - illustration depicts a typical herbarium
ent vernacular names in the great picted here are illustrated for th e specimen of theThorn Apple repre-
variety of native languages. If a par- first time. senting the kind of material that now
ticular name is not listed, it may be The purpose of the lexicon is authenticates botanical identification.
Modern technology (for example, the
sought in th e inde x of vern acular manife stly to help guide th e reader electron-scanning microscope) is mak-
names on pages 32-33 or at the end more easily into the admittedly ing available morphological details,
of the book where these epithets are complex array of facts and stories such as the leaf surface hairs of the
cro ss-referenced. that comprise only a small fra ction ThornApple, which provide greater ac-
of the extensive knowledge from curacy in the work of plantidentification.
Inasmuch as this volume is w rit-
ten fo r the general reader, the bota- many fields concerning these plants
nical desc riptio ns are intentionally that native peoples aro und th e world
brief, str essing the obvious and mo st have considered plants of the gods .

Index and Key
to the Plant Lexicon

Ninety-sevenhallucinogenic plantsareillu- Acacia 1 EIAhijado 21

stratedand described on thefollowingpages Agara 35 EI Macho 21
(34-60). Aguacolla 94 EI Nene 21
The lexicon is in alphabetical orderby genus Ajuca 56 Epena 96
name. Each text in thelexicon includes thefol- Angel's Trumpet 11,12 Ereriba 39
lowinginformation in its heading: Arbol de Campanilla 42 Ergot 20
• Genus,author, and, in brackets, thenumber of Arbol de los Brujos 47 Esakuna 25
species known to existin the genus. Axocatzin 86 False Peyote 7
• Botanical name of thespecies shown. The Ayahuasca 9,93 Fang-K'uei 72
species known to contain hallucinogenic Aztec DreamGrass 16 Flag Root 2
properties or to be used as hallucinogens will Badoh 95 Floripondio 11 , 12
befound in the reference section "Overview of Badoh Negro 43 Fly Agaric 3
PlantUse," pages 65-80, which is organized Bakana 24,84 Frijoles 88
bycommon name. This reference section/ Belladonna 8 Galanga 45
chart provides thebotanical names of the Bhang 17 Ganja 17
plants and describes the history, ethnography, Biak-Biak 57 Genista 26
context, purpose of usage, andpreparation, Black Henbane 41 Gigant6n 94
aswell as chemical components andeffects. Blood-Red Angel's Trumpet 12 Gi'-i-Sa-Wa 52
• Plant family. Blue Meanies 63 Gi'-i-Wa 52
• Reference number. Blue Water Lily 60 Golden Angel'sTrumpet 11
• Geographical distributionof thegenus. Borrachero 11, 12,30,42 Hashish 17
Common names arelistedherebelow with the Bovista 52 HawaiianWood Rose 6
numberdesignatingeach plant's location in the Brunfelsia 13 Hemp 17
lexicon. Caapi 9,93 Henbane 40,4 1
Caapi-Pinima 93 Hierba dela Pastora 82
Cahua 80 Hierba dela Virgen 82
Calamus 2 Hierba Loca 70
Cawe 62 Hikuli 24
Cebfl 4 Hikuli 51
Cebolleta 61 Hikuli Mulato 33
Chacruna 80 Hikuli Rosapara 33
ChacrunaBush 80 Hikuli Rosapara 53
Chalice Vine 87 Hikulisunarne 7
Channa 83 Hikuri 53
Charas 17 Hikuri 32
Chautle 7 Hikuri Orchid 61
Chichipe 86 Hongo de San Isidro 76
Chilicote 34 Hoop-petticoat 64
Chiricaspi 13 Huacacachu 11, 12
Chiric-Sanango 13 Huanto 11, 12
Cohoba 5 Huedhued 70
Coleus 21 Hueipatl 87
Colorines 34,88 Huilca 14
Common Reed 74 Iboga 90
Conocybe 22 Jambur 63
Copelandia 63 Jimsonweed 29
Coral Bean 88 Jurema Tree 56
Coral Tree 34 Kanna 83
COWhage 58 Kieli 87
Cumala Tree 96 Kieri 87
Dacha 48 Kif 17
Dagga 17 Koribo 92
Damada Noite 19 Kougued 83
Dark-rimmed Mottlegill 65 Kratom 57
Datura 28 Kuma Mushroom 10
Deadly Nightshade 8 Kwashi 66
Diviner's Sage 82 Lady of theNight 19
Dog Grass 16 Latus 47
Dutra 28 Latuy 30

Lemcngrass 25 Siberian Motherwort 49
Liberty Cap 79 Sinicuichi 36
'-ion's Tail 48 Straw Flower 37
»lace 59 SweetCalomel 2
."Iaconha 19 SweetFlag 2
Magic Mushroom 76, 79 Syrian Rue 68
Maicoa 11. 12 Tabaco del Diablo 50
Maiden's Acacia 1 Tabernaemontana 89
MalvaColorada 86 Taglli 70
Mammillaria 53 Taique 30
Manaka 13 Takini 38
Mandrake 54 TaM a 17
Maraba 45 Tamu 22
Marijuana 17 Tecomaxochitl 87
Marijuanillo 49 Teonanacatl 78
Mashihiri 44 Tepescohuite 56
Matwu 14 Thle-pelakano 16
Mescal 88 Thorn Apple 29
Mescal Bean 88 Tlililtzin 43
Mescal Button 51 Toe 11
Morning Glory 43 Toloache 27
Nightshade 85 Toloatzin 27
Ninfa 60 Tonga 11, 12
Nonda 10 To-shka 64
Nutmeg 59 Totubjansush 42
Nyakwana 96 Tsuwiri 7
Ololiuqui 95 Tupa 50
Paguando 42 Turkestan Mint 46
Painted Nettle 21 Tzompar:quahuitl 34
Palqui 19 Villca 4
Petunia 71 Voacanga 97
PeyoteCactus 51 Wavy Cap 77
Peyote Cimarron 7 Wichowaka 62
Peyote de San Pedro 53 Wichuri 24
Peyotillo 69 Wichuriki 53
Pincushion Cactus 24,5 3 Wild Dagga 48
Pipiltzintzintli 82 WoodRose 6
Pitallito Cactus 32 Xtabentum 95
Pituri 31 Yal1utli 91
Pituri Bush 31 Yaje 9
Piule 43, 81 Yakee 96
PoisGI1 Bush 31 Yellow Henbane 40 A SouthAmerican Indian harvests a even millennia. The Indians caution
Pokeberry 75 Yopo 5 plant of the gods,a Blood-Red An- against the thoughtlessuse of this
Quetzalaxcchiacatl 60 YOn-shih 15 gel's Trumpet (Brugmansia sangui- plant,which causes such strong
Rape dos Indios 55 Zacatechichi 16 nea). This alkaloid-rich plant has hallucinations and delirium thatonly
Red Bean 88 been cultivated and used for psy- experiencedshamanscan useit for
RedCanary Grass 73 choactive purposes for centuriesor divination and healing.
Reed Grass 73
Saguaro 18
Sanango 89
San Isidro 76
San Pedro Cactus 94
Scopolia 85
Screw Pine 67
Shang-Ia 75
Shanin 71
Shanshi 23
She-to 64
Siberian Lion's Tail 49

ACACIA Mill. (750-800) ACORUS L. (2) AMANITA L. (50-6 0) ANADENANTHERA Speg. (2)

Acacia maidenii F von Muell. AcaruscalamusL. Amanita muscaria (L. ex Fr.) Pers. Anadenanthera calubruna
Maiden's Acacia Sweet Flag FlyAgaric (Vellozo)Brennan
Cebfl, Villca
Leguminosae (Pea Family) Araceae (Arum Family) Amanitaceae Leguminosae (Pea Family)
Australia Temperate and warm zones Europe, Africa, Asia, Northwest Argentina
1 2 of bothhemispheres 3 Americas 4

The genus Acacia is widely dis- Some evidence, although weak Amanita muscaria is a beautiful Thistreegrows9-50 ft (3- 18m)
tributed throughout thetropical andindirect, suggests thatthe mushroom growing in thinfor- andhasan almost black bark
andsubtropical regions of the Cree Indians of northwestern ests usually under birches, firs, often adorned with conical
world. It encompasses for the Canada may occasionally chew andyoung pines. It mayattain a thorns. The leaves arefinely lo-
most part medium-sized trees the rootstalk of Sweet Flag forits height of 8-9 in. (2Q--23cm). cular andreach upto 1ft (30cm)
with pinnate, occasionally psychoactive effects. Thesomewhat viscid, ovate, long. The yellowish whiteflow-
smooth leaves. Theflowers Sweet Flag is a semiaquatic hemispheric, andfinally almost ersareround. Theleathery dark
grow in clusters andthefruit is herbwitha long, aromatic, flatcap measures 3-8 in. (8- brown fruit pods grow to 1ft
pea-like. Many acacias area creeping rootstock producing 20cm)when mature. There are (35cm) long and contain very
traditional additiveto psycho- shoots of erect, linear, swordlike three varieties: onewitha blood- flat red-brown seeds 1h to 1in.
active products, such as betel, leaves upto 6ft (2m) in length. red capwith white warts found in (1-2cm) wide, with rounded to
beer, balche, pituri, andpulque. Thetinyflowers are borne on a the OldWorld andnorthwestern right angles.
Some of the species aresuited solid, lateral, greenish yellow North America; a yellow or or- Theseeds have been used as
for the preparation of Ayahuas- spadix. The rootstalk or rhizome ange type with yellowishwarts a hallucinogen bythe Indians of
ca analogs. Numerous Austra- contains an essential oil re- common in eastern andcentral the southern region of theAn-
lianspecies (A. maidenii, sponsible for the plant's medic- North America; anda white desforapproximately 4,500
A. phlebophylla, A. simplicifolia) inalvalue. variety thatis found in Idaho. years. They areeither worked
contain higher concentrationsof It has been suggestedthatthe Thecylindrical stem, which has intoa snuff powder, smoked, or
DMT in theirbarkand.leaves. active principlesare a-asarone a bulbous base, is white, %- 1in. used as an additive for beer.
Acacia maidenii, a beautiful and ~- as a ro n e. Thereis a struc- (1 -3cm) thick, with a conspicu- Primarily they are used in
erect treewith a silvery splen- tural resemblance between ous cream-white ring covered shamanism.
dor, contains different trypta- asarone and mescaline, a psy- basically withencircling scales. The seeds of the Cebfl or Vill-
mines. Thebarkcontains choactive alkaloid. No evidence Thewhite valve adheresto the ca contain tryptamines, espe-
0.36 % DMT. Theleaves are hasever been produced, how- base of the stem. The gillsvary cially bufotenine.
usable as a DMT-delivering ever, thatasarone can be asso- from white to cream coloror
component of Ayahuasca ana- ciated with psychotomimetic even lemon yellow.
logs. These acacias are easyto activity. This mushroom, perhaps
cultivate in temperate climates man's oldest hallucinogen, has
such as in California andsouth- been identifiedwith Soma of
ern Europe. ancient India.


.redensmnere peregrina(L.) Speg. Argyreia nervosa (Burman f.) Bojer, Ariocarpus retusus Scheidw.
ICPO Hawaiian Wood Rose False Peyote
Leguminosae (Pea Family) (Morning Glory Family) Cactaceae (Cactus Family)
Tropical zones of South India, Southeast Asia, Mexico, Texas
5 America, West Indies 6 Hawaii 7

Anadenanthera peregrina is a and Waika, for the production of The mature stemsof this vigor- These plantsaresmall, grayish
mimosa-like tree, mainly of open Epena. The shamanic snuff is ouslygrowing twining bindweed green to purplish grayor brown-
grasslands, attaining a heightof madefrom cultivated trees in climb up to 30ft (10m) high and ish cactuses, 4-6 in. (10- 15cm)
65ft (20m) and witha trunk2ft addition to other substances carry a latexlike milk. The in diameter. They hardly appear
(60cm) in diameter. The black- and plant ashes. The seeds stemmed, heart-shaped leaves above the ground. Often called
ish bark is coarsely armed with contain mostly N,N-Dimethyl- are finely haired and have a Living Rocks, theycan easily be
conical mucronate projections. tryptamine (DrvlT) as well as silveryappearance due to a mistakenfor rocks in the stony
The leaves have from 15to 30 5-MeO-DMT and othertrypta- dense white down that covers desertwhere they grow. Their
pairs of pinnae with manyvery mines. The shaman of the rain theyoung stemsandthe leaf hornyor fleshy, umbricated,
small hairy leaflets. Many min- forest people of the Orinoco re- undersides. The funnel-shaped three-angled tubercles are
ute whiteflowersin spherical gion (for example, the Piaroa) flowers arevioletor lavender characteristic of the genus.
heads arranged in terminal or cultivate this tree which is not and are carried in the leaf axis. Dense masses of hairoften fill
axillary clusters comprisethe native to that area. That way Their sepals are finely haired. the areoles. The flowers vary
inflorescence. Flat, thin, glossy they securetheir snuff supplies. The round fruit are berrylikeand from white to pink and purplish
black, roundish seeds occur in contain smooth brown seeds. In and measure approximately
rough, woody pods, from 3 to 10 each seed capsule there are 1- 2%in. (6cm) long and up to
in a pod. 4 seeds. 1V2 in. (4cm) wide when fully
A potent hallucinogenic snuff The plantoriginatesin India, open.
is made from the beans of Ana- where it has been used medic- Indians in northern and cen-
denanthera peregrina in the Or- inally sinceancient times. A tra- tral Mexico consider A. fissura-
inoco basin, where it is called ditional use as an entheogen tus and A. retusus as "false
Yopo. Its former shamanic and has not yet been discovered. Peyotes."
ritual use in the WestIndies, un- Phytochemical research is to These species of cactus, re-
der the nameCohoba, was re- thank for the awareness of its latedto Lophophora, are typical
ported as early as 1496. Sadly, potent psychedelic constitution. desert plants, growingpreferen-
this use has disappeared due to The seedscontain 0.3 % Ergot tiallyin the open sun in sandy or
the exploitation of the native alkaloids (ergine and Iysergic- rocky stretches.
people. acid-amides) . Mostpsycho- Several psychoactive pheny-
The treenative to the edges of nautsdescribe LSD-like effects lethylamine alkaloids have been
the large forested areas of after taking4-8 seeds. isolated from A. fissuratus and
Guyana is still usedby different A. retusus.
tribes, primarily the Yanomano

ATROPA L. (4) BANISTERIOPSIS (20-30) BOLETUS Dill. ex Fr. (225)
C.B. Robinson et Small
Atropa belladonna L. Banisteriopsis caapi (Spruce ex Gri- Boletus manicus Heim
Deadly Nightshade seb.) Morton, Ayahuasca Kuma Mushroom
Solanaceae Malpighiaceae
(Nightshade Family) (Malpighia Family) Boletaceae
Europe, NorthAfrica, Asia Tropical zones of northern Cosmopolitan
'··8-- 9 South America, West Indies 10

This much-branched perennial The main psychoactivecon- Thesegiant forest Iianas are the Several species of Boletus are
herbupto 3ft (90cm)tall maybe stituent is atropinebut lesser basis of an important hallucino- involved in thecurious "mush-
glabrous or pubescent-glandu- amounts of scopolamine and genic drink (Ayahuasca) ritually room madness" of the Kumaof
lar. Theovate leaves attain a trace amounts of minor tropane consumedin thewestern half of NewGuinea. Boletus reayi, one
length of 8in. (20cm). The soli- alkaloids arealsopresent. The the Amazon Valley andbyiso- of these, is characterized bya
tary, drooping, bell-shaped, totalalkaloid content in the lated tribes on the Pacific slopes hemispherical, strong brownish
brown-purple flowers, approxi- leaves is 0.4%, in the roots ofthe Colombian andEcuador- red cap thatis cream-yellow at
mately 1Va in. (3cm) long, pro- 0.5%, andin the seeds 0.8 %. ean Andes. Thebarkof Banis- the periphery; it measures from
duce shinyblack berries 1Va- In addition to the usual Bella- teriopsis caapiand B. inebrians, % to 1V2 in. (2to 4cm) in dia-
1V2in. (3-4 cm) in diameter. All donna there is a rare, yellow prepared in coldwater or after meter. The flesh of the cap is
parts of the plantcontain potent blooming variety (var. lutea) as long boiling, maybetaken alone, lemon-colored. The stipe varies
alkaloids. It grows in thickets well aslittleknown related kinds. butvarious plant additives- from orange at thetop, to a
andwoods on limesoils andis The Indian Belladonna (Atropa especially the leaves of Oiplop- marbled green andgray-rose in
naturalized especially near old acuminata Royle ex lind!.) is teriscabrerana, known as Oco- the middle, to a green at the
buildingsandhedges. cultivated for pharmaceutical Yaje, andof Psychotria viridis- base. The spores, which are
It is believed that Belladonna purposes because of its high areoften used to altertheeffects elongated ellipsoidal, have a
figured as an important ingredi- content of scopolamine. In Asia of the hallucinogenic drink. yellow membrane butareolive-
entin many of thewitches' the Caucasian Belladonna Both species are Iianas with colored within.
brews of antiquity. There are, of (Atropa caucasia Kreyer) and smooth, brown bark anddark B. manicus is a well-known
course, numerous records of theTurkmenish Belladonna green, chartaceous, ovate-Ian- species that, as its name im-
accidental andpurposeful poi- (Atropa komarovii Blin. et Shal) ceolate leaves up to about 7 in. plies, hassomewhat toxic prop-
soningassociated withthe arefound. Belladonna is still (18cm) in length, 2-3 in. (5- erties, (mania = insanity). Hallu-
Deadly Nightshade. cultivated for the pharmaceuti- 8cm) wide. The inflorescence is cinogenic propertieshave not
This plant played a major role cal productionof atropine. many-flowered. The small flow- yet been proven.
in the warof the Scots under ersarepink or rose-colored. The
Duncan I against the Norwegian fruitis a samara with wings
king Sven Canute about A. D. about 1% in. (3.5cm) long.
1035. TheScots destroyed the- B. inebrians differs from B. caa-
Scandinavian army piin its thickerovate, more at-
bysending them food andbeer tenuate leaves andin the shape
to which "Sleepy Nightshade" of the samara wings. The Iiana
had been added. contains MAO inhibitors.

Brugmansia sanguinea (40) I
Srugmansia aurea Lacerh. (Rulz et Pavon) D. Don Brunfelsia grandiflora D. Don
Golden Angel's Trumpet Blood-Red Angel's Trumpet Brunfelsia
Solanaceae Solanaceae Solanaceae
(Nightshade Family) (Nightshade Family) (Nightshade Family)
Western South America South America, Tropical zones of northern
11 12 Colombia to Chile 13 South America, West Indies

Closely relatedto Datura, the (5-16cm) wide, borne on a pe- This perennial Brugmansiais Several species of Brunfelsia
species of Brugmansia are ar- tiole up to 5in. (13cm) long. The heavilybranched andreaches 6- have medicinal and psycho-
borescent, and it is suspected flowersare nodding, not wholly 16ft (2-5 m),developingavery active roles in the Colombian,
that they are all cultigensun- pendulous, usually 7-9 in. (18- woody trunk. The gray-green Ecuadorean, and Peruvian
known in the wild. Biologically 23cm) long and very fragrant, leaves are furry and roughly ser- Amazon as well as in Guyana.
very complex, all species ap- especially in the evening. The rated attheedge.The Blood-Red Scopoletine hasbeen foundin
pear to have been used as hal- trumpet-shaped corolla flaring Angel's Trumpet does not emit Brunfelsia, but this compound is
lucinogens for millennia. Brug- broadly at the mouthis white or scents in the night. Usuallythe not known to be psychoactive.
mansia suaveolensand golden yellow, its slender basal flowers are green at thebase, B. chiricaspi and B. grandi-
B. insignis occur in warmer part completelyenclosed by the yellowin themiddle, and have a flora are shrubs or small trees
parts of South America, espe- calyx, its teeth 1V2-2Y2 in. (4- red edge around thetop. There reaching a height of about 10 It
cially in the western Amazonia, 6cm) long, recurving. The elon- are also green-red, pure yellow, (3m). The oblong or lanceolate
where they are employed alone gate-ovoid, smooth, green fruit, yellow-red, and almostcomple- leaves, measuring 2V2-12 in.
or mixed with other plants, which is variable in size, re- tely redvarieties. The smooth long (6- 30cm), are scattered
usually underthe name Toe. mains fleshy, never becoming oval fruitsare bulbousinthe cen- along the branchlets. The flow-
Most of the species, however, hard or woolly. The angular, terand pointed at the ends and ers have a tubular corolla,longer
prefer the cool, wet highlands blackish or brownish seeds are are usuallypartially protectedby than the bell-shaped calyx and
above 6,000 ft. (1 ,830m). The relatively large, measuring the driedcalyx. In Colombia this measuring about 4-4314 in. (10-
most widespread species in the about Y2 by 318 in. (12 by 9 mm). powerful shaman plant wasri- 12cm) across, blue to violet,
Andes is Brugmansia aurea, In addition to their use as hallu- tually used inthecultofthesun of fading with age to white. B. chir-
with bothyellowand, more com- cinogens, all species have pre-Columbian times. The plant icaspidiffersfrom B. grandiflora
monly, white flower forms. In the played major roles as medicines is still usedas a hallucinogenby in having much larger leaves,
horticultural literature it has fre- for a large spectrum of ills, the shamans andCuranderos of longer leaf stalks, a few-flow-
quently been misidentified as especially in the treatment of Ecuadorand Peru. ered inflorescence, and de-
Brugmansia(or Datura) arbor- rheumatic pains. They contain The entire plant contains tro- flexed corolla lobes. B. chiricas-
ea, which is in reality a much potent hallucinogenic tropane pane alkaloids. The flowers pi occurs in thewest Amazonia
less common plant. Brugmansia alkaloids. contain essentially atropine and of Colombia, Ecuador, and
aurea is a shrub or small tree up only traces of scopolamine Peru. B. grandiflora is wide-
to 30 It (9m) tall with oblong-el- (hyoscine). In the seeds ap- ranging in western South Amer-
liptic, often minutely hairy proximately 0.17% total ica from Venezuela to Bolivia.
leaves, the blade measuring 4- alkaloids are present; of those, Brunfelsias serve as Ayahuasca
16in. (1 0- 40cm) long, 2-6V2 in. 78% are scopolamine. additives.


Cacalia cordifolia L. fil. Caesalpiniasepiaria Roxb. Calea zacatechichiSchlecht. Cannabis sativa L.

Matwu YO n-Shih Dog Grass Hemp

Compositae (Sunflower Family) Leguminosae (Pea Family) Compositae (SunflowerFamily) Cannabaceae (Hemp Family)
East Asia, North America, Tropical and warm zones of Tropical zones of northern Warm-temperatezones,
14 Mexico 15 both hemispheres 16 South America, Mexico 17 worldwide

A small shrubby climber, Caesalpinia sepiaria or YOn- Known in Mexico as Zacatechi- Cannabis sativahas become
Cacaliacordifolia hasdusty- Shih, a shrubby vine with retro- chi ("bitter grass"), this incon- very polymorphic, but it is
. puberulent, six-angled stems. rsely hooked spines, is reput- spicuous shrub, occurring from usually a rank, robust, erect,
The leaves arethin, ovate, and edly used as a hallucinogen in Mexico to Costa Rica, has been loosely branched annual herb,
basally cordate, 1Vz-3Y3 in. (4- China.The roots, flowers , and important infolk medicine. It has sometimesattaining a height of
9cm) long. The flowering head seedsalso have value in folk alsobeen valued as an 18ft (5.4m). Thesexes arenor-
is subsessile or pedicellate, medicine. insecticide. mally on separate plants, the
about 3/e in. (1 cm) long. The earliest Chinese herbal- Recent reports suggest that staminate weaker anddying
This and several other spe- Pen-ts'-ao-chinrstated that the Chontal Indiansof Oaxaca aftershedding pollen, the pistil-
ciesof Cacalia have been re- the "flowers could enable oneto take a tea of the crushed, dried latestockier and more foliose.
ferred to in partsof northern see spirits and, when taken in leaves as a hallucinogen. Be- The membranaceous leavesare
Mexico as Peyote and maypos- excess, cause oneto stagger lieving in visions seen in digitate, with 3 to 15(usually 7
siblyhave oncebeen employed madly:' If consumed overa long dreams, Chontal medicine men, to 9) Iinear-Ianceolate, serrated
for hallucinatory purposes. In period, they produce levitation who assertthat Zacatechichi segments commonly 2%-4 in.
Mexico Cacalia cordifolia is a and"communication with the clarifies the senses, call the (6-1Oem) wide. Theflowers are
presumed aphrodisiac andcure spirits:' plant Thle-pelakano, or "leaf of borne in axillary or terminal
for sterility. An alkaloid hasbeen This plantis an extensive god." branches, dark green, yellow-
reported from the plant, but climber with pinnate leaves 9- Calea zacatechichi is a heav- green, or brownish purple. The
thereis no evidence of a chemi- 15in. (23-38cm) longand ily branching shrub with fruit is an ovoid, slightly com-
cal constituent with psycho- linear-oblong leaflets in 8-12 triangular-ovate, coarsely pressed, often brownishakene
active properties. pairs. The large, erect, un- toothed leaves %- 2%in. (2- covered by a persistent calyx,
This little.researched plantis branched showy racemes, 21in. 6.5cm) long. The inflorescence enveloped byan enlarged bract,
apparently oftenconfused with (53em) long, bearcanary yellow is densely many-flowered usually lackinga strong marbled
Calea zacatechichi. flowers. The smooth, elongate- (usually about 12). pattern; it is firmly attached to
ovoid, pointed fruit has4 to 8 Noconstituentwith hallucina- the stalk without a definite ar-
ovoid, brown- and black-mottled . tory properties has as yet been ticulation. The seed is ovoid ,
seeds, 2fs in. (1 em) long. An al- isolated from C. zacatechichi. mostly Ve by % in. (4 by 2mm).
kaloid of unknown structure has The plantcontains germacra- Cannabis indica is pyramidal
been reported from Caesalpinia nolides. The subtile psychoac- or conical in form and under 4-
sepiaria. tiveeffect can be described as 5ft (12Q-150cm) in height.
dreamlike. Cannabis rudera/is is small
and is never cultivated.

CARN E GI E ,~ Brilt. et Rose (1) CESTRUM L. (160) CLAVICEPS Tulasne (6) COLEUSLour. (150)

Carnegiea gigantea (Engelm.) Britt. Cestrum parqui L:Herit. Claviceps purpurea (Fr.) Coleus blumei Benlh.
et Rose Lady of the Night Tulasne PaintedNettle
Saguaro Solanaceae Ergot
Cactaceae (Cactus Family) (Nightshade Family) Clavicipitaceae Labiatae (Mint Family)
Southwestern North Chile Temperatezones of Europe, Tropical and warm zones of
18 America, northern Mexico 19 20 northernAfrica, Asia, 21 Europe, Africa, Asia
North America

This largest of the columnar Cestrumparqui has been used Ergot is a fungal disease of cer- Two species of Coleus have sig-
cactus plants, Saguaro, reach- medicinallyand ritually for sha- tain grasses and sedges, pri- nificance in Mexico. Related to
ing a height of some 40ft (12m), manic healing since pre- marily of rye. Meaning"spur," Salvia divinorum is La Hembra
is a candelabra-branched "tree." Columbian timesby the Ma- Ergot refers to the sclerotium or ("the woman"); C. pumilus is EI
The many-ribbedstems and puche in southern Chile. The fruiting bodyof an ascomycete Macho ("the man"); and two
branches attain a diameter of 1- plant has the power to withstand or sac fungus. The spuris a forms of C. blumeiare EI Nene
2V2It (30- 75cm). Thespines attacks of sorcery or black ma- purplish or black, curved, club- ("the child") and EI Ahijado("the
near the top of theplant are yel- gic. The dried leaves of Cestrum shaped growth V2-2Y2 in. (1- godson"). C. blumei attains a
low-brown. Measuring4- 5 in. parqui are smoked. 6cm) long, which parasitically heightof 3It (1m) and has
(10- 13cm) in length, thewhite, The shrub grows to 5 It (1 .5m) replacesthe endosperm of the ovate, marginallytoothed leaves
funnel-shaped flowers open and has small, lanceolate matte kernel. The fungus produces up to 6in. (15cm) in length; the
during the day. The fruit, red or green leaves. The bell-shaped psychoactive andtoxic alka- bottom surfaceis finely hairy,
purple, is an ovoid or ellipsoid yellowflowers have five pointy loids. the upper surface usually with
berry splittingdown the side into petals. They hang from the stem There are two distinct periods largedark red blotches. The
two or three sections and mea- in clusters. The flowers bloom in in the lifecycle of this fungus: an more or lessbell-shaped blue or
suring2V2-3 Y2 in. (6-9cm) long. Chile between October and No- active and a dormant stage. The purplish flowers, measuring
The numerous small seeds are vember and release a powerfu l, Ergot or spur represents the about Y2 in. (1cm) long, are
black andshining. heady aroma. The plant has dormant stage. When the spur borne in long lax, whorled
Although there are no reports small oval berries that are a falls to the ground, the Ergot racemes up to 12in. (30cm) in
of the Saguaro as a hallucino- shiny black color. sprouts globular heads called length.
gen, the plantdoes contain Cestrumparqui contains so- ascocarps fromwhich grow Recently, salvinorine-like sub-
pharmacologically active alka- lasonine, a glycoside steroid-al- asci, each with threadlike as- stances (diterpene)were dis-
loids capable of psychoactivity. kaloid, as well as solasonidine cospores that are disseminated cove red . The chemical structure
Carnegine, 5-hydroxycarne- and a bitter alkaloid (Parquin's when the asci rupture. has not yet been determined. It
gine, and norcarneqine, plus formula C21H39NOs), which has Inthe MiddleAges andearlier is possible that by dryingor
trace amounts of 3-methoxytyr- a similar action to strychnine or in Europe, especially where rye burningthe diterpene, its che-
amine andarizonine (a tetrahy- atropine. was used in bread-making, micalstructureis modified into
droquinoline base), have been whole areas frequently were potent material.The chemistry
isolated from Saguaro. poisoned, suffering plagues of andpharmacology must be re-
Thenative people make a ergotism, when fungus-infected searched further.
wine from the pressed fruit. rye kernels were milled into

(Engelm.) Lem.
Conocybesiligineoides Heim Codara thymifolia HBK ex Willd. Coryphantha compacta Cymbopogon densiflorus Stapf
Conocybe Shanshi "(Engelm.) Britt. et Rose Lemongrass
Agaricaceae (Bolbitiaceae) Pincushion Cactus
(Agaric Family) Coriariaceae (Coriaria Family) Cactaceae (Cactus Family) Gramineae (Grass Family)
" Cosmopolitan Southern Europe, northern Southwestern North Warm zones of Africa and
22 " :23 Africa, Asia; NewZealand; 24 America, Mexico, Cuba 25 Asia
Mexicoto Chile

Conocybe siligineoides has In the highest Andes from Co- A small, solitary, globular but Native medicine men in Tanza-
been reported as oneof the lombia to Chile, Coriaria thymi- somewhat flattened, spiny cac- niasmoke theflowers of Cym-
sacred intoxicating mushrooms folia adorns the highways with tus upto 3%in. (Bcm) in dia- bopogon densiflorus alone or
of Mexico. Psilocybine hasnot its frondlike leaves . It hasbeen meter, Coryphantha compacta with tobacco to cause dreams
asyetbeen isolated from this feared in the Andean countries grows in dry hilly andmountai- that they believe foretell the fu-
species, but Conocybe as a plant toxicto browsing ani- nous regions. It is hardly visible ture. The leaves and rhizomes,
cyanopus of the United States mals. Human deaths have sup- in the sandy soil where it occurs. pleasantly aromatic of citron ,
has been shown to contain this posedly followed ingestion ofthe The radial spines arewhitish, arelocally used as a tonic and
psychoactive alkaloid. fruit. Reports from Ecuador, Vz-% in. (1 -2cm) in length; the styptic.
Thisbeautiful mushroom, up nevertheless, suggest that the central spines are usually ab- Thisperennialgrass has
to about 3in. (Bcm) tall, living on fruit (shanshi) may be eaten to sent. Thecrowded tubercles are stout, erect culms with linear to
rottingwood, hasa cap up to induce an intoxicationcharac- arranged in 13 rows. Arising linear-Ianceolate leaves, basally
1in. (2.5cm) in diameter that is terized bysensations of soaring from the center of the crown wide androunded andtapering
fawn-orange-red, with a deeper through the air. eithersingly or in pairs, the yel- to a finepoint, 1 ft. (30cm) in
orange at the center. The gills Coriaria thymifolia is a shrub lowflowers measure upto 1in. length and%- 1in. (1-2 .5cm) in
aresaffron-colored or brownish usually up to 6ft (1.B m)tall.The (2.5cm)"in length. TheTarahu- width. Thefloweringspikes are
orange with chrome yellow leaves are oblong-ovate, Vz- mara of northern Mexicocon- slender, olivegreen to brownish.
spores. % in. (1-2cm) in length, borne sider Coryphantha compacta a This species grows in Gabon,
Many species of the genus on slender, archinglateral kind of Peyote. The plant, called the Congo, and Malawi.
Conocybe contain psilocybine, branches. The small, darkpur- Bakana, is takenby shamans Little is known about the psy-
arepsychoactive, andare used ple flowers occur densely on andis respected andfeared. It is choactive propertiesof the
ritually. Recently a rudimentary long drooping racemes. The used as a substitute for Peyote. grass. The genus Cymbopogon
cultaround Tamu (a Conocybe round purplish black fruit is Coryphantha palmeriihas is richin essentialoils, andster-
species, "Mushroom of Aware- composed of five to eight com- likewise been reported as a hal- oidal substances have been
ness") hasbeen discovered. pressed fleshy parts, or carpels. lucinogen in Mexico. Variousal- found in some species.
Conocybe siligeneoides is an Thewhole shrub has a fernlike kaloids, including the psychoac-
obscure mushroom which has appearance. tive phenylethylamines, have
not been found or analyzed No psychoactiveproperties been isolated from several
again sinceits first description. have been isolated yet. species of Coryphantha: horde-
nine, calipamine, andmacro-

CYTISUS L. (30) DATURA L. (14-1 6) DATURA L. (14-16) DATURA L. (14- 16)

Cytisus canariensis (L.)O.Kuntze Datura innoxia Mill. (D. mete/aides) Datura mete/L. Datura stramonium L.
Genista Toloache Datura ThornApple
Solanaceae Solanaceae Solanaceae
Leguminosae (Pea Family) (Nightshade Family) (Nightshade Family) (Nightshade Family)
Southern Europe, northern Tropical andwarm- Tropicalandwarm- Tropical andmoderate zones
26 Africa, western Asia; Canary 27 temperature zones of both 28 temperate zones of Asia 29 of bothhemispheres
Islands, Mexico hemispheres and Africa

Rarely areforeign plants incor- The most extensive useof Da- In the OldWorld, the most cul- Thisannual herb grows to about
porated in ceremonial use in turacenters in Mexico andthe turally important species of Da- 4ft (1.2m)and hasmany-forked
aboriginal American societies. American Southwest, where the tura for medicinal andhallucino- branches and branched, leafless
Native to the Canary Islands, mostimportant psychoactive genic useis 0. mete/. stems. Therich green leaves are
Genistawas introduced into speciesseems to be Datura in- Datura mete/, nativeprobably coarsely serrated. Thefunnel-
Mexico from the Old World , noxia. This is the famous To- to the mountainous regions of shaped flowersare5-pointed,
where it has no record of useas loache of Mexico, oneof the Pakistan or Afghanistan west- stand erect, and open upward.
a hallucinogen. It apparently has plants of the godsamong the ward, is a spreading herb, Thecommon varietycarries
acquired magical useamong Aztecs andotherIndians. The sometimes becoming shrubby, white flowers thatat 2-3 in. (6-
the Yaqui Indians of northern modern Tarahumara of Mexico 3-6 ft (i-2m) tall. Thetriangu- 9cm) long areamong thesmal-
Mexico, where medicine men addthe roots , seeds, andleaves lar-ovate, sinuate, anddeeply lest ofthe Datura species. The
value the seed as a of 0. innoxia to tesquino, a cere- toothed leaves measure 5V2- tatu/avariety has smaller violet
hallucinogen. monial drinkprepared from 8V2 in. (14-22cm) long, 3- flowers. Thegreen egg-shaped
A coarse, evergreen, much- maize. Mexican Indians believe 4%in. (8-11 cm) wide. The soli- fruitis covered with thorns and
branched shrub up to 6ft (1 .8m) that, unlike Peyote, Toloache is tary flowers, which maybe pur- stands erect. Theflat,liver-
tall, Cytisus canadensis bears inhabited by a malevolent spirit. ple,yellowish, or white, are tub- shaped seeds areblack.
leaves with obovate or oblong, Datura innoxia is a herbac- ular, funnel- or trumpet-shaped, The originsof this powerful
hairyleaflets %-Y2 in. (.5-1 cm) eous perennial up to 3ft (1 m) almostcircular when expanded , hallucinogenic speciesof Thorn
long. The fragrant, brightyellow tall, grayish because of fine mayattain a length of 6V2in. Apple is uncertain and its bota-
flowers, in terminal, many-flow- hairs on the foliage; the leaves, (17cm). Thedrooping, round nical history ardently argued
ered, dense racemes, measure unequally ovate, repand or sub- fruit, up to 2%in. (6cm) in dia- over. Some authors suggest that
about Y2 in. (1 cm) in length. The entire, measure upto 2 or 2%in. meter, is conspicuously tuber- Datura stramonium isanancient
pods are hairy, V2-% in. (1- (5cm) in length. The erect, culate or muricate, openingto species thatoriginates in the re-
2cm) long. sweet-scented flowers, 5V2-9 in. expose flat, lightbrown seeds. gion of the Caspian Sea. Others
Cytisus is rich in the lupine al- (14-23cm) long, arewhite with The flowers are primarily violet believe that Mexico or North
kaloid cytisine, which is com- a 1O-pointed corolla. The pen- andgrowat an angle or upright America is the original habitat.
monin the Leguminosae. Cy- dantfruit is nearly globose, 2in. to the sky. Today the herb is found
stinehas similar properties as (5cm) in diameter, covered with All types of Datura contain the throughout North, Central, and
nicotine. Forthis reason, plants sharpspines. hallucinogenic tropane alkaloids South America; North Africa;
thatcontain cystine areoften scopolamine, hyosyamine and Central and Southern Europe; in
smoked as a substitute for someatropine. the nearEast; and in the
Tobacco. Himalayas.

ex Britt. et Rose
Desfontainia spinosa R. et P. Duboisia hopwoodii F. v. Muell. Echinocereus triglochidiatus En- Epithelantha micromeris (Engelm.)
Taique Pituri Bush gelm. Weber ex Britt. et Rose
Solanaceae PitallitoCactus Hikuli Mulato
Desfontainiaceae (Nightshade Family) Cactaceae (Cactus Family) Cactaceae(Cactus Family)
Highlands of Central - Central Australia Southwestern North SouthwesternNorth
30 Americaand South America -31 32 America, Mexico 33 America, Mexico

One of the least-known Andean Thebranched evergreen shrub The Tarahumara Indiansof Chi- This spinycactus, oneof the so-
plants, Desfontainia spinosa is withwoodystems growsto ap- huahua consider twospecies as called false Peyotes oftheTara-
sometimesassigned to a differ- proximately 6-9 ft (2.5-3m). lts false Peyotes or Hikuri of the humara Indians of Chihuahua,
ent family: Loganiaceae or Po- woodhas ayellow color anda mountainous areas. Theyare hasacidic, ediblefruit calledChi-
taliaceae. Botanistsarenot in distinctscent of vanilla. Thegreen not so strong as Ariocarpus, Iitos. Medicinemen takeHikuli
agreement as to the number of leaves arelanceolate, witha con- Coryphantha, Epithelantha, Mulatotomaketheirsight clearer
species in the genus. tinuous margin tapered atthepe- Mammillaria, or Lophophora. andto permitthemto commune
Desfontainia spinose, a beau- tiole andare4-5 in. long (12- Echinocereus salmdyckianusis withsorcerers. It istaken byrun-
tifulshrub 1-6ft (30cm-1 .8m) in 15cm).Theflowers arewhite, oc- a low, caespitose cactus with ners asa stimulant and"protec-
height, hasglossy green leaves, casionallywith rose speckles, and decumbent, yellow-green stems tor," andtheIndians believe thatit
resemblingthose of Christmas bell-shaped (to7mm long) and 314- 1V2in. (2-4cm) in diameter. prolongs life. It is reportedlyable
holly, andtubular red flowers hang inclusters offthetipsofthe Theribsnumber7 to 9. The8 or todrive evil people to insanity or
with a yellow tip. Theberryis branches. Thefruit is ablack ber- 9 radial spines areyellow, Vz in. throwthemfrom cliffs.
white or greenish yellow, glo- rywith numerous tinyseeds. (1cm) long, central spinesoli- Alkaloidsand triterpenes have
bose, with many lustrous seeds. Thepsychoactive Pituri has tary andlonger than radials.The been reportedfrom Epithelantha
It hasbeen reported as a hallu- been hedonistically andritually orange-colored flowers mea- micromeris. Thisvery small,
cinogen from Chile andsouth- used bytheAborigines since their sure 31,4-4 in. (8- 10cm) long globularcactusgrows to a dia-
ern Colombia. In Chile it is settlement ofAustralia. The andhave oblanceolate to meter of 2Vz in.(6cm) . Thelow
known as Taique, in Colombia leaves aregathered inAugust spathulate perianth segments. tubercles,V 16 in. (2mm) long,are
as Borrachero ("intoxicator") . when theplantsareinflower. This species is native to Chi- arranged inmany spirals. The
Colombian shamans of the They arehung uptodryorroasted huahua and Durango in Mexico. numerous white spines almost
Kamsa tribetake a tea of the over afire.They areeither chewed Echinocereus triglochidiatus dif- hidethe tubercles. Thelowerra-
leaves to diagnose disease or asPituri orsmoked incigarettes fers in havingdeepgreen stems, dialspines measure V16in.
"to dream." Some medicine men rolled withalkaline substances. fewer radial spines, which turn (2mm)long, theupper about
assert that they"go crazy" under Duboisia hopwoodii contains grayishwith age, and scarlet % in. (1cm). Thesmall flowers,
its influence. Nothing is as yet a variety of powerful andstimu- flowers 2-2% in. (5- 7cm) long. whicharisefromthecenterofthe
known of the chemicalconstitu- lating buttoxic alkaloids:pitur- A tryptamine derivative has plantin a tuftof woolandspines,
ents of Desfontainia. ine, dubosine, D-nor-nicotine, been reported from Echinocer- arewhitishto pink, 1,4 in. (5mm)
In southern Chile Desfontai- andnicotine. Thehallucinogenic eustriglochidiatus(3-hydroxy-4- broad. Theclavate fruit, %-V2 in.
niais used for shamanic pur- tropane alkaloids hyoscyamine methoxyphenethylamine). (9-13mm) long, bearsrather
poses similar to Latua pubiflora. andscopolamine have been large, shining black seeds, V16 in.
discovered in the roots. (2mm) across.

ERYTHRINA L. (110) GALBULI MIMA F. Iv!. Bailey (3) HEIMIA Link et Otto (3) HELICHRYSUM Mill (500)
!:rythrina americana Mill. Galbulimima belgraveana Heimiasalicifolia Helichrysum (L.) Moench.
Coral Tree (F. v. Muell.) Sprague (H.B.K.)Link et Otto Straw Flower
Agara Sinicuichi
Leguminosae(PeaFamily) Himantandraceae Ly1hraceae (Loosestrife Family) Compositae (Sunflower Family)
Tropical and warm zones of Northeast Australia, Southern North Americato Europe, Africa, Asia,
34 both hemispheres 35 Malaysia 36 Argentina, West Indies 37 Australia

Tzompanquahuitl of the ancient Nativesin Papua boil the bark This genus has three very simi- Two species are used by witch
Aztecs mayhave been from the and leaves of this treewitha lar species, andall play impor- doctors in Zululand "for inhaling
many species in the genus Ery- species of Homalomena to pre- tant roles in folk medicine. Sev- to induce trances:' It is pre-
thrina, the seeds of which are pare a tea thatcauses an intox- eral vernacular names reported sumed thattheplants are
believedto have been employed ication leading to a deep slum- from Brazil seemto indicate smoked for these effects.
as a medicine and hallucinogen. ber, during which visions are knowledgeof psychoactivity, Helichrysum foetidumis a tall,
In Guatemala the beans are experienced. e.g., Abre-o-sol ("sun-opener") erect, branching herb 10-1 2in.
employed in divination. This tree of northeastern and Herva da Vida ("herb of (25-3 0cm) in height. It is slightly
The beans of Erythrina f1abel- Australia, Papua, and Molucca life"). woody near thebase and isvery
liformis constitute a Tarahumara is unbuttressed, attaining a Sinicuichi (Heimia salicifolia) strongly scented. The lanceo-
Indian medicinalplant of many height of 90ft (27m). The highly is 2-6ft (60cm-1.8m) tall with lateor lanceolate-ovate, basally
varied uses, which mayhave aromatic, gray brownish, scaly lanceolateleaves %- 3V2 in. (2- lobed, entire leaves, measuring
been utilized as a hallucinogen. barkmeasures V2 in. (1cm) in 9cm) long. Theyellow flowers up to 3V2 in. (scm) long and
Erythrina f1abelliformisis a thickness. The elliptic, entire arebornesingly in the leafaxils; % in. (2cm)wide, basally en-
shrub or small tree with spiny leaves are a glossy, metallic the persistent bell-shaped calyx clasp the stem; they are gray-
branches. The leaflets are 2V2- green above, brown beneath, develops long hornlike appen- woolly beneath and glandular
3%in. (3-6 cm) long, usually and are normally 4V2-O in. (11- dages. The shrub grows abun- above. The flowers occur in
broader than long. Thedensely 15cm) long and 2-2% in. (5- dantly in moist places and along loose, terminal, corymbose
many-flowered racemes bear 7cm) wide. Lacking sepals and streams in the highlands. clusters of several stalked
red flowers 1Vs-2V2 in. (3-6cm) petals but with many conspicu- In the Mexican highlands, the heads %- 1V2 in. (2- 4cm) in dia-
long. Sometimes attaining a ous stamens, the flowers have a leaves of H. salicifolia are meter, subtended by cream-co-
length of 1ft (30em), the pods, pale yellowor brownishyellow slightly wilted, crushedin wate r, lored or golden yellow bracts.
shallowly constricted between hue with a rusty brown calyx. and the preparation is then al- These speciesof Helichrysum
the seeds, contain from two to The ellipsoidalor globose fruit is lowed to ferment into an intoxi- are some of the plants known in
many dark red beans. This spe- fleshy-fibrous, reddish, 3f4 in. cating drink. Although it is be- English as Everlasting.
cies is common in the hot, dry (2cm) in diameter. lieved that excessive use of Coumarine and diterpenes
regions of northern and central Although 28 alkaloids have Sinicuichi maybe physically have been reported from the
Mexico and the American been isolated from Galbulimima harmful , there are usually no genus, but noconstituents with
Southwest. belgraveana, a psychoactive uncomfortable aftereffects. This hallucinogenicproperties have
principle has not yet been found plant contains quinolizidine al- been isolated.
in the plant. kaloids (Iythrine, cryogenine, Iy-
foline, nesidine).


He/icostylis peduncu/ata Homa/omena /auterbachii Eng!. Hyoscyamusa/bus L. Hyoscyamus nigerL.

Benoist Ereriba Yellow Henbane Black Henbane
Takini Solanaceae Solanaceae
Moraceae (MulberryFamily) Araceae (Arum Family) (Nightshade Family) (Nightshade Family)
Central America, tropical , South America, tropical ,- " Mediterranean, Near East , ,--~ Europe, northern Africa,
38 zones of South America 39, ,zones of Asia 40.. 41 southwestern andcentral
. Asia

Takini is a sacred treeof the Gui- In Papua New Guinea the na- Although the herb has erect Henbane is a coarse annual or
anas. From the red"sap"of the tives are saidto eat the leavesof stems, it often appears bushy. It biennial, viscid, hairy, strong-
bark a mildly poisonousintoxi- a speciesof Homalomena with grows to approximately8-12 in. smelling herbup to about 30in.
cant is prepared. Extracts from the leaves and barkof Galbuli- (4Q-50cm) high. Thelightgreen (76cm)tall.Theleaves are en-
theinnerbarkof twotrees elicit mimabelgraveana to induce a stems andserrated leaves, as tire or occasionally have a few
central nervous systemdepres- violent condition ending in slum- wellas the funnel-shaped flow- largeteeth, ovate, 6-8in. (15-
sant effects similarto those pro- ber, during which visions are ex- ers and fruits, are all pileous. 20cm) long,the lowercauline
duced by Cannabis sativa. The perienced. The rhizomes have a The herbblooms from January amplexicaul leaves being oblong
twospecies responsible for this number of uses in folk medicine, to July. The colorof theflowers andsmaller. Theflowers, yellow
hallucinogen are H. pedunculata especiallyfor the treatment of is lightyellow with deep violet on or greenish yellow veinedwith
and H. tomentosa. skin problems. In Malaya an un- the interior. The seeds have a purple, attain a length of about
These two species oftrees are specified part of a specieswas whitishor ocher color, occasion- -1V2 in. (4cm) and are borne in
similar. Both arecylindrical or an ingredient of an arrow ally a graycolor. two ranks in a scorpioid cyme.
very slightly buttressed forest poison. Thishenbane wasthemost The fruit is a many-seeded cap-
giants 75ft (23m)tallwith grayish The speciesof Homalomena widely usedmagical herband suleenclosed in the persistent
brown bark; the latexis pale yel- are small or large herbs with medicinalplant. Thehallucino- calyx with its five triangular
loworcream-colored. Theleath- pleasantly aromatic rhizomes. genwasan important medium in points becomingrigid. The
erylanceolate-elliptic leaves at- The leaves areoblong- antiquity, used to promote a seeds release a powerful and
taina length of7in. (18cm) anda lanceolate or cordate-ovate, trance andtakenbyoracles and distinctive odor when squeezed.
width of 3in. (8cm). Thefleshy, borneonveryshort stems, divinitory women. In the ancient In antiquity and the Middle
pistillate flowers areborne inglo- rarelyexceeding 6in. (15cm)in earthoracle of Gaia, it is the Ages, Hyoscyamus nigerwas
bose cauliflorous heads. length. The spathe usually per- "dragon's herb." Thegoddess of employed in Europe as an im-
Very little is known about these sists in fruit. The male andfe- thewitches, Hecate, uses "crazy- portant ingredient of thewitches'
trees and they arerarelystudied. male portions of the spadix are maker" in the Kolchoracle. Late brews andointments. It not only
The hallucinogen couldtheoreti- proximate. Thesmall berriesare antiquitygivesus"Zeus's Beans" reduced pain butalso induced
callyoriginate from eitherof the few or many-seeded. intheoracle of Zeus-Ammon and oblivion.
related genera Brosimum or Plt- The chemistry of this group of theRoman godJupiter. Inthe The active principles in this
atinera. Extracts from theinner plants hasnotyet disclosed any Delphi oracles of Apollo, who is solanaceous genus are tropane
barkof both trees have been hallucinogenic principle. the Godof "prophetic insanity," it alkaloids, especially scopola-
pharmacologicallystudied;they is known as"Apollo's Plant." mine. Scopolamine is a potent
have a softening ordampening The entire plantcontains the hallucinogenic agent.
effect, similar to Cannabis sativa. tropane alkaloids hyoscyamine
and scopolamine.

I 'a CHROMA (24) IPOMOEA L. (500) JUSTICIA L. (350)

:chroma fuchsioides (Benth.) Miers Ipomoea violacea L.

Justiciapectoralis Jacq . var.
,"aguando Morning Glory stenophylla Leonard
Solanaceae Convolvulaceae Mashihiri
(Nightshade Family) (Morning Glory Family) Acanthaceae (Acanthus Family)
Tropical andsubtropical Mexico to SouthAmerica
Tropical andwarm zonesof
42 zonesof SouthAmerica 43 44 Central and South America

Amonq the Karn sa Indians of In Oaxaca, in southern Mexico, tec and Mazatec Indians call the Justicia pectoralis var. steno-
the Colombian Andes, I. tuch- the seeds of this vine are es- seeds Piule; theZapotecs, Ba- phyl/adiffers from the wide-
sioides is taken by shamans for teemed as one of the principal doh Negro. In pre-Conquest spread J. pectoralis mainly in its
difficult diagnoses. hallucinogens for use in divina- days, the Aztecs knew them as smaller stature and its very nar-
The intoxication is not plea- tion as wellas magico-religious Tlililtzin andemployed themin rowly lanceolate leaves and
sant, leaving aftereffects for andcuring rituals. The Chinan- the same wayas Ololiuqui, the shorter inflorescence. It is an
several days. The shrub is va- seeds of another Morning Glory, herbup to 1ft (30cm) tall, with
lued also as a medicine for Turbina corymbosa. erect or ascending stems,
treating difficulties with digestion Ipomoea violacea, known sometimes rooting at the lower
or bowel function, and to aid in also as I. rubrocaerulea, is an nodes. The internodes are
Gases of difficultchildbirth. annual vinewith entire, ovate, short, usually less than 3f4in.
lochroma fuchsioides, a deeply cordate leaves 2Vz--4 in. (2cm) long. The numerous
shrubor small tree 10-15ft (3- (6-10cm) long, %- 3in. (2-8cm) leaves measure normally %-
4.5m) tall, butsometimes larger, wide. The inflorescence is three- 2%in. (2-5cm) long, %- 1in. (1-
occurs in the Colombian and or four-flowered. The flowers 2cm) wide. The dense inflores-
Ecuadorean Andes at about varyfrom white to red, purple, cence, covered with glandular
7,000ft (2,200m) altitude. The blueor violet-blue, and measure hairs, may reach a length of 4in.
branches are reddish brown, 2-2% in. (5-7cm) wide at the (10cm)butis usually much
and the leaves, obovate-oblong, mouth of the trumpet-shaped, shorter. The inconspicuous
measure 4-6in. (10-15cm) in corolla tube, 2-23f4 in. (5-7 cm) flowers, about \4 in. (5mm) long,
length. The clustered tubular or long. The ovoid fruit, about V2in. arewhite or violet, frequently
bell-shaped flowers are red, 1- (1cm) in length, bears elongate, purple-spotted. The fruit, V4in.
1V2in. (2.5-4cm) long. The red angular blackseeds. (5mm) long, bears flat, reddish
fruit is an ovoid or pyriform berry This variable species ranges brown seeds.
about % in. (2cm) in diameter, through western andsouthern Chemical examination of Jus-
partially enclosedin a persistent MexicoandGuatemala and in ticia hasbeen inconclusive.
calyx. the West Indies. It can be found Preliminary indications that the
The plantcontains as well in tropical South Ameri- leaves of J. pectoralis var. ste-
withanolide. ca. It is well known in horticul- nophyl/a contain tryptamines
ture. (DMT) need confirmation. The
dried herb contains coumarin.

KAEM PFERIA L. (70) LAGOCHILUS Bunge (35) LATUA Phil. (1) LEONOTIS (pers.) R. Br. (3-4)

Kaempferia galanga L. Lagochilus inebrians Bunge Latua pubiflora (Griseb.) Baill. Leonotis leonurus (L.) R. Br.
Galanga Turkestan Mint Latue Lion's Tail
Zingiberaceae (Ginger Family) Labiatae (Mint Family) (Nightshade Family) Labiatae (Mint Family)
Tropical zones of Africa, Central Asia Chile South Africa
45 southeastern Asia 46 ..47 48

Kaempferia galanga is used as Onthedry steppes ofTurkestan, Latua, 6-30tt (2-9 m) tall, has This South African shrub has
a hallucinogen in New Guinea. the Tajik, Tatar, Turkoman , and oneor more main trunks. The orange-colored flowers and is
Throughout the range of this Uzbek tribesmen have used a barkis reddish to grayish brown. reported to be"hallucinogenic."
species, the highly aromatic rhi- tea made from thetoasted The spinybranches, rigid and In Africait is called Dacha, Dag-
zome is valued as a spice to fla- leaves of the mintLagochilus in- 1in. (2.5cm) long, arise in the gha, or Wild Dagga, which
vor rice, andalso in folkmedi- ebrians as an intoxicant. The leafaxils. The narrow elliptic means "wild hemp."TheHotten-
cine as an expectorant and leaves arefrequently mixed with leaves, dark to lightgreen tots andthe Bushpeople smoke
carminative aswell as an aph- stems, fruiting tops, andflowers, above, palerbeneath, are mar- the buds andthe leaves as a
rodisiac. A tea of the leaves is and honey andsugar mayocca- ginally entire or serrate and narcotic. It is possible thatthis
employed for sore throat, swel- sionally be added to lessen the measure 1%- 1% in. (3V2- plant is one of the narcotic
lings, rheumatism, andeyein- intense bitterness of the drink. 4V2cm) by%- 1%in. (1 .5-4cm). plants called Kanna (compare to
fections. In Malaysia, the plant This plant hasbeen well stu- Theflowers have a persistent, Sceletium tortuosum) . The resi-
wasadded to thearrow poison diedfrom the pharmacological bell-shaped, green to purplish nous leaves, or the resin ex-
prepared from Antiaris toxicaria. point of view in Russia. It is re- calyx and a larger, magenta to tracted from the leaves, are
Thisshort-stemmed herb has commended for its antihemor- red-violet, urceolate corolla 1%- smoked alone or mixed withto-
flat-spreading, green, round rhagic andhemostatic effects to 1%in. (3.5-4cm) long, %in. bacco. Chemical studies are
leaves measuring 3-6 in. (8- reduce permeability of blood (1em) wide at the mouth. The lacking.
15cm)across. Thewhite flow- vessels andas an aid in blood fruit is a globose berryabout In California the plant has
ers (with a purple spoton the coagulation. It hasalso been 1in. (2.5cm) in diameter, with been grown and tested, reveal-
lip), which arefugacious, appear consideredhelpful in treating numerous kidney-shaped ing a bitter-tasting smoke and a
singly in the center of the plant certain allergies andskin pro- seeds. lightly psychoactive effect thatis
andattain approximately 1in. blems. It hassedative The leaves andfruitof L. pub- reminiscent of both Cannabis
(2.5cm) in breadth. properties. iflora contain 0.18% hyoscya- and Datura. In eastern South
Beyond the high content of Phytochemical studies have mine andatropine and0.08% Africa, the closely related Leo-
essential oil in the rhizome, little shown the presence of a crys- scopolamine. notisovata is reportedly used for
is known of the chemistryof the talline compound called lagochi- thesame purpose.
plant. Psychoactiveactivity line-a diterpene of the grinde-
might possibly bedueto consti- Iian type.
tuents of the essential oils. This compound is not known to
be hallucinogenic.

I LEONURUSL. (5- 6) LOBELI A L. (250) LOPHOPHORA Coull. (2)

Leonurus sibiricus L. Lobelia tupa L. Lophophora williamsii (Lem.) Coull.

Siberian Motherwort Tabaco del Diablo Peyote
Campanulaceae (Lobeliaceae)
Labiatae;(Mint Family) (Harebell Family) Cactaceae (Cactus Family)
Siberia to East Asia, Central Tropicaland warm zones Mexico, Texas
49 andSouth America 50 51

This herbgrows erect and tall, This beautifu l, red- or red-pur- Two species of Lophophora are green, sometimes even a rather
reachinq over 6ft (2m) often on pie-flowered , 6-9 ft (2-3 m) high recognized: they differmorpho- yellowish green crown with in-
a single stem. It has maxilliform polymorphic Lobelia is well re- logically and chemically. definiteribs and sinuate furrows.
branches and finely serrated, cognizedas toxic in the Andes Both species of Lophophora The flowers are usually much
dark green leaves. The violet of southern Peru and northern are small, spinelessgray-green larger than in L. williamsii. The
flowers appear on the ends of Chile, where it is called Tupa or or bluish green top-shaped chemical constitution is much
each stemand the inflorescence Tabaco del Diablo ("devil's to- plants. The succulent chloro- simpler.
can be long and attractive. bacco"). It flourishes in dry soil, phyll-bearinghead or crown Both species of Lophophora
The Siberian Motherwort is and its stems and roots have a measures up to 3% in. (8cm) in inhabit the driest and stoniest of
mentionedin the ancient Chi- white latex that irritates the skin. diameter and is radially divided desert regions, usually on cal-
nese Shih Ching (the Book of The luxuriant foliage clothes in from 5 to 13 rounded ribs. careous soil. When the crown is
Songs, written approximately nearly the whole length of the Each tuberclebears a small, flat removed , fhe plant will often
1000-500 B. c.), where it is plant with grayish green, elliptic, areole from the top of which grow new crowns andthus
called t'uei. Later it was occa- often minutely hairy leaves 4- arisesa tuft of hairs 3/4 in. (2cm) Peyotes with multipleheads are
sionally praised as a medicinal 9in. (1Q-23cm) long. 1%-3 1/ 4 in. long. Thewhitish or pinkish commonly seen. The hallucino-
plantin old Chinese herbals. (3-8cm) wide. Carmine red or campanulate, usually solitary, genic effects of Peyote are
The dried leaves, harvested purple, theflowers, 1liz in. (4cm) %- 1in. (1.5- 2.5cm) long flow- strong, withkaleidoscopic, richly
from the flowering plant, are in length, are borne densely on a ers are bornein the umbilicate colored visions. The other
smokedas marijuanasubstitute stalk 14in. (36cm) long. The centerof the crown. senses-hearing, feeling,
in Central and South America corolla is decurved, sometimes The Indianscut off the crown taste-can also be affected.
I (1 - 2g per cigarette). recurved with the lobes united at anddry it for ingestion as a hal- There are reportedly twostages
In the plant, 0.1 % of the flavo- the apex. lucinogen. This dry, disklike in the intoxication. At first, a per-
noid glycoside rutin has been Tupa leaves contain the pi- head is known as the Mescal iod of contentment andsensitiv-
ascertained. Of particularinter- peridine alkaloid lobeline, a re- Button or Peyote Button. ity occurs. The second phase
est with regard to the psychoac- spiratory stimulant, as well as Lophophora wi/liamsii is brings greatcalm andmuscular
tive properties was the discov- the diketo- and dihydroxy-deri- usually blue-green with from5 to sluggishness, with a shift in at-
ery of three newditerpenes: vatives lobelamidine and nor-Io- 13 ribs and normally straight tention from external stimuli to
leosibiricine, leosibirine, and the bedamidine. These constituents furrows. It has up to 30 alka- introspection andmeditation.
isomers isoleosibiricine in are not known to possess hallu- loids-primarily Mescaline-as
essential oil. cinogenic prope rties. Neverthe- well as further psychoactive
less, the smoked leaves have a phenylethylamines and isoqui-
psychoactive effect. nolines. L. diffusa has a gray-

Lycoperdon mix/ecorum Heim
Mammillaria spp. Mandragora officinarum L.
Lycoperdonmarginatum Vitt.
Pincushion Cactus Mandrake
Cactaceae (CactusFamily) (Nightshade Family)
(Club Moss Family)
Southwestern North Southern Europe, northern
Temperate zones of Mexico
52 53 America, Central America 54 Africa, western Asia to

Probably no plant hashada stemless perennial herb upto

more fantastic history thanthe 1ft (30cm) high, with a thick,
Mandrake. As a magical plant usually forking root andlarge,
and hallucinogen, its extraordin- stalked, wrinkled, ovate leaves,
ary place in Europeanfolklore marginally entire or toothed and
can nowhere be equaled. measuring upto 11 in. (28cm) in
Knownfor its toxic andreal and length. The whitish green, pur-
presumed medicinal properties, plish, or bluish bell-shaped flow-
Mandrake commanded thefear ers, 1114 in. (3cm) in length, are
andrespect of Europeans borne in clusters among the
throughout the Middle Ages and tufted leaves. Theglobose or
earlier. Its folk uses andattri- ovoid, succulent yellow berry
buteswere inextricably bound has a delightful fragrance.
upwith the Doctrine of Signa- The total content of tropane
tures, because of its anthropo- alkaloidsin the root is 0.4%.
morphic root. The principal alkaloids are
While there aresix species of hyoscyamine and scopolamine,
Mandragora, it is M. officinarum but atropine, cuscohygrine, or
of Europe and the Near East mandragorine is also present.
that has played the most impor-
tant role as a hallucinogen in
magic and witchcraft. It is a

In northern Mexico, among the Among the most important

Tarahumara of Chihuahua, a "false Peyotes" of the Tarahu-
species of Lycoperdon, known mara Indians areseveral spe-
as Kalamoto, is taken bysor- ciesof Mammillaria, all of them
cerers to enable them to ap- round andstout-spined plants.
proach people without being de- N-methyl-3,4-dimethoxy-phe-
tected andto make people sick. nylethylamine hasbeen isolated
In southern Mexico, the Mixtecs from M. heyderii, a species clo-
of Oaxaca employ twospecies selyrelated to M. craigii. Horde-
to induce a condition of half- nine is present in many species.
sleep, during whichit is saidthat Mammillaria craigiiis globose
voices andechoes canbe butapically somewhat flattened
heard. with conical, angled tubercles
Lycoperdon mixtecorum, about V2in. (1 cm) longandaxils
known onlyfrom Oaxaca, is andareoles at first woolly; the
small, attaining a diameter of no central spinesareabout 114 in.
more than1114 in. (3cm). It is (5mm) long. The rose-colored
subglobose, somewhat flat- flowerattains a length of o/s in.
tened, abruptly constricted into (1 .5cm). M. grahamiimay be
a peduncle scarcely Vsin. globose or cylindric, 2% in.
(3mm) long. Theexterior sur- (6cm) in diameter with small tu-
face is densely cobbled-pustuli- bercles andnaked axils; the
form and lighttan in color. The central spines are % in. (2cm)or
interior substance is straw co- less in length. The flowers,
lored. which attain a length of 1in.
The spherical spores, brown- (2.5cm), have violet or purplish
ish tawny with a subtle tingeof segments, sometimes with
violet, measure upto 10fl. This white margins.
terrestrial species grows in light
forestandin pastures.
Psychoactive constituents
have notyet been isolated.

MAQUIRA Aubl. (2) MIMOSA L. (500) MITRAGYNA Korth. (20- 30)

Maquira sclerophylla (Ducke) C. C. Mimosa hostilis (Mart.) Benth. (Mi- Mitragyna speciosa Korthals
Berg mosa tenuit/ora) Kratom
Rape dos Indios Jurema Tree
Moraceae (MulberryFamily) Leguminosae (PeaFamily) Rubiaceae (Madder Family)
Tropical zones of South Mexico and Brazil Southeast Asia (Thailand,
55 America 56 57 northern Malay Peninsula to
Borneo, NewGuinea)

In the Pariana regionof the Bra- In the dry caatingas of eastern Thetropical treeor shrub grows As earlyas the 19th century
zilian Amazon , the Indians for- Brazil, this busy, sparsely spiny in marshy areas. Often it grows the use of Kratom as an opium
merlyprepared a potent halluci- treelet flourishes abundantly. onlyto 6-9 It (3-4 m) high, oc- substitute and a curative for
nogenic snuffthat, although no The spines are basally swollen, casionally to 36-42ft (12- 16m). opiumaddiction was reported.
longerprepared and used, is Vain. (3mm) long. Its finely pin- It hasan erect stem with forked There arenumerous indole al-
known as Rape dos Indios ("In- nateleaves are 1Y4- 1% in. (3- branches that grow obliquely kaloids present in the plant. The
diansnuff"). It is believed to . 5cm) long. The flowers, which upward. The green oval leaves primaryconstituent is mitragy-
have been made from the fruit of occu r in loosely cylindrical (8-12cm) arevery broad and nine, which is apparently easily
an enormous forest tree, Ma- spikes, arewhite and fragrant. become narrower toward the tip, tolerated andshows barely any
quira sclerophylla (known also The legume or pod, about 1- which is pointed. The flowers toxicity even in highdoses.
as Olmedioperebea sclero- 1Y4 in. (2.5- 3cm) long, breaks are deep yellow and hang in
phylla) . into 4-6 sections. An alkaloid globular clusters. The seeds are
Maquira sclerophylla attains a was isolated fromthe root of this winged.
height of 75- 100ft (23-30m). treelet andcalled nigerine. It The dried leaves are smoked,
The latex iswhite. Very thick and was later shown to be identical chewed, or worked into an ex-
heavy, the ovate or oblong- withthe hallucinogenic tract called Kratomor Mambog.
ovate, marginally imolled leaves N,N-dimethyltryptamine. The psychoactive properties
are 8-12in. (2Q-30cm) long, 3- Several species of Mimosa of kratom are paradoxical. Per-
6V2 in. (8-16cm)wide.The male are called Jurema in eastern sonal research, the descriptions
flowering heads are globose, up Brazil. M. hostilis is often known of it in the literature, as well as
to about V2 in. (1cm) in dia- as Jurema Preta ("blackjure- the pharmacological character-
meter; the female inflores- ma"). It is identical to the Mexi- istics of the material have re-
cences are borne in the leaf ax- canTepescohuite (M. tenui- vealed kratom to be simulta-
ils andhave oneor rarely two flora). The related M. verrucosa, neously stimulating like cocaine
flowers . The drupe or fruit, cin- from the bark of which a stupe- and soothing like morphine. The
namon-colored andfragrant, is facient is saidto be derived, is stimulating effects begin within 5
globose, %- 1in. (2-2.5cm) in frequently called Jurema Branca to 10 minutes of chewing the
diameter. The treecontains ("white jurema"). fresh leaves.
cardiac glycosides.

MUCUNA Adans. (120) MYRISTICA Gronov. (1 20) NYMPHAEAL. (50) ONCIDIUMSw. (350)

Mucuna pruriens (L.) DC. Myristica fragrans Houtt. Nymphaea ampla (Salisb.) DC. Oncidiumcebol/eta (Jacq.) Sw.
Cowhage Nutmeg WaterLily Hikuri Orchid
Leguminosae(Pea Family) Myristicaceae (Nutmeg Family) (Water Lily Family) Orchidaceae (Orchid Family)
Tropical andwarm zones of Tropical and warm zonesof Temperate and warm zones : _ Central America, South
58 both hemispheres 59 Europe, Africa, Asia 60 of both hemispheres 61 America, Florida

Mucunapruriens hasnotbeen Nutmeg andmace can, in large There is evidence that Nym- Oncidiumcebol/eta is an epi-
reported asahallucinogen,but doses, induce an intoxication phaea may have been employed phytic orchid thatgrows on
theplant has been chemically characterized byspace andtime asa hallucinogen inboththe Old steep, stone cliffs andtrees in
shown toberich inpsychoactive distortion, a feeling of detach- and New Worlds. The isolation theTarahumara Indian country
constituents (DMT, 5-MeO-DMT). mentfrom reality, andvisual and of the psychoactive apomor- of Mexico. It is employed as a
Thisstout, scandent herb, auditory hallucinations. Fre- phine hasoffered chemical sup- temporary surrogate of Peyote
with acute angulate stems, has quently with unpleasant effects portto this speculation. Nucifer- or Hikuri (Lophophora william-
three-foliolate leaves. The leaf- such as severe headache, dizzi- ineandnornuciferine are also sii). Little is known, however, of
lets, oblong or ovate, areden- ness, nausea, tachycardia, nut- isolated from N. amp/a. its use.
selyhairy on both surfaces. The megintoxication is variable. Nymphaea amp/a hasthickish Thetropical orchid is widely
darkpurple or bluish flowers, %- Myristica fragrans is a hand- dentate leaves, purple beneath, distributed in the New World.
1%in. (2-3cm) long, are borne some tree, unknown in a truly measuring 5 V~11 in. (14- Thepseudo-bulbs appear as lit-
in shorthanging racemes. The wildstate, butwidely cultivated 28cm) across. The beautiful, tle more than a swelling at the
pods, with long, stiff,stinging for nutmeg, from the seed, and showy white flowers, with30- base of thefleshy, erect, round
hairs, measure about 1V~3 V2 in. for mace, from the redarilsur- 190yellow stamens, become 3- leaves, grayish green, often
(4-9cm) long, V2 in. (1 ern) thick. rounding theseed. Thetwo 5%in. (7-13cm) across at ma- spotted with purple. Theflower-
Thetotal indole alkylamine spiceshave different tastes turity. The Egyptian native ingspike, often arching, hasa
content was studied from the because of differingconcentra- N. caeru/ea's oval, peltate green stalk with purplishor pur-
point of view of its hallucino- tionsof components of their leaves, irregularly dentate, ple-brown spots. Theflowers
genic activity. It wasfound that essential oils. Thearomatic measure 5-6 in. (12-15cm) in have brownishyellow sepals
marked behavioral changes oc- fraction of oil of nutmeg is made diameter and aregreen-purple and petals spotted with dark
curred that could be equated up of ninecomponents belong- blotched beneath. The lightblue brownblotches. Thethree-lobed
with hallucinogenic activity. It is ing to the groups terpenes and . flowers, dull white in the center, lip, % in. (2cm) long by 1%in.
possible thatIndian peoples aromatic ethers. The major open three days in the mid- (3cm) across the mid-lobe, is
may have discovered anduti- component-myristicine-is a morning; theymeasure 3-6 in. brightyellow with reddish brown
lized some of these psychoac- terpene, butitsbiological activity (7.5-15cm)across; the petals, marks.
tive properties of M. pruriens. is believed to bethatof an acute-Ianceolate, number 14to Analkaloid has been reported
Thepowdered seeds arecon- irritant. 20, while the stamens number from Oncidium cebol/eta.
sidered aphrodisiac in India. The psychotropic activity is 50 or more.
The seeds contain DMT and are thought to bedueprimarily to
used as an Ayahuasca analog aromatic ethers (myristicine and
today. others).

PACHYCEREUS (A. Berger) (5) PANAEOLUS (Fr.) (2CH30) PANAEOLUS (Fr.) (20-60)
Britt. et Rose Ouslet Ouelet
Pachycereus pecten-aboriginum Panaeo/us cyanescens Berk. et Br. Panaeolus sphinctrinus (Fr.) Ouelet
(Engelm.) Britt. et Rose Blue Meanies Hoop-petticoat
Cactaceae (Cactus Family) Coprinaceae Coprinaceae
Mexico Warmzonesof both Cosmopolitan
62 63 hemispheres 64

A plant of manyuses among the Panaeolus cyanescens is a Oneofthesacred hallucinogenic Theflesh is thin, in color simi-
Indians, this tall, treelike colum- small, fleshy or nearly membra- mushrooms employed in divina- lar to the surface, withscarcely
narcactus, arising from a 6It naceous, campanulate mush- tionandothermagic ceremonies anyodor. Several investigators
(1.8 m) trunk, attains a height of room. The slender stipe is fra- in northeastern Oaxaca, Mexico, have at times argued that
35It (10.5 m).The short spines gile andthe lamellae are among the Mazatec and Chi- P sphinctrinus is notamong the
arecharacteristically graywith variegated, with metuloid co- nantec Indians isthismember of hallucinogenic mushrooms
black tips.The 2-3in. (5-8cm) lored, pointed cystidia onthe thesmallgenus Panaeolus. It is used by shamans in Indian
flowers are purplish in the out- sides. Thespores areblack. The known in Mazatec asT-ha-na- communities of Oaxaca, butthis
ermost petals, white in the inner fruiting bodies take on bluish sa, She-to, andTo-shka, She-to view is contradicted byample
parts. The fruit, globose and flecks withageor afterbruising. means "pasture mushroom" and evidence. Its useby Oaxacan
measuring 2Y2-3 in. (6-8 em) in The islanders of Bali pick To-shka, "intoxicating mush- Indians along withso many
diameter, is densely covered Panaeolus cyanescens from room." Whilenotso important as other mushroom species de-
with yellow wool and longyellow cowandwaterbuffalo dung and theseveral speciesof Psilocybe monstrates thetendency among
bristles. ingest them for celebrations and and Stropharia, P sphinctrinus shamans to usea surprisingly
TheTarahumara, who know artisticinspiration. The mush- is on occasion used bycertain wide range of different mush-
theplant as Cawe and Wicho- room is alsosoldas a hallucino- shamans. Thisand otherspe- rooms, depending on season,
waka, take a drinkmade from gen to strangers as theypass ciesof Panaeolus have beenre- weather variation, andspecific
thejuiceof the young branches through on their travels. portedto containthehallucino- usage. Investigators nowbe-
as a narcotic. It causes dizzi- Although this mushroom is genic alkaloid psilocybine. lieve thatthere maybe more
ness andvisual hallucinations. primarily tropical , the discovery Growing on cowdung in for- species and genera of mush-
Theterm Wichowaka also that it contains psilocybinewas ests, open fields, andalong rooms in useamong Mexican
means "insanity" in the Tarahu- made withmaterialcollected in a roads, P sphinctrinus is a deli- Indian populations than those
mara language. There are a garden in France. Up to 1.2% of cateyellowish brown mushroom now known.
number of purely medicinal uses psilocine and0.6% of psilocy- up to 4in. (1 Ocm) in height. It In European Panaeolus
of thiscactus. Recent studies bine has been found in this has an ovoid-campanulate, ob- sphinctrinus no psilocybine has
have isolated 4-hydroxy- species. tuselypointed, tan-gray cap up been detected. Neither have
3-methoxyphenylethylamine to 1Y4in. (3cm) in diameter. The psychoactive effects been de-
and 4-tetrahydroisoquinoline stipeis dark grayish. The dark termined in human pharmacolo-
alkaloids fromthis plant. brownish black gillsbearblack, gicalexperiments. It is possible
lemon-shaped spores thatvary thatchemically different types
in size; theycan measure 12to exist.
15 by 7.5 to 8.3~.

PANAEOLUS (Fr.) (20- 60) PANCRATI UM L. (15) PANDANUSL. fil. (600) PEGANUM L. (6)
Panaeolus subballealusBerk. et PancraliumIrianlhum Herbert Pandanus sp. Peganumharmala L.
Broome Kwashi Screw Pine Syrian Rue
Dark-rimmed Mottlegill Amaryllidaceae Pandanaceae Zygophyllaceae
Coprinaceae (Amaryllis Family) (Screwpine Family) (Caltrop Family)
Eurasia, North and Central , Tropical and warm zones of Tropical andwarm zones of WesternAsia to northern In-
65 America 66 Africaand Asia 67 Europe, Africa, Asia ~.a.:·. dia; Mongolia,Manchuria

TheDark-rimmed Mottlegill is Manyof the 15 species of this Natives of New Guinea employ TheSyrianRueisanherb native
widelydistributed throughout plantarepotentcardiac poi- the fruit of a species of Panda- to desertareas. It is a bushy
Europe. It growsin dung-ferti- sons; others are emetics; oneis nusfor hallucinogenic purposes, shrub attaininga height of 3ft
lized, grassy earth, inparticular said to cause death by paralysis butlittleis known of this use. (1 m). Theleaves are cut into
inhorse pastures andin con- of thecentral nervous system. Dimethyltryptamine hasbeen narrowly linear segments, and
junctionwith horse manure. The P. trianthum is reputedly oneof isolated andidentified in Panda- the small white flowers occur in
capis %- 2% in. (2-6 cm) wide the most toxic species. nusnuts. Pandanus is a very the axils of branches. Theglo-
and somewhat smooth. This Little isknown oftheuse of large genus of the OldWorld bose, deeply lobed fruitcontains
mushroom spreads rapidly. It is Pancratium trianthum. InDobe, tropics. It is dioecious, treelike, many flat, angled seeds of a
atfirstdamp brown andgrows Botswana, theBushmen report- sometimes climbing , with pro- brown color, bitter taste, and
driertoward the middle, sothat edly value theplant asa halluci- minent f1ying-buttress- or stiltlike narcotic odor. Theplant pos-
theedge often appears markedly nogen, rubbing thesliced bulb roots. Theleaves of some spe- sesses psychoactiveprinciples:
darker. Thered-brown lamellae over cuts made inthescalp. In cies attain a length of 15ft ~ -ca rbo l i n e alkaloids-harmine,
arecurved andeventually be- tropical west Africa, P. trianthum (4.5m)andareused for matting: harmaline, tetrahydroharmine-
come black duetothe spores. seems tobereligiouslyimportant. they are commonly long, stiff, andrelated bases knownto oc-
There is no information The species of Pancratium swordlike, armed with prickles, cur in at least eight families of
passed on about a traditional have tunicated bulbs andlinear hookedforward andbackward. higher plants. These constitu-
use of this mushroom. It is pos- leaves, mostly appearingwith The naked flowers occur in large ents are found in Peganum har-
sible that it was an ingredient in the flowers. Thewhite or green- heads enclosed in spathes. The mala in the seeds.
the mead or beerof the Ger- ish white flowers, borne in an aggregate fruit or syncarpium, is Thehigh esteem that P. her-
mans. Nevertheless, this mush- umbel terminating in an erect, a large, heavy, hard, composite mala enjoys infolk medicine
room hasa symbiotic relation- solid, stout scape, have a ball-like, orconelike mass com- wherever theplantoccursmay
ship with the horse, the sacred funnel-shaped perianth with a prising the union of the angled, indicate a former semisacred
animal of the German godof long tube andnarrow segments. easily detachable carpels. Most use as a hallucinogen in native
ecstasy, Wodan. The stamens, located at the species of Pandanus occur religionandmagic. It has
The fruitingbody contains 0.7% throat of the perianth, are joined along the seacoast orin salt recently been postulated that
psilocybineaswell as0.46 % together at the base into a kind marshes. The fruitsof some P. harmala may have been the
baeocystine, a fair amount ofser- of cup. Theseeds areangled species are used as food in source of Soma or Huoma ofthe
otonine and also 5-hydroxy-tryp- andblack. Southeast Asia. . ancientpeoples of Persia and
tophane, butnopsilocine. Activity In the bulb of P. trianthum the India.
isexperienced with 1.5gdried alkaloids Iycorine andhordenine
mushroom; 2.7g arevisionary. have been detected.

Pelecyphora aselliformis Ehrenb. Pernettya furens (Hook. ex DC.) Petunia violacea Lind!. Peucedanum japonicum Thunb.
Peyotillo Klotzch Shanin Fang-K'uei
HierbaLoca Solanaceae
Cactaceae (Cactus Family) Ericaceae (Heath Family) (Nightshade Family) Umbelliferae (Parsley Family)
Mexico Mexico to the Andes; Gala- Warm zones of North Temperate zones of Europe,
69 70 pagosand Falkland Islands; 71 America, South America 72 southern Africa, Asia

There are suspicions thatthis Numerous reports indicate that A recent report from highland Peucedanum japanicum is a
round cactus maybevalued in Pemettya is intoxicating. The Ecuador hasindicated that a stoutperennial, blue-green herb
Mexico as a "false Peyote."It is fruit of P. furens, the Huedhued species of Petunia is valued as a with-thick roots and shortrhi-
locally known as Peyote and or Hierba Locaof Chile, causes hallucinogen. It is called Shanin zomes. Thesolid, fibrous stems
Peyotillo. mental confusion , madness, in Ecuador. Which group of In- attain a length of 20---40 in. (0.5-
A beautiful cactus, P. asel/i- andeven permanent insanity. dians employs it, whatspecies, 1m). Thethick leaves are8-
farmis is a solitary, gray-green, The effects of the intoxication and howit is prepared for use 24in. (20--B1 cm) long, twice or
tufted, cylindric-conical plant 1- are saidto be similar to those arenot known. It is said to in- thrice ternate withobovate-
2V2 in. (2.5-6.5cm), although caused by Datura. Taglli , or duce a feeling of levitation or of cuneate leaflets 1%-2V2 in. (3-
rarely upto 4in. (10cm) in dia- P. parvifalia, hastoxic fruit cap- soaring through the air, a typical 6cm) long. Theflowers are
meter. The laterally flattened tu- able, when ingested, of inducing characteristic of many kinds of borne in umbellate clusters. The
bercles are spiraled, notar- hallucinations as well as other hallucinogenic intoxications. 10to 20 rays are%- 1% in. (2-
ranged on ribs, and bear very psychic and motoralterations. Mostof the cultivated typesof 3cm) long. The ellipsoid fruit is
small, scalelike, pectinate It has been suggested that Petunia arehybrids derived from minutely hairy, 1V2-2 in. (3.5-
spines. The apical bell-shaped Pemettya was employed by the purple-flowered Petunia via- 5cm) long. Thisplant is com-
flowers measure up to 1% in. aboriginal peoples as a magico- lacea andthe white Petunia ax- mon on sandy places nearsea-
(3cm) in width; the outerseg- religious hallucinogen. iIIaris. These species are native shores.
ments arewhite, the innerred- These two species of Pemet- to southern South America. The rootof Fang-K'uei is em-
violet. tyaare small, sprawling to sub- Phytochemical studies of the ployed medicinally in China as
Recent investigations have erectshrubs with densely leafy horticulturally important genus an eliminative, diuretic, tussic,
indicated the presence of alka- branches. The flowers arewhite Petunia arelacking, but as a so- andsedative. Although thought
loids, mescaline among others. to rose-tinted. The berrylike fruit lanaceous group allied to Nicoii- to be rather deleterious, it may,
When consumed, the cactus is white to purple. ana-the tobaccos-it maywell with prolonged use, have tonic
hasa similar effect to Peyote. contain biologically active effects.
principles. Alkaloidal constituents have
been reported from Peuceda-
num. Coumarin and furocou-
marin arewidespread in the
genus and occur in P. japani-

PHALARIS L. (10) PHRAGMITESAdans. (1) PHYTOLACCA L. (36) PSILOCYBE(Fr.) Ouelet (180)

Phalaris arundinacea L. Phragmites australis (Cav.) Trin.ex Phytolacca acinosa Roxb. Psilocybe cubensis (Earle) Sing.
Red Canary Grass Steud. Pokeberry SanIsidro
Common Reed
Graminaea (Grass Family) Gramineae (Grass Family) Phytolaccaceae Strophariaceae
Cosmopolitan . Cosmopolitan Tropicaland warm zones of Nearlycosmopolitan in the
73 74 75 both hemispheres tropics

This perennial grass hasgrayish The Common Reed,thelargest Phytolacca acinosa is a glab- This mushroom, known in Oax-
green stalksthatgrowto6ft (2m) grass in Central Europe, often rousperennial with robust, acaas Hongo de San Isidro, is
and can besplitlengthwise. The grows in harbors. Ithas a thick, branching green stems upto 3ft an important hallucinogen,
long, broad leaves have rough many-branched rhizome. The (91 cm) in length. The elliptic although it should be noted that
edges.Thepaniclecan take ona stalksare3-9ft (1-3m) high; the leaves average about43,4 in. not all shamans will use it. The
lightgreen or red-violetcolora- leaves have roughedges and (1 2cm) long. Thewhite flowers, Mazatec name is Di-shi-tjo-Ie-
tion. The calyxholdsoneflower. grow upto 16-20in. (4G-50cm) about 3fs in. (1cm)in diameter, rra-ja ("divinemushroom of
The Red Canary Grass was long and V4-% in.(1-2cm)wide. are borne on densely flowered manure").
known already in antiquity. Thus Theverylong panicle, 6-16 in. racemes 4in. (10cm) in length. The mushroom may attain a
far, notraditional use of Phalaris (1 5-40cm)long, has many dark Thepurple-black, berrylikefruit heightof 1%-3in. (4-8cm), very
arundinacea as a psychoactive purpleflowers. It flowersfrom bears small black kidney- rarely upto 5% in. (15cm). The
substance is known. JulytoSeptember. Seeds mature shaped seeds Va in. (3mm) long. cap, usually %- 2in. (2- 5cm) in
Thepsychoactiveconstitu- inwinter,atwhichpoint theleaves A well-known Phytolacca in diameter (rarely larger), is conic-
ents of Phalaris were first no- drop andthepanicle turns white. China, Shang-Iu exists in two campanulate, at first especially
ticed bya phytochemical study TheCommon Reed hadmany forms: onewithwhite flowers papillose, then becoming con-
on grasses done foragricultural uses in ancient Egypt, particu- anda white root andonewith vex to plane. It is golden yellow,
purposes. It is possible that in larly as fibrous material.Tradi- red flowers anda purplish root. pale tan to whitish nearthe mar-
thepast fewyears "cellar sha- tional usefor psychoactive pur- The latter type is consideredto gin; in ageor upon injury, it may
mans" might have been experi- poses hasbeen documented, be highly toxic, although thefor- become cyanaceous. Thestipe
menting with a possible psy- onlyasa fermentedingredient in mer is cultivated as a food. The is hollow, usually thickened at
choactive usefor the grass in a beerlike drink. f1owers- Ch'ang-hau'- are es- the base, white butyellowing or
Ayahuasca analogs andDMT The rootstalkcontainsDMT, teemedfor treating apoplexy. becoming ashy red, and
extracts. 5-MeO-DMT, bufotenine, and Theroot is sopoisonousthat it is strongly lined. Thegillsvary
Theentire grass contains in- gramine. Reports concerning normally used onlyexternally. from whitish to deep gray-violet
dole alkaloids, which are highly psychoactive propertiesarepri- Phytolacca acinosa is highin or purple-brown. Theellipsoid
variable according to theirspe- marily from experiences withan saponines andthe sapof the spores are purple-brown.
cies, tribe, position, andharvest. Ayahuasca analog made from an fresh leaves has been reported Theactive principle in Psi/o-
In most, DMT, MMT, and 5- extract ofthe roots, lemonjuice, to have antiviral properties. . cybe cubensis is psilocybine.
MeO-DMTareto be found. The andtheseeds of Peganumhar-
grass can also contain high mala. Unpleasant sideeffects
concentrations of gramine, an such as nausea, vomiting, and
extremely toxic alkaloid. diarrhea havebeen described.

PSILOCYBE (Fr.) Ouelet (180) PSILOCYBE (Fr.) Ouelet (180) PSILOCYBE (Fr.) Ouelet (180) PSYCHOTRIA L. (1200--1400)

~silocybe cyanescens Wakefield Psilocybe mexicana Heim Psiiocybe semilancea/a (Fr.) Ouelet Psycho/ria viridis Rufzet Pavon
2mend. Kriegelsteiner Teonanacaf Liberty Cap Chacruna
Wavy Cap
Sirophariaceae Strophariaceae Strophariaceae Rubiaceae (Madder Family)
North America, Nearly cosmopolitan Cosmopolitan, Amazonia-from Colombia
77Central Europe 78 79 except Mexico 80 to Bolivia and eastern Brazil

;'1:~{ I
~. t , .l
~' .'
I :
! .
: ! J .

.). .,
Psilocybe cyanescens is rela- Manyspecies of Psilocybe are Psilocybesemilanceata is the The evergreen shrub can grow
tively easyto identify by its wavy employed in southern Mexico as mostcommon andwidespread into a small treewith a woody
brown cap %- 1%in. (2- 4cm) sacred mushrooms, P. mexica- mushroom in the Psilocybe trunk, but usually remains at a
wide. It doesn't liveon dung, but na being one of the most widely genus. The LibertyCap prefers heightof 6-9 ft (2-3 m). Its
on decaying plants, coniferous used. to growin fields with old manure whorled leaves are long and
mulch, and humus-rich earth. In P. mexicana grows at altitudes pilesand on grassy, fertilemea- narrow with a color ranging from
older mushroom guides it is of- of 4,500- 5,500ft (1,375- dows. Its cap, %- 1in. (1- 2.5cm) light green to dark green and a
ten called Hyphalomacyanes- 1,675m), especially in lime- wide, is conical and often shiny top side. The flowers have
cens. It is very closely related to stone regions, isolated or very peaked. It usually feels damp and greenish white petals on long
the species Psilocybe azures- sparsely in moss along trails, in slimy. The"head skin" is easy to stalks. The red fruit js a berry
cens and Psilocybe bohemica, wet meadows and fields, and in peeloff.The smail lameis are ol- that contains numerous small
bothalsovery powerful oak and pine forests. One of the ive to red-brown; the spores are longovalseeds, about 1in.
hallucinogens. smallest of the hallucinogenic dark brown or purple-brown . (4mm) long.
A traditional or shamanic use species, it attains a heightof 1- P. semilanceata contains high The leaves mustbe gathered
of this highlypotent Psilocybe (rarely) 4in. (2.5- 10ern), The concentrations of psilocybine in the morning.They are used
has not yet beendocumented. conic campanulate or frequently (0.97 % up to 1.34%), some psi- either fresh or dried in the pro-
Today, Psilocybe cyanescens hemispherical cap, %- 1V3 in. locine, and less baeocystine duction of Ayahuasca. Today
is used in Central Europe and (1-3cm) in diameter, is a weak (0.33%). This species is one of theyare also usedas an Aya-
North America in neo-pagan strawcolor or greenish straw the most potent Psilocybe huasca analog.
rituals. In addition, cultivated color (sometimes even brownish mushrooms. The leaves contain 0.1-
mushrooms that have a very red) when living, drying to a Toward the end of the Middle 0.61 % DMT, as well as traces of
high concentration of psilocy- greenish tan or deepyellow; it Ages in Spain, P. semilanceata similar alkaloids (MMT, MTHC);
bine are eaten. Visionary doses has brown striations, and the was probably used as a halluci- mostof the leaves contain
are 1g of the dried mushroom, terminal nipple is often reddish. nogenby women who were ac- around0.3 % DMT.
which contains approximately The flesh of the cap turns bluish cusedof being witches. Alleg-
1 % tryptamine (psilocybine, on bruising. The hollowstipe is edlythe nomads of the Alps
psilocine, and baeocystine). yellow to yellowish pink, red- named P. semilanceata the
brown near the base. The "dream mushroom" and tradi-
spores are deep sepia to dark . tionally used it as a psycho-
purple-brown. active substance.Today this
mushroom is ritually taken in
certain circles.

RHYNCHOSIA Lour. (300) SALVIA L. (700) SCELETIUM (1000) SCIRPUS L. (300)

Rhynchasia phasea/aides DC. Sa/via divinarum EpLet Sce/etium tartuasum L. Scirpus atravirens Willd.
Piule Jativa-M. Kougued Bakana
Leguminosae (Pea Family) Labiatae (Mint Family) Aizoaceae (Carpetweed Family) Cyperaceae (Sedge Family)
Tropicalandwarm zones of Oaxaca, Mexico South Africa Cosmopolitan
81 both hemispheres 82 83 84

Thebeautiful red andblack In Oaxaca, Mexico, the Mazatec Over two centuries ago, Dutch One of the most powerful herbs
beans of several species of Indians cultivate Sa/via divinor- explorers reported thatthe Hot- of theTarahumara of Mexico is
Rhynchosia may have been em- umfor the leaves, which are tentots of South Africa chewed apparently a species of Scirpus.
ployed in ancient Mexico as a crushed on a metate, diluted in the root of a plantknown as Tarahumara Indians fear to cul-
hallucinogenic. Paintings of water, anddrunk or chewed Kanna or Channa as a vision-in- tivate Bakana lest they become
these seeds on frescoes dated freshfor their hallucinogenic ducing hallucinogen. Thiscom- insane. Some medicine men
A. D. 300-400 atTepantitla sug- properties in divinatory rituals. mon name is today appliedto carry Bakana to relieve pain.
gestformer use as a sacred The plant, known as Hierba de several species of Sce/etium Thetuberous underground part
plant. la Pastora ("herb of the shep- thathave alkaloids-mesembr- is believed to cure insanity, and
These two species aresimi- herdess") or Hierba de la Virgen ine andmesembrenine-with the whole plant is a protector of
lar-scandent vines withflowers ("herb of the Virgin"), is culti- sedative, cocainelike activities those suffering from mental ills.
in long racemes. Theflowers of vated in plots hidden away in capable of inducing torpor. Theintoxication thatit induces
R. /ongeracemosa areyellow; forests far from homes and Sce/etium expansum is a enables Indians to travel farand
the seeds are mottled lightand roads. shrub upto 12in.(30cm) tallwith wide, talkwith dead ancestors,
darkbrown. R. pyramidalis has Sa/via divinorumis a peren- fleshy, smooth stems andpros- andseebrilliantly colored
greenish flowers andhandsome nial herb3ft (1 m)tall or more, trate, spreading branches. The visions.
half-red, half-black seeds. with ovate leaves up to 6in. lanceolate-oblong entire, Alkaloidshave been reported
Chemical studiesof Rhynch- (15cm)andfinelydentate along smooth, unequal leaves, mea- from Scirpus aswell asfrom the
osia arestill preliminary andin- the margin. Thebluish flowers, suring 1V2 in. (4cm)long, V2 in. related genus Cyperus.
decisive. An alkaloid withcur- borne in panicles upto 16in. (1 em) wide, areofa fresh green The species of Scirpus may
are-like activity has been (41 em) in length, areapproxi- colorandveryglossy. Borne on be annuals or perennials and
reported from onespecies. mately % in. (15mm) long. solitary branches in groups of areusually grasslike herbs with
Early pharmacologicalexperi- It hasbeen suggested thatthe oneto five, thewhite ordullyel- few- to many-flowered spikelets
ments with an extract of R. pha- narcotic Pipiltzintzintli ofthean- lowflowers are1V2-2 in. (4- thatare solitary or in terminal
seoloides produced a kind of cientAztecs was Sa/via divinor- 5em) across. Thefruitis angular. clusters. Thefruitis a three-
semi-narcosis in frogs. um, butat present theplant Both S. expansum and S. tor- angled akene withor without a
seems to beused onlybythe tuosum were formerly Mesem- beak. They grow in many habi-
Mazatecs. Theplant containsthe bryanthemum. tats but seem to prefer wetsoil
potentcompound salvinorin A. or bogs.

SCOPOLIA (3-5) SIDAL. (200) SOLANDRA Sw. (10-12) SOPHORAL. (50)
Jacq. Carr. Link
Scopolia carniolica Jacques Sida acuta Burm. Solandra grandiflora Sw. Sophora secundiflora (Or!.) Lag. ex
Scopolia Axocatzfn Chalice Vine DC.
Solanaceae Solanaceae Mescal Bean
(Nightshade Family) Malvaceae (Mallow Family) (Nightshade Family) Leguminosae (Pea Family)
Alps,CarpathianMountains, Warm zones of bothhemi- Tropical zones of South Southwestern North
85 Caucasus Mountains, 86 spheres 87 America, Mexico 88 America, Mexico
Lithuania, Latvia, and

This herbaceous annual often These two species are herbs or A luxuriant climbing bush with The beautiful red beans of this
grows 1-3ft (3D-80cm) . The shrubs oftenup to 9ft (2.7m) in showy flowers resemblingthose shrub were once used as a hal-
dull green leaves are longish, height, found in hot lowlands. of Brugmansia, So/andra is va- lucinbgen in North America.
pointed, andslightly pileous. Thestiff branches are employed lued for its hallucinogenic pur- Sophora secundiflora seeds
The fleshy rootis tapered. The in making rough brooms. The poses in Mexico. A tea made contain the highly toxic alkaloid
small, bell-shaped flowers are leaves, lanceolate to obovoid from the juiceof the branches of cytisine, belonging pharmacolo-
violetto lightyellow and hang and measuring about 1in. S. brevica/yx andof S. guerrer- gically to thesame group as ni-
down individually from the ra- (2.5em) wide and up to 4 in. ensisis known to have strong cotine. It causes nausea, con-
chisandlooksimilar to the flow- (10em) long, are beaten in intoxicant properties. Mentioned vulsions, and eventually, in high
ers of henbane (Hyoscyamus waterto produce a soothing by Hernandez as Tecomaxochitl doses, death through respira-
a/bus). It flowers April to June. lather for making skin tender. or Hueipatl of the Aztecs, tory failure. Truly hallucinogenic
The fruit developsa capsule The flowers varyfromyellow to S. guerrerensis is used as an in- activityis unknown for cytisine,
with doubled dividing wall and white. toxicantin Guerrero. butit is probable thatthe power-
many small seeds. Sidaacuta and S. rhombifo/ia These twospecies of So/an- ful intoxication causes, through
In Slovenia, Scopolia was are saidto be smoked as a sti- draareshowy, erect, or rather a kind of delirium, conditions
possibly used for the prepara- mulantandsubstitutefor Mari- scandent shrubs with thickellip- thatcan induce a visionary
tion of witches' salves. In East juanaalong the Gulf coastal re- tic leaves up to about 7in. trance.
Prussia, the root was used as a gionsof Mexico. Ephedrine is (18cm) in length and with large, Sophora secundiflora is a
native narcotic, beeradditive, found in the roots of thesespe- cream-colored or yellow, fra- shrub or small treeup to 35ft
andaphrodisiac. Women alleg- ciesof Sida. The dried herb grant, funnel-form flowers, up to (10.5m) in height. The ever-
edlyused it to seduce young smells distinctly likecoumarine. 1O in. (25em) in length and green leaves have 7 to 11 glossy
meninto beingwilling lovers. opening wideat maturity. leaflets. Thefragrant, violet-blue
The whole plantcontains The genus So/andra, as flowers, bornein droopingra-
coumarins (scopoline, scopole- would be expected in viewof its cemes about 4in. (10cm) long,
tine) as well as hallucinogenic close relationship to Datura, measure upto 1% in. (3cm) in
alkaloids (hyoscyamine, contains tropane alkaloids: length. The hard, woody pod,
scopolamine) andchlorogenic hyoscyamine, scopolamine, constricted between each seed,
acid. Today the plant isgrown for nortropine, tropine, cuscohy- bears two to eightbright red
the industrial harvest of grine, andotherbases have beans.
L-hyoscyamine and atropine. been reported.


Tabernaemontana spp. Tabernantheiboga Baill. Tagetes lucida Cay.

Sanango Iboga Yauhtli

Apocynaceae (Dogbane Family) Apocynaceae (Dogbane Family) Compositae (Sunflower Family)

Tropical zonesof both Tropical zones of western Warm zones of the Americas
89 hemispheres 90 Africa 91 rnoslly Mexico

Most species of Tabernaemon- Phytochemical researchhas Tabernantheiboga is a shrub 3- The Huichol of Mexicoinduce
tana arebushy shrubs, climbers, recently been done on the 4%ft (1- 1.5m) tall, found in the visions bysmoking a mixture of
or small trees. Theleaves are genus. Indole alkaloids arethe undergrowthof tropical forests Nicotiana rustica and Tagetes
evergreen, lanceolate, often primary constituent, in some butoften cultivated in native lucida. They frequently drink a
with a leathery top side. The even ibogaine andvoacangine dooryards. The shrub hasco- fermented beer from maize
flowers consist of fivepointed have been ascertained. Forthis pious white, vile-smelling latex. along with thesmoking in order
petals thatmostly grow in clus- reason, this species is of parti- The ovate leaves, usually 3112- "to produce clearer visions."
tersoutof thecalyx. Thetwo cular interest for the discovery 4in. (9-10 cm) long, about Tagetes lucida is occasionally
symmetrical fruits aredivided of newpsychoactive plants. A 1114in. (3cm) wide (butocca- smoked alone.
and marked with fairlyvisible fewof the species (Tabernae- sionally upto 8%by 2%in. or 22 Tagetes lucida is a strongly
veins. Because of this, theyare montana coffeoides Bojer ex by7ern), areyellowish green scented perennial herb upto
easily confused with thetestes DC., Tabernaemontana crassa beneath. Thetiny yellowish, 1112 ft (46cm) tall. Theopposite
ofa mammal. Benth.) have already revealed pinkish, or white- andpink- leaves areovate-Ianceolate,
In theAmazon, the Sanango psychoactive properties and spotted flowers, which grow in toothed, andpunctated with oil
(Tabernaemontana sananho R. uses. groups of 5 to 12, have a era- glands. Theflowering heads are
et P.) is considered a panacea. .teriform corolla (a long, slender produced in dense terminal
The leaves, roots, andthe latex- tubeabruptly flaring at the clusters %in. (1cm) in diameter,
rich bark areused in folk medi- mouth) with twisted lobes ~ in. usually yellow to yellow-orange.
cine.Thetreegrows as tall as (1cm) long. The ovoid, pointed Thisspeciesis nativeto Mexico,
15ft (5m). Theleaves areused yellow-orange fruits occur in where it is veryabundant in the
as a psychoactive additiveto pairs andbecome as large as states of Nayarit andJalisco. No
Ayahuasca. It is used in combi- olives. alkaloidshavebeen isolated
nationwith Virola in the produc- Chemical studies on Taber- from Tagetes, butthe genusis
tionof an orally effectivehalluci- nanthe iboga have shown at richin essential oilsandthio-
nogen. IntheAmazon, Sanango leasta dozen indole alkaloids, phene derivatives; I-inositol,
is also considereda "memory the mostactivebeing ibogaine, saponines, tannins, coumarine
plant." Ayahuasca is enhanced the effects of which , in toxic derivatives, and cyanogenic gly-
with it in order that thevisions doses, lead to extraordinary cosideshave been reported.
can be better recalled. visions; an overdose, to paraly-
sis and death.

Tanaecium nocturnum (Barb.-Rodr.) Tetrapteris methystica R. E. Schult. Trichocereus pachanoi
3ur. et K. Schum. Caapi-pinima Britt. et Rose
Koribo San Pedro Cactus
Bignoniaceae (Bignonia Family) Malpighiaceae (Malpighia Family) Cactaceae (Cactus Family)
Tropical zonesof Central Tropical zonesof South Temperate and warm zones
92 America and South America, 93 America, Mexico, 94 of South America
West Indies West Indies

Tanaeciumnocturnum is a Saponines and tannins have The nomadic Maki) Indians of This cactus is a branched, often
much-branched climber with been found in Tanaecium. The the Rio Tlkie in the northwestern spineless, columnar plant 9-
broadly ellipticleaves 5%in. leaves contain prussic acidand most Amazonas of Brazil pre- 20ft (2.75-6 m) in height. The
(13.5cm) long, 4in. (10cm) cyanoglycosides, which disinte- pare a hallucinogenic drink, a branches , which have 6 to 8 ribs,
wide. Thewhite flowers, 6%in. grate when roasted. sort of Ayahuasca or Caapi, are glaucouswhen young, dark
(16.5 em) long, aretubular, It is uncertain as to whether fromthe bark of Tetrapteris green in age. The pointed buds
borne in five- to eight-flowered the toxin's waste products con- methystica. Reports of the ef- open at night to producevery
racemes3in. (8cm) long, aris- tribute to the psychoactiveeffect fects of the drug would suggest large, 7V2-9% in. (19-24 em),
ing from the stem. The stem, of T. nocturnum. It is not yet that ~ -carbo line alkaloids are funnel-shaped, fragrant flowers
when cut, emits an odorof al- known if there are other active present. with the inner segments white,
mond oil. compounds in the leaves or Tetrapteris methystica (T. mu- the outer segments brownish
The Paumari, who liveon the other parts of the plant. It is cranata) is a scandent bush with red, and long, greenish stamen
Rio Purus, create a ritualsnuff possible that this plant contains black bark. The leaves are char- filaments. The fruit, aswell as
that theycall koribo-nafuni out of substances of unknown chemi- aceous, ovate, 2%-3% in. (6- the scaleson the floral tube,
the leaves. The shamans sniff it cal structure and pharmacologi- 8.5cm) long, 1-2in. (2.5-5cm ) have long black hairs.
when they are dealing with diffi- cal effect. wide, bright green above, ashy Trichocereus pachanoi is rich
cult cases-for example, in or- green beneath. The inflores- in mescaline:2 % of the dried
der to extract a magical object cenceis few-flowered, shorter material or 0.1 2 % of the fresh
out of the body of the sick per- than the leaves. The sepals are material. Other alkaloids have
son. They also sniff it during a thick, hairy without, ovate-Ian- been reported from the plant:
ritualfor protection of children, ceolate, with eight blackoval- 3,4-dimethoxyphenylethyla-
during which theyfall into a shaped glands; the petals, mine, 3-methoxy-tyramine, and
trance. The snuff is used only by spreading, membranaceous, traces of other bases.
the men. This species is saidto yellowwith redor brown in the Trichocereuspachanoi (Echi-
be prized as an aphrodisiac by center, elongate-orbicular, V2 in. nopsis pacha'noi) occurs in the
Indians of the Colombian (1em) long, V16 in. (2mm) wide. central Andesbetween 6,000
Choco. The fruit, or samara, is ovoid, Va and9,OOOft (1,83Q-2,750 m),
by Va by '116 in. (4 by 4 by 2mm), particularly in Ecuador and
with brownish wings about %by northern Peru.
V'6 in. (10 by 2mm).

TURBINA Raf. (10) VIROLAAubl. (60) VOACANGA (10-20)

Turbina corymbosa (L.) Raf. Virola theiodora (Spr.) Warb. Voacanga spp.
Ololiuqui Cumala Tree Voacanga
(Morning GloryFamily) Myristicaceae (Nutmeg Family) Apocynaceae (Dogbane Family)
Tropical zones of the Tropical zones of Central Tropical Africa
95 Americas, mostly Mexico 96 America and South America 97

Theseeds of Turbina corymbo- Classification of genera in Most, if not all, species of Virola The Voacanga genus hasre-
sa, better known as Rivea cor- the Morning Glory family or have a copious red"resin" in the ceived little research. Thespe-
ymbosa, arevalued as oneof Convolvulaceae has always inner bark. The resin from a ciesaresimilar to oneanother.
the major sacred hallucinogens been difficult. This species has number of species is prepared They are multiple-branched,
of numerous Indiangroups in at one time or another been as a hallucinogenic snuffor evergreen shrubs or small trees.
southern Mexico. Theiruse assigned to the genera Convol- small pellets. Theflowers are mostly yellow or
goes back to early periods. vulus, Ipomoea, Legendrea, Probably themostimportant white with five united petals.
Known as Ololiuqui, they were Rivea, and Turbina. Most che- species is Virola theiodora, a There aretwo symmetrical
important in Aztec ceremonies mical and ethnobotanical stu- slender tree25-75ft (7.5-23m) fruits. Latex runs in the bark.
as an intoxicant with reputedly dies have been reported under inheight, native to theforests of Thebarkand seeds of the
analgesic properties. the name Rivea corymbosa, thewestern Amazon basin. The African Voacanga africana
Turbina corymbosa is a large but recent critical evaluation in- cylindrical trunk, 1112 ft (46cm) in Stapf. contain upto 10% indole
woody vinewith heart-shaped dicates that the most appropri- diameter, hasa characteristic alkaloids ofthe iboga type(voa-
leaves 2-3112 in. (5-9 em) long ate binomial is Turbina smooth barkthatis brown camine is theprimary alkaloid,
and1-13/4in. (2 .5-4.5em) wide. corymbosa. mottled withgray patches. The ibogaine) and should be simu-
Thecymes aremany-flowered. leaves (with a tea-like fragrance lating and hallucinogenic. In
Thebell-shaped corollas, 3;4- when dried) areoblong or West Africa thebarkis used asa
1112 in. (2-4 em) long, arewhite broadly ovate, 3Vz--13 in. (9- hunting poison, stimulant, and
withgreenish stripes. Thefruit is 33cm)long, 1Vz--41f2 in. (4- potent aphrodisiac. Supposedly
dry, indehiscent, ellipsoidal with 11 em) wide. Themale inflores- the seeds are used by African
persistent, enlarged sepals, and cences aremany-flowered, magicians in order to produce
bears a single hard, roundish , usually brown- or gold-hairy, visions.
brown, minutely hairy seed shorter thantheleaves; thevery The seeds of the Voacanga
about Va in. (3mm) in diameter. small flowers, borne singly or in grandiflora (Miq.) Rolfe areused
The seeds contain lysergic acid clusters of 2 to 10, arestrongly by magicians in West Africa for
amide, analogous to LSD. pungent. Thefruitis subglobose, visionary purposes. Unfortu-
3fe-% in.(1-2cm) byV4-% in.(.5- nately thedetails arenotyetun-
1.5em); theseed is covered for covered, asthe knowledge of
halfits length bya membranac- the magicians is a closely
eous, orange-red aril. guarded secret.
The resin of the Virola con-
tains DMTand5-MeO-DMT.

Page 61:The Fly Agaric is used for shamanic purposes worldwide. It has
WHO USES even been linked to the ancient Indian Soma.


Notwithstanding the recent upsurge in the use of South America, Ayahuasca reveals the real world,
psychoactive plants in modern Western societies, while daily living is an illusion. Ayahuasca means
the thrust of this book emphasizes almost exclu- "tendril of the soul" in Kechwa and comes from
sively the employment of hallucinogens among the frequent experience that the soul separates
aboriginal peoples who have restricted the use of from the body during the intoxication, commun-
these plants mostly to magic, medical, or religious ing with the ancestors and forces of the spirit
purposes. The outstanding difference between the world. The drinking of Caapi is a return "to the
use of hallucinogens in our culture and their use in maternal womb, to the source and origin of all
preindustrial societies is precisely the difference in things," and participants see "all the tribal divi-
the belief concerning their purpose and origin: all nities, the creation of the universe, the first human
aboriginal societies have considered-and still beings and animals and even the establishment of
do-that these plants are the gifts of the gods, if the social order" (Reichel-Dolmatoff).
not the gods themselves. It is obvious that our cul- It is not always the shaman or medicine man
ture does not view hallucinogenic plants in this who administers these sacred plants. The general
light. population-usually the adult male portion-
There are many examples-and more will be often shares in the use of hallucinogens. Under
discussed in the following pages-of plants that
are sacred and even revered as gods . Soma, the an-
cient god-narcotic of India, may be the most out-
standing example. Most hallucinogens are holy
mediators between man and the supernatural, but
Soma was deified. So holy was Soma that it has

been suggested that even the idea of deity may

have arisen from experiences with its unearthly
effects. The sacred Mexican mushrooms have a
long history that is closely linked to shamanism
and religion. The Aztecs called them Teonanacatl
("divine flesh"), and they were ceremonially in-
gested. Highland Maya cultures in Guatemala
apparently had, more than three thousand years
ago, a sophisticated religion utilizing mushrooms.
Probably the most famous sacred hallucinogen of
the New World, however, is Peyote, which,
among the Huichol of Mexico, is identified with
the deer (their sacred animal) and maize (their
sacred vegetal staff of life). The first Peyote-
collecting expedition was led by Tatewari, the
original shaman, and subsequent annual trips to
collect the plant are holy pilgrimages to Wirikuta,
original paradisiacal home of the ancestors. In

Above: The symbols in Huicholmythology are vividly depicted in their popular posite Tatewari ontheleft, isconnectedwiththeSpirit ofDawn, theorangefigure
sacred art. The beauty of the forms has as a basis the ceremonial use of below. The Sunand Spirit ofDawnare both foundinWirikuta,theSacredLandof
Peyote. Theyarnpainting above, likean Aztec Codex, is a chronicleof the Peyote.Also inWirikuta isKauyumari'snierika andthetempleof ElderBrother
creationof theworld. Thegods emerged from theUnderworld to Mother DeerTail.Thetempleis theblackfield, lower center. DeerTail, with redantlers, is
Earth. Thiswas possible because Kauyumari, Our Elder Brother Deer, found seen withhishuman manifestation above him. Behind Deer Tail isOurMother
the nierika, or portway. The nierika of Kauyumari (top center) unifies the spirit theSea.Acrane brings hera prayer gourdcontaining thewords ofKauyumari.
of all things andallworlds. Through it all lifecame intobeing. Blue Deer (leftcenter) enlivens allsacred offerings.Astream ofenergy goes from
himtoourMotherSea'sprayergourd;healsooffers hisbloodtothegrowingcorn,
Below Kauyumari's nierika, Our Mother Eagle (center) lowers her headto thestaffof lifegerminating belowhim. Above Blue DeeristheFirst Man, who
listento Kauyumari, whosits on a rock, bottom right. Hissacredwords travel inventedcultivation. First Man faces a sacrificed sheep.
downa thread to a prayer bowlandaretransformed into lifeenergy, depicted
as a white blossom. Page 62: This early-sixteenth-century Aztec statue of Xochipilli, theecstatic
Prince of Flowers, was unearthed in Tlamanalco onthe slopes of thevolcano
Above Kauyumari, theSpirit of Rain, a serpent, gives lifeto the gods. Tatewari, Popocatepetl. The stylizedglyphs depict various hallucinogenic plants. Fr~m
firstshaman and Spirit ofFire (top center right), isbending down toward Kauyu- left to right, theglyphsrepresent: mushroom cap; tendril of theMorning Glory;
mari listening to hischant. Bothareconnectedtoa medicine basket (center flowerof Tobacco; flowerof the sacred MorningGlory; bud of Sinicuiche; and,
right),which bindsthemtogetheras shamanicallies. OurFatherSun, seen op- on the pedestal, stylized caps of Psilocybe aztecorum.

these circumstances, however, use is often strictly ance against abortions-even though this reason
controlled by taboos or ceremonial circumscrip- has been forgotten.
tions. In almost all instances, in both the Old and Sometimes hallucinogens are administered to
the New World, the use of hallucinogenic drugs is children. Among the jivaro, Brugmansia may be
restricted to adult males. There are, however, given to boys, who are then admonished by the
striking exceptions. Among the Koryak of Siberia, ancestors during the intoxication. Frequently,
Amanita may be used by both sexes. In southern the first use of a hallucinogen occurs in puberty
Mexico, the sacred mushrooms can be taken by rituals.
both men and women; in fact, the shaman is usual- There is hardly an aboriginal culture without at
ly a woman. Similarly, in the Old World, Iboga least one psychoactive plant: even Tobacco and
may be taken by any adult, male or female. While Coca may, in large doses, be employed for the in-
purely speculative, there may be a basic reason for duction of visions. An example is the smoking of
the exclusion of women from ingesting narcotic Tobacco among the Warao of Venezuela, who use
preparations. Many hallucinogens are possibly it to induce a trancelike state accompanied by
sufficiently toxic to have abortifacient effects. what, for all practical purposes, are visions.
Since women in aboriginal societies are frequently Although the New World has many more spe-
pregnant during most of their childbearing years, cies of plants purposefully employed as hallucino-
the fundamental reason may be purely an insur- gens than does the Old World, both hemispheres
have very limited areas where at least one halluci -
nogen is not known or used. So far as we know,
the Inuit have only one psychoactive plant; the
Polynesian Islanders of the Pacific had Kava-kava
(Piper rnetbysticum), but they seem never to have
had a true hallucinogen in use: Kava-kava is
classed as a hypnotic.
Africa has been poorly studied from the point
of view of drug plants, and may have hallucino-
genic species that have not yet been introduced
to the scientific world. It is, however, possible to
assert that there are few parts of the continent
where at least one such plant is not now utilized
or was not employed at some time in the past.
Asia, a vast continent, has produced relatively
few major hallucinogenic varieties but their use
has been widespread and extremely significant
from a cultural point of view; furthermore, the
"Whether shaman alone, use of them is extremely ancient. Numerous
or shaman and communicants, sources describe the use of hallucinogenic and
or communicants alone other intoxicating plants in ancient Europe. Many
researchers see the roots of culture, shamanism,
imbibe or ingest flex drinks,
and religion in the use of psychoactive or halluci-
Datura infusions, Tobacco, ... nogenic plants.
Peyote cactus, Ololiuqui seeds, mushrooms,
narcotic Mint leaves or Ayahuasca
. . . the ethnographic principle is the same.
These plants contain spirit power. "
- Weston La Barre


Two points stand out in clear relief in cieties and intimately familiar with his Key symbols designating planttypes in
this tabular summary of material set ambient vegetation who has discovered Overviewof Plants Use
forth in greater detail in other sections the hallucinogens and bent them to his
of the book. It is obvious that: (1) the
sources of information are interdisci-
use. The relentless march of civilization
is ever increasing in speed and intensity,

plinary in nature; and (2) there is urgent reaching even the most remote and hid-
need for deeper studies in view of the den peoples. Acculturation inevitably
sparsity or vagueness of knowledge in spells the doom of native lore and leads [I llANAS
so many cases. to the disappearance of knowledge built
That progress in future studies will be up through the ages. It is, therefore, ~ VINES AND TWINERS
made only when they are based on inte- urgent that we step up the tempo of
gration of data . from sundry fields-s- research before this knowledge will for-
anthropology, botany, chemistry, history, ever be entombed with the culture that
gave it birth.
Accurate botanical identification of

the source plant is basic to a sound un-
derstanding of hallucinogens. We do not
always have this knowledge. Ideally,
botanical determination of a product
should be made on the basis of a voucher
specimen: only in this way can -exactness
be ensured. It is sometimes necessary to
base an identification on a common

name or on a description, in which case

there always may exist some doubt as to
its accuracy. It is equally essential that

chemical investigations be founded

upon properly vouchered material. Bril-
liant phytochemical work too often is ~ SHRUBS
worthless simply because grave doubts
about the identity of the original vegetal [!] TREES
material cannot be dispelled.
Similar deficiencies in other aspects
of our knowledge of hallucinogens and [ ; ] AQUATIC PLANTS
their use hamper our understanding.
The full cultural significance of mind-
altering plants may not be appreciated. Left: The English botanist Richard
It is only in very recent years that an- Spruce spent fourteen years in field
thropologists have begun to compre- research in South America during the
1800's. Aninsatiable plant-explorer, he
hend the deep and all-encompassing
mightbecalled the prototype of ethno-
role that hallucinogens play in the his- botanists of tropical America. His
tory, mythology, and philosophy of studies laidthe foundation of research
aboriginal societies . In time as this un- on the hallucinogens YopoandCaapi-
medicine, mythology, pharmacology, derstanding is appreciated, anthropol- research still in progress.
philology, religion, and so ·on-should ogy will advance in its explanation of
be obvious. And wise handling of such a many basic elements of human culture. Page 64:The Simiculture of Colombia
wealth of information calls for patience The material presented in this book is (from 1200to 1600) hasyieldedmany
of necessity concentrated in detail. It enigmatic gold pectoralswithmush-
and breadth of understanding. One of
roomlike representations. Theymay
the first steps in this direction must be may also at times be diffuse. Realizing
imply the existence of a cult usingthese -
presentation of such diverse material in the desirability occasionally of having a intoxicating fungi,species of which
easily assimilated outline form -an end quick means of consultation, we have occurin thearea. Many of thepectorals
that v:e have tried to accomplish in this striven to assemble the essential facts have winglikestructures, possibly
overview. and present them in skeletal form in this signifying magic flight, a frequent char-
It is man living in so-called archaic so- Overview of Plant Use . acteristic of hallucinogenic intoxication.


Agara Galbulimima belgraveana (F. Muell.) Sprague Natives in Papua

Angel's Trumpets Brugmansia arborea (L.) Lagerh .; Brugmansia are employe d in the warmer parts of South
11 Floripo ndio B. aurea Lagerh.; B. x insignis (B arb.-Rod r.) America, especially in the weste rn Amazon, unde r th e
Borrachero Lockwood ex R. E. Schull. ; nam e of Toe.
12 Huac acachu B. sang uinea (R. et P.) Don; Also used by the Map uch e Indians of Chil e, th e Chib-
Hua nto B. suaveolens (H. et B. ex Will d.) ch a of Colombia, and know n to Peruvian Indians as
Maicoa Berch!. et Presl. ; Huacacach u.
Toe B. versico lor Lagerh.;
Tonga B. vulcanicola (A. S. Barclay) R. E. Schu l!.
(see also pages 140-143)

Ayahu asca
Caapi [IJ Banis teriopsis caapi (Sp ruce ex Griseb.) Mo rton;
B. inebrians Morton; B. rusbyana (Ndz.) Mort on ;
Used in the western half of the Ama zon Valley and by
isolated tribe s on th e Pacific slopes of th e Colombian
Yaje Diplopterys cabr erana (Cuat r.) B. Gat es and Ecuadorean Andes .
(see also pag es 124-139)

Badoh Negro Ipomoea violacea L. Oa xaca , so uthern Mexico.
43 Piule Know n to the Az tecs as Tlilil tzin and employed in
T lililtzin the sa me way as Ololiuqui, Ipomoea is ca lled Piule by
(see also pages 170-175) the Chinant ec and Mazatec, and Badoh Negro by the

Bakana Goryphantha compacta (Engelm .) Th e Tarahuma ra Indians of Mexico cons ider G. com-
24 Hiku li Britt . et Rose; G. spp. pacta (W ichuri, also referred to as Bakan a or Bak ana-
Wic huri wa ) a kind of Peyote or Hikuli (see Peyote).

[llil] Scirpu ssp. A speci es of Scirpus is appar ently one of the most
powerful herb s of the Tarahum ara Indians of Mexico.
T he Indian s fear the plant becaus e of po ssible
insan ity.

Blue Water Lily Nymphaea amp la (Solis b.) DC.; Water Lilies enjoy ed an exce ptiona lly prominent plac e in
60 Ninfa N. caerulea Sav. the mythology and ar t of Minoan and dynastic Egypti an
Qu etzal axoch iac atl cu ltures, in India and Ch ina, as well as in the Mayan
world from the Midd le Cla ssica l per iod until the incepti on
of the Mexica n period .
Among Old and New Wor ld simil ar ities is the relation
of N. amp la to the toad, itself assoc iated with hallucino-
ge nic agents, and the relation of the plant to death.

Caapi-Pinima Tetrapteris methystica R. E. Schul.; Caapi-Pinima is employed by the nomadic Makti Indian s
93 Caapi (see Ayahuasca) T. mucronata Cav. of the Rio Tikie in the northwestern Amazon of Brazi l.
They call it Caapi , the sam e as Banisteriopsis. Several
wri ters have mentioned "more than one kind" of Caapi in
the Rio Vaupes area of Brazi l and adjac ent Colombia.

Cawe Pachycereus pec ten-ab originum (Engelm.) Emp loyed by the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico , Wicho-
62 Wichowaka Britt. et Rose waka means "insanity" in the local language.

Ceb il Anade nanthera colubrina (Veil.) Brenan; A. peregrina is used today by tribes of the Ori noco basi n
4 Villca A. colubrina (Veil.) Brenan va r. (Yopo) and was first reported in 1946. No longer used in
Yopo GeM (Gr iseb.) Altschul ; the West Indies .
5 (see also pages 116-119) A. peregrina (L.) Speg .; Ind ians of Argentina (Villca or Huilca) and southern
A. peregrina (L.) Sp eg . var. falca ta (Ben th.) Peru (Cebil) are believed to have empl oyed A. colubrin a
Altsc hul in precolonial times .

Ce bolleta Oncidium cebol/eta (Jacq.) Sw. It is suspected that the Tarahumara of Mexico make use
61 of this orch id.

Chacruna Psychotria viridis Ruiz et Pavon Used for age s in th e Ama zon region as a sign ificant in-
80 Chacruna Bush gredient of Ayahuasca.
Ca hua


Hallucinogenic intoxication The bark and leaves of this tree are boiled with a spe- Although 28 alkaloids have been isolated, a psychoac-
cies of Homalomena to prepare a tea. tive principle has not yet been found.
Visions of men and animals to be killed are experi-

The Indians of Sibundoy use Brugmansia for magico- The drug is usually taken in the form of powdered All species of Brugmansia are chemically similar , with
medicinal purposes, the Mapuche as medicine for seeds added to fermented drinks , or as a tea made of scopolamine as their principal psychoactive constitu-
recalcitrant children. the leaves . ent. Content of lesser alkaloids is also similar.
The Chibcha formerly gave fermented Chicha with A dangerous hallucinogen, Brugmansia brings on an
Brugmansia seeds to wives and slaves of dead chief- intoxication often so violent that physical restraint is
tains to induce a stupor before they were buried alive necessary before the onset of a deep stupor, during
.vith their husbands or masters. which visions are experienced .
Indians in Peru still believe that Brugmansia permits
them to communicate with ancestors and that it can
reveal treasures preserved in graves.

Usually drunk in religious ceremonies. The bark, prepared in cold or boiling water, may be The hallucinogenic activity is primarily due to harmine,
In the famous Tukanoan Yuruparf ceremony in Co- taken alone or with additives-especially the leaves of the major ~-carboline alkaloid in the plants.
lombia-an adolescent initiation ritual for boys. The B. rusbyana (Diplopterys cabrerana) and of Psychotria Effects of taking the bitter and nauseating drink
Jfvaro believe that Ayahuasca makes possible com- viridis-which alter the effects . range from pleasant intoxication with no hangover to
munication with ancestors and that , under its influ- The bark can also be chewed . Recent evidence trorn violent reactions with sickening aftereffects . Usually,
ence, a man's soul may leave the body and wander the northwestern Amazon suggests that the plants are visual hallucinations in color occur. The intoxication
free. also used in the form of a snuff. ends with a deep sleep and dreams .

In southern Mexico , this vine is respected as one of A drink is prepared from about a thimbleful of the The alkaloid content is five times that of Turbina
the principal hallucinogens for use in divination, crushed seeds . corymbosa; accordingly natives use fewer seeds . The
magico-religious, and curing rituals. same alkaloids are found in other Morning Glories but
usage is restricted to Mexico. (See OloliuquL)

Medicinal purposes. The aboveground Teuile ("meat" of the cactus) is eaten Various alkaloids , including phenylethylamines, have
Taken by shamans as a potent medicine and greatly fresh or dried . Eight to twelve cactus "tops" are an been isolated from Coryphantha, a promising genus for
feared and respected by the Indians. adequate dose. future studies .

Scirpus plays an important role in folk medicine The tuberous roots of Scirpus are often collected from Alkaloids have been reported from Scirpus and related
and as a hallucinogen; it must be treated with great faraway places . sedges . The Indians believe that they can travel to dis-
·everence. tant places, talk with their ancestors, and have colored
visions .

There exist numerous interesting parallels between Dried flowers and buds of Nymphaea ampla are The alkaloids apomorphine, nuciferine, and nornuci-
the ritualistic (shamanic) significance of Nymphaea in smoked . The rhizomes are eaten raw or cooked . The ferine , isolated from the rhizomes of N. ampla, may be
the Old and the New Worlds, suggesting that Nym- buds of N. caerula are used to make a tea. responsible for the psychotropic activity.
phaea may have been used as a narcotic, possibly a
N. ampla has recently been reported to be used in
Mexico as a recreational drug with "powerful halluci-
natory effects ."

Hallucinogenic intoxication . A drink is prepared from the bark of T methystica in It has not been possible as yet to carry out chemical
cold water . The infusion is yellowish, unlike the brown- examination of T methystica , but reports of the effects
ish color of the beverage prepared from Banisteriopsis. of the drug would suggest that the same or similar
~-carboline alkaloids are present as in Banisteriopsis.

There are several purely medicinal uses of this A hallucinogenic drink is prepared from the juice of the 4-hydro xy-3-methoxyphenylethylamine and four tetra-
cactus. young branches of P. pecten-aboriginum. hydroisoquinoline alkaloids have been isolated.
It causes dizziness and visual hallucinations .

Now smoked as a hallucinogenic intoxicant by Indians The snuff is prepared from the beans, which are Tryptamine derivatives and ~-carboiines.
n northern Argentina. usually moistened, rolled into a paste, and dried by A twitching of the muscles, slight convulsions , and
toasting . lack of muscular coordination followed by nausea ,
When pulverized to a gray-green powder, it is mixed visual hallucinations, and disturbed sleep. Macropsia .
with an alkaline plant ash or snail shell lime .

Reportedly used as a hallucinogen, 0. cebol/eta is Unknown. An alkaloid has been reported from O. cebol/eta.
employed as a temporary surrogate for Peyote.

This bush has great cultural significance as a DMT- Fresh or dried leaves are mixed with vines or the husk The leaves contain 0.1 % to 0.61 % N,N,-DMT, as well
orovidinq ingredient of the hallucinogen Ayahuasca , of Banisteriopsis caapi and cooked . The preparation is as traces of other alkaloids .
vhlch has central place in the shaman ic tradition of drunk as Ayahuasca (Caapi, Yage).
:he Amazon.


Chiricasp i Brunfelsia chiricas pi Plowm an ; Brunfelsia is know n as Borrachero ('the intoxlcator ") to
13 Chiric -Sa nango B. grandiflora D. Do n; Co lombi an Indians , and as Chiricaspi ("co ld tree") in
Manaka B. grandiflora D. Don subsp . schu ltesii Plowman westernmost Amazo nia (Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru).

Colo rines Erythrina ame ricana Mill.; T he bea ns of various species are frequentl y so ld with
34 Chilicote E. coralloides Moc . et Sesse ex DC.; those of Sophora sec undiflora (Mescal Beans) in
Tzompanquahuitl E. f1abelliformis Kearney Mexico. They are used as amulets or char ms .

Co mmon Reed
[[}[] Phragm ites australis (Cav.) Trinius ex Steudel Used for medicinal purposes since ancient times . Psy-
choact ive use is a recent pheno me non.

Cope landia
Jambur rn Panaeol us cyanesce ns Berk. et Br.;
Cope landia cyanesce ns (Berk . et Br.) Singer
Cultivated on cow and buffa lo du ng in Bali.

Cow hage Mucuna pr uriens (L.) DC. India. Used in Ayur vedic medi ci ne. Th e seeds are used
58 wor ldwide as charms or amulets.

Dama da No ite Cestrum laevigatum Sc hlec ht; Coasta l regions of so uthern Braz il, so uthern Chile .
19 (Lady of the Night) Cestrum parqui L:Herit.

Datura Datura metel L. D. metelis mentioned as a hallu cinogenic piant in ear ly
28 Dutra Sanskrit and Chinese wr itings .
(see also pages 106-11 1) Known as a drug to the Arabia n physician Avicenna in
the eleventh cent ury.
Employed today especially in India, Pakistan, and Af-
ghanistan .
D. ferox, a related Old Wor ld species, plays a minor
role .

Deadly Nig hts hade Atropa belladonna L. Eur ope, Near East.
8 Belladonna Dead ly Nights hade figured as an important ingredient in
(see also pages 86-91) many of the witches' brews of the Middle Ages .
Atropa played a pro minent role in the mythology of
most European peo ples.

EI Nene Coleus blumei Benth.; C. pumilus Blanco Native to th e Philippin e Islands , two spe cies of this plant
21 EI Ahij ado have acq uired sig nificance similar to Salvia in so uthern
EI Mac ho Mexico among the Mazatec Indians.

Epena Virola calophylla Wa rb.; In Braz il, Co lombia, Venez uela and Peru a numb er of
96 Nyakwana V. calophylloidea Ma rkg r.; spec ies of Virola are used, the most importa nt of which
Yakee V. elongata (Spr. ex Bent h.) Warb .; ap pea rs to be V. theiodora.
(see also pages 176-181) V. theiodora (Spr.) Warb. Th e hallucinoge nic snuff has va rious nam es depend-
ing on the locality or tribe, with the most comm only re-
cog nized term s being Parica, Epena, and Nyakwana in
Brazi l, Yakee and Yato in Co lombia.

Ereriba Homalomena sp. Th e nati ves of Papua are report ed to use Homalomena.

Ergot Claviceps purpurea (Fr.) Tulasne It has recentl y been co nvincingly argued that Ergot
20 (see also pages 102-105) played a role in the Eleusinian mysteries of ancien t
When accidentally gro und up with rye flour duri ng the
Middle Ages , Ergot (wh ich grows prima rily as a fungal
disease on rye) poiso ned whole districts with ergot ism .
Th ese ma ss poisoni ngs became known as St. Antho-
ny's fi re.


in Amazonian folk medicine, Brunfelsia plays a major The Kofan of Colombia and Ecuador and the J fvaro of Scopoletine has been found in Brunfelsia, but this
magico-religio us role. Ecuador add Brunfelsia to Yaje, prepa red basically compo und is not known to be psychoactive.
Used as an additive to the hallucinogenic drink Yaje from Banisteriopsis (see Ayahuasca). It heightens the A sensation of chills follows ingestion, an effect that
(see Ayahuasca) . hallucinogenic effects . has given rise to the name Chiricaspi ("cold tree").

The plant may once have been used by the Tarahu- The red beans are often mixed with the similar ones of Some spec ies of Erythrina contai n alkaloids of the er-
mara, who value the beans medicinally. Sophora sec undiflora . ythra n type , producing effects similar to those of curare
or cytisine.

Used today as a DMT-delivering agent for Ayah uasca Twenty to 50 g of roots are boiled with 3 g of seeds from The roots contain the psychedelic or vision- inducing
analogs. Peganum harmala and the preparat ion is co nsum ed as alkaloid N, N-DMT, 5-MEO-D MT, Bufotenin, and the
a drink. toxin gramine .

Used in native festivals in Bali and repo rte dly sold to The mushrooms are eate n fresh or dried. Up to 1.2 % of psilocine and 0.6 % of psilocybine have
foreign visitors as a halluci noge n. been found in C. cyanesce ns, which is the highest
content of these alkaloids found in hallucinogenic

Indian peoples may have utilized the psych oactive Powdered seeds . Sourc e of DMT for Ayahuasca Although Mucuna has not been reported as a halluci-
properties. analogs. nogen, it is rich in psych oactive alkaloids (such as
Mucuna is considered an aphrodisia c in India. DMT) capable of inducing behavioral change s equita-
ble with halluci nogenic activity.

The Map uche of southern Chile smoke Palqui. The leaves are smoked as a substitute for Marijua na. The unripened fruit, leaves, and flowers contain sapo-
nines that are not known to be hallucinogenic.

Used as an aphrodis iac in the East Indies. Powdered seeds added to wine. See Toloache.
Valuable drug. The seeds are added to alcoholic drinks, to Canna -
Ceremonial intoxicatio n and recreatio n. bis cigarettes or tobacco , and occasionally to the betel
chew mixture .

Witches' brews ; the sabbat. The entire plant contains psychoactive cons tituents . The plant conta ins alka loids, capable of inducing hal-
Today, A. belladonna is an important source for lucinations. The main pszochoactive constituent is
medicinal drugs. hyoscyamine, but lesser amounts of scopolamine and
trace amounts of mino r tropane alkaloids are also

Having magico-religious significance, Coleus is used The leaves are chewed fresh or the plants are ground, No hallucinogenic principle has yet been discovered in
as a divinatory plant. then diluted with water for drinking. the 150 know n Coleus species .

Epe na or Nyakwana may be snuffed ceremonially by Some Indians scrape the inner layer of the bark and dry Tryptami ne and ~-ca rboli ne alkaloids, 5-methoxydi-
all adult males, occasio nally even without any ritual the shavings over a fire. When pulverized, powdered met hyltry ptamine and dimethyitrypta mine (DMT),
connection. The medicine men use the drug in diag- leaves of Jus ticia, the ashes of Amasita, the bark of being the main const ituents, are responsible for the
nosis and treatment of illnesses. Elizabetha princeps may be added . hallucinoge nic activity. Effects of the intoxicatio n vary.
The use of Yakee or Parica is restricted to shamans. Other Indians fell the tree, collect the resin, boil it to a They usually include initial excitabil ity, setting in within
paste, sun-dry the paste , crush and sift it. Ashes of sev- severa l minu tes from the first snuffing. Then follows
eral barks and the leaf powder of Justicia may be added . numbness of the limbs , twitching of the facial muscles ,
A further method is to knead the inner shavings of inability to coordi nate muscular activity, nausea, visual
freshly stripped bark and to squeeze out the resin and hallucin atio ns, and finally, a deep, disturbed sleep.
boil it to a paste , which is sun-d ried and prepared into
snuff wit h ashes added.
A group of Maku Indians in the Colomb ian Vaupes
ingest the unprepared resin as it is collected from the
bark .

Plants are used in tradit ional medicine and to crea te The leaves are eaten with the leaves and bark of Gal- Little is known still of the constituents of this genus.
hallucinogenic dreams . bulimima belgraveana (see Agara) . Violent derangement is followed by slumber with
visio ns.

It appears that Ergot has never been utilized pur- Used for psyc hoactive purposes. Taken as a co ld- Ergoline alka loids, mainly derivatives of lysergic acid,
posef ully as a hallucinogen in medieval Europe. water infusion. Dosage is difficult to dete rmine and can are the pharmacologically active constituents of Ergot.
Empl oyed extensively as a med icine by midwives in be dangerous! Ergot alkaloids or derivatives of them are the basis of
cases of difficult childbirth during the Middle Ages, important medicines used today in obstetrics, internal
Ergot induced contractions of involunt ary muscles medicine, and psychiatr y. Th e most potent hallucino-
and was a strong vasoconstrictor. gen, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), is a synthetic
derivative of Ergot.


[tm Cymbopogon densiflorus Stapf Used by medicine men in Tanzania.

Fang-K 'uei Peucedanum japonicum Thunb . China

Fly Agaric
(see also pages 82-85) rn Amanita muscaria (L. ex Fr.) Pers. Finno-Ugrian peop les in eastern and western Siberia.
Severa l groups of Athabaskan peop les of North
America. A. muscaria could very well be the mysterio us
gOd-narcotic Soma of anc ient India, taken by the Aryans
3,500 years ago.

Galanga Kaempferia ga/anga L. There are vague reports that Galanga is emp loyed as a
45 Maraba hallucinogen in New Guinea.

Gen ista Cytisus canariensis (L.) O. Kuntze Although native to the Canary Islands, Genista was in-
26 corporated in abo riginal American societies.
Genista has apparently acquired an important role
among the Yaqui Indians of Mexico.

Gi'-i-Sa-Wa rn Lycoperdon marginatum Vitt.;
L. mixtecorum Heim
In southern Mexico, the Mixtec of Oaxaca employ two
species to induce a condition of half-sleep . There see ms
to be no ceremony connected with the use .
In northern Mexico , amo ng the Tarahumara of Chi-
huahua, a species of Lycoperdon, known as Kalamota ,
is employed.

Henbane Hyoscyamus nigerL.; H. a/bus L. During the Middle Ages , Henbane was an ingredient of
40 (see also t) the witc hes' brews and ointments.
In anc ient Greece and Rome, repo rts of "mag ic
41 drinks" indicate that Henbane frequently served as an
ingredient. It has been suggested that the priestesses ,
Delphi prop hes ied under the influence of Henbane.

Hierba de la Pastora Sa/via divinorum Epl. et Jativa-M. Used by the Mazatec Indians of Mexico as a substitute
82 Hierba de la Virgen for psyc hoactive mus hrooms, S. divinor um ("of the divi-
Pipiltzintzintli ners") is called "herb of the shepherdess:' It is commonl y
believed to be the narcotic Pipiltzintzintli of the Aztec

Hikuli Mulato
33 Hikuli Rosapara [II Epithe /antha micromeris (Engelm.)
Weber ex Britt. et Rose
One of the "false Peyotes" of the Tarahumara Indians of
Chihuahua and the Huichol of northern Mexico.

Hikuli suname
7 Chautle [II Ariocarpus fissuratus Schumann ;
A. retusus Sche idw.
The Tarahumara Indians in northern and central Mexico
assert that A. fissuratus is stronger than Peyote (Lo-
Peyote Cimarron phophora).
Tsuwiri Huic hol lndians of Mexico.

Iboga Tabernanthe iboga Baill. In Gabo n and the Congo, the cult sur roundi ng Iboga
90 (see also pages 112-1 15) provides the natives with the strongest single force
agai nst the missionary spread of Christianity and Islam
in this region .

Jurema Mimosa hostills (Mart.) Benth. ; Valued in eastern Brazil, where severaltribes in Pernam-
56 Ajuca M. verrucosa Benth. = Mimosa tenuiflora buco use the plant in ce remonials; also employed by var-
Tepesco huite (Willd.) Poir. ious now extinct tribes of the same area.

Kanna Mesembryanthemum expansum L.; Over two centuries ago, Dutch explorers reported that
83 M. tortuos um L. = Sce/etium tortuosu m (L.) the Hottentots of Sout h Af rica emp loyed the root of a
N.E.Br. plant known as Channa or Kanna .


Employed to cause dreams in order to foretell the fu- Smo king of the flower s, either alone or with tobacco . It is not known to which compound the alleged halluci-
ture. nog enic activity has to be attributed.

Folk medicine. The root of Fang-K'uei is employed medicinally in Alkaloida l constituents have been reported from Peu-
China . cedanum , but whether or not they are of hallucinogenic
types is not known. Coumarins and furocoumarins are
wide sp read in the genus ; both occur in P. japonicum.

Shaman istic inebriation. One or severa l mush rooms are taken sun-dried or Ibotenic acid , Muscimole, Muscazone.
Religious significance; healing ceremonies. slowly toasted over a fire. They may also be drun k as Euphoria, colored visions, macropsia; on occasion
Religious ceremonies. an extract in water or reindeer milk or with the juice of religious fervor and deep sleep may occu r.
Vaccinium oliginorum or Epilobium angus tifofium. Ri-
tualistic drinking of the urine of intoxicate d individua ls
in Siber ia also occurs.

Hallucinogenic intoxication (?), folk medicine, aphro- The highly arom atic rhizo me is value d locally as a Beyond the high content of essential oil (to which hal-
disiac. cond iment; a tea from the leaves is employed in folk lucinogenic activity might be due) in the rhizom e of this
medi cine. relative of Ginger, little is known of the chemistry.

Ceremonial use in Native Ame rican tribes. The seeds are valued by Yaqui medicine men. Cytisus is rich in the lupine alkaloid cytisine.
Employed espec ially by the medicine men as a hal- Hallu cino genic activity has not been reporte d from
lucinogen in magic ceremonies. cytisine, but it is known to be toxic.

Used as auditory hallucinogen. The fung i are eaten. There is as yet no phytochemical basis to explain the
Taken by sorce rers to enable them to approach psyc hotrop ic effects .
people without being detected and to make people

Witches' brews; magic infusions. The dried herb is smok ed as a cigarette or smoked in a The acti ve principles in this solanaceous genus are
Induces a clairvoyant trance. smo kehou se. Th e seeds are main ly smoked. The tropane alkaloids, especi ally hyoscyamine and scopo-
seeds are used as a substitute for hops in making beer. lamine , the latter being mainly responsible for the
Dosage varies from person to person. hallucinogenic effects .

In Oaxaca, Mexico, the Mazatec Indians cultivate The leaves are chewed fresh or crushed on a metate, Th e main active ingredient, salvinorin A, can bring
S. divinorum for its hallucinogenic properties in divi- then diluted with water and filtered for a drink. about extreme hallucinations when inhaled in amounts
nato ry rituals. of 250 to 500 mcg .
It is appare ntly used when Teonanacatl or Ololiuq ui
seeds are rare.

Medicine men take Hikuli Mulato to make their sight Cactus flesh is eaten fresh or dried . Alka loids and triterpenes have been reported.
clearer and permit them to commun e with sorcerers. It Thi s cactus is report edly able to drive evil people to
is taken by runners as a stimulant and "protector" and insanity and throw them from cliffs.
the Indians believe that it prolongs life.

Valuing it in witchcraft, the Tarahumara believe that Consumed either fresh or crushe d in water. Several phenylethylamine alkaloids have been
thieves are powerless to stea l when this cactus ca lls iso lated .
its soldiers to its aid.
Th e Huichol consider Ariocarpu s to be evil, insisting
that it may ca use permanent insanity.

Iboga is known to be used as a hallucinogen in mag ico- Fresh or dried roots are eaten pure, or added to palm Ibog a conta ins at least a dozen indole alkaloids, ibo-
religious conte xt, especiall y the Bwiti cult, and se rves wine. Roughly 10 g of dried root powder induces a gai ne being the most important. Ibogaine is a strong
to seek inform ation from ancesto rs and the spirit wo rld, psychedelic effect. psyc hic stimulant that in high doses produces also
hence "a coming to terms with death." Moreover, intox- hallucinogenic effects .
ication is practiced in the initiation ceremonies.
The drug also has the reputatio n of a powerfu l
stimula nt and aphrodis iac.

The hallucinogenic use of Mimosa hostilis in ce remo- The root of Mimosa hostilis was the source of a "mira- One active alkaloid identical with the hallucinogenic N,
nies seems to have nearly disappea red today. Em- culous drink," known locally as Ajuca or Vinho de Jure - N-dime thyl-tryptamine has been isolated.
ployed in connection with warfare. mao

Probably once used as a vision-induci ng hallucino- In the hinterlands of South Africa, the roots and leaves Th e co mmon name is today applied to several species
gen . are still smoked. of Sceletium and Mesembryanth emum that have alka-
Appa rently, the leaves are sometimes dried after loids - mesembrine and mesembrenine - with sedative
fermen tation and chewed as an ineb riant. act ivities capa ble of inducing torpor.
Kanna produces a strong intoxication.


Kie lilKieri Solandra brevicalyx StandI.; Ment ioned by Hern andez as Tecoma xochitl or Hueip atl
87- Hueipatl S. guerrerensis Martinez of the Aztec Indians .
Tecom axochitl In the mythology and sy mbolism of the Mexican Hui-
chof and other trib es, seve ral species of Solandra are

[ff] Tanaecium nocturnum (Barb.-Rodr.)
Bur. et K. Schum.
Emp loyed by the Karitiana Indians of the Rio Madeira in
Amaz onian Brazil.

Biak-Bi ak [!] Mitragyna speciosa Korthals In the 19 th centur y, Kratom was know n as an opium
substitute in Thailand and Malaysia.

[!] Pancratium trianthum Herbert Kwas hi is employed by the Bushm en in Dobe,
Botswana .

Arbol de los Brujo s [!J Latua oootttore (Gris eb.) Baill . Formerly used by the Map uche Indian shamans of
Valdivia, Chile.

Libert y Cap
[IJ Psilocybe semilanceata (Fries) Ou elet It is possible that this fungu s has been used for psycho-
active purpo ses in Centr al Europe for about 12,000
years. Earlier, it was used as a hallucino gen by the Alpen
nom ads and has also been used in Europ ean witchcraft .

Lion's Tail Leonitis leonurus (L.) R. Br. Th is herb has been used as a narcoti c in southern Afri ca
48 Wild Dagga since ancient times.
Dach a

Maiden' s Acac ia
[!] Acacia maidenii F. von Muell .;
A. phlebophylla F. von Muell.;
Many Acacia s are used in tradition al medicine. The
psychoactive use of Acaci a, which contain s DMT, is very
A. simplicifolia Druce recent and has been developed especially in Australia
and California .

Malva Colorada Sida acuta Burm .; S. rhombifolia L. Sida acuta and Sida rhombifolia are said to be smoked
86 Chichibe along the Gulf Coast of Mexico.

Mandrake Mandragora otticinarum L. Mandrake has a comp lex history in the Old World .
54 (see also pages 86-91) The root of Mandra ke can be likened to the human
form , hence its magic.

Marijuana Cannab is sativa L.; C. indica Lam . In India, use of Cannabis has had religious significance.
17 Bhang Spec imens nearly 4,000 years old have turned up in an
Charas Egyptian site.
Dagga In ancie nt Thebes, the plant was made into a drink with
Ganja opium-like effects .
Hashish The Scythians , who thre w Hemp seeds and leaves on
Hemp hot stones in steam baths to produce an intoxicating
Kif smoke , grew the plant along the Volga 3,000 years ago.
TaMa Chinese tradition puts the use of the plant back 4,800
(see also pages 92-101) years.
Indian medica l writing, compiled before 1000 B. c., re-
ports therapeutic uses of Cannabis.
The Gree k physic ian Galen wrote, about A. D. 160, that
ge neral use of Cannabis in cakes produced intoxication.
In 13 th-centu ry Asia Minor, organized murderers,
reward ed with Hashish , were known as hashishins, from
which may come the term assassin in Europe an

Mashihiri Justicia pectoralis Jacq. va r. The wa lka and other Indians of the upp erm ost Orinoco
44 stenophylla Leonard and the adjacent parts of north western Brazil cultivate


The Huichol worship and fear Solandra as a god-nar- A tea made from the juice of the branc hes of both spe- The genus Solandra , closely related to Datura, con-
cotic, Kieli, a powerfu l aid in sorcery. Realizing the cies is known to be emp loyed as an intoxicant. tains hyoscyam ine, scopolam ine, nortropine, tropine,
close relatio nship of Solandra, Datura, and Brugman- scopine, cusco hygrine, and other tropa ne alkaloids
sia, the Huichol some times com bine their use: they with strong hallucinogenic effects .
distin guish betwee n Datura inoxia or Kielitsa ("bad
Kieli") and the real Kieli or Solandra .
S. guerre rensis is known to be employed as an
intoxicant in the state of Guerrero.

Folk medicine. A tea is made of the leaves of this liana and those of an Reports from botanical collecto rs of the odor of T. noc-
This species is said to be praised as an aphrodisiac unident ified plant as a remedy for diarrhea. turnum suggest that cyanogenesis occu rs in this spe-
by Indians of the Colombia n Choco. cies. Saponines and tannins have been isolated.

In Southeast Asia, the leaves are chewed or smo ked Fresh leaves are chewed, dried, and smoked, or taken The entire plant cont ains alkaloids, of which Mitragy-
for use as a stimulant or a narcotic. internally as a tea or extract. Th e leaves are sometimes nine is the main active ingredient. Mitragyn ine, which is
used together with Betel. chemically similar to yohim bine and psilocyb ine, is a
very powerful psychoactive substa nce.

Repor tedly used as a hallucinog en and in folk medi- The bulbs are cut in two and rubbed over incisions on Many of the 15 species contain very toxic alkaloids.
cine. the scal p. This custo m most closely approac hes the The toxic state may be accompanied by hallucinogenic
Religious importance assumed in tropical West Africa. Western habit of injecting medic ine. symptoms.

Latue is a virulent poison once used to induce delir- Dosages were a secret closely guarded . The fresh fruit The leaves and fruit contai n 0.15 % hyoscyam ine and
ium, hallucinations, and even permanent insanity. was preferentially employed. 0.08 % of scopolamine, respons ible for hallucinogenic

This mushroom has been used worldwide for its hal- Eaten fresh or dried . Thirty fresh mush rooms or Contains high concentrations of psilocybin, and some
lucinoge nic and vision -inducing qualities . roughly 3g of dried mushrooms is a sufficient psyche - psilocine and baeocys tine (the total alka loid concen-
delic dose . tration is roughly 1 % of the dried mass). This is a
potent hallucinogen.

The Hottentots and bush people smoke the plant as a The dried buds and leaves are smoked either alone or There have been no chemica l studies to date.
narcotic or as a substitute for Cannabis. mixed with tobacco.

Aca cia resin is used in conjunction with Pituri by the Extracts from the husk and leaves of A. maide nii, the Many varieties of Acacia contain the psychedelic sub-
Australia n Aborigines. Today, various varieties of bark of A. simplic ifolia , or the leaves of A. phlebophylla stance, DMT. The bark of A. maidenii conta ins 0.36 %
Acacia are used as DMT source s and also in the pre- are combined with the seeds from Peganum harmala. DMT; the leaves of A. phlebophylla contain 0.3 % DMT.
paration of Ayahuasca analogs for hallucinogenic The bark of A. simplic ifolia can contain up to 3.6 % al-
experie nces. kaloids, of which DMTaccounts for roughly one third.

Employed as a stimula nt and subst itute for Marijuana . Smoking . Ephedr ine, which induces a mild stimulating effect, has
been reported from these species of Sida.

Used as a panacea, Mandrake played an extraordin - Th ere existed vario us preca utions in pullin g the root Tropane alkaloids with hyoscyam ine as the main con-
ary role as a magic plant and halluc inogen in Eur- from the earth because the plant's unearthly shrieks stituent besides scopo lamine, atropine, mandragorine,
opean folklore. An active halluc inoge nic ingredient of co uld drive collectors mad. and others are the psychoacti ve constituents . The total
the witches ' brews, Mandra ke was probably the most content of tropane alkaloids in the root is 0.4 %.
potent admixture.

Cannabis has a long history of use in folk med icine Methods of co nsum ing Cannabis vary. In the New The psychoactive principles-eannabinotic com-
and as a psychoactive substance. World, Ma rijuana (Maconha in Brazil) is smo ked-the pounds-are found in greatest concentration in a resin
It is the source of fiber, an edible fruit, an industrial dried, cru shed flowering tips or leaves are often mixed prod uced most abundantly in the region of the pistillate
oil, a medicine, and an intoxicant. with tobacco or other herbs in cigarettes. Hash ish, the inflorescence. A fresh plant yields mainly cannabidiolic
Use of Cannabis has grown in popularity in the past resin from the female plant, is eaten or smok ed, often acids, precurso rs of the tetrahydrocannabinols and re-
40 years as the plant has sp read to nea rly all parts of in wate r pipes , by millions in Musli m count ries of lated const ituents, such as can nabinol and cannabi-
the globe. Increase in the plant's use as an inebr iant in northern Africa and western Asia . In Afghanistan and diol. The main effects are attributable to b.' - 3,4-trans-
Western countries, espec ially in urban centers , has Pakist an , the resin is commonly smo ked. East Indians tetrahydrocannabinol.
led to major problems and dilemmas for European regUlarly emp loy three preparations : Bhang cons ists of The principal effect is euphor ia. Every1hing from a
and American authorities. There is a shar p division of plants that are gathered green, dried and made into a mild sense of ease to hallucinations, from feelings of
opinion as to whether the widesp read use of Canna- drink with water or milk or into a candy (majun) with exaitat ion and inner joy to depression and anxiety have
bis is a vice that must be stamped out or is an innoc- sugar and spices ; Charas , norm ally smoked or eaten bee n reported. The drug's activities beyond the central
uous habit that shou ld be permitted legally. The sub- with spices , is pure resin ; Ganja , usually smo ked with nervous syst em seem to be seconda ry. They consist of
ject is debate d hotly, usually with limited know ledge . toba cco, consists of resin-rich dried tops from the a rise in pulse rate and blood pressure, tremor, vert igo,
fema le plant. difficulty in muscular coordination, increased tactile
sensitivity, and dilation of the pupils.

Th e natives mix Justicia leaves with the snuff pre- The leaves are dried and pulverized. Tryptamines have been suspec ted from several spe-
pared from Virola (see Epena) to "make the snuff cies of Justicia.
sme ll bett er:'


Matwu Cacalia cordifo lia L. fil. Mexico
14 Huilca

Mescal Bean Sophora sec undiflo ra (Ort.) Lag. ex DC. Use of Mesca l Bea n goes far back into pre history in the
88 Coral Bean Rio G rande basin , whe re they have had ritual uses for at
Co lorines least 9,000 years.
Frijoles The Arapaho and Iowa tribes in the United States
Red Bean were using the beans as early as 1820.
At least a dozen tribes of India ns in northern Mexico
and sou thern Texas practiced a vision-seeking dance.

Nightshad e Scopolia carnio /ica Jacqu es Probably used as an inqredi ent of witches' sa lves and
85 oint me nts ; used in Eastern Europe as a subs titute for
Mandrake; also use d as an intoxicating ing redient in

[]J Bo/etus kumeus Heim; B. manicus Heim;
B. nigrovio/aceus Heim; B. reayi Heim
New Guinea

Nutm eg Myristica fragrans Houtt. Known as "narcotic fruit" in ancient Indian w ritings.
59 Mace Occasio nally used as a surroga te for Hash ish in
Egyp t.
Unknown in classical Greece and Rome, Nutmeg was
introduced to Europe in the first century A. D. by the
Arabs, who employed it as a medicine.
Nutmeg po isoning was common in the Middle Ages,
and during the 19 th century in England and America .

O loliuqu i Turbina corymbosa (L.) Raf . T he seeds of this Morn ing Glory, for m erly known as
95 Bad oh [= Rivea corymbosa] Rivea corym bosa, are valued as one of th e major sacred
Xtabentu m hallucinogens of num e rous Indian groups in so uthern
(see also pages .17Q-175) Me xico. T heir use goes back to early periods, and they
we re important in Aztec ceremonies as an into xicant
and as a magic pot ion with reputedly analgesic
properties .

Paguan do /ochrom a fuchsioides Miers Used by the Indians of the Sibun doy Valley of so uthern
42 Borr ach ero Co lombia and the Karnsa of the so uthern Ande s of
Totu bjan sush Colombia .
Arbol de Cam panill a

Peyote Lophophora diffusa (Croizat) Bravo; Spanish chronicles described use of Peyote by the Az-
51 Hikuli L. williamsii (Lem .) Co ult. tec Indians . Loph oph ora is valued today by the Tara hu-
Mes ca l Button mar a, Hui chol, and other Mexican Indians as well as by
(see also pages 144-1 55 ) memb ers of the Native American Chu rch in th e United
States a nd wes te rn Canada.

Peyotillo Pe/ecyph ora aselliformis Ehrenb. T he re a re suspicions tha t th is rou nd cactus may be
69 valued in Mex ico as a "false Peyote."

Pitallito Echinocereus sa/mdyckian us Scheer ; Th e Tarahum ara Indians of Chihuahua consider both
32 Hikuri E. trig/ochidiatus Eng elm. species as "false Peyotes."

Pituri Duboisia hop woodii F. con Mue ll. Pitu ri leaves have bee n used for at least 40 ,00 0 yea rs in
31 Pituri Bush Au stralian rituals and a re used for both medicinal and
Poison Bush plea sura ble purp ose s.

Piule Rhynchosia /ongeracemosa Mart. et Gal.; Th e redlblack beans of several species of Rhynchosia
81 R. pbeseoloities ; R. pyramidalis (La m .) Urb. may have been emp loyed in ancie nt Mex ico as a
hallucino gen.

Rape dos Ind ios Maquira sc/erophylla (Ducke) C. C. Berg Ind ians of the Pa riana region of the Brazilian Amazon
55 formerly used Maquira, but encroaching civilization has
ended this custom .


Presumed aphrodisiac and cure for sterility. The dried herb is smoked. One alkaloid has been reported.
No evidence of hallucinogenic properties.

Th e arriva l of the Peyote cu lt, ce nte ring on Lopho- A d rink was prepar ed from the red beans of Th e seeds con ta in the highl y toxic alkaloid cy tisine ,
phora, a safe r hall ucinogen, led the natives to aban- S. sec undiflora. whic h pharmacologically belongs to the same group as
don the Red Bean Dance, which had made use of the nicotine . Hallucinogenic act ivity is unknown from cyti -
beans as an oracular, divinatory, and hallucinogenic sine , but the powerful into xication may cause a kind of
me dium. delirium comparab le to a visionary tra nce.
In high doses, respir ato ry failure may lead to deat h.

Used as an aphrodisiac and psychoactive love potion The roots are used as an ingredient in beer. The dried The whole plant contains strong hallucinogenic tro-
in Lit huania and Latv ia. herb can be smoked alone or mixed with other herbs. pan alkaloids, especially hyoscyamine and scopola-
mine. Also co nta ins sc opo letine .

Several species of Boletus are involved in the re- T he dried, ground fru it is eaten. Active principles unknown.
po rted "mushroom madness" of the Kuma .

Th e most notabl e use of Nutmeg is fo und in West ern A t least one teaspoon is use d w hen taken ora lly o r Th e main active ingredient of nutm eg's esse ntial oils is
soc iety, es pecially among pr isoners deprived of other snuffed for narcotic purposes, although usually muc h myristicine; safrol and eugenol are also prese nt.
drugs. more is required to bring on full into xication. Nutmeg is In high doses extremely toxic and dangerous, the
on occasion added to the betel chew. components of Nutmeg oil so upset normal body func-
tions that they evoke a delir ium comparable to halluci-
nati on s, usu ally acc om pa nied by severe headach e,
dizzi ness, nausea, etc.

At the present tim e the small ro und seeds are utilized T he seeds, which must be collected by the person who Ergoline alka loids were found to be the psy choactive
in divination a nd w itc hcraft by China ntec, Mazatec , is to be trea ted , are g round by a virgin on a m etat e, princi ples, lysergic aci d amide and lysergi c acid hydro-
Mixtec, Zapotec , and others and, as has recently wa te r is added, and then the dr ink is filtered. T he xyethy lamide, closely related to the poten t hall ucino-
been stated, "today in almost all villages of Oaxaca pat ient drinks it at night in a quiet, secl uded place. gen LSD, being the most important constituents.
one finds seeds still serving the natives as an ever -
present help in time of trouble:'

According to shamans, the aftereffects are so strong The fresh bar k is rasped from the stem and boiled with Although chemical investigation of this ge nus has not
that the plant is used for divination, prophecy, and di- an equal amount of leaves, usually a handful. The re- been carried out, it belongs to the Nightshade family,
agnosis of disease only when othe r "med icines" are sulting tea , when cooled, is drunk with no admi xture. well recognized for its hallucinogenic effects.
unavailable, or for especially diff icult cases. T he dose is said to be one to three cupfuls of a stro ng The intoxication is not pleasant, havi ng after effects
decoction ove r a three-hou r period . of several days.

Mythological and religious significance; healing cere - T he cactus may be eaten raw, dried , or made into a Con tains up to 30 alkaloids of the phenylethylamine
monies. mash or a tea. and tetrahydroisoquinoline type . T he main consti tuen t
In the Uni ted States, use of Peyote is a vision-quest From 4 to 30 tops are consumed dur ing the responsible for the hallucinogenic activity is trimetho x-
ritua l wit h a combina tion of Christian and Na tive ele- ce remo ny. yphenylethy lamine, nam ed mescaline .
ments and high moral principles. Ha lluci natio ns are characterized by colored visions .

The cactus is used in northern Mexico as Peyote Cac tus flesh is eaten fresh or dried . Recent investigations have indicated the presence of
(Lophophora williamsii) . alkaloids .

Th e Tarah umara sing to Pita llito duri ng collection and Cactus flesh is eaten fresh or dried. A tryptamine derivative has bee n repo rted fro m
say it has "high men tal qualities:' E. triglochidiatus.

Pit uri has been of central importance in Australian The fermented leaves are mixed with alkaline pla nt The leaves contain various psychoactive alkaloids
Aborigi na l society as a substance for social enjoy- ashes and other resins (suc h as Acacia resin) and (piturine , nicoti ne , nornicotine, anabasine , and others) .
ment , a sha ma nic magic drug, and a val ua ble goo d fo r chewed. Th e roots also conta in norn icotine and scopolam ine .
trade. Pituri is chewed fo r its narcotic effects , as a The chewed leaves can act as a narcotic, stimulant, or
stimulant to dreams and vis ions , and simply to be hallucinogen.

Hallu cin ogeni c intox icat ion (?) Th e seeds a re referr ed to by Indians of Oaxaca by the Ch em ical studies of Rhynchosia a re still indecisive. An
sa me name used for the hall ucin ogen ic seeds of a lka loid with curare-like activity has been repor ted
Morning Glory (Turbina corymbosa). from one species. Pharmacological experiments with
R. phaseoloides produced a kind of seminarcosis in
frogs .

The snuff was taken d uring triba l ceremonials. Th e met ho d of pre paration from the d ried fr uit is ap- No che mical studies have been ca rried out on
parently remembered only by the very o ld . M. sclerophylla.


Reed Grass Phalaris arundinacea L. Although Reed Grass was familiar to writers of antiquity,
73 its psychoactive use is very recent.

Saguaro Carn egiea gigantea (Enge lm.) Britt. et Rose South western United States and Mexico. Although there
18 are app arently no ethnological reports of Saguaro as a
hallucinogen , the plant is an important medicine among
the Indians.

Tabernaemont ana [!J Tabernaem ontana coffeoides Bojer ex DC.;
T. crassa Benth am ; T. dicho toma Roxburgh ;
Th ere are many varieties of the genus Tabernaemon-
tana in Africa and South America. Especially in Africa,
T. pandacaqui Poir. some varieties seem to have been used for a long time in
[= Er vatamia p andacaqui (Poir.) Pichon] shaman ic or traditional medicine practices .

San Pedro Ti'ichocereus pachanoi Britt. et Rose Used by the natives of South America , especia lly in the
94 Aguacolla [= Echinopsis pachanof] Andes of Peru, Ecuador, and Bolivia.
(see also pages 166-1 69)

Sc rew Pine Pandanus sp. New Guinea

Shang -Ia Phytolacca acinosa Roxb. Chin a

Shanin Petunia violacea Lind!. A rece nt report from highland Ecuador has indicated
71 Petunia that a species of Petunia is valued as a hallucinogen.

Shansh i Coriaria thymifolia HBK. ex Willd . Peasants in Ecuador.

Siberian Lion 's Tail Leonurus sib iricus L. Th e Siberian Motherwor t has been used medici nally
49 Ma rijuanillo from the very beginning of Chinese medicine. Since the
Siber ian Moth erwort plant was transplanted to the Americas, it has bee n used
as a substitute for Marijuana.

Sinicui chi Heimia salicifolia (HBK) Link et Otto Althou gh all three species of Heimia are important in
36 Mexican folk medicine, mainly H. salicifolia has been
valued for its hallucinogenic properties.

Straw Flower Helichrysum foetidum (L.) Moench; Zulu land, South Africa.
37 H. stenopterum DC.

Sweet Flag
Flag Root [!J Acorus calamus L. Cree Indians of northwest Canada.

Swee t Calomel

Syrian Rue Peganum harmala L. P. harmala is valued today from Asia Minor across to
68 India with extraordinary esteem , suggesting former
religious use as a hallucinogen .

Taglli Pernettya furens (Hook. ex DC.) Klotzch; P. furens is called Hierba Loca in Chile ("maddening
70 Hierba Loca P. parvifolia Bentham plant") , while P. parvifolia is known as Taglli in Ecuador.
Hued hued

Taique Desfontainia spinosa R. et P. Reported as a halluci nogen from Chile (Taique) and
30 Borrach ero southern Colombia (Borrachero = "intoxicant").


In connection with research on the so-called Aya- An extract is made from the leaves. In combination with This grass contai ns many indole alkaloids, especially
huasca analogs , a species of Reed Grass has been Peganum harma/a , it has visionary effects, and can be N,N-DMT,S-MeO-DMT,MMTand [some times] gramine.
discovered that has a high DMT content and can be drunk as a subs titute for Ayah uasc a. DMTand S-MeO -DMT have very strong psych edelic
used psyc hoactive ly. effects, while gra mine is very toxic.

The Seri Indians of Sonora consider Sagua ro effica- The fruit of Carnegiea is valued as food and in wine- The plant contains pharmacologically active alkaloids
cious against rheumatism. making . capable of psychoacti vity. Carn egine, S-hydroxycarne-
gine, aad norcarneg ine, plus trace amounts of 3-meth-
oxytyramine and the new alkaloid arizonine (a tetrahy-
droquinoline base) , have been isolated.

Tabernaemo ntana crassa is used in West Africa as a The seeds of T. dichotoma are used as a hallucinogen . Most varieties co ntain iboga ine-like alkaloids ' (such as
narcotic in trad itional medic ine. T. dichotoma is used Unfortunately, very little is known about this interesti ng voacangine) , which have very strong hallucinogen ic
for its psychoactive effects in India and Sri Lan ka. genus. and Vision-inducing effects.

Hallucinogenic intoxication . Short pieces of the stem are sliced and boiled in water T. pachanoi is rich in mescaline: 2 % of dried material
The use of T. pachanoi appears to be primarily for for several hours . Several other plants, Brugmansia, (or 0.12 % of fresh mate rial).
divinatio n, diagnosis of disease, and to make onese lf Pernettya, and Lycopodium, for example , are some -
owner of another's identity. times added .

A species of Pandanus is said to be used for halluci - It has recently been repo rted that natives of New Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) has been detected in an al-
nogenic purposes, while others are known to be va- Guinea employ the fruit of a species of Pandanus . kaloid extract. Eating substantia l amounts of the nuts is
lued in folk med icine , in magic , and for ceremon ial said to cause an "outbreak of irrational behav ior"
purposes . known as Karuka madness among local people.

Shang-Ia is a well-known medicinal plant in China. It The flowers and roots enter Chinese medic ine: the for- P. acinosa has a high concentration of saponines.
was reportedly used by sorcerers, who valued its hal- mer for treating apople xy, the latter for external use The toxicity and halluci nogenic effects of Shang-Ia
lucinogenic effects. only. are commonly ment ioned in Chinese herbals.

Taken by the Indians of Ecuador to induce a sensation The dried herb is smoked . Phytochemical studies of Petunia are lacking.
of flight. Th e plant is said to induce a feeling of flying .

Recent repor ts suggest that the fruit may purposef ully Th e fruit is eaten . The chemistry is still poorly known.
be eaten to induce intoxication. Levitation or sensatio ns of soaring through the air.

This herb is smoked in Brazil and Chiapas as a sub- The flowe ring herb is dried and smoked alone or mixed Contains alkaloids, flavonglycosides, diterpen es, and
stitute for Cannabis. with oth er plants. One to 2 g of the dried plant is an an essentia l oil. The psycho active effects may be attri-
effective dose . butable to the diterpe nes (Ieosibiricine, leosibirine, and
isoleosibirine) .

Mexican natives report that Sin icuichi possesse s In the Mexican highland s the leaves of H. salicifolia are Alkaloids of the quinolizidine type have been isolated,
supernat ural virtues , but the plant does not app ear to slightly wilted, cru shed in water, and then allowed to among them cryogenine (vertine), to which the psy-
be taken ritually or cere monially. ferment into an intoxicating drink. chotropic activity may be attributed.
Some natives assert that it helps them clearly to Th e beverage induces giddiness, a darkening of the
recall happenings of long agQ--€ven prenatal events. surroundings, shrink age of the world around, and a
pleasant drowsiness. AUditory hallucinations may oc-
cur wit h voices and distor ted sounds that seem to
come from far away.

These herbs are used by native doctors "for inhaling to Th e dried herb is smoked. Coumarins and diterp enes are reported, but no consti-
induce trances :' tuents with hall ucinoge nic properties have been

Antifatigue medi cine; also used against toothache , Chewing of the rootstalk. Th e active principles are a-asa rone and ~-asarone.
headache , and asthma. In large doses, vis ual hallucinations and other ef-
Hallucinogenic intoxicatio n (uncerta in) fects simila r to thos e of LSD may occur.

Syrian Rue has many uses in folk medicine, as well as Th e dried seeds constitute the Indian drug Harmal. The plant possesses undoub ted hallucinogenic princi-
being valued as an aphrodisia c. Often used as ples: ~-carbo li n e alkaloids-harmine, harmaline , tetra-
incense . hydroharmine, and related bases known to occur in at
least eight families of higher plants. The se constituents
are found in the seeds .

Known to be employed as a hallucin ogen, it has been Eating of the fruit. The chemistry of the toxic fruits of both P. furens and
suggested that Pernettya has played a role in magico- p. parvifolia, which ca use mental confusion and even
religious ceremonies in South Americ a-a still unpro - insanity, is not yet elucidated .
ven claim .

Medicine men of the Karnsa tribe drink a tea from the Tea made from the leaves or fruit. Noth ing is as yet known of the chemistry of 0. spinosa.
leaves for the purpose of diagnosing disease or when Visions are experi enced and some of the medicine
they "want to dream ." men assert that they temporarily "go crazy" under its


Takini Helicostylis pedunculata Benoist ; In the Guiana s, Takini is a sacred tree.
38 H. tomentosa (P. et E.) Macbride

Teonanacat l
Hong o de San Isidro
rn Gonocybe siligin eoides Heim ;
Panaeolus sphinctrinus (Fr.) Ouelet;
Psi/ocybe acutissima Heim;
Mushroom worship seems to be rooted in centuries of
native Indian tradition of Middle America .
The Aztec Indians called the sacred mushrooms Teo-
64 She-to P. az tecorum Heim ; P. caerules cens Murr.; nanacatl: the Mazatec and Chinantec in north eastern
To-shka P. caerule scens Murr. var. albida Heim; Oaxaca, Mexico, refer to Panaeolus sphinctrinus as
76 (see also pages 156-1 63) P. caerule scens Murr. var. mazatecorum Heim; T-ha-na-sa, To-shka ("intoxicating mushroom"), and
P. caerulescens Murr. var. nigripes Heim; She -to ("pasture mush rooms"). While in Oaxaca Psi/o-
78 P. caerulescens Murr. var. ombrophi/a Heim ; cybe cubensis is named Hongo de San isidro, in the
P. mexicana Heim; P. mixaeensis Heim; Mazat ec language it is called Di-shi-tjo-Ie-rra-ja ("divine
P. semperviv a Heim et Cailleux; mushr oom of manure").
P. wassonii Heim;
P. yunge nsis Singer; P. zapo tecorum Heim;
Psi/ocybe cubensis Earle

Thorn App le Datura stramonium L. Reportediy emp loyed by the Algonquin and other s.
29 Jims onweed Ingredient of the witches' brews of medieval Europe.
(see also pages 106-1 11) Used in both the Old and New World, the geograp hic
origin of Jimso nweed is uncertai n.

Toloache Datura innoxia Mill.; Known also as D. mete loides, D. innoxia is used in Mex-
27 Toloatzin D. discolor Bernh . ex Tromms .; ico and the American Southwest.
(see also pages 106-111) D. kymatocarpa A. S. Barclay;
D. pr uinosa Greenm.;
D. quercifolia HBK ;
D. reburra A. S. Barc lay;
D. stramonium L.;
D. wrightii Regel.

Tupa Lobelia tupa L. Recognizing L. tupa as toxic, the Mapuche Indians of
50 Tabaco del Diablo Chile value the leaves for their intoxicating properties.
Other Andean Indians take it as an emetic and
purgative .

Turkestan Mint Lago chi/us inebrians Bunge The Tajik, Tatar, Turkoman , and Uzbek tribesman on the
46 dry steppe s of Turkestan have for centuries prepared a
tea made from L. inebrians.

Voacang a Voacanga africana Stapf; In Africa, a number of varieties of the genus Voacanga
97 V. bracteata Stapf ; have been used as hallucinogens, aphrodisiacs, and
V. dregei E. Mey. V. grandiflora (Miq .) Rolfe. medicines.

Hikuli Rosapara [iIJ Mammillaria craigii Lindsay;
M. grahamiiEngelm. ;
The Tarahumara Indians of Mexico value several spe-
cies of Mammillaria among the most important "false
Hikuri M. seni/is (Lodd .) Weber Peyotes ."
Peyote de San Pedro
Mamm illaria

Wood Rose Argyreia nervosa (Burman f.) Bojer The Wood Rose has been used since ancien t times in
6 Hawaiian Wood Rose Ayurv edic medicin e. A traditional use as a hallucino gen
has been discov ered in Nepal.

Yauhtli Tagetes lucida Cav. Tagetes is used by the Huichol of Mexico and valued
91 cerem onially for its hallucinatory effects.

YOn-Shih Gaesalpinia sepiaria Roxb. China; used medi cinally in Tibet and Nepal.
15 [= G. decapetala (Roth) Alston]

Zacatechichi Galea zacatechichi Sch lecht. Seems to be used only by the Chontal lndians of Oaxa-
16 Thle -Pelakano ca, even thou gh it ranges from Mexico to Costa Rica.
Aztec Dream Grass


Little is known of the use. A mildly poisonous intoxicant is prepar ed from the red No specifi c hallucinogenic constituents have been
"sap" of the bar k. identified. Extracts from the inner bark of both specie s
have pha rmacologically been shown to elicit depres-
sant effects sim ilar to thos e produ ced by Marijua na.

Mythological and sacramental use . Personal preference, purpose of use , and seasonal The indolic alkaloids psilocybine and psilocine are the
Employed today in divination and healing ceremo- availability dete rmine the kinds of mushrooms used by main hallucinogenic principles of the sacred mush-
nies. different shamans. P. mexicana, one of the most widely rooms . The conte nt var ies from species to species be-
Contacts with Christ ianity or modern ideas do not used, may perh aps be cons idered the most typical twee n 0.2 and 0.6 % of psilocybine and small amount s
seem to have influenced the deep spirit of reverence sacred mushroom. of psiloc ine in dried mushro om material. The mush-
characteristic of the mushroom ritual. Anywhere from 2 to 30 mushrooms (depend ing on rooms cause both visua l and auditory hallucinations,
It has been suggested that Psilocybe species may the type used) are eaten during a typical ceremony. with the dreamlike state becoming reality.
be employed for hallucinogenic inebriation also by the They may be consumed either fresh or ground and
Yurimagua Indians of Amazonian Peru. made into an infusion.

Initiation rites . The roots of the Thorn Apple may have been used in See Toloache.
Ingredient of the witches' brews. the halluCinogenic.Algonqu in drink wysoccan.

D. innoxia was empl oyed med icinally and as a sacred The Tarahumara add D. innoxia to their maize beer and All species of the genus Datura are chemically simil ar
halluci nogen by the Aztec and other Indians. The Zuni use the roots , seeds , and leaves. with the active principles tropane alkaloids, especially
Indians value the plant as an analges ic and as a Th e Zuni chew the roots and put powder prepared hyoscy amine and scopolamine, the latter being the
poultice to cure wound s and bru ises . Toloache is said from them into the eyes. main comp onent.
to be the exclusi ve property of the rain priests . Valued Among the Yokut Indians , the seeds are said to be
in initiation rituals . taken onl y once during a man's lifetime .

Hallucinogenic intoxication; folk medicine. Sm oking of the leaves and take n inte rnally. Tupa leaves con tain the piperidine alkaloid lobeline , a
respira tory stimulant, as we ll as the diketo- and dihy-
droxy-d erivatives lobelamid ine and nor-Iobelamidine,
which are not known hallucinog enic.

Hallucinog enic intoxication. The leaves are toas ted to produce a tea. Dryin g and The prese nce of a crystalline compound called lago-
sto rage inc reases the aromatic fragrance. Stems , chiline-a diterpene of the grindelia n type-is known.
frui ting tops, and flow ers may be added. This compo und is not known to be hallucinogenic .

The seeds of variou s Voacanga varieties are taken by The seeds or the bark of various Voacanga varieties Many va rieties of Voacanga contain psychoacti ve in-
Afri can magic men to create visual hallu cinations . can be taken. dole alkaloid s, esp eciall y voacangin e and voccamin e,
both of which are chemically related to ibogaine.

Use d as a vis ual hallucinogen. M. craigii is split ope n, sometimes roaste d, and the N-methyl-3, 4-di-methoxyphenylethylamine has been
M. grahamii is taken by shamans in specia l cere- centra l tissue is used. Th e top of the plant , divested of isola ted fro m M. heyderii, a close relative to M. craigii.
moni es. its spines , is the most powerful part ; the fruit and upp er Deep sleep , dur ing which a person is said to travel
part of M. grah amii are said to have similar effects. great distances, and brilliant colors characterize the
intoxicatio n.

In Ayu rved ic medici ne, Wood Rose is used as a to nic The seeds are ground and mixed with wate r. Four to 8 The seeds contain 0.3 % ergot alkaloids (especially
and as an aphrodisiac , and it is also used to increase seeds (approximate ly 2 g) are sufficie nt for a medium chanoclavin -I, also ergine (LSA), ergonovine, and iso-
inte lligence and to slow down the aging process. To- psy choactive dose. lysergi c acid amid e.
day, the seeds are of interest in Western society for
their psychoactive properties.

Used to induce or enhanc e visions. T. lucida is occasionall y sm oked alone but is some- No alkaloids have been isolated from Tagetes, but
times mixed with tob acco (Nicotiana rustica). the gen us is ric h in essential oils and thiophene

If consumed over a long period , the flowers are said to Roots , flowers, and seeds. An unknown alkalo id has been reported .
induce levitation and "communication with the spirits:' The earliest Chinese herbal stated : the "flowers en-
Folk medicine. able one to see spirits and cause one to stagger

Used in folk medicine, espec ially as an aperitif, a feb- Tea is made of the crushed dried leaves and used as a There is an as yet unide ntified alkaloid. Also contains
rifuge, and an astr ingent for treating diarrhea. The hallucinogen. After drinking Zacatechichi, the Indians sesqu iterp ene- Iact one.
Chontal take Zacatechichi to clarify the senses. recline quietly to smoke a cigarette of the dried leaves . Restful and drowsy condition during which the In-
dians say that one's own heart and pulse can be felt.


Of th e nin ety- seven hallucin ogens in empl oyed as one of the principal hallu-
the lexicon, th e most important are dis- cino gens in South America.
cussed in detail in th e ensuing chapters. Archaeolo gy indicates th at the South
Several reasons underlie our selection. American cactus Trichocereus pachanoi
Mos t of th ese plants are or have been has a lon g hist ory, although it has only
so cult ur ally and materially impo rtant recentl y been identified as a principal
in aboriginal societies th at they cannot hallucino gen of the central Andes.
be overlook ed. A few are of special bo- The most significant African halluci-
tanic al or chemical interest. Others are nogen is Iboga, employed in initiation
of great antiquity. Still others have re- rituals and to communicate with ances-
cently been disco vered or identified. tors. Spreadin g tod ay in Gabon and the
An d the use of one has spread thro ugh- Con go, it is a unifyin g culture tr ait de-
out the mod ern wo rld and is now of vi- terring the intrusion of foreign custo ms
tal imp ortance. fro m Western society.
Amanita muscaria (Fly Agaric), one The int oxicatin g drink pr epared fro m
of th e oldest hallucinogens, is employed Banisteriopsis holds a place of cultural
in both hemispheres and is biochemi- primacy throu ghout the western Ama-
cally significant, since its active princi - zo n. Kn own in Peru as Ayahuasca
ple is atypically excreted unrnetabo- ("vine of the soul"), it allow s th e soul to
Iized. leave th e bod y and wande r freely, com-
The use of Peyote (Lophophora wil- muni catin g with the spirit worl d. It s
liam sii), of great ant iquity, has now psychoactive pri nciples are ~ - carboli nes
spr ead from its original Mexican home- and tryptamines. .
land to Texas in th e United States, Three snuffs are of importance in cer-
where it is th e basis of a new Indi an re- tain South Am erican cultures. One, in
ligion . Its main psychoactive alkaloid, the western Amazon, is prepared from
mescaline, is util ized in psychiatry. a resin like liqui d produ ced in the bark
The Greek lecythus is a sacramental
Th e religious use of mushrooms- of several species of Virola. The others, vessel filled with fragrantoils and placed
kn own as Teonanacatl-e-in Mexico and mad e fro m the beans of a species of next to a deathbedorgrave. Onthis
Gu atemala is ancient and was firmly es- A nadena nthera and used in the Orino- lecythus (450-425 B. c.), a crowned
tabli shed amon g the Aztec Indians at the co, adjacent Amazon, and Ar gentina, Triptolemus holds theEleusiniangrain, a
tim e of th e Co nquest. Their psych oac- was forme rly also valued in th e West In- grassprobably infected with Ergot; while
tive cons tituents are nov el structures dies. Both snuffs play significant roles in Demeter or Persephone poursa sacred
not known in any other plants. th e life of many Ind ian groups and are libation, preparedpresumably fromthe
Of similar imp ort ance, and as an- of chemical inte rest, since th eir active infected grain. The twofigures are sepa-
ratedby thestaff of Triptolemus and uni-
cient , are the seeds of several Mo rning principles are tryptamin es.
tedinto onefield bythe grain andpoured
Glor ies. T heir use has persisted until Pituri is th e most imp ort ant psycho- libation.
th e present in southern Mexico. Of active substance in Australia. Cannabis,
great chem o-taxonomic interest, their an ancient Asiatic hallucinogen, is now Page 80: Mandrake (Mandragora offici-
psychoactive constitue nts are found on- used in nearly all parts of th e wo rld. An narum), "the man-like plant," has a
ly in an unrelated group of fung i, con- underst andi ng of its roles in pri mit ive complex history of usage. In Europe, it
tainin g Er got , which may have been societies may help elucidate its popu lar- was employed as a stupefacient in
hallucinogenically imp ortant in ancient ity in Western culture. Some of the fifty additionto being one of the strongest
Greece. chemic al structures found in Cann abis ingredients added to the brewscon-
coctedby witches oftheMiddle Ages.
De adly Nightshade, Henbane, and are medically promising.
Therootof the Mandrakewaslikenedto
Mandrake were the main ingredients of A long chapter could well be wr itt en the form of a man orwoman, andac-
th e witches' bre ws of medieval Europe, about any of the mor e than ninety spe- cording to superstition, if theplantwere
where they long exert ed a great cultural cies which have been enumerated in th e pulled from the earth, its shrieks could
and historical influence. plant lexicon. But in the interest of drivethe collectorsmad. This image of
In both hemispheres, Datura played space, the follow ing have been treated Mandragora was engraved by thewell-
highly significant roles in native cul- in greater detail for th e reasons out- known artist Matthaus Merian in the
tures. The related Brugmansia is still lined. earlyeighteenth century.

Fly Agaric

(The number refers to the"Plant Lexi-

con"; the common namerefers to the
reference chart "Overview of Plant

Page 83 top:Cliff drawing of a shaman Soma, the god -narcotic of ancient India, or no psychoactivity-were sub st itu ted.
in the Altai mountains of Asia. attained an exalted place in magico- Yet the identity of Soma remained one
religious ceremonies of the Aryans, of the en igmas of ethnobotany for tw o
Page 83 right: Fly Agaric (Amanita who 3,500 years ago swept do wn from thousand years. Only in 1968 did th e in-
muscaria) is found around theworldand the north into the Indus Valley, bringing terdisciplinary research of Gordon Was-
is associated nearly everywhere with
with them the cult of Soma . These early son provide persuasive evidence that the
fairy worlds, alternative realities, and
shamanic practices.
invaders of In dia worshipe d the ho ly in - sacred narcotic was a mushroom, Ama-
ebriant an d drank an extract of it in their nita muscaria, the Fly Agaric. Amanita
m ost sacred rites. W hereas most halluci- muscaria may be the oldest of th e hallu-
nogeni c pl ants were considered merely cinogens and perh aps was once the most
as sacred me diato rs, Soma becam e a god w id ely used.
in its own right. An ancie nt Indian tra - The curious hallucinogenic use of
dition recorded in the Rig -Veda asserts Amanita muscaria has been documen-
that "Parjanya, the god of thunder, was ted since 1730. It was then that a Swed -
the fath er of Soma" (Indra). ish military officer, a prisoner of war in
"Enter into the heart of Indra, recept acle Siberia for twel ve years, reported th at
primitive tribesmen there empl oyed the
Fl y Agaric as a shamanistic inebriant .
T he custom persisted amo ng scattered
gro ups of Fin no -Ugrian peopl es of Si-
beria. Tra ditio ns suggest th at other
gro up s in this vast no rthe rn region also
used the mu shroom.
A Koryak legend tells us that the cul-
ture hero, Big Raven, caught a whale
but was unable to put suc h a heavy ani -
mal back int o the sea. The god Vahiyi-
nin (Existence) told him to eat wapaq
spirits to get th e strength th at he
need ed. Vahiyi nin spa t up on th e earth,
and littl e w hite plants-the wapaq spir-
its-appe ared: th ey had red hats and
Vahiyinin's spittle congealed as w hite
flecks . W hen he had eate n w apaq, Big
Raven became excee dingly strong, and
he pleaded: "0 w apaq, grow fo rever on
earth." Whereupon he commanded his
people to learn w hat w apaq coul d teach
th em. Wapaq is the Fly Agaric, a gift di-
rectl y fro m Vahiyinin.
T hese Siberian mu shroom users had
Siberian shamans use elaborate sym- of Soma, like rivers into the oc ean , th ou no other intoxicants, until th e Ru ssians
bolic costumes anddecorated drums in who pl easest M it ra, Varuna, Vaya , introdu ced alco ho l. They dried the
their ceremonies. The left figure is a main stay of heaven! .. . Father of th e mu shroom s in the sun and inges ted
shaman from Krasnojarsk District; at gods, p ro geni to r of the movin g force, th em either alo ne or as an extract in
right, the KamtchatkaDistrict.
mainstay of the sk y, fo undation of the water, reindeer milk, or the juice of sev-
earth." era l sw eet plants. When the mushroom
Of the more than 1,000 hol y hymns in was swallowed as a solid, it was first
the Rig -Veda, 120 are devoted exclu- moistened in the mo uth, or a woman
sively to Soma, and references to th is ve- ro lled it in her mou th into a moistene d
geta l sacrament ru n throu gh many of the p ellet for the men to sw allow. T he
othe r hymns. The cult was suppressed, cere mo nial use of the Fly Agaric de-
and th e original holy plant wa s forgot - velop ed a ritu alist ic p racti ce of urine-
ten ; other plant surrogates-with little drinking, since th ese tri besmen learn ed

th at th e psychoactive pr inciples of the
mu sh room pass thr ough the bod y
unmet aboli zed, or in th e fo rm of still
active metabolites- mo st unusual fo r
hallucinogenic compoun ds in plants.
A n early account, refer rin g to the Ko r-
yak, report ed that "they pour water on
some of th e mu shrooms and boil them.
They th en drink the liquor, w hich intox-
icat es th em; the poorer so rt , w ho cannot
afford to lay in a sto re of th e mu sh -
rooms, pos t th emselves o n th ese occa -
sions round the huts of th e rich and
watch th e opportu nity of the gues ts
co ming down to make wa te r an d then
hold a wooden bow l to receive the urine
w? ich the y.d rink off greedily, as havin~
still some virtu e of th e mu shroom in it
and by this way, the y also get drunk. " ,
T he Rig-Veda defin itely refers to uri ne-
dr inking in the Som a ritu al: "The sw ol-
len men piss the flow ing Soma. The
lords, w ith full bladd ers, piss Soma
qu ick w ith mov eme nt ." The priests im -
personating Indra an d Vayu havins
drunk Soma in milk , urinate Soma. I~
th e Vedic poems, ur ine is not offensive
but is an ennob ling metaphor to describe
rain: th e blessings of rain are liken ed to
sho wers of u rine, and th e clouds fert ilize
the earth with their uri ne.
A tra veler amo ng th e Kory ak in the
early twentieth century offe red one of
the few descr iptions of intoxication in
aboriginal use of the mus hr oom. He
wr~te tha t the "Fly Aga ric pro duces in-
to xicatio n, hallu cinati on s, and delir ium .
Light fo rms of intoxic atio n are acco m-
pa nied bv a cert ain dezree of animatio n
. "
and so me spontanei ty of mo ve me nt s.
Many shamans, previous to their se-
anc es, eat Fly Agaric to get into ecstatic
sta tes . . . Under stro ng int oxication, the
The Chemistry of Fly Agaric
senses beco me deranged, su rround inz
objects appear either very larg e or ver;
The active principle of Ama nita muscaria was thought once, a century ago, to
sma ll, hallucina tio ns set in, sp ontaneous
have been muscarine when Schmiedeberg and Koppe isolat ed this sub-
movements and convulsions . So far as I
stance. This belief has been proved erroneous. Recently Eugster in Switzer-
could observe, att acks of zrea t anima-
. ~ Ite rna te with moments" of deep de- land and Takemoto in Japan isolated ibotenic acid and the alkaloid muscimole
as being responsible for the Fly Agaric's psyc hotropic effects . The mushroom
preSSIOn. T he perso n intoxicat ed by Fly
is take n usually dried. The drying process induces the chemical transforma-
Agaric sits quietly rocking fro m side to
tion of ibotenic acid to muscimole, the most active constituent.
side, even taking part in conver sations
with his family. Suddenly, his eyes dilate,
he begins to gesticula te con vu lsively,

Right: TheFly Agaricis often and falsely
fearedas beinga poisonous mush-
room; nevertheless, it is gladlyused for

Aboveleft: Tobringgood luck into the converses with persons whom he imagi- region of the Bering Strait. Anthropol-
coming year, fireworks in theshape of nes he sees, sings and dances. Then an ogists have found many Asia-related or
FlyAgaric aresetoffon New Year's Eve. interval of rest sets in again." remnant culture tra its that persist in th e
Th e Fly Agaric was apparently em- Am ericas. Recent discoveries have un-
Aboveright: The results of smoking Fly
ployed hallucinogenically in Meso a- covered vestiges of the magico-reli-
Agaric aredepicted in theGerman chil-
dren's book Meeki andtheDwarves.
merica. It occurs naturally in highland gious importance of the Fly Agaric th at
areas in southern Mexico and Guatema- have indeed survi ved in North Am eri-
Be/ow right: It is possible that FlyAgaric la. The Maya of highland Guatemala, can cultures. Indications of undoubted
is identical to the Vedic wonder-drug for example, reco gnize Amanita rnus-
Soma. Today Ephedra (Ephedra ger- caria as havin g special properties, for
ardiana) is called soma/ata, "soma th ey call it Kakulj a-ik ox ("lightning
plant." In Nepal Ephedra is not halluci- mushroom "), relatin g it to on e of the
nogenic or psychedelic butis a very gods, Rajaw Kakulj a or Lord of Light-
strong stimulant.
nin g. It is this god who directs the oper-
ating of chacs, dw arf rain-bringers now
usu ally kno wn by their Christian desig-
nation, angelitos. The Quiche name of
th e Amanita muscaria, Kaqulja, refers
to its legendary orig in, whereas the term
Itz elo-cox refers to its sacred power as
"evil or diabolical mushroom. " Thun-
der and lightning have widely and
anciently been associated with mu sh-
rooms, in both hemisph eres, especially
with A man ita mus caria. "In any event,
th e Quiche-Maya .. . are evidently well
aware the Amanita m uscaria is no
ordinary mushroom but relates to the
The first sett lers of th e Americas
came fro m Asia, slow ly crossing th e

Left: A Kamtchatka shaman implores
the Fly Agaric, her ritualsubstance. to
assist her in traveling to other realms.

hallucinogenic use of the Fly Agaric to him, " he had snatched me. I had no Above right:The Spirit of the Fly Agaric
have been discovered amo ng th e Do- volition, I had no power of my own . I in Japan is the long-nosed, red-faced
Tengu. Whoevereats Beni-Tengu-Dake
grib Athabascan peo ples, w ho live o n did n't eat, didn't sleep, I didn't think-
(Red Tengu mushroom) will encounter
th e Mackenzie Mo unta in ran ge in I was n' t in my body any long er." Afte r
the lively entity.
northw estern C anada. Here Amanita a later seance, he wrote: "Cleansed and
mu scaria is employed as a sacrament in ripe for vision, I rise, a bursting ball of Below left:The myth of Soma still lives
shama nism. A young neophyte repor- seeds in spa ce .. . I have sung the not e on. Here it is the name of a bar in a
ted that w hatever the sha man had done tha t shatters structure. An d the note luxury hotel in Delhi.
that shatte rs chaos, and been bloody
. .. I have been with the dead and at-
':' ..
. . "-"-~ -~'. .·:i .
tem pted the labyr inth." His first mu sh-
.. ~: ~~. ~ room experience rep resented dismem-
~ .. .. - be:~ent; his second, meet ing with the
sp mt.
Ni?1~r.t"!!!lIl!Rll::=-. I Mo re recen tly, the religio us use of
11 Amanita m uscaria as a sacred hallucino-
, gen has been discov ered in an ancient an-
nual ceremony practiced by the O jibwa
I Indians or Ahnishinaubeg who live on
Lake Supe rior in M ichigan. T he mush-
I room is known in the O jibw a language
'~ ---" " "~1 as Oshtimisk Wajashkwe do ("Red-top
-~- :j

Deadly Nightshade
40 Yellow Henbane
41 Black Henbane


Above left:Theyellow blossom of the Since antiquity several members of th e lowed by narcosis in which hallucina-
rarevariety of Atropa belladonna var. N ightshade fami ly have been asso - tions occur during the transition state
lutea. Theyellow Deadly Nightshade ciat ed with witchcraft in Europe. These between consciousness and sleep.
is regarded as particularly potentfor pl ants enable w itches to perform feats Atropine has served chemists as a
magic andwitchcraft.
of occult wonder and prophecy, to hex model for the synthesis of several hallu-
.Above right: The bell-shaped flowers of
through hallucinogenic communication cinogenic compounds. T heir effects-
theDeadly Nightshade clearly showits with the supernatural and transp ort and those of scopolamine-differ from
membership in theNightshade family. themselves to far-off places for the those of the usual natural hallucinogens:
practice of their nefarious skills. These they are extremely to xic; and the user
Page 87 above left: Theflowers of the in ebriating plants were mainly Hen- remembers nothing experienced during
Mandrake (Mandragora officinarum) bane, H yoscyamus albus and H . niger; the intoxication, losing all sense of rea-
are rarely seen, as theybloom very Belladonna, Atropa belladonna; and lity and falling into a deep sleep like an
briefly andthenquickly vanish. Mandrake, Mandrag ora officinarum. alcoholic deliriu m.
All four species have long histories of H yoscyam us has been known and
Page 87 aboveright: Theflowers of the
Black Henbane (Hyoscyamus niger)
use as hallucinogens and ma gic pl ants feared from earliest classical periods ,
have a characteristiccoloring andan connected with sorcery, w itch craft, w hen it was recognized that there were
unforgettable pattern onthe petals. In and supersti tion. T he extraordinary 're- several kinds and that the black variety
earlier times, it wasthoughtto be the putation of these plants is due primar- was the most potent, capable of causing
eye of the devil. ily to the bizarre ps ychoactivity that insanity. The ancient Egyptians recor-
they possess. Their similarity in effects ded their kn owledge of H enb ane in the
is th~ re~ult of similarity in chemical Ebers Papyrus, written in 1500 B. c .
constitution, Homer described ma gic dr inks w ith ef-
T hese four solanaceous plants contain fects indicative of Henbane as a majo r
relatively high concentrations of tropane ingredient. In ancient Greece it served
alk aloids, primarily atropine, hyoscya- as a poison, to mimic insanity, and to
mine, and scopolamine; other base s are enable man to prophesy. It has been
found in trace amounts. It is apparently su ggested that the priestesses at the
scopolamine, not atropine or hyoscya- Oracle of Delphi made their prophetic
mine, that produces th e hallucinogenic utterances while intoxicat ed with the
effects . It induces an intoxic ati on fol- sm oke fr om Henbane seeds. In the

thirteent h cent ury, Bishop Albe rtus th e The Chemistry of Deadly Nightshade, Henbane, and Mandrake
Great reported that Henbane was em-
pl oyed by necromancers to conjure up Th e three solanaceous plants Atropa, Hyosc yamus, and Mandragora contain
demons. the same active principles: primarily the alkaloids hyoscyam ine, atropine, and
F ro m earliest times, the pai nki lling scopolamine . The difference is only one of relative concentration. Belladon na
properties of Henbane have been recog- contai ns little scopo lami ne, but this alkaloid is the main component of Man-
nized, and it has been employed to re- drake and especially of Henbane.
lieve the suffering of th ose sente nced to The alkaloid s are found in the entire plant, with the highest concentration in
torture and death. Its gr eat advantage the seeds and roots. The hallucinogenic effects are due essent ially to scopo-
lies in its ability not only to allay pain lamine . Atropine and hyosyam ine are less active under the se circumstances .
but also to induc e a state of co mp lete
obli vion .
Henbane is best known as an ingred i-
ent of th e so-called "witch's salve."
W hen you ng peop le we re to be in-
ducted into mem ber sh ip in groups dedi- Left: Accordingto this illustration from
cated to witchcraft, for example, th ey the Juliana Codex. the Greek herbalist
were often given a dr ink of H enbane so Dioscorides received the Mandrake
that th ey could easily be per suaded to plant from Hsuresis, goddess of discov-
eng age in th e sabbat rituals preparato ry ery.illustratingthe belief that thismedi-
to the accep tance offic ially of a place in cine wasa plant of the gods.
wi tchcraft circles.
Those experiencing intoxication w ith
H enb ane feel a pressure in th e head, a
sen satio n as if someone we re closin g th e
eye lids by for ce; sight becomes u nclear,
obj ects are d isto rted in shape, and the
most unusu al visual hallu cination s are
indu ced. G ustato rv and olfactorv hal-
lucin at ions frequent ly accom pany the

"The Mandrake is the ' Tr ee of Knowledge '
and the burning love ignited by its pleasure
is the origin of the human race."
-Hugo Rahner
Greek Myths in Christian Meaning (1957)

Above: Theancient goddess of witches, intoxication. Eventually sleep, disturbed Fate Atropos, the inflexible one who
Hecate, lordsoverthepsychoactive and by dreams and hallucinations, ends the cuts the thread of life. The specific
magical herbs, particularlythose in the inebriation. epithet, meaning "beautiful lady," re-
Nightshade family. In this coloredprint Other species of H yoscyam us have si- calls th e use of sap of the plant to dilate
by William Blake, sheis depicted with
milar properties and are occasionally the pupils of the eyes among the fin e la-
hershamanic animals.
used in similar w ays. Indian Henbane dies of Ital y who believed that the drea -
Page 89 belowright: The design for the or Egyptian Henbane, or H. m uticus, my, intoxicated stare thus produced was
coverof a book about medicinalplants occurri ng from th e deserts of E gypt east th e height of fetching beauty. Many ver-
depictstheanthropomorphic Mandrake. to Afghanistan and India, is employed nacular nam es of the plant refer to its
in India as an intoxicant, the dried leaves intoxicatin g properties: Sorcerer's Cher-
being smoked. The Bedouins particu- ry, Witch's Berry, De vil's H erb, Mur-
larly employ this intoxicant to become derer's Berry, D w aleberry (dwale in
drunk, and in some parts of Asia and English deri vin g fro m th e Scand inavian
Africa it is smoked with Cannabis as an root meaning "trance").
inebriant. The maenads of the orgies of Di on y-
Belladonna or D eadly Night shad e is sus in Greek mythology dilated th eir
native to Europ e but is now spo nta- eyes and th rew themselves into th e arms
neous as an escap e from cultivation in of male wor ship ers of thi s god or, with
the United State s and India. It s generic "flaming eyes," t hey fell up on men to
name, A tropa, co mes from th e G reek tear th em apart and eat them. The w ine

Left: The magical conjuration of the Belowright: "Witches" persecuted
Mandrake is a durable theme in Eur- during the Inquisitionwereoftenac-
opean literature and art history. Here cused of usinghallucinogenic plants of
is a scene from a modern comic, the Nightshade family, in particular,
Caza. Henbane and Mandrake. Forthis
manyweretortured, murdered, and

of Bacchanals was possibly adulterated

with juice of the Nightshade. Another
belief from classical times maintained
that Roman priests drank Belladonna
before their supplications to the god-
dess of war for victory.
It was during the early Modern period,
however, that Belladonna assumed its
greatest importance in witchcraft and
magic . It was one of the primary ingredi-
ents of the brews and ointments em-
ployed by witches and sorcerers. One
such potent mixture, containing Bella-
donna, Henbane, Mandrake, and the fat
of a stillborn child, was rubbed over the
skin or inserted into the vagina for ab-
sorption. The familiar witch's broom-
stick goes far back in European magic
beliefs. An investigation into witchcraft
in 1324 reported that "in rifleing the

Top: Amphibians, especially frogs closet of the ladie , they found a Pipe of tures. For the root of this herbaceous
(which often produce poisons in their ointment, wherewith she greased a perennial, unassuming in its growth ap-
bodies), have always been connected staffe, upon which she ambled and gal- pearance, is so twis ted and branched
withwitchcraft and magic in the Old as loped through thi ck and thin, w hen and that it occasionally resembles the human
wellas the NewWorld. These animals
in what manner she listed ." Later, in th e body. T his extraordinary resemb lance
were occasionally added to potent
witches'brews in Europe. They have
fiftee nt h cent ury, a similar account sta- led early to the belief that it exercised
alsofigured significantly in certain New ted: "But th e vulgar believe and th e great supernatura l powers over the hu-
World culturesin connection with hallu- wi tches confess, that on certain days man bo dy and mind, even though actu-
cinogenic activities. and nights th ey anoint a staff and ride ally its chemical compos ition gave it no
on it to the appointed place or anoi nt grea ter psyc hoac tivity th an some other
Above left: The delightfully scented fruit themselves un der the arms and in ot her solanaceous species.
of the Mandrake (Mandragora officinar- hairy places and sometimes carry charms From earliest times, curious beliefs
urn) are alsocalled Apples of Love and under the hair." Porta, a contemporary about th e need to exercise great care in
are identical to thegolden apples of
of Ga lileo, wrote in 1589 that under the harvesting the root grew up . Theo-
effects of a potion of these solanaceous phrastus in the third century B. c. w rot e
Abovemiddle: The ripeblack berries of plants a "man would seem sometimes to that coll ectors of medicinal plants drew
the Deadly Nightshade (Atropa bella- be changed into a fish; and flinging out circle s around Mandrake, and the y cut
donna). his arms, would swim on the ground; off th e top part of the root whil e facing
sometimes he would seem to skip up west; the remainder of the root was
Above right: White or yellow Henbane and then to dive down again. Another gathered after the collectors had per-
(Hyoscyamus albus) wasconsecrated would believe himself turned into a formed certain dances and recited spe-
to the god of oracles, Apollo.
goose and-wo uld eat grass, and beat the cial formu las. Two centuries earlier, the
ground with his teeth like a goose ; now Greek Pythagor as had described Man -
and then sing and ... clap his wings ." drake root as an anthropomorph, or
Man drake became famous in mag ic tiny human bein g. In Roman times th at
and witchcraft because of its powerful magic began exten sively to be associ-
narcotic effects and the bizarre form of ated wi th the psychoactive properties
its root. It wo uld be difficu lt to find a of the plant. In the first century A. D.,
be~te r example of th e app lication of the Josephus Flavius wrote that there grew
p hilosophy of the Doctrine of Signa- a plant in the Dead Sea area that glowed

red at night and that it was d ifficult to ated by God as an experime nt befor e Above left: In the Temple of Apollo at
app ro ach the pl ant, which hid when a he crea ted man in the Ga rde n of Eden. Delphi, troll "navel of the world," the Sibyl
man drew near it; but it could be tamed W hen, later in the Dark Ages , Man- and prophetess informed the Pythia of
drake began to be cultivated in central her oracle aftershe had inhaled the
if ur ine an d menstrual blood were
smoke of Henbane.
sprinkl ed on it. It was phys ically dan- Europe, it was th ou ght that the plant
gerous to pull the plant fro m the earth, would grow only under gallo ws w he re Above middle: The root of the Mandrake
but a dog, tied to the root, was em- urine or semen from the condemned (Mandragora officinarum).
ployed to extract th e root, afte r w hich, man fell-hence the commo n German
according to belief, the anima l usually names meaning "gallows man " an d Aboveright:The Ginseng's (Panax gin-
died. T he myths surround ing Mandrake "dragon do ll." seng) rootis not onlysimilarto the
grew, until it was said that the plant hid T he apogee of Mandrake 's fame seems Mandrake, but in Korea, Ginsengroot is
by day but shone lik e a star at night , and to have occur red in the late sixteenth alsoattributed with secret and magical
tha t w hen being pulled from th e gro und cent ury. A t thi s tim e, the herbalists be- powers.
th e plant let out suc h u neart hly shrieks gan to do u bt many of the tal es associ at ed
Belowleft: The sun andoracle god
that whoever heard th e no ise mi gh t die. with th e plant . As earl y as 1526 the Eng- Apollo at a libation in front of a raven.
Eventually, on ly black dogs- a color lish herbalist Turner had denied that all (Discovered at Delphi).
denoting evil and dea th- were em- M andrake root s had a human form and
ployed. Early C hris tians believed th at p rotest ed against th e beliefs co nnected
the M andrake root was originally ere - wi th its anthro pomo rp hism . Anothe r
English he rbali st, Ge rard , fo r example,
w rote in 1597: "All w hich dreams an d
old w ives tales yo u sha ll hencefort h cast
out of yo ur books and mem ory; know -
ing thi s, th at th ey are all and everie pan
of th em false and most untrue. For I m V
selfe and my serv ants also have digg..:1
up, pl anted and replanted very m au y
. . ." But man y superstitions su rro und i I I ;";
Ma ndrake persisted in European foi l·. ·
lore even into the nin eteent h centu ry.

17 CANNA81

Trad ition in Indi a ma in tains that the "seeds," co nsumed by man fo r food;
gods sent man the H emp plan t so that for its na rco tic prop ert ies; and thera-
he m ight attain de light an d courage, peuti call y to treat a wide spectrum of
and have hei ghtened sexual de sire s. ills in folk medicine and in modern
\X!hen necta r or Arn rita dropped down p harmacopoeias.
from heave n, Cannabis sprouted from Mainly becau se of its various uses,
it. Another story te lls how, w he n the Cannabis has been taken to ma ny re -
gods, help ed by d em ons, ch urned the gio ns arou nd the world . Unus ua l things
milk ocean to o btain Arnri ta, one of th e happen to plants after lo ng associatio n
r esu lt in g nectar s was Cannabis. It was w ith ma n and agricu ltu re. They are
consecrated to Shiva and w as Indra's fa- grow n in new and strange environ-
vorite drink. After the churning of th e ments and often have opportunities to

Above left: Wilcl I 1t' ln p plants (Cannabis oc ean, demons att empted to gain co n- h ybridi z e th at are not offered in the ir
indica) with Spll 'IHlld white flowers in tro l of A m rita, but the gods were able native hab itats. They escap e fr om culti-
the Langtang [1' 1111' 11 of the Himalayas to prevent this seizure, giving Cannabis va tio n an d freq uently become aggre s-
(Nepal). th e na me Vijay a (" victory") to co m- sive we eds. T hey may be ch an ged
m em orate th eir success. Ever sinc e, th is th rou gh human selection fo r character-
Above right: fv1iJ:;l'l iline plant of a Hemp
cross-breed (Cnll llaLJis indica x sativa).
pl ant of the go ds has bee n held in In d ia istics asso ciate d wit h a specific use.
to bestow supernatural powers o n its Many cu lt iva ted pl ant s are so changed
users. from their ancestral types that it is not
The pa rtners hip of Cannabis and man possib le to unravel th eir evo lu tio nar y
has ex isted n ow probably for ten th ou - his tory. Suc h is not the case, how ever,
sand years-since th e di sco ve ry of agri - wi th Cannabis. Yet despite its long his-
culture in the O ld \'I;torld. O ne o f our to ry as a major crop pla nt , Cannabis is
old est cultiva rs, Cannabis ha s been a still characterized more bv w ha t is not
five- p urpos e plant : as a so urc e of hem - kn own ab o ut its bio log y ~ha n by w ha t
pe n fibe rs; for its o il; for its akcncs o r is know n.

Belowleft:The blue-skinned Hindu godShiva takesgreatpleasure in Hemp. tive plants (Sadhu at a Shivatemple, Pashupatinath, KathmanduValley,
Becauseof this, it is a sacred plantof the godsand is usedfor rituals and Nepal).
Tantric practices.
Bottom right: Cannabis is consumed in manycountries, usually illegally. It is
Right: The long-haired Sadhus or "holy men" of India devote their livesto the often smoked in hand-rolled cigarettes. There arecountlessproducts for the
god Shiva. They have no property and practice yogaand meditation. In ad- consumption of marijuanafor everyone from beginnersto thespecialists-for
ditiontheyoftensmoke a large amount of charas (handmade hash) and instance, large-format rolling papers, preferably outof Hemp. Alsoshown here
ganja (Marijuana) sometimes mixedwith Datura leaves and otherpsychoac- are a metal cigarette boxandlighter. .

The botanical classification of Canna -

bis has lon g been uncertain. Botanists
have no t agreed on the family to which
Cannabis belongs: early investigators
put it in th e N ettl e family (U rticaceae);
later it was acco mmodated in th e Fi g fa-
mily (Mo raceae); th e genera l tre nd to day
is to assign it to a sp ecial family, C anna-
baceae, in w hich onl y Cannabis and H u-
m ulus, th e genus of H op s, are me mbers.
There has even been disagreeme nt as to .
how many spec ies of Cannabis exist:

whether the genus comprises one highly

variable species or several distinct spe -
cies. Evidence now strongly indicates
that three species can be recognized:
C. indica, C. ruderalis, and C. sativa.
These species are distinguished by dif-
fere nt growth habits, characters of the
akenes, and especia lly by major differ-
ences in stru cture of th e wood. Al tho ug h
all species possess cannabin ols, th ere
may possibl y be significant chemical dif-
fere nces , but the evidence is not ye t
The Indi an vedas sang of Cannabis as
one of the divine nectars, able to give

Above: In Africa Hemp is smoked for man anything from goo d health and body." A Taoist priest wro te in the fifth
medicinal and pleasurablepurposes, as long life to visions of the gods. The century B. c. tha t Cannabis was em-
thiswood carvingshows. Zend-Avesta of 600 B. c . mentions an in- ployed by "necromancers, in combina-
toxicating resin, and the Assyrians used tion with Ginseng, to set forward time
Top: Thecharacteristic Hemp leaf
Cannabis as an incense as early as the and reveal future events ." In these early
(Cannabis indica) was formerly a sym-
bolof thesubculture andrebellion. To-
ninth century B. C. periods, use of Cannabis as a hallucino-
day, it hasbecome a symbol of ecologi- Inscriptions from the Chou dynasty gen was undoubtedly associated with
calawareness. in China, dated 700-500 B. c., have a Chinese shamanism, but by the time of
"negative" connotation that accompa- European contact 1,500 years later, sha-
nies the ancient charac ter for Cannabis, manism had fallen into decline, and the
Ma, imp lying its stupefying propert ies. use of the plant for inebriation seems to
Since this idea obviously pre dated writ- have ceased and been forgo tten . Its
ing, the Pen Tsao Ching, written in A. D . value in Ch ina then was primarily as a
100 but going back to a legendary em- fiber source. There was, however, a con-
peror, Shen-Nung, 2000 B. c., maybe ta- tinuous record of Hemp cultivation in
ken as evidence that the Chinese knew China from Neolithic times, and it has
and probably used the psychoactive been suggested that Cannabis may have
properties at very early dates . It was originated in China, not in central Asia.
said that Ma -fen ("Hemp fruit") "if ta- About 500 B. c. the Greek writer Her-
ken to excess, will produce hallucina- odotus described a marvelous steam
tions [litera lly, "seeing devils"]. If taken bath of the Scythians, aggressive horse-
over a lon g term, it makes one commu- men who swept out of th e Trans-
nicate with spirits and light ens one's caucasus eastward and westward. He

reported that "they make a booth by land in 1632. In pre-Revolu tionary
fixing in the ground three sticks inclined North America, Hemp wa s employed
to ward on e another, and stretching even for making work clothes.
aro und th em w oollen pelts w hich the y Hemp was introduced qu ite indepen-
arr ange so as to fit as close as possible: dently into Spanish col oni es in South
inside the bo oth a dish is placed up on America: C hile, 1545; Peru, 1554.
the ground into which the y put a num- There is no doubt that hempen fiber
ber of red hot stones and then add some production represents an early use of
Hemp seed ... im mediately it smokes Cannabis, but perhaps consumption of
and gives out suc h a vapor as no Grecian its edible akenes as food predated the
vapor bath can exceed; th e Scyths, de- disco ver y of the useful fiber. These
lighted, sh out for joy .. ." Only recent- akenes are very nutritious, and it is dif -
ly, archaeologists have excav ated frozen ficult to imagine that early man, con-
Scythian tombs in central As ia, dat ed stantly searching for food, would have
between 500 and 300 B. C., and have missed this opport unity. A rchaeolog ical
found tripods and p elts , br aziers, and finds of H emp akenes in G ermany, da-
cha rcoa l with remains of Cannabis ted at 500 B. C., indicate the nutritional
leaves and fru it. It has generally been use of th ese plant products. From early
accepted th at Cannabis originated in times to th e present, Hemp akenes have
cent ral Asia and that it was t he been used as foo d in eastern Europe,
Scythians w ho sp read th e plant w est- an d in the United States as a major in-
ward to Europe. gredient of bird foo d.
W hile th e Greeks and Romans may The folk-medicinal value of H emp-
no t generally .have tak en Cannabis fo r frequ ently indistinguishable fr om its
ine briation, th ey were awa re of th e psy- psychoactive p roperties-may even be
choactive effec ts of the drug. D ernocr i- its earli est ro le as an econ omic pl ant.
tu s rep ort ed th at it was occasiona lly The earliest reco rd of th e medicinal use
drunk wit h wine and my rrh to produce of th e plant is that of th e Chinese em -
visionary sta tes, and G alen, abo u t A. D. peror-herb alist Shen-Nung who, fIve
200, wrote th at it wa s so metimes cus- thousand years ago, recommended
tomary to give Hemp to guests to pro- Cannabis for malaria, beri-beri, consti- Top: Feminine flower of industrial Hemp
mote hilarity and enjoy me nt. pation, rh eumatic pains, absent-mind-
Cannabis arr ived in Europ e fro m th e edness, and femal e dis orders. H oa -Glio,
Above: The Chinese emperor Shen-
north. The Roman write r Lu cilius m en - an other ancient Chinese herbalist, re - Nung is saidto have discoveredthe
tioned it in 120 B. c . Pli ny th e Elde r ou t- co mme nded a mixture of Hemp resi n medicinal propertiesof many plants. His
lined the preparation and grades of and w ine as an anal gesic during surgery. pharmacopoeia, believed to have been
hemp en fibers in th e fir st century A. D., It was in ancient India that thi s "g ift first compiled in 2737B. C., notesthat
and hempen ro pe was fo und in a R oman of th e gods" foun d excessive use in folk Cannabis sativahasbothmale andfe-
site in England dated A. D. 140-1 80. medicine. It w as belie ved to quicken male plants.
Whether or not the Vikings used Hemp the mind, prolong life, improve judg-
rope is not known, bu t pal yno logical ment, low er fevers, induce sleep, cure
evidence indicates th at H emp cultiva- dysentery. Because of its ps yc hoactive
tion had a tremendous increment in properties it was more highly valued
En gland fr om the early Anglo-Saxon than medicines with only physical ac-
period to late Saxon an d Norman tivit y. Several systems of Indian medi-
times-from 400 to 1100. cine este emed Cannabis. The medical
H enry VIII fos tere d th e cultivati on work Sushrata states tha t it cured le-
of Hemp in England . The maritime su - prosy. The Bharaprakasha, of ab out
premacy of England during Eli zab ethan A. D . 1600, described it as antiphleg-
times greatly increased th e demand. rnatic, digestive, bile affecting, pungent,
Hemp cultivation began in the British and astringent, prescribing it to stimu-
colon ies in the New World: firs t in Ca- late the appetite, improve diges tio n, and
nada in 1606, then in Vir ginia in 1611; better the voice. The spectrum of med-
the Pilgrims took the cr op to New Eng- icin al uses 'in India covered control of

Right: There are countless strains of Hemp that contain barelyanyTHe , the
intoxicating andeuphoric constituent.These species are used in the produc-
tion of fiber, but are not suited for personal consumption, as the warning sign
in the botanical gardens in Bern, Switzerland, states: ''This industrial Hempis
uselessfor the production of drugs becauseof its lackof active properties."

Bottom: Feminine plants of flowering industrial hemp (Cannabis sativa).

dandruff and relief of headache, mani a,

insomnia, venereal disease, whoo ping
cou gh, earache, and tuberculosis!
The fame of Cannabis as a medicine
spread with th e plant. In parts of Africa,
it was valued in tre ating dysent ery, ma-
laria, anthrax , and fevers. Even tod ay
th e Hottentots and Mfengu claim its ef-
ficacy in treating snakebites, and Soth o
w omen induce partial stupefaction by
smoking Hemp before childbirth.
Cann abis was highly valued in medi-
cine, and its therapeutic uses can be
traced back to early classical physicians
Dioscorides and Galen. Medieval herb-
alists distinguished "manured hempe"
(cultivated) from "bastard hempe"
(weedy), recommending the latt er
"against nodes and wennes and other
hard tumors," the former for a host of
uses from curing cough to jaundice .
They cauti oned, however, that in excess
it might cause sterility, that "it drieth up
. . . the seeds of generation" in men "and
the milke of women's breasts ." An int er-
esting use in the sixteenth century-
source of the name Angler's Weed in
En gland-was locally important: "pou-
red into the holes of earthwormes [it]
will dr aw them forth and . . . fishermen
and anglers have used this feate to baite
their hooks."
The valu e of Cannabis in folk medi-
cine has clearly been closely tied with
its euphoric and psychoactive proper-
ties; knowledge of these effects may be
as old as its use as a source of fiber.
Primitive man, tr ying all sort s of plant

~~,. .-.~

r Top left: In northern India the Hemp

leaves are soaked in water, shredded,
and then rolled into balls. These are
sold as "Bhang" on the market (display
in the Governmental Ganja Shop Om
Varnasi, Benares).

materials as foo d, must have known th e sowing, weeding, and harvesting of Top right:The Bhang balls are either
ecstatic eupho ria-inducing effects of the holy plant . Knowledge and use of sucked on or mixed into a drink with
H emp, an int oxication int ro du cing him th e int oxicating properties event ually milk, yogurt, and water.
to an otherworld ly plane leadi ng to re- spread to Asia Minor. H emp w as em-
Page 97 above left: The Cora Indians of
ligious beliefs. Th us the plant early was ploy ed as an incense in Assyr ia in the
the Sierra MadreOccidental of Mexico
viewed as a spec ial gift of the god s, a first millenn ium B. c., suggesting its use smoke Cannabis in the course of their
sacred medi um for commu nio n with as an ineb riant . \"Vhile there is no direct sacredceremonies. Rarely is an intro-
th e spirit w orld. menti on of H emp in the Bible, several duced foreign plant adoptedand used in
A lthoug h Cannabis today is the most obscur e passages may refer tangenti ally indigenous religious ceremonies, but it
widely emp loy ed psychoactive sub- to the eHects of Cannabis resin or seemsthat the Cora of Mexico and the
stance, its use pu rely as a narcoti c, ex- Ha shish. Cunaof Panama havetaken up the ri-
cept in Asia, app ears not to be anci ent . It is perhaps in th e Himalayas of In- tual smoking of Cannabis, notwith-
In classical times its eup ho ric propert ies dia and the Tibetan platea u that Canna - standing the factthat, in both areas, it
was brought in by the early Europeans.
we re, how ever, recog nized. In T hebes, bis pr eparation s assum ed th eir greates t
Hemp was made into a dr ink said to importanc e in religious co ntex ts. Bhang Page 97 above right: These three
have opium-like pr operties. Ga len re- is a mild preparation: d ried leaves or photographs showthe germinating
ported that cakes with Hemp, if eaten flo wering shoots are pounded w ith' Hempplant. The rounded leaves are
to excess, w ere intoxicating. The use as sp ices into a paste and consu med as cotyledonsor seed-leaves. The first real
an ineb riant seems to have been spread cand y-known as maa-jun-or in tea leaves are always simple, not segmen-
east and west by barba rian hor des of form. Ga nja is made from the resin-r ich ted as are the mature leaves.
central Asia, especiall y the Scythians, dried pistillate flow ering tops of culti-
vated plants that are pre ssed int o a Page 96 middle (4 Photos): The use of
who had a profound cultural influence
Cannabis by peoples of both the Old
on earl y G reece and eastern Europe. compacted mass and kept under pres -
World and the Newis widespread . Inthe
An d knowledge of the psychoacti ve ef- sure for several days to induce ch emical Old World (left to right) Cannabis is
fects of H emp goes far back in In dian changes; most Ganja is smoked, often being smoked by a Kung woman from
histo ry, as ind icate d by the deep mytho- with Tobacco or D atura. C haras con- South Africa, a Pygmy from the Congo.
logical and spiritual beliefs abo ut th e sists of the resin itself, a brownish mass a traveler in Kashmir, andNorth African
p lant . One p repa ration, Bhang, was so tha t is emp loyed genera lly in smoking Hashish smokers.
sacred that it was thought to deter evil, mixtures.
bring luck, and cleanse man of sin. Th e Tibetan s considered Cannabis
Those treading upon the leaves of this sacred. A Ma hayana Buddhist traditi on
holy p lant w ould suffer harm or disas- maint ains th at during the six steps of as-
ter, and sacred oat hs were sealed ove r ceticism leading to his enlightenment,
H em p. The favo rite drink of Indra, Buddha lived on one H emp seed a day.
god of th e firmament, was made fro m H e is ofte n d epicted w ith "Soma leaves"
Cannabis , and th e Hi ndu god Shiva in his begging bow l and th e mysteriou s
command ed that the wo rd Ghangi be god-narco tic Soma has occasionally
chanted repea tedl y in hymns during bee n ident ified with H emp. In Tan tric

The Chemistry of Marijuana

Whereas the psychoactive principles of most hallucinogenic plants are alka-

loids, the active constituents of Cannabis are non-nitrogenous and occur in a
resinous oil. The psychoactive proper ties are due to cannabi noids, of which
the most effective is tetrahydrocannabinol, or THG-chemically: (-)~1 -3,4­
transtetrahydrocannab inol. The highest concent ration is found in the resin of
the unfertilized pistillate inflorescence. Even though less potent, the dried
leaves are also employed for their psychoact ive effects.
Following the elucidation of the chemical structure (see molecular model
on page 184), it has recently been possible to synthes ize THC.

Psychoactive Plants that are used as a Marijuana Substitute

Botanical Name Common Name Part of Plant Used

Alchornea ttotibunde Niando Roots
Argemone mexicana Prickly Poppy Leaves
Artemisia mexicana Mexican Mugwort Herbage
Bud dhism of the Himalayas of Tibet,
Calea zacatechichi Dog Grass Herbage Cannabis p lays a very significant role
Canavalia maritima Sea Bean Leaves in the meditative ritual used to facilitate
deep meditation and heighten aware-
Catharanthus roseus Madagascar Periwin kle Leaves ness . Both medicinal and recreational
Cecropia mexicana Chancarro Leaves secular use of Hemp is likewise so
Cestrum laevigatum Lady of the Night Leaves
commo n now in this region th at th e
plant is take n for gran ted as an every -
Cestrum parqui Palqui Leaves day necessity.
Cymbopogon dens iflorus Lemongrass Flower extract Fo lklore maintains that the use of
Hemp was introduced to Persia by an
Helichrysum toetidum Everlasting Herbage
India n pilgrim during the reign of
Helichrysum stenopterum Everlasting Herbage Khurs u CA. D. 531- 579), but it is known
Hieracium pilocella Hawkweed Herbage th at the Assyrians used H emp as an in-
cense during the firs t millennium B. c.
Leonotis leonurus Wild Dagga Herbage Although at first prohibited among Isla-
Leonurus sibiricus Siberian Motherwort Herbage mic peoples, Hashish spread widely
west throughout Asia Minor. In 1378,
Nepeta cataria Catnip Herbage
authorities tried to extirpate Hemp
Piper auritum Root Beer Plant Leaves from Arabian territory by the imposi-
Sceletium tortuosum Kougued Herbage, Roots tio n of harsh punishment s.
Cannabis exten de d early and widely
Sida acuta Common Wireweed Herbage from Asia Minor into Africa, partly
Sida rhombifolia Escob illa Herbage under the pressure of Islamic influ-
Turnera diffusa Damia na
ence, but the use of Hemp transcends
Islamic areas. It is widely believed that
Zornia diphylla Maconha Brava Leaves Hemp was introduced also with slaves
Zorn ia latifolia Maconha Brava Dried leaves fro m Malaya . Commonly known in
Africa as Kif or Dagga, th e plant has

"Hemp is th e 'giver of joy,' ' heave n's pil ot,' 'the heavenly guide,'
' the heaven of th e poor man,' 'the soo ther of sorrows.'
No god , no man is as good as th e religious hemp drinker."
- H emp D rug
Co mmission Report (1884)

ent ered into archaic nati ve cultures in Peyot e is not available. It has recentl y Scanning Electron Microscopy
social and religiou s contexts. The Hot- been learn ed that Indians in the Mexi-
tent ots, Bushmen, and Kaffirs used can states of Veracru z, Hidalgo, and Aboveleft: In C. sativa, well-developed
H emp for centuries as a medi~ine and Pu ebla pr actice a co mmunal curing ce- hairs of glandular and non-glandular
kinds are shown in various stages of
as an int oxicant . In an ancient trib al remo ny wi th a plant called Santa Rosa,
cerem ony in the Zamb esi Valley, parti - identified as Cann abis sativa, which is
cipant s inhal ed vapors fro m a pile of considere d both a pl ant and a sacred in- Top right: Differenttypes of glandular
smo ldering H emp ; later, reed tub es tercessor with th e Virgin. Although the hairs of Cannabis. Thecapitategland
and pipes wer e employ ed, and the ceremony is based main ly on Christian witha prominentpseudo-stalk on the
plant material was burned on an altar. elem ents, th e plant is worshiped as an surface of the anther wall that faces the
Th e Kasai tri bes of th e Congo have Earth deity and is tho ugh t to be alive center of the flower.
revived an old Riamba cult in which and to rep resent a part of the heart of
Hemp, replacing ancient fetishes and God. The participants in this cult be- Bottom right: Bulbous gland from adax-
ialleaf surface. The stalk andheadare
symbols, was elevated to a god- a lieve th at the pl ant can be dan gerou s
made upof twocells each.Thetip of the
protector against ph ysical and spiritual and th at it can assum e th e form of a gland possesses a small, disk-shaped
harm. Treaties are sealed with puffs of man 's soul, make him ill, enr age him, region below whichresin accumulates
smo ke from calab ash pipes. H emp - and even cause death. in the extended membrane.
smoking and H ashish -snuffing cult s Sixty years ago, w hen Mexican la-
exist in many p arts o f east Africa, borers introduced the smoking of Mar- Page 98:Above, Cannabis sativais
especiall y near Lake Victoria. ijuana to the United States, it spre ad beingharvested forHempat theturn
Hemp has spread to many areas of th e across th e South, and by the 1920s its of the century. This species attains a
height of 18feet (6m). Below, an extre-
N ew World, but with few excepti ons use was established in New Orleans,
mely potent Hashish is produced from
the plant has not penetrated signifi- confined primarily among the poor and Cannabis indica, a low, pyramidal,
cantly into many N ative American reli- min ority groups. The continued spread densely branched species, as shown
gious beliefs and ceremonie s. There are, of the custo m in the United States and above growingwild near Kandahar,
how ever, exceptio ns, such as its use Europe has resulted in a still unresolved Afghanistan.
under the name Rosa Maria, by the Te- controversy.
pecano Indians of northwest Mexico, Cannabis sativ a was officially in the
w ho occasionally employ H emp when u.s. Ph arm acop oeia until 1937, recom-
Top: Drawing by W. Miller. Copyright
1978 The New Yorker Magazine,Inc.
"Hey, what is this stuff? It makes every-
thing I think seem profound."

Below: Gustave Dote's painting"Com-

position of the Death of Gerard de Ner-
val,"for which he mayhave used Can-
nabisand Opium forinspiration. The
contemporaryAmericancartoon shows
in a humorous waythe resurrection of
this belief.

,0. .
",-.,": :
,. " .. .

Above: Marijuanais madefrom the

driedandslightlyfermented blossoms
of the femin ine Hemp plant.

Left: In Lewis Carroll's Alicein Wonder-

land, the encounter between Aliceand
the languorous caterpillar is as follows:
"She stretched herself up on tiptoe, and
peeped overthe edgeof themushroom,
andher eyes immediately metthoseof
a large bluecaterpillar that wassitting
on the top, with its armsfolded, quietly
smoking a long hookah, andtaking not
the slightestnotice of heror anything

mended for a wide variety of disorders, "This marvelous experience often

especially as a mild sedative. It is no
occurs as if it were the effect of a
longer an official drug, although re-
search in the medical potential of some superior and invisible power acting
of the cannabinolic constituents or their on the person from without .
semi-synthetic analogs is at present very This delightful and singular state .
active, particularly in relation to the side
effects of cancer therapy. gives no advance warning.
The psychoactive effects of Cannabis It is as unexpected as a ghost,
preparations vary widely, depending on an intermittent haunting
dosage, the preparation and the type of Above: In thenineteenth century, a se-
plant used, the method of administra-
from which we must draw, lectgroup of European artistsandwri-
tion, the personality of the user, and if we are wise, tersturned to psychoactive agentsin an
attempt to achieve whathas come to be
the socia l and cultural background. the certainly of a better existence. regarded as"mind-expansion" or "mind-
Perhaps the most frequent characteris-
This acuteness of thought, alteration."Many people, such as the
tic is a dreamy state. Long forgotten French poetBaudelaire(below), be-
events are often recalled and thoughts this enthusiasm of the senses and lieved thatcreativeabilitycould be
occur in unrelated sequences. Percep- the spirit must have appeared to greatly enhanced bythe use of Canna-
tion of time, and occasionally of space, man through the ages bis. In fact, Baudelaire wrotevivid de-
is altered. Visual and auditory halluci- scriptions of his personal experiences
nations sometimes follow the use of as the first blessing." under the influence of Cannabis.
large doses. Euphoria, excitement, in- - Charles Baudelaire
ner happiness-often with hilarity and Les Paradis Artificiels
laughter-are typical. In some cases, a
final mood of depression may be ex-


"T he ancient testimony about Eleusis is The reasons for consi dering the Eleusian
un animous and un amb iguou s. Eleusis mysteries to be associated with th e use
was the sup reme experience in an initia- of Claviceps are long and complex, bu t
te's life. It was both ph ysical and mysti- th e arguments are mos t convincing and
cal: trembling, vertigo, cold sweat, and appare ntl y from several disciplines
th en a sight th at made all previous see- sound. Basically, it has now been shown
ing seem like blindness, a sense of awe th at several species of Clav iceps can in-
and wo nder at a brilliance th at caused a fect a numb er of wild grasses in Greece.
profou nd silence, since w hat had just By far the most important species of
been seen and felt could never be com- Clav iceps is C. purp urea, the Ergot of
municated; words were un equ al to th e rye (Secale cereale). Thi s hard , brown
task. T hese symptoms are unmi stakabl y or purplish black sclerotium of a fun gus
the experience ind uced by a hallucino- originating in th e caryopsis of rye is
gen. Gree ks, and ind eed some of th e exceedingly common in Eu rop e. The
most famo us and int elligent amo ng native nom enclature of Clav iceps pU1'-
them, could experience and ente r fully purea is ind eed complex. Ergot, th e
into.such irra tio nality . . . French word for "spur " of a cock, now
"E leusis was different from the con - genera lly employed in numerous lan-
vivial inebriation of frien ds ... In their guages, was first applie d to th e fung us
various ways, other Greek cults too in a region not far fro m Paris. T here
enacted aspects of the ancient commu- are, however, two dozen ot her words
nion practiced between gods and men, for the sclerotium in French; sixty-tw o
between the living and the dead, but it vernacu lar names in German, M utter-
was at Eleusis alone that the experi- korn being the most commonly used.
ence occurred with overwhelm ing fin- T here are twe nty-o ne in Dutch, fifteen
ality . . . in the Scandinavian languages, fourteen
"Fo r close on to two th ou sand y ears, in Italian, and seven in En glish in addi -
a few of the ancient Greeks passed tion to th e borrowed word Ergot. This
each year through th e p ort als of Eleu- proliferati on of vern acular terminology
sis. There they celebr ated th e divine ind icates th e importance of the fun gus
gift to mankind of the cultivated grain, in European countries.
and they were also initi ated into the Although its medicinal use was un-
Above: WhileErgot infects a number of awesome powers of th e nether wo rld know n in classical times, it was early re-
different grasses, it is bestknown as a th rou gh th e purple dark of th e grain's cognized as a poi son. As far back as 600
parasite on the inflorescence of rye. sibling . . ." B. C., the Assyri ans called the spurlike

Page 103top: The Ergotof rye are con-

Thus in an inte rdisciplinary stu dy growth or Er got a " noxious pu stul e in
siderably bigger thanthoseof the Pas-
based on thre e different approac hes, th e ear of th e grain." Th e sacred books
palumgrass. ethn omycology, classical studies, and of the Parsees (abo ut 350 B. c.) reported:
chemistry, the secre t rites of ancient "Amo ng th e evil things created by An-
Page 103 left: Fruiting bodies of Clavi- Greece, w hich have remained a pu zzle gro May nes are noxious grasses th at
ceps purpurea. The specific nameof for four tho usand years, are assoc iated cause pregnant women to dr op th e
thisfungus means "purple,"a color that wit h into xicatio n caused by th e fungus womb and die in childbed." Alt hou gh
in antiquitywaslinked with powers of Claviceps, which grows paras itica lly on th e ancient Greeks appare ntly em-
the underworld.
certa in cereals. ployed the fungus in th eir religious ri-
Page 103 right: When grain is infected
It is now believed that the into xicant tu als, they did not eat rye because of
by Ergot, long black growths appearon underlyin g the ecstasy exp erienced in th e "b lack malo dorous produce of
the heads, called sclerotium. th e mysteries was induced by Claviceps Thrace and Maced on ia." Rye was not
paspa li, and p ossibly other spec ies, int ro duced int o classical Europe until
growing on various Loliums and other the beginning of the Christian era, so
cereal grasses nati ve to Greece. The bio- Ergot poisoning did not enter into Ro-
dyn amical principles characteristic of man ph arm aceutic al literature.
th e well-known Er got, or Clavicepsp ur- Th e earliest undoubted reports of Er-
p urea, have been isolat ed fro m some of got po isoning appe ared dur ing the Mid-
th e other species of thi s fun gal parasite . dle Ages, when bizarr e epidemics broke


out in various parts of Euro pe, taking
thousands of lives and causing untold
agony and suffering. These epidem ics
manifested themselves in two forms:
those with nervous conv ulsions and epi-
leptic symp toms; those with gangrene,
mum mifications, atrophy, and occa-
sional loss of extr emities- noses , ear-
lobes, fingers, to es, and feet. D elirium

and hallucinations were common symp-

toms of the intoxication, whic h was fre-
quently fatal. An early European visita-
tion of ergotism described it as "a great
plague of swollen blisters [that] con-
sumed the people by a loathsome rot."
Abortions of women were general dur- The Chemistry of Ergot
ing these attacks. The "Holy Fire" was
always characterized by a feeling of The active ingredients in Ergot are indole alkaloids, all derived from the same
burning in the feet and hands . basic compound , lysergic acid. The most important alkaloids in Ergot of rye
St. Anthony, after whom the "fire" are ergotamine and ergotoxine, in which lysergic acid is connected with a
was named, lived as a religious hermit peptide radical consist ing of three amino acids. These alkaloids and their
in Egyp t; he died at the age of 105 in derivatives have various medicinal uses.
A. D. 356. He is the protecting saint In toxic doses they cause gangrene because of their vasoconstr icting
against fire, epilepsy, and infection. propert ies. Ergot from wild grasses, however, contains essentially simple
During the C rusa des, the knights lysergic acid amides, ergine, and lysergic acid-hydroxyethylamide (found
brou ght back his remains to D auphi ne, only in traces in Ergot of rye). These psychotrop ic alkaloids may have played
in Fra nce, for burial. It was here in D au- a role in the convulsive form of ergotism . They occur as the main active
phine that the earliest recognized plague principles in the Mexican Morning Glory Ololiuqui (Turbina corymbosa) [see
of "Holy Fire " occurred in 1039. A page 187 for the molecu lar model of the chemical structure ] and other Bind-
wealthy citizen, Gaston, and his son weeds (Ipomoea violacea, Argyreia nervosa).
were amo ng th e afflicted, and Gaston

{flU/,I: It is possible thatthe alkaloid-rich
EI U'I! 01 the Paspalumgrass was used
as " secret ingredient in Kykeon, the
illlllql ory drink of Eleusis.

Al l, 'I 'e left: The goddess Demeter with promised to give all his wealth to aid sett~, may have been due to Erg ot poi -
sll"nves of grain and opiumpodsin her ot her victims if St. Anthony would cure so nmg.
h 1l1 1l1.
him and his son . Thus it was that in this European midwives had long known
French town a hospital to care for suf- that Ergo t could aid in cases of difficult
AI" 'I 'e righl: The Plutoniuon of Eleusis.
ferers was founde d and the Order of St. childbirth and had used the fungus for
Pave' 105 bottom:One of the rare out-
Ant ho ny was also estab lished. tha t purpose. C hemicals isolated fro m
brenksof ergotism in England attacked A pilgrimage to shrines consecrated Ergot are still official dru gs to indu ce
0 11" family in Wattishamin 1762. So to St. Anthony was believed to cure contraction of involuntary muscles in
Ullltt' ual was this plaguethatit has been th e disease. But a change in diet-bread stubborn childbi rth. The earliest medi-
mSlllorialized with a plaque in the parish free of Ergo t-may have had a benefi- cal report of th e obstetric value of Ergo t
ctHlidl . cial effect. It was not until 1676-some was published in 1582 by Lonicer of
five hundred years after the height of St. Frankfurt, who stated that Ergot-
Anthony's fire-that the real cause of parasitized rye is of sovereign efficiency
ergotism was disco vered, whereupon in pre gnancy pains . Although widely
measures of control were set up. Millers emp loyed by midwives , Ergot was first
in the Mid dle Ages frequently kept employed by a physician when Des -
clean rye flour for the affluent, selling granges of Lyons experimented with it
flour made from "spur red rye "- that and pu blished his observations in 1818.
infected with Ergot- to po orer custo - The Swiss bot anist Bauhin describ ed
mers. O nce the cause was known, vigi- Ergot in 1595, and his son later pro-
lance in the mills quickly reduced the duced the first illustration of Ergot in
epidemics of St. Anthon y's fire. 1658. In 1676, the French ph ysician-
Even today, however, there are occa- botanist Dodart add ed much scientific
siona l outbreaks of epidemics in which kno wledge to the story of Er got . H e ad-
whole villages are affected. The most vised the French Academ y that the only
notorious recent attacks have occurred way to control plagues of ergotism was
in France and Belgium in 1953 and in to sift the rye to extract the Ergo t spores
the Ukraine and Ireland in 1929. There from it. But even as late as 1750, bota-
are suggestions th at the alleged out- nists still were uncertain how Ergo t
breaks of witchcraft in colonial N ew grew and why it was toxic. In 1711 and
England, especially in Salem, Massachu- again in 1761, learned bot anists accepted

.. ', :e:d)u~rdjrift
At.: . f''''bd ::- ....

:;:~; . : .. .. . ,' , .

.~ . al~ tijlcr .ollgcbfidjm Urfodjc

!:.-.-" \ . ' •
~:" . ber 'rogcntl.nn ten

stricD~(fr~ti{fbdt: .

;r~ ------~--
'.i.. (!}ottillgc n
?t.} lU4I\tm~td'
lin lUcrlolO tit mJilr;c lii f ,

t~·~;: . ,\
.-. .-...J
the view that the black spur was formed markable properties of the fungus . Above left: Persephone, the Queen of
by the germinating embryo, which cau- From that time on, Ergot was increas - the Dead, making an offering of shafts
sed a hypertrophied growth in place of ingly employed in medicine, although it of grain~ is enthroned beside herhus-
a normal caryopsis. Only in 1764 did was not- accepted in the Pharmacopoeia band, Hades, Lord of the Underworld.
Originally a goddess associatedwith
the German botanist von Miinchhausen unt il 1836.
grain, shewasabducted to the Under-
declare that Ergot was a fungal infec- It was not, how ever, until th e 1920s world by Hades, and her return from the
tion, but his opinion was not accepted th at the active prin cip les of Claviceps realm of the dead was connected with
until th e famous bot anist A. P. de Can- purpurea were kn ow n: ergotamine in symbolic rebirth experiencesin the
dolle proved it in 1815. A w idely ac- 1921; ergo novine in 1935. Subsequently, Eleusinian mysteries, wherethe wor-
claimed report of Ergot efficacy was a number of other related alkalo ids have shipers believed that the restoration of
published by Dr. J ohn Stearns in 1808. been discovered in the plant. Even the goddess to the upper world ensured
A few years later, a Massachusetts doc - though this dangerous infection of rye the faithful a resurrection. It is possible
tor, Prescott, gave a dissertation on the never had a major magico-religious role thattheseamazing events in Perse-
phone's life mighthavebeenlinked with
"natural history and medicinal effects" in European culture, it did earn a specia l
intoxication from Ergot, sinceGreek
of Ergot, wh ich, w hen publ ished in place as a plant having connections w ith sophistication in the chemical proper-
1813, called the attention of medical spiritual forces-a kind of malevolent ties of plants waswell developed.
science in the N ew Wo rld to th e re - plant of th e gods.
Aboveright: The title page of a German
book from 1771, Ergot: An AI/eged
Cause of theSo-celled St. Anthony's

29 Thorn Apple

Aboveleft: The Daturastramonium var. A beauti ful Zuni Ind ian legend tells of caused th e brother and sister to disap-
tatula is the most common in the Hima- the divine origin of Aneglakya, D atura pear int o the earth forever, Flowers
layas. It is easily recognized by the inn oxia, th eir most sacred plant: sprang up at the spo t where the two des-
violet color of the flower. "In th e olden tim e a boy and a girl, cended- flow ers exactly like th ose th at
brother and sister (the boy's name was th ey wore on each side of th eir heads
Above right: The sacred Thorn Apple
(Datura metel) is often found in the
A'ne glakya and th e girl's nam e A'n egla- when visitin g the earth. Th e Divine
Himalayas on altarsto the gods of the kyatsi'ts a), lived in th e int erior of the O nes called th e plant 'a 'neglakya' after
mountains (photo taken in Tukche, eart h, but they often came to th e outer th e boy's name. Th e original plant has
Nepal). wo rld and walked abo ut a great deal, man y children scattered over the earth ;
observing closely everything th ey saw so me of th e blossoms are tinged with
Belowright: A yellow-flowered Datura and heard and repeatin g all to th eir yellow, some with blue, some with red,
metelin full bloom. mother. Thi s con stant talking did not some are all white-the colors belon g-
please th e Divine Ones (twin sons of ing to the four cardinal points. "
th e Sun Father). On meetin g th e boy This and related species of Datura
and th e girl th e D ivine Ones asked,
' How are yo u ?' and the broth er and sis-
ter answered, 'We are happ y.' (Some-
tim es A'neglakya and A'n eglakyatsi'tsa
appeared on Earth as old peopl e.) Th ey
told th e Di vine Ones how th ey could
mak e one sleep and see ghosts, and
how they could make one walk abou t a
littl e and see one who had committe d
th eft. After this meeting the D ivine
O nes concluded th at A'n eglakya and
A'neglakyatsi'tsa knew too much and
that th ey should be banish ed for all tim e
from this wo rld; so the Di vine O nes

The Chemistry of Datura

The various species of Datura contain the same major alkaloids as related
solanaceous plants (Angel's Trumpet, Belladon na, Henbane, and Mandrake)
hyoscyamine and , in greatest concentration , scopolamine. Meteloidine is a
characteristic secondary alkaloid of D. mete!.

have long been emp loyed as sacred hal- one of the circumpolar stars and that Top: Traditional depiction of theThorn
lucinogens, espec ially in Mexico and the envoys to earth from this star carry a Appleon a Tibetan medicinal painting.
American Southwest, and have played flow er of the plant in their han d. Severa l
major ro les in na tive medicine and spec ies of Datura we re introduced into Above left: The hanging fruit of Datura
innoxia. The seeds that are chewed by
magico-religious rites . Their undoub ted China from In dia between th e Sung and
shamans to inducea clairvoyant trance
danger as potent narcotics, however, has M ing dynasties-that is, between A . D. are clearly visible.
never been cha llenged, even from ear- 960 and 1644- so they were not re-
liest times. co rded in earlier herbals. The herbalist Abovemiddle: Many species of Datura
In the O ld World, Datura has had a Li Shih-chen reported the medicinal haveplayed a vital medicinalandineb-
long history as a medicine and sacred uses of one of the species known as riant rolein Mexicosinceearlytimes.
hallucinogen, although the genus has Man-r'o-lo in 1596: the flowers and This pagefromthe"Badianus Manu-
apparently never enjoyed the ceremo- seeds were employed to treat eruptions script" (Codex Berberini Latina241,
nial role that it has had in the New on the face, and the plant w as prescribed Folio 29)depicts twospecies of Datura
and describestheirtherapeutic uses.
World. Early Sanskrit and Chinese internally for colds, nervous disorders,
Thisdocument of 1542 is thefirstherbal
writings mention Datura metel. It was and other problems. It was taken to- to be writtenin the NewWorld.
undoubtedly this species that the Ara- gether with Cannabis in wine as an an-
bian doctor Avicenna reported in the esthesia for minor surgical operations. Aboveright: A Datura flower is left as an
eleventh century und er the name [ou z- Its narcotic properties were known to offering on a Shiva Lingam at Pashupa-
mathal (" metel nu t"); this report was the Chinese, for Li Shih-cheri person- tinath(Nepal).
repeated in Dioscorides' writings. The ally experimented on himself and wrote:
name metel is taken from this Arabic "According to traditions, it is alleged
term, while the generic epithet Datura that w hen the flowers are picked for
was adapted to Latin by Linnaeus from use with wine while one is laughing,
the Sanskrit D hatura. In C hina, the th e wine wi ll cause one to produce
p lant was considered sacred: when Bud- lau ghi ng movements; and w hen the
dha was preach ing, heave n sprinkled the flow ers are pi cked while one is dancing,
plant with dew or raindrops. A Taoist th e w ine wi ll cause one to produce dan-
legend maintains that Datura metel is cing movements. [I have found out] tha t

Right: The typical fruit of the Dafura Below: It wasbelieved that when Bud-
metel. In Indiait is given to the god dha preached, dewar raindrops fell
Shivaas an offering. from heaven on Datura. This bronze
shrine fromthe Sui period of China de-
pictsAmitabha Buddha seated under
the jeweled trees of Paradise.

such movements will be produced when

one beco mes half-drunk wi th th e w ine
and someone else laughs or dances to
induce th ese actio ns."
In India, it was called tuft of Shiva, the
god of destruction. Dancing girls some-
tim es dru gged w ine with its seeds, and
whoever drank of the po tion, appearing
in possess ion of his senses, gave answers
to questions, although he had no contro l
of his will, was ignorant of whom he was
addressing, and lost all memory of what
he did w hen the intoxication wore off.
For this reason, many Indians called the
plant "drunka rd," " madman," " decei-
ver," and "foolmaker," The British
travele r Hardwicke found this plant
common in mounta in villages in India
in 1796 and reported that an infusion of
th e seeds was used to increase th e intox-
ication from alcoho lic drinks. During
the Sanskritic period, Indian medicine

valued D atura metel for trea ting menta l

disorders, various fevers, tumors, breast
infl ammations, skin diseases, and diar-
In other part s of Asia, D. me tel was
valued and similarly employe d in native
medicine and as an intoxicant. Even to-
day, seeds or powdered leaves of this
plant are often mixed with Cannabis or
Tobacco and smoked in Indochina. In

to induce visual hallucinations but also Page 108 bottom right: The opening
:,.'\, for a great variety of medicin al us es, blossomof a Datura innoxia. The
-~. :.:;.,~~ esp ecially when applied to th e bod y to Mayanscall it xtohk'uh, "toward the
..Jti.~ " l reli eve rh eum atic pains and to redu ce gods,"andstill use it for shamanicpur-
posessuch as divination andmedicinal
sw ellings. "
Writing sho rtly after the conquest of
Mexico, Hernandez mention ed its med- Aboveleft:A Datura fruit has been left
1578, its use as an aphrodisiac in th e icinal value but warned that excessive as an offering at theimage of Nandi,
East Indies was reported. From earliest use would drive patients to madness Shiva's sacred steer.
classical tim es, the dange rs of D atura with "various and vain imaginations."
w ere recognized. The En glish herbalist Neither its magico-religiou s nor its th er-
G erard believed th at D atura wa s th e apeutic use has diminished in M exico.
H ippomanes that the Greek w riter A mo ng th e Yaqui, for examp le, it is ta-
Theocritus mention ed as driving horses ken by women to lessen the pain of
mad. childbirth. It is considered so p ow erful
D atura stram onium var. [erox, a spe - that it can be handled only by "someo ne
cies now widely distributed in th e wa r- of aut ho rity." One ethnobotanist w ro te:
mer parts of both hem ispheres, has uses "My collecting th ese plants was often
almost identi cal with th ose of D. m ete!. accompanied with wa rn ings th at I
It is employed especially in parts of w ould go crazy and di e because I was
Africa. In Tanzani a, it is added to mistreatin g th em. Som e Indians refused
Pombe, a kind of beer, for its inebri atin g to talk to me for severa l days afterward."

~' :" :: "

LaunleaS<llueion! Canoeido par lastribus amazanicas

delAlta Ueayali. EI perlume CHAMICO Ie dO energio
,para hater el amor cLIO'nlas veces quieros yamarrar a
10 persona que quieros . . OUieres ser sensual? Usa este .
perlume . ~"" ." . ".' Unis~x ". "..
_~~;,''':;$ .~ ..r ·~b··: ,r' .". ~

effects. A com mo n medic alu se in Africa Toloache is rather widely added to mes- Bottom left: In northern India Datura
is smoking th e leaves to relieve asthm a cal, a distilled liqu or fro m Agave, or to fruit is threadedintogarlands and
and pulm onary pro blems. Tesguino, a fermented maize drink, as an offered to the Hindugod Shiva.
In th e N ew World, the Mex icans call added into xicant-" as a catalyst and to
Bottom right:The Curanderos (local
D atura Toloache, a mod ern version of induce a goo d feelin g and visions." healers)of northern Peruenjoy using a
the ancient Azte c Toloatzin (that is, Som e Mexicans prepare a fatty ointment perfume that is named Chamico (Thorn
"inclined head," in reference to its nod - containing seeds and leaves of Toloach e, Apple).
ding fruit). It was also kn own in the which is rubbed over the abdomen to in-
N ahuatl language as Tolohuaxihuitl duce visual hallucinati on s.
and Tl apatl. It was employed not only Amon g the Indians of th e Southw est,

Top left:The thorn-protected fruit of a
rarespecies of ThornApple.

Bottom left: The blossoms of the Thorn

Apple (Datura stramonium) open in the
evening, exude a delightful scent
throughout the night, and fadein the

Right:A purplevarietyof the Datura

metel, betterknown as Datura fastuosa.
In particular, this plantis usedin Africa
as an inebriant in initiation rites.

"I ate the thorn apple leaves D . innoxia has assumed extraordinary The Yuman tribes believe that the re-
And the leaves made me importance as a sacred element and is action of braves under the influence of
dizzy. the most widely used plant to induce Toloache may foretell their future.
hallucinations. The Zunis believe that These people use the plant to gain oc-
the plant belongs to the Rain Priest cult power. If birds sing to a man in a
I ate the thorn apple.leaves Fraternity and rain priests alone may Datura trance, he acquires the power
And the leaves made me collect its roots. These priests put the to cure.
dizzy. powdered root into their eyes to com- The Navajo take Datura for its vi-
mune with the Feathered Kingdom at sionary properties, valuing it for diag-
I ate the thorn apple flowers night, and they chew the roots to ask nosis, healing, and purely intoxicating
And the drink made me the dead to intercede with the spirits use. Navajo use is magic-oriented. Vi-
for rain . These priests further use D . in- sions induced by this drug are especially
noxia for its analgesic effects, to deaden valued, since they reveal certain animals
pain during simple operations, bone- possessing special significance. Upon
The hunter's bow remaining setting, and cleaning ulcerated wounds. learning from these visions the cause of
He overtook and killed me . The Yokut, who call the plant Tanayin, a disease, a chant may be prescribed. If a
take the drug only during the spring, man be repulsed in love by a girl, he
Cut and threw my horns since it is considered to be poisonous in seeks revenge by putting her saliva or
away, the summer; it is given to adolescent dust from her moccasins on a Datura,
boys and girls only once in a lifetime to then the singing of a chant will immedi-
The hunter, reed remaining. ensure a good and a long life. ately drive the girl mad .
Boys and girls of the Tubatulobal Datura stramonium is now believed
He overtook and killed me tribe drink Datura after puberty to to be native to eastern America, where
Cut and threw my feet away. "obtain life," and adults use it to obtain the Algonquins and other tribes may
visions. The roots are macerated and have employed it as a ceremonial hallu-
Now the flies become crazy soaked in water for ten hours; after cinogen. Indians of Virginia used a toxic
drinking large amounts of this liquor, medicine called wysoccan in initiatory
And drop with flapping
the youths fall into a stupor accompa- rites: the Huskanawing ceremony. The
wmgs. nied by hallucinations that may last up active ingredient was probably Datura
to twenty-four hours. If an animal-an stramonium. Youths were confined for
No drunken butterflies sit eagle, a hawk, for example-is seen dur- long periods, given "no other substance
With opening and shutting ing the visions, it becomes the child's but the infusion or decoction of some
wings." "pet" or spiritual mascot for life: if poisonous, intoxicating roots" and
"life" is seen, the child acquires a ghost. "they became stark, staring mad, in
-F. Russel The ghost is the ideal object to appear, which raving condition they were kept
Pima hunting song since it cannot die. Children never may eighteen or twenty days." During the
kill the animal "pet" that they see in ordeal, they "unlive their former lives"
their Datura vision, for these "pets" and begin manhood by losing all mem-
may visit during serious illness and ef- ory of ever having been boys .
fect a cure . There is in Mexico a curious species

Right: A magician of Kuma in northeast Left: The illustration from the early an infusion of Datura to relieve
Africa leadsentranced women in a ritual writings of Sahagun, the Spanish friar rheumatism. This use is still found
dance. The substancethattheyingest con- who wrote shortly after the conquest recommended in modern
sists of a secret mixture of many different of Mexico, pictures the utilization of pharmacopoeias.
plants, most of which are unknown. Evi-
dence suggests that Datura is among them.
The women are possessedby the spirits
who use them as their medium .

.. '~". '-,!II-
'''~>o. ' ..

of Datura, so distinct that a sepa rat e

sectio n of th e genus has been set up for
its classification. It is D. ceratocaula, a
flesh y plant with thick, forking stems
of bo gs, or gro wing in water. Know n as
Torna Loco (" madde ning plant"), it is
p owerfu lly narcot ic. In anci ent M exico,
it was considered "siste r of O loliuqui"
and was held in grea t veneration. Little
is kn own co ncern ing its use today for
hallucinogenic p ur poses.
T he effects of all spec ies are similar,
since their cons tituents are so mu ch
alike. Physiological activity begins w ith
a feeling of lassitu de and progre sses into
a p eriod of hallucination s foll ow ed by
deep sleep and loss of cons ciou sne ss. In
excess ive doses, death or permanent in-
sanity may occ ur. So potent is th e psy-
ch oactivity of all spec ies of D atura th at
it is pat entl y clear w hy peop les in indi-
geno us cultures aro u nd the wo rld have
classed th em as plants of the gods.


Page 113 top: Dried Iboga roots. "Zame ye Mebege [the last of the crea- open the head," thus inducing a contact
tor gods] gave us Eb oka. O ne day .. . he with th e ancesto rs through collapse and
Page 113 middleleft: Old wooden fetish saw . . . the Pygmy Bitamu, high in an hallucin ations."
objects of the Fang, who were once Atanga tree, gatherin g its fruit. H e made The dru g has far-reaching social in-
associated withan Ibogacult. him fall. He died, and Zame brou ght his fluence. Accordi ng to the natives, th e
spirit to him . Zame cut off th e little fin - initi ate cann ot ent er the cult until he
Page 113middle right: The conspicu-
ous brightyellow fruitsof the Iboga.
gers and the little to es of the cadaver of has seen Bwiti, and the only way to see
the Pygmy and planted th em in vari ous Bwiti is to eat Ib oga. The compl ex cere-
parts of the forest . The y grew int o the moni es and trib al dances associat ed
Eboka bus h." with con sumption of Iboga vary greatly

Left:The rootsof the Iboga bushare ri- One of the few members of the Apo- from locality to locality. Ib oga ent ers
tuallyeaten by the Bwiticult in order to cynac eae utilized as a hallucinogen, this also other aspects of Bwiti's cont rol of
call forth the ancestors. shru b att ains a height of 4 to 6 feet (1.5- events. Sorce rers tak e the dru g to seek
2 m). Its yellow ish ro ot is th e active part informat ion fro m th e spirit wo rld, and
Right: Iboga, necessary for rituals, is
of th e plant, containin g th e psychoac- leaders of the cult may consume Ib oga
grown at the temple of the Bwiti cult.
tive alkaloids. Th e root bark is rasped for a full day befor e asking advice from
and eaten directly as raspin gs or as a ancestors .
powder or is drunk as an infusion . Iboga is intimately associated with
Ib oga is basic to the Bwit i cult and death : th e plant is freq uently anthro po-
other secret societi es in Gabon and morphi zed as a supernatural being, a
Zaire. The drug is taken in two w ays: "generic ancestor," which can so highly
regularly in limited doses before and in value or despise an individual that it can
th e early part of the ceremonies, fol- carr y him away to the realm of the dead.
lowed after midni ght by a smaller There are sometimes deaths from th e
dos e; and once or twic e during the in- excessive doses taken during initiations,
itiati on to the cult in excessive do ses of but the int oxication usually so interferes
one to three basketfuls over an eight- with motor activit y that the initiates
to twent y-four-hour period, to "break must sit gazing int ently into space,

eventually collapsing and having to be
carried to a special house or for est hide-
out. Durin g this almo st com atos e p eri- The Chemistry of Iboga
od , the "shadow" (soul ) leaves th e body
to wander with the ancestors in the land As with other hallucinogens, especially Teonanacatl (Psilocybe spp.) and
of the dead. The banzie (angels)- the Ololiuqui, the active principles of Tabernanthe iboga belong to the large class
initi ates-relate their visions as follows : of indole alkaloids. Ibogaine , which can be produced synthetically, is the main
"A dead relative came to me in my sleep alkaloid of T. iboga. Its hallucinogenic effects are accompanied by strong sti-
and told me to eat it"; "I was sick and mulation of the central nervous system.
was counseled to eat Ib oga to cure

Addiction Therapy with Ibogaine

Iboga roots contain an alkaloid known as ibogaine. This substance was first
introduced in the 1960s by the Chilean psychiatrist Claudio Naranjo as a
myself"; "I wanted to know G od-to ''fantasy-enhancing drug" for psychotherapy. Today, ibogaine is in the spot-
kn ow things of the dead and the land light of neuropsychological research , which has shown that the alkaloid can
beyond"; "I walked or flew over a lon g, ease drug addiction (to such drugs as heroin and cocaine) and make way for
multicolored road or over many rivers a cure. Ibogaine calms the motor activity that is present when under the influ-
w hich led me to my ancesto rs, who th en ence of an opiate . The chiropractor Karl Naeher says that "Ibogaine, when
took me to th e great gods." taken in one high dose by an opiate addict , drastically reduces withdrawal
Iboga may act as a po werful stimu- symptoms and, at the same time, causes a 'trip' that reveals such deep in-
lant, enabling the partaker to maintain sights into the personal causes of the addiction that the majority of those who
extraordinary physical exertion witho ut unde rgo this type of therapy can go for months without a relapse. But several
fatigue over a lon g period. The bod y additional sessions are required before a lasting stabilization is evident."
may feel light er, and levitation-a feel- Research into the potential use of ibogaine as a treatment for substance
ing of floating-is often experienced. abuse is being carried out by Deborah Mash and her team in Miami.
Spectrums or rainbowlike effects are
seen in surrounding objects, indi cation s
to the banzie that the ini tiate is ap -
proaching the realms of the ancesto rs
and of th e gods. Time perception is al-
tered; time is length ened, and initi ates

/ 'age 115top: The seeds of the Iboga feel that their spiritual trip has taken . ".:,

hush can germinate only under particu- many hou rs or even day s. The bod y is
1:lr conditions. They themselves contain seen as detached: one user reported,
110 activecompounds.
"H ere I am, and th ere is my bod y going
through its actio n." Large doses indu ce
Page 115right: Music plays a central
role in the Switi cult.The harp player
auditory, olfacto ry, and gustato ry syn -
not onlyallowsthe strings to resonate, esthes ia. Mood may var y greatly fro m
but also sings liturgies in which the fear to eup horia.
cosm ology and worldviewof the tribe
are expressed.
An En glishm an writing on Gabon
menti on ed "Ero ga " under "fetish plants" f~ - ~.~~:;- al
as early as 1819. De scribing it as a L:::---- '--- J
Top left: The typical leaves of the Iboga "favori te bu t violent medicin e," he
bush. undou bt edly saw it powd ered and as-
sumed th at it rep resente d a charred description of th e exper iences of an in-
Top right:A herbariumspecimen of
fungus. French and Belgian explorers itiate un der high do sage of th e drug:
Tabernantheibogain a comparative
botanical collection. encounte red thi s remarkable drug and "Soo n all his sinews str etch out in an
the cults usin g it a lit tle over a century extraordinary fashi on . An epileptic
ago. Th ey sta ted that th e drug greatly madnes s seizes him, during which, un -
increased mu scular strength and endur- con sciou s, he mouths words which,
ance and tha t it had aphro disiac prop er- w hen heard by th e initiated on es, have
ties. An early repo rt , in 1864, insisted a prophe tic meanin g and prove that the
tha t Ib oga is not tox ic except in high fetish has entered him."
doses, th at "warri ors and hunters use it Other plant s of reputed narc oti c
constantly to keep th emselves awake properties are involved in the Iboga

A/JOve left and right: During the initiation during night watches ... " In the 1880s, cults, so metimes used alone, so metimes
ril(l[; of the Switi cult, the novices ingest th e G ermans met it in Ca mer oon as ad mixtures wi th Tabernantbe iboga
extremely highdoses of the Iboga root (northern Gabon), and in 1898 it was itself. Cann abis sativa-known as Yama
in order to attain contact with the an-
reported that th e root had an "exciting or Beyama-may often be smoked fol-
cestors during the powerfulritual.
effect on the nervou s system so th at its lowing ingestion of small doses of Ibo-
use is highly valued on lon g, tiring gao In Ga bon, Cannabis resin may on
marche s, on len gth y canoe voyages, occasion be eaten w ith Iboga. Alan, the
and on diffi cult night wa tches." eupho rbiaceous A lchomea f/ oribunda,
The earliest report of its hallucino- is often con sumed in large amounts to
genic effects dates from 1903, with th e help produce th e collapse experienced

in Bw iti initi ations; in southe rn Ga bon ,
it is mixed with Iboga. A nothe r eu phor-
bia ceou s plant- Ayan-beyem or Elaeo-
pho rbia dmpifera-m'J.Y be taken dur-
ing Bw iti initi ations, w hen A lan is slow
to take effect; the latex is appli ed di -
rectly to the eyes with a parrot feather,
a~f~c ti n g the op tical ne rve and induc ing
T he Bw iti cult has been growing in
numb er of conve rts and in socia l
stre ngth, not waning , in recent decades.
It repr esents a stro ng native element in a
cha ngi ng soc iety being rapidly engulfed
in fo reig n cultural influ ences. They co n-
side r that the drug and its asso ciated
cul ts en able th em mor e easily to resist
the vert iginous transitio n fro~ the ind i-
vidualism of trad itional tribal life to th e
collec tivism and loss of ident ity in th e
enc roaching Western civilization. It
may we ll offe r the stronges t single force
against the missionary sp read of Chris-
tian ity and Islam, since it un ifies ma ny
of th e once hostile, wa rring tribes in re-
sista nce to European inno vatio ns. As
one ini tiate state d: "Catho licism and
Protestantism is no t our religio n. I am
'n ot hap py in the missio n churc hes ."
T he cultural impo rta nce of the dru g is
everywhere seen. The name Iboga is
used for the w ho le Bwit i cult; ndzi-
eboka (" eater of Ib oga" ) means a mem -
ber of the cult; nyiba-eboka signifies the
religion surro unding the narcot ic plant.
Iboga in every sense of the term is in -
deed a plant of th e gods. It appears to be
here to stav in the native cultures of
wes t-centra! Africa.


In the beginning, the Sun created various center of use of this snuff is and prob-
beings to serve as intermediaries between ably always has been the Orinoco. T he
Him and Earth. He created hallucino- West Indian tribes are thought to have
genic snuff powder so that man could been, in the main, invaders from north-
contact supernatural beings. The Sun ern South America. It is very pr obable
had kept this powder in His navel, but that the custom of snuffing the drug, as
the Daughter of the Sun found it. Thus well as the tree itself, was introduced by
it became available to man-a vegetal invaders from the Orinoco area .
product acquired directly from the gods. It is now suspected th at Yopo was

Left: The beans of the Yopo Tree (Ana- As far back as 1496, an early Spanish
denanthera peregrina) are used by report me ntioned that the Tain o of H is-
many Indians as a shamanic snuff paniola in ha led a powder called Cohoba
(specimen collected in Guyana). to communicate with the spirit world. It
was so strong that those who took it lost
Right: Baron Alexandervon Humboldt
consciousness; when the stupefying ac-
carefully explored the floraof the Orino- tion began to wane, the arms and legs
co River, the frontier between Colombia became loose and the head nodded, and
andVenezuela , andwhiletherethey almost immediately they believed that
encountered the preparation and use of they saw the room turn ups ide-down so
Yoposnuffin 1801. that men were walking with th eir heads
downw ard . M ainly beca use of the dis-
appearance of aboriginal peoples in the
West Indies, this snuff is no longer em - used much more widely in earlier peri-
ployed anywhere in the Antilles. ods . There is evidence that in pre-
In 1916, ethnobotanical research Hispanic times, this snuff was used by
established the identity of this Coho- Chibchan tribes from the Colombian
ba-quite generally until then thought Andes east across the llanos, or plains,
to have been a very potent kind of To - to the upper Orinoco.
bacco snuff-with the hall ucinogenic In 1560 a missionary in the Colom -
snuff of the Orinoco called Yopo and bian llanos wrote that the Indians along
derived from the beans of Anade- the Rio Guaviare "are accustomed to
nanthera peregrina, bett er kn ow n in the take Yopa and Tobacco, and the former
literature as Piptadenia peregrina. The is a seed or pip of a tree .. . they become

Belowleft: The finely pinnate leaves of Right: In theopengrasslands, or earn- Below right:Over 125 yearsago, the
the Yopo tree are important for identifi- pas,of the northern Amazon of Brazil, English explorer Richard Spruce col-
cation, butcontain no active properties. Anadenanthera growsprofusely. The lected on the Orinoco theseartifacts
tree bears long podswith usuallysix to associated with the preparation and
twelve seeds, which are the source of useof Yopo snuff. They arestill pre-
the hallucinogenic snuff. servedin the museum at the Royal
Botanic Gardens, Kew.

drowsy w hile th e devil, in their dre ams,

shows them all th e van ities and corrup-
tions he wis hes them to see and which
they take to be true revelations in which
they believe, even if to ld they w ill die.
This habit of takin g Yopa and Tob acco
is general in the New Kin gdom. " An-
other chro nicler wrote in 1599: "T hey
chew H ayo or Coca and Jop a and

The Chemistry of Yopo

The active principles of Anadenanthera peregrina belong to both open-
Tob acco . .. going out of the ir minds, chained and ringed tryptamine derivatives and, therefore, to the important
and then the devil speaks to them ... class of indole alkaloids. Tryptamine is also the basic compound of the amino
Jopa is a tree wi th sma ll po ds like th ose acid tryptophane , widely distributed in the Animal Kingdom. Dimethyltrypta-
of vetches, and the seeds inside are simi- mine (DMT) and 5-hydroxydimethyltryptamine (bufotenine) are representa-
lar bu t smaller." Yopo was so important tives of the open-chained Anadenanthera tryptam ines. Bufotenine has also
in pre-Conquest Colombia that Indians been found in the skin secretion of a toad (Buto sp.)-hence its name. Ringed
of th e highlands, where th e tree w ill not tryptamine derivatives found in Anadenanthera are 2-methyl- and 1,2-di-
grow, traded the drug up from th e tro- methyl-6 7methoxytetrahyd ro- ~-carboline .

pi cal lowl and s: th e Muisca of th e

C olombian Andes, according to an
early Spanish historian, used the snu ff:
"Jop: herb of divination, used by th e
mojas or sun-priests in Tunja and Bogo-
ta." The M uisca "will not travel nor
wage war nor do any other thin g of im-
portance without learn ing beforehand
w hat will be the outcome, or this th ey
try to ascertain with two her bs which
they consu me, called Yop and Osca .. ."
Yop o snuff may sorn etim esvas among
the Guahibo, be taken daily as a stimu-
lant. But it is mo re commo nly employed
by payes (shama ns) to induce trances
and visions and communicate with th e

Drawings right (pages 118-19):
Countless artifacts relatedto the ritual
use of snuff have been discoveredin
archaeological digs in the Caribbean
and in South America (for example,
Haiti, CostaRica,Colombia, and

Photo sequencepages 118-19: H eku la spirits; to p rophesy or divin e; to

Undoubtedlythe mostintense use of protect the tribe against epidemics of
Yopo snuff prepared from Anade- sick ness; to make hu nt ers and even th eir
nanthera peregrina is found among the dogs mo re alert. There has been a long
variousgroups of Waikciliving in
and complicated con fu sion betw een the
southernmost Venezuela andadjacent
parts of northernmost Brazil. These
hallucino genic snuff prepared from
peoples consume enormous amounts A nadenanthera and that from Virola
of the hallucinogenic powder, blowing it and other plants. Consequ entl y, th e nu -
forcefully into the nostrils throughlong merous distribution maps in ant hro p o-
tubes made fromthe stems of logical literature showing immense
maranthaceous plants. areas of Sou th American using Anade-
Before snuffing Yopo, the Waikci sha- nanthera-derived snuff must be used
mans gather andchant, invoking the with due caution.
Hekula spirits with whom theywill be
In 1741, the Jesuit missi onary Gumil-
communicating during the ensuing
la, who wrote extensively on the geo -
The snuffacts rapidly, causing first a graphy of the Orinoco, described the
profuse flowof mucus fromthe nasal use of Yopo by the Otomac: "T hey have
passages and occasionallya notable another abominable habit of intoxicat-
quiveringof the muscles,especially in ing themselves through the nostrils w ith
thearms, and a contorted expression certain malignant po wders which they
on the face. call Yupa which quite takes aw ay the ir
This period quickly giveswayto one reason , and they w ill furiously take up
in which the shamans begin to prance,
arms . .. " Following a descripti on of the
gesticulating and shrieking violently,
calling on the Hekula.
preparation of the snuff and a custom of
The expenditure of energylastsfrom adding lime from snail sh ells, he re-
half an hour to an hour; eventually, fully ported that "before a battle, the y w ould
spent, theyfall intoa trancelike stupor, throw themselves into a frenzy w ith
during which visions are experienced. Yupa, w ound themselves and, full of
blood and rage, go forth to battle like
rabid jaguars."
The first scientific report of Yopo w as
made by the explorer Baron von Hum-
boldt , who botanically identified the
source and reported that the Ma ypure
Indians of the Orinoco, where he wi t-
nessed the preparation of the drug in

1801, broke th e lon g pod s, mo iste ned of herons or other long-shanked birds
th em, and allowed th em to ferment; put togethe r in the shape of th e letter Y
w he n they turned black, the softened
beans were kneaded into cakes with cas- A contemporary observer described
sava flour and lime from snails. These the effects of Yopo sn uffing as follows:
cakes were crushed to · make snuff. "His eyes started from his head, his
H u m bo ldt, qu ite erroneous ly, believed mouth cont racted, his limbs tr embled.
tha t" it is not to be believed that the .. . It was fea rful to see him. He was ob -
pods are the chief cause of the .. . effects liged to sit down or he would have fall-
of the snuff . .. These effects are due to en. He was drunk but only for about
the fresh ly calcine d lime." five minutes; he was th en gayer."
Later, Sp ruce offered an ext reme ly T he re is appreciable variatio n from
detailed report on the preparatio n and tribe to trib e and fro m one area to an-
use of Yopo among the Guahibo of the other in the preparation of Yopo. T he
Orinoco. He collected a complete set of seeds are usually toasted and pulver-
ethnographic material connected wi th ized. Lime from snails or the ashes of
the su bstance, and seeds that he col - certa in plants are normally adde d, but
lected for chem ical study in 1851 were so me Indians use th e snuff witho ut thi s
che mically analyzed on ly in 1977. alka line admix ture. It appears th at ot her
"A wandering horde of Guahibo In - plant admixtures are never employed
dians . .. was encamped on the savannas w ith Anadenanthera snuff.
of Maypures, and on a visit to their Anadenanthera peregrina occurs na-
camp I saw an old man grinding Ni op o turally and sometimes app arently culti-
seeds , and purchased of him his appara- vated in the plains or grass land areas of
tu s for making and taki ng the snuff . .. th e O rinoco basin of Colombia and Ve-
T he seeds , being firs t roas ted, are pow- nezuela, in light fo rests in southern
dered on a wooden platt er .. . It is hel d Bri tish Guyana, and in th e Rio Branc o
on th e kne es by a br oad thin handle, are a of the northern Amaz onia of Bra-
w hich is gras ped in th e left hand, w hile zil. It may oc cur also in isolated savanna
th e fingers of the right hold a sm all spa- areas in th e Ri o Me deira reg ion. W hen it
tula or pes tle with which th e seeds is fo und elsew he re, it may p ro bably
are crushed The snuff is kept in a have bee n introduced by Indi ans. T here
mull made of a bit of th e leg-b one of is evide nce that, a centu ry ago , it was
th e jaguar . .. Fo r taking th e snuff, th ey cultivated in more localities outs id e of
use an apparatus made of the leg bo nes its natural range th an at p resent.


Above fromleftto right: The Matacouse In the Atacama Desert of northern bowls of the pipe still contain Cebil
a decoction of fresh (stillgreen) Cebil Chile there is an oasis called San Pedro seeds. The psychoactive use seems in
podsas a head wash for headaches. de Atacama. The art histo rian and ar- particular to have influ enced the culture
Cebil, the "Seeds of Civilization" chaeo logist C. Manuel Torres excava ted of Tiahuanaco (literally, "City of the
(seeds of the Anadenanthera colubri-
and studied over six hundred prehisto- Gods"). T he Tiahuanaco culture is the
na). Bufotenine is the main activecon-
ric graves there. The results were aston- "mother" of Andean civilizations. All
ishing. Nearly every interred person subsequent high cultures of the region
The ripeseedpods of the Cebil tree was accompanied for the last journey have been influenced by it.
(Anadenanthera colubrina var. cebil) by num erou s tools dedicated to th e ri- Ma ny examp les of pre-Columbian
collect underneath the leaf canopy. tua l sniffing of Cebil, snuff paraphernalia (snuff tablets, snuff
The knottybarkof the ArgentinianCebil The name Cebil designates a tree pipes) disp laying the iconography of the
tree (Anadenanthera colubrina bvar. (Anadenanthera colubrina) as well as Tiahuanaco culture have been found in
cebi~ .
its seeds, which can indu ce a strong psy- Pu na and the Atacama Desert. They ap-
choactive effect. pear to be significantly inspired by the
Page 121:The Cebil tree (Anade-
nan/hera colubrina var. cebil) with ripe
In the Puna region of northwest Ar- visio ns of the Ceb il seeds .
seedpods. gentina is the oldest archaeological The use of Cebil as a snuff powder in
proof of the ritual or shamanic use of the southern Andean region is first
Cebil. They have been smoked there mentioned in 1580 by the Spanis h
for ove r 4,500 yea rs. Num erou s cera mic chronicler Cristobal de Albornoz in his
pipes have been discovered in certain work Relacion. A psychoactive su b-
caves of this region. Occasionally the stance cited in sources from colonial
times called Villca is possibly identical
to Cebil ,
The Chemistry of Anadenanthera colubrina The shamans of the Wichi (Mataco
Indians) of northw est Ar gentina still
Some varieties of Cebil seed contain exclusively bufotenin (C12H160N 2) as use a snuff made of Cebil today. The
the psychoac tive ingredient. In tests of other seeds , 5-MeO-MMT, DMT, DMT- shamans of the Mataco smoke the
N-oxide , bufotenin, and 5-0H-DMT-N-oxide were found. Old tests of the dried or roasted seeds, preferably in a
seeds contained 15 mg/g of bufotenin . pipe or rolled in a cigare tte . The Cebfl
In the dried seeds from the trees of northeast Argentina (Salta), the re has seeds are .for them a means to ente r
been found mostly bufotenin (more than 4 %), and a related substance (per- and influence ano ther reality. Cebil is,
haps serotonin) , but othe rwise no other tryp tamines or alkaloids. In tests of in a ma nner of speaking, a gateway to
other seeds taken from the garden of a Mataco shaman , 12 % bufoten in con- a visionary world; this is how the sha-
tent was found. The ripe pods of the fruit also contain some bufoten in. man Fortunato Rufz expresses it. He
smokes th e seeds with to bacco and Ar-
omo-just as his ancestors did five
thousand years ago . This makes the

Below: The German artist Nana Nauwald de- Right: Recently it was reported thatthe Mataco
picted her experience with Cebfl seeds in a in northern Argentina smoke and sniff Anade-

painting in 1996. The picture bears the title nanthera colubrina. With this, the Spaniards'
"Nothing is separate from me" and showsthe assumption, that the snuffsCebfl andVillca are

.;"~,~;*?-= ~
.. ~~r:"..~.~...--..,.~.~
typical"worm-like" visions. made from this plant, is confirmed.

.,.- __~ - • c." ... .~ ~

.~ .~~.-_:..
northwest of Ar gentina the place with
the longest uninterrupted ritu alistic or
What Was Villca? sham anic use of psychoactive sub -
stances in the world.
In the colonial literature of New Spain , there are.numerous references to the As som e Matacos have converte d to
psychoactive use of certain seeds or fruits that were known variously as Christianity in recent years, th ey have
Huilca Huillca, Vilca, Vilcas, Villca, WiI'ka, Willca , or Willka. The ethnohistor i- come to identify Ce bil with the biblical
cally documented vil/ca (fruit) is today known as the seed of Anedenenmere Tree of Knowledge. But th ey do not see
colubrina . Villca was of great ritual and religious significance in Peru in the Ce bil as a "forbidden fruit"; rath er, they
time before the arrival of the Spaniards, and was known to the Incan high see it as th e frui t of a holy tree, which is
priests and soothsayers (umu) as Vil/ca or Villca cemeyo. A holy Indian relic used by shama ns for healing.
(huaca) was known as Vil/ca or Vilcacona and an especially holy mountain is The hallucinations triggered by C ebfl
known as Villca Coto. On the peak of Villca Coto, it is said that a couple of seem to have been very influential in
humans saved themselves during the primeval deluge. the icono graphy of the so-called Tia-
Villca seeds had a ceremonial significance for the Incas as a psychoactive huanaco Style. The iconograph y of ar-
subsitute for beer. The "juice" of Villca was added to a fermented corn bev- tist Chavin de Huantar is full of similar
erage and taken by the soothsayer, who would then be able to look into the motifs: intertwined snakes comin g out
future. of the head of the oracle god are clearly
Villca was also the name for enemas , which were used for medicinal or Ce bil hallucinations.
shamanic purposes. The vision-inducing effects of C ebil
snuff last for roughly twenty minutes
and include strong hallucinations,
which are oft en only black and white,
and seldom in color. The y are not (or
are on ly very rarely) geometric in nat -
ure, but are strongly flowing and "d e-
centralized ." They are very reminiscent
of the images produced by th e pre -
Colum bian Tiahuanaco culture .
C ebil seeds also have psychoactive ef-
fects if th ey are smo ked. The effects are
very strong for about thirty minutes and
th en fade away. The effects begin with a
feeling of heaviness in the body. After
five to ten minutes, visual hallucinations
begin with the eyes closed, often featur-
ing worm- and snakelike images flowing
into one another. Sometimes geometric,
symmetrical, or crystallographic hallu-
cinati ons can occur, but very seldom are
th ere any stro ng visions of a realistic
nature (such as the experience of flyin g,
traveling in another world, transforming
into an animal, cont act with helping
spirit s, and so on).

Far left: Pre-Columbian snuff tools from
a graveat San Pedro de Atacam a.

Left: Pre-Columbian snuff vessel made

from a carvedbone (San Pedro de
Atacama, Chile).

Above: The northwestArgentinian

region of Puna is the area in which the
longest continued useof visionary and
shamanic plantscan be proved. In this
regionthe Cebfl seedshave been
smokedor sniffed for 4,500years for
healing ceremonies.

Lett: The painting(oil on canvas, 1996)

by the Columbian-American artist
Donna Torres shows the study of an
ethnobotanist whois researching
Anadenanthera colubrina.

80 Chacruna OF THE AMAZON
68 Syrian Rue


Ther e is a m agic intoxic ant in northw es- of th e Marant haceae; the arnaranthac-
ternmo st South America that t he In- eous Alternan tbera lebrnannii and a sp e-
di ans believe can fr ee the so ul from cies of I resin e; several fern s including
corporea l co nfin ement, allow ing it to Lygodium u enusturn and L om anopsis
wande r free and return to the bo dy at [apurensis; Pbrygylantbus eugenioldes
wi ll. The so ul , t hu s untrammeled , liber- of the M iste ltoe fam ily; th e Ame rican
ates it s ow ner from th e reali ties of Basil Ocimum micrantbum; a sp ecies of
every d ay life and introduces h im to the sed ge gen us Cypeius; several ca cti
wondrous real ms of w hat he consid ers incl uding species of Opuntia and Epi-
rea lity and p ermits him to co mmu ni cat e pbyllum; an d m emb ers of the families
w ith his ancestors. The Quechu a term C lus iaceae and Guttiferae.
fo r this in ebriating drink-Ayahuasca Th e natives often have sp ecial names
(" vine of the sou l")-refers to th is fr ee- for diverse "kinds" of Ayahuasca, al-
ing of th e sp irit . T he p lants involve d are though the botan ist frequently finds
truly p lants of t he gods, fo r their power them all representative of the sam e spe -
is laid to sup ern atu ral forces res id in g in cies. It is usually difficult to understand
their tiss ues , and t hey were d ivine gifts the aboriginal m eth od of clas sifi cation;
to th e earli est Indian s on earth . so me ma y be age fo rms ; othe rs ma y com e
Ayahuasca has m an y native names: fr om differe nt parts of the liana; still
C aapi, D apa, M ihi , Ka h i, N aterna, o thers may be eco logical forms growing
Pinde, Yaje. The drink, emp lo yed fo r under vary ing conditions of so il, sha de,
p ro p hecy, div ina tio n, so rce ry, and m ed- moisture , and so on. The natives assert
ical purposes, is so d eepl y ro oted in na - that the se "kinds" have a va riety of ef-
tive mythology and philosoph y that fects , and it is conceivable th at they ma y
t here can be no doubt of its great age as actually have di fferen t chemical co mp o-
a pa rt of abo riginal life. sitio ns. This possibility is one of th e least
Tw o closel y related sp ecies of th e investi gat ed ye t m o st sig nifica nt aspe cts
mal pighiaceou s ge nus Banisteriopsis- in the study of Aya hua sca .
B. caapi and B. inebrians- are the most A mong the Tukano of the Colombia
im portant pl ants u sed in prep aring Aya- Vau pe s, fo r example, six "kinds" of
huasca. But other sp ecies ar e ap pa re ntly Ayahuas ca or K ahi ar e recogni z ed. Bo-
used locally o n oc cas io n : B. quitensis; ta nical id entificati on h as not yet been
Mascagnia glandu lifera, M. psilopbylla possible in all cases, but t he "kinds"
va r. antiiebrills; Tetrap ten s rn etlrystica have defin ite native nam es. Kahi-riarna,
and T mucronata. All of th ese plants th e st ro n gest, produ ces audito ry hallu -
are large forest liana s of the sa me fami ly. cinations an d announces future eve nts .
Banisteriopsis caapi and B. inebrians are It is said to caus e death if improperly
fre quently cultivated in o rde r to have a employed. T he second strongest, Me -
su p ply close at hand for use. ne- kahi-rna, reputed ly causes visions of
Many plants of diver se famili es are of- gre en snakes. The bark is used, an d it is
ten added to t he ba sic d rin k to alter t he also said to cause d eath, u nl ess cau-
intoxicating effects . The most com - tious ly taken. These two "kinds" n~ ay
m only used ad m ixtu res are leaves of not be lo ng to Banisteriopsis or even to
Diplopte rys cabreran a and of the rubiac- th e fam ily M alpi gh iaceae.
eo us Psycbotria cartbaginensis o r P. vi r- The thi rd in strength is call ed Su ana-
idis. O ther known psy ch o act ive p lants, Ka hi-rna (" K ahf of the red jaguar"),
suc h as Brugm ansia suaueolens, Brun- p ro ducing .visio ns in red. K ahf-vai
fe lsia cbiricaspi, and B. grandijlora, ma y Bucura-rij orna (" Kahf of the m onkey
also be added. A mong the m an y p lants head") causes m o nkeys to hall ucinate
emp lo ye d are To bacco; Malouetia and howl. The w eakest of the hallucino-
tamaquarina and a spe ci es o f Tabe rnae - gen ic "kinds" of Kahi or Ajiiwri-kahi-ma
montana of the A pocynaceae; th e ac an- has littl e effec t but is used in th e d rink
t haceous Teltostacbya lanccolata va r, to hel p the Menc-Kahi - rna. A ll of these
crispa or Toe negra; Ca lathea -oeitchian a "kinds" are referable prob ably to Banis-


Top: The Chacrunashrub (Psychotria

viridis) is the second most important
ingredient in the Ayahuasca drink.

Aboveright: The shoots of the Aya-

huasca Iiana.

Left: A Shipibo Indian with an

Ayah uasca liana that he has cultivated
in his garden.

Page 124 above: The Ayahuasca liana

(Banisteriopsis caapi) is a powerful and
vigorously growing tropical vine.

Page 124below: The pieces of

branch are the baseof theAyahuasca

"Ayahuasca, medicine, enrapture me fully!
Help me by opening your beautiful world to me!
You also are created by the god who created man!
Reveal to me completely your medicine worlds. I shall heal the sick bodies:
These sick children and this sick woman shall I heal by making everything good!"
-Ayahuasca Song of the Shipibo

Above left:The British plantexplorer teriopsis caapi. Kahi-somoma or Kahi- state . Frequently the Indian sees over-
Spruce collected the first bota~ ical spe- uco ("Kahi that makes you vomit"), a , powering attacks of huge snakes or ja-
cimens of Banisteriopsis caapiin 1851 . shrub, the leaves of which are added to guars . These animals often humiliate him
Hesentmaterial from thesame plantfor the drink, an emetic agent, is undoubt- because he is a mere man . The rep etitive-
chemical analysis. The material waslo- ness with which snakes and jaguars occur
edly Diplopterys cabrerana, the same
cated in the Museum at the Royal Bota-
plant known among the western Tu- in Ayahuasca visions has intrigued psy-
nicGardens at Kew in 1969.
kanoan Siona of the Colombian Putu- chologists. It is understandable that these
Above right: Among the koran of Co- mayo as Oco-yaje. animals play such a role, since the y are the
lombia andEcuador, special medicine Although not so famous as Peyote or only beings respected and feared by the
men prepare Curare andYaje. Thereis the sacred Mexican mushrooms, Aya- Indians of the tropical forest; because of
an association between thesetwo plant huasca has received popular attention their power and stealth, they have as-
products, andYaje is taken before hunt- because of news articles extolling the sumed a place of primacy in aboriginal
ingin thebeliefthat thevisions will re- so-called telepathic powers of the drink. religious beliefs. In many tribes, the sha-
veal the hiding places of theanimals to man becomes a feline during the intoxica-
In fact, in the chemical investigation of
be sought.
Banisteriopsis, the first alkaloid isolated tion, exercising his powers as a wild cat.
Farright: Tomake Ayahuasca or Caapi, was named telepatbine. Yekwana medicine men mimic the roars
thefreshly stripped barkmustbe vigor- The hallucinogen may be prepared in of jaguars. Tukano Ayahuasca-takers
ouslypounded before being boiled in diverse ways. Usually, bark is scraped may experience nightmares of jaguar jaws
wateror kneaded thoroughly in cold from freshly harvested pieces of the swallowing them or huge snakes ap-
water. stem. In the western areas, the bark is proaching and coiling about their bodies.
boiled for several hours, and the bitter, Snakes in bright colors climb up and
Page 127left: Thenumerous Tukanoan thick liquid is taken in small doses . In down the house posts. Shamans of the
tribes of the Vaupes River basin in Co- Conibo-Shipibo tribe acquire great
other localities, the bark is pulverized
lombia andBrazil practice a male-
and then kneaded in cold water; much snakes as personal possessions to defend
oriented ancestor ceremony. The
Yuruparf dance, in which Caapi is a larger doses must be taken, since it is themselves in supernatural battles against
majorelement, enables the participants less concentrated. other powerful shamans.
to communicate withspirits of the dead. The effects of the drink vary accord- The drug may be the shaman's tool to
ing to the method of preparation, the diagnose illness or to ward off impend-
Page 127right: Linedancing with intri- setting in which it is taken, the amount ing disaster, to guess the wiles of an en-
catesteps and gourd rattles accompa- ingested, the number and kinds of ad- emy, to prophesy the future. But it is
nying chants is typical of Barasana mixtures, and the purposes for which it more than the shaman's tool. It enters
ceremonies in which Caapi is taken,
is used, as well as the ceremonial control into almost all aspects of the life of the
Piraparana River.
exercised by the shaman. people who use it, to an extent equaled
Ingestion of Ayahuasca usually in- by hardly any other hallucinogen. Par-
duces nausea, dizziness, vomiting, and takers, shamans or not, see all the gods,
leads to either a euphoric or an aggressi ve the first human beings, and animals, and

.-- ..:.- -~.-. =--~ -:-

~ .•, "-
,,~, .f. ;
-..--:-::-.- -
. - . ,;i§~';:' =: _.--',;.

come to understand the estab lishment The Chemistry of Ayahuasca

of thei r social order.
Ayah uasca is, above all, a medicine- In the belief tha t they we re new disc overi es, the first alkaloids isola ted from
the great medicine. The Ayahuasca lea- Banisteriopsis were called telepat hin e and banisterine. Further chem ical in-
der among the Campa of Peru is a reli- vestiga tions revealed that th ese prepa rat ions were identical with the alkaloid
gious prac tit ioner who, follow ing a harmine, previous ly isolated from Sy rian Rue , Peganum harmala. Furthe r-
strict apprenticeship, maintains and in- more, the secondary alkaloids of Paganum , harmaline and tetrahydrohar-
creases his shaman istic powe r th rou gh mine, also occur in Banisteriopsis. The act ive principles are indole alkaloids
the use of Tobacco and Ayahuasca. found in several other hal lucinogenic plants .
T he Ca mpa shaman under Aya huasca The drink made from Ayahuasca is a unique pharmacologica l combination
acquires an eerie, distant voice and a of Banisteriopsis caapi, a lian a that contains har maline, and Chacru na (Psy-
qui verin g jaw that indicates th e arr ival chotria viridia) leaves, which conta in DMT. Harm aline is an MAO inhibito r; it
of goo d spirits w ho, splend idly clad, red uces the body's production and distributio n of monoam ine oxidase (MAO).
sing and dance before him; th e sha- MAO normally breaks down the vision -inducing ingred ient DMT befo re it can
man's singing is merely his ow n voice cross the blood -brai n bar rier into the central nervous system . Only with this
echoi ng th eir song. D uring th e singing, combination of ingredients can the drin k have its consciousness-expanding
his soul may tra vel far and w ide-a effects and trigger visions.
phenomenon no t interfering with per-
for manc e of the ceremony nor with
the shaman's abilitv to communicate
the wishes of the spirits to part icipants.
Among th e Tukano, the pa rtaker .of
the drug feels himself pu lled along by Plants Containing the MAO-Inh ibi ting ~- C a r b o l i n e Alkaloids:
powerful winds tha t th e leading shaman
explai ns as a trip to the Mi lky Way, the Banis teriopsis spp . Harmine
first stop on the way to heave n. Simi- Kochia scoparia (L.) SCHRAD. Harmine , Harmane
larly, the Ecuad orea n Zap aro expe rience Passiflora involucrata ~ - C a rboli n e

a sensation of being lifted into th e air. Passiflora spp. Harmine, Harmane, etc.
T he souls of Peruvia n Conibo -Shipibo Peganum harmala L. Harmine , Tetrahydroharm ine,
shamans fly about in th e form of a bird; Dihydr oharmaline, Harmane, lsohar-
or shamans may tra vel in a superna tural mine, Tetrahydroharmol, Harmalol,
canoe manned by demons to reconquer Harmol , Norharm ine,
lost or sto len souls. Harmaline
The effects of the dri nk are greatly al- Stryc hnos usamb arensis GILG Har mane
tered w hen leaves of D ip!ot erys cabrer- Tribuius terrestris L. Harmine, among others
ana or of Psych otria are added . The

"Practically all decorative
elements ... are said ...
to be derived from
hallucinatory imagery .. .
The most outstanding
examp les are the paintings
executed on the front walls of
the malocas ... sometimes . . .
representing the Lord of
Game Animals . . .
When asked abo ut these
paintings, the Indians simply
reply: 'This is what we see
when we drink Yaje . . .'"
-G. Rcich cI-D olmatoff

trvotamines in the se additives are be- older men, all females from babes in arm s
li ~;ed to be inactive when take n orally, to w ithered, toothless hags betook th em-
unless mo noamine oxidase inh ibitors selves to the fringing fores t, to hear onl y
are present. The harmine and its deriva- from afar the deep, mysterious notes of
tives in B. caapi and B. inebrians are in- the trumpets, sight of whic h is believed
hib itors of this kind, pot enti atin g the to spell certai n death for any woman .. .
tryptamines. Bo th typ es of alkaloid s, Payes shamans and older men are no t
however, are hallucinogenic. above aiding the workings of the mys-
Len gth and vividne ss of th e visual hal- tery by th e judicious administra tion of
lucinations are no tab ly enhanced when po iso n to any overcurious female.
th ese additives are p resent . W hereas "Four pairs of horns had been taken
visions with the basic drink are seen fro m places of concealment , and the
usually in blu e, pur ple, or gray, those players now ran ged th emselves in a
induced w hen the tryptamin ic add itives rough semi-circle, producing th e first
are used may be bri ghtl y colored in reds deep, lugubrious notes . . .
and yellows . "Many of the older men had mean-
Th e Ayahuasca int oxication may be a while opened their tang atara boxes of
very int ense experience w ith visions of cere mo nial feathers and were selecting
light setting in with the eyes closed after with great care brilliant feather ruffs,
a period of giddines s, nervousness, p ro- which were bound to the mid-section
fuse swea ting, and so metime s nausea. A of the longer horns . ..
period of lassitude initiates the play of "Four olds ters, with perfect rhy thm Top: Many species of Passion flower
(Passiflora spp.) contain the active sub-
colo rs-at first wh ite, then mainly a hazy, and dramatic timi ng, paraded th rou gh
stances harmine and harmaline.
smoky blue that later increases in inten- the maloca, blowing the newly decor ated
sity; eventually sleep, int errupted by horn s, advancing and retreating with Above right:Syrian Rue (Peganum
dreams and occasional feverishness, takes sho rt dancing steps. At int ervals, a couple harmala) with fruit capsules.
over. Serious diarrh ea, which continues danced om of the door, th eir horn s raised
after the int oxication, is the un comforta- high, and returned after a brief turn, th e Page 128 above: The mural in the
ble effect most frequ ently experienced. expanding and contracting feather ruffs Cuzco Airport (Peru) reveals the
With the tryptaminic additives, man y of producing a beaut iful burst of translu- visionary world of Ayahuasca.
the se effects are int ensified, but trembling cent color against the stronger light.
Page 128 below: Shipibo Indians in
and convulsive shaking, myd riasis, and Younger men were beginning the first of
traditionalcostumes decorated with
increase of pulse rate are also not ed. the savage w hippings, and the master of Ayahuascapatterns (Yarinacocha.
Frequ entl y, a show of recklessness, some- ceremonies appeared with the red, cur- Peru).
tim es even aggressiveness, marks ad- iou sly ' shap ed clay jar containing th e
vanced states of the inebriation. po werful narco tic drink called Caapi.
Th e famous Yuruparf ceremony of the The thic k, br own , bitter liqui d was
Tukanoans is an ancestor-communication serve d in pairs of tiny round gourds ;
ritua l, the basis of a man's tribal society many drinkers pr omptl y vomited . ..
and an adolescent male initiation rite. 1;s "Whipp ing proceeded by pairs . The
sacred bark trumpet, whic h calls the Yur- first lashes were applie d to the legs and
up arf spirit, is tab oo to the sight of wo- ankles, the w hip flun g far back in a de-
men; it symbolizes the forces to who m liberately calculated dramatic gestu re;
the ceremo ny is holy, favora bly influen- the blows reso unde d like pistol sho ts.
cing fertility spirits, effecting cur es of pre - Places w ere immediately exchanged .
valent illnesses, and improving the male Soon th e whips we re being freely ap-
prestige and pow er over wo men. The plied, and all the yo unge r men were
Yurupari ceremony is now little practiced. laced w ith bloody welts on all parts of
One of the most det ailed reports of a re- the bod y. Tin y lads not more than six or
cent dance describes it as follows: seven years old wo uld catch up th e
"A deep booming of drums from abandoned whips, merrily imitating
w ithin the maloca heralded the appear- th eir elder s. G rad ually th e vo lume of
ance of the mystic Yuruparf horns . With so und diminished, until only tw o lone
only very slight urging fro m one of th e pe rfo rmers remained, enchanted w ith

Left: A beer mugof the Conibo-Shipibo their art, bowing, advancing, and re- Leading the group was the ancient paye,
Indiansthat has been completely treating, with great delicacy and grace blowin g Tobacco smo ke in benediction
paintedwith the Ayahuasca pattern. in the center of the maloca. About a on his companions from the huge cigar
dozen of the older men were outfitting in its engraved ceremonial fork, while
Right: Shipibowomen communally
themselves with their finest diadems of his lon g, polished rattle-lance vibrated
paint a ceramic with Ayahuasca pat-
terns. respl endent guacamayo feath ers, tall, con stantly. The familiar, dignified C a-
feathery egret plumes, oval piec es of chiri ceremonial chant was intoned by
the russ et skin of th e howle r monkey, th e gro up; their deep voices rose and
armadillo-hide disks, pri zed loops of fell, mingling with the myster ious
monkey -hair cord, precious quartzite booming tones of th e Yurup ari horns."
cylinders, and jaguar-tooth belts. Be- The Tukano believe that when, at the
decked with the se triumphs of savage time of creation, humans arri ved to po-
art, the men formed a swaying, dancing pulate th e Vaupes region, many extra or-
semi-circle, each with his right hand dinary happ enin gs to ok place. People
restin g on his neighb or 's shoulder, all had to endure hard ship before settling
shifting and stamping in slow uni son . th e new regions. Hideou s snakes and

dangerous fish lived in th e rivers; there th e sensual, to a mystical un ion wi th th e Above: Many species of the genus Ba-
w ere spirits with cannibalistic procliv- mythic era, the intrauterine stage, is th e nisteriopsis, like this B. muricata from
ities; and th e Tukano received in trepida- ultimate goal, attained by a mere hand- southern Mexico, are rich in MAO-
tion the basic elements of th eir cultu re. ful bu t coveted by all." inhibiting ~-carbo li nes . Because of this,
they are particularly suited in the
There lived amo ng these early Tukano All or much of Indian art, it has been
preparation of Ayahuasca analogs.
a woman- the first woman of crea - proposed, is based on visionary experi -
tion- wh o "drowned" men in visions . ence . C olors, similarly, are sy mbo lically
Tukanoans believe th at during coitu s, a significant: yellow or off-w hite has a
man "drow ns" - the equivalent of see- seminal conc ept , indicating solar fert ili-
in g visions. The fir st wo man fo und zation; red- color of th e ut eru s, fire,

her self with child. The Sun -fath er had heat-symb olizes female fecundity; Above left: A Shipibowoman paints
impregnated her th rough the eye. She blu e represents thought th rou gh To- a piece of fabric with her traditional
gave birth to a child who became Caapi, bacco smoke. T hese colors acco mpany Ayahuasca pattern.
th e narco tic plant. T he child was born Ayahuasca int oxications and have pre-
Above right: The jungle pharmacyof the
during a brilliant flash of light . T he wo - cise int erpretation s. Many of th e com-
Shipibo Indians. Countless medicinal
man- Yaje-e-cut the umbilical cord and, pli cated rock engravings in th e river plants aretaken withAyahuasca, which
rubbing the child with magical plants, valleys of th e Vaupes region are strengthen the effects.
shaped its bod y. The C aapi-child lived undoubtedly based up on drug ex-
to be an old man zealously guarding his p eriences. Likewi se, th e stereotype d
hallucinogenic powers. From this aged paintings on the bark wa ll of Tukanoan
child, owner of Caapi or the sexual act, communa l ho uses represent th emes
th e Tukanoan men received semen. Fo r fro m Ayahuasca hallucination s.
th e Indi ans, wrote Gerardo Reichel- Pictures and deco ra tio ns on pot s,
D olm atoff, "the hallucinator y expe ri- hous es, basketry, and other household
ence is essent ially a sexual one . . . to objects fall int o tw o categories: ab-
mak e it sublime, to pass from the ero tic, stract design and figurative mot ifs.

"The caji plants The Indians know the difference be - Orinoco . Later, h e encountered Aya -
tw een the tw o and say that it is du e to hu asca am on g the Zaparo of Ecuador
(Ayahuasca) reveal them- C aapi intoxication. "Some one w atching and id entified it as th e same hallucino-
selves to the experiencer, a man at work or finding a drawing gen as Caapi.
it grows, becomes green, would say: 'This is w ha t one sees afte r "In the course of the night," Spruce
three cups of Yaje, ' occasion ally spe ci- wrote of Caapi, "the young men par-
blooms, and ultim ately
fying the kind of pl ant that had been to ok of C aapi five or six times, in th e
vanishes. The moment of used and thus giving an indic ati on of intervals between th e dances; but only
the blossoming is valued the nature of the narcotic effect s th ey a few of them at a tim e, and a very few
as the apex attributed to different concoctions," drank of it twice. T he cup -bearer- w ho
sp eculated G. Reichel -Dolmatoff. must be a man, for no wo man can touch
of the experience." It would seem that suc h an important or taste C aap i- starts at a sho rt run
- Florian Delr gen (1993) drug wou ld have attracted th e att ent io n fro m th e opposite end of the house,
of Europ eans at a very earl y date . Such w ith a small calab ash containing ab out
was not th e case . In 1851, however, the a tea cupful of Caapi in each hand, mut-
English bo tanist Spruce, w ho was co l- tering 'Mo-mo-mo-rno-mo' as he runs,
lecting among Tukanoan tr ibes in the and gradu ally sinking down until at last
his chin ne arl y touches his knees, w hen
he reaches out one of his cups to the
ma n w ho st ands read y to recei ve it . . .
In tw o min utes or less after dri nking it,
the effects be gin to be appa rent . The Inc
dian turns deadl y pale, trembles in
every limb, and horror is in his asp ect .
Suddenly contrary symptoms succeed;
he bursts into p ersp irati on and seems
possessed with reckless fury, seize s
w h atev er arms are at hand ... and
rushes to th e door, w hile he inflicts vio -
lent blows on the grou nd and door-
posts, calling out all the while: 'Thus
would I do to mine enemy [namin g
him by name] were this he!' In about
ten minutes, the excitement has passed
off, and the Indian grows calm but ap-
pears exhausted."
Sin ce Sp ruce's time, thi s dru g has
been mentioned often by many travelers
and explorers, but little has been accom-
plished until recently..In fact, it was not
until 1969 that . ch emical ana lysis of
Spru ce's material, collected for such ex-
am ina tio n in 1851, w as carried out.
M uch remains to be learned about
Above:A Barasana Indian tracesin Rio Vaupes region of Brazil, met with Ayahuasca, Caapi, Yaje. There is little
sandnearhis maloca patterns seen Caapi and sent material for chemical time before increasin g acculturation
duringthe course of Caapi intoxication. study to E ngland. Three y ears later, he and even extinctio n of whole tri bes w ill
It hasbeen suggested that many of the ob served C aap i u se again among the make it forever impossible to learn
design motifs induced by Caapiare, on
Guahibo Indians along the upper abou t these age-old beliefs and uses.
the one hand, culture-bound and, on the
other hand, controlled by specific bio-
chemical effectsof the active principles
in the plant.

Left: Thisbeautiful engravingon a gran-
ite rock at Nyf on thelower Piraparana
Riverin Colombia is obviously ancient.
The rapids at this point on the river are
at the earth's equator, a zone vertically
related to the rising and setting constel-
lations. It hasbeensuggestedthat this
turbulent areaof theriverwas theplace
where the Sun Father married Earth
Mother to create the firstTukanoans.
The Indians interpretthe triangular face
as a vagina andthe stylized human
figure as a winged phallus.

Above: The talented Peruvian artist

Yando, the son of anAyahuasquero
from Pucallpa, drew this Ayahuasca vi-
sion. Notice thatthecomplexitiesof the
hallucinations aretreated in animagery
in which microscopic andmacroscopic

FliUlil, '(flung cultivated Chacruna
(psycllfllria viridis),

Ayahuasca Ingredients

A selection of plants used in the preparation of the Ayahuasca drink to give it its desired
healing powers or specific qualities:

Ai curo Euphorbia sp. for better singing

Ajf Capsicum frutes cens tonic
Amacisa Eryth rina spp. purgative
Angel's Trumpet Brugmans ia spp. to treat delusions,
illnesses cause d by magic arrows
(chonteado) ,
and encha ntme nt
Ayahuma Couroupita guianensis strengthens the body
Batsikawa Psychotria sp. for cooling and reduction of visions
Cabalonga Thevetia sp. protects against spirits
Catahua Hura crepitans purgat ive
Cat's claw Uncaria tomentosa strengthens;
used to treat allergies,
kidney problems, stomac h ulcer,
vene real disease
Chiricaspi Brunfelsia spp. for fever, rheumatism , and arthritis
Cuchura-caspi Malouetia tamaquarina to enable a better diagnosis
Cumala Virola spp. stre ngthens the vision
Guat illo lochroma fuchsioides strengthens the vision
" Guayusa flex guayusa for purification and treatment
of vomiting
Hiporuru Alchomea castanaefolia to treat diarrhea
Kana Sabicea amazonensis "sweetens" the Ayahuasca drink
Kapok tree Ceiba pentandra diarrhea, intestinal problems
Lupuna Chorisia insignis to treat intestinal problems
Pfaffia Pfaffia iresinoides sexual weakness
Pichana Ocimum micranthum fever
Piri piri Cyperussp. fright; promotes spiritual
development; for abortions
Pulma Calathea veitchiana to stimu late visions
II /,ove: Farmer's 11l!J;ICCO (Nicotiana
1II.' .liea) is one of llu - most important Rami Lygodium venustum to strengthen the Ayahuasca drink
·.h;,man plants in [;f1'llh America. Remo caspi Pithecellobium laetum strengthens the Ayahuasca drink

I 1" ItOm.· The fruit 01;, " pecies of Theve- Sanango Tabemaemontana sananho poor memory;
Ih l called Cabalony.I uonce is added to for spiritual development;
!··vi ,l1uasca to prolecl l!Je drinker from arthritis, rheumatism
" " .liclous spirits.
Sucuba Himatanthus sucuuba to extract magic arrows
Tobacco Nicotiana rustica for poisoning
Toe Ipomoea cam ea strengthens the vision

I ', I
1: The Chiricaspi bush (Brunfelsia
grandifloraspp. schultesii) is an impor-
tant shaman plantin the northern
regions of South America.

2: Cat's Claw (Uncaria tomentosa) is

one of theimportant medicinal plants for
treating chronic illnesses among the
Peruvian Indians.

3: For many Indians, the Kapok tree
(Ceiba pentandra) is theworld tree.

4: The bindweed Ipomea carneacon-

tains potent psychoactivealkaloids and
is used in the Peruvian Amazon basin
as an ingredient in Ayahuasca.

5: The Sanango leaves (Tabernaemon-

tana sananho) strengthen the memory.

6: The Palo de Borracho"treeof drun-

kenness" (Chorisia insignis) is a world
tree in thecosmology of theshaman. Its
astringent barkis added to Ayahuasca.

7:A leaf cutting from Psychotria viridis

(grown in California).

7 135

The pharmacological agent that has

been identified in Ayahuasca can be imi-
tated in plants with similar active ingre-
dients (harmaline/harmine, DMT/5-
MeO-DMT). Nontraditional combina-
tions of plants with these ingredients are
today known as "Ayahuasca analogs"
or Anahuasca. Combinations made of
the isolated of synthesized ingredients
are called "pharmahuasca."
Jonathan Ott, a chemist specializing
in natural substances, writes: "Psycho-
nautic pharmahuasca research is so dis - ity that we all possess ... It is not Page 136: TheGerman artistNana
tant from the scientific mainstream that necessary to have faith because the ec- Nauwald renders herAyahuasca
it took nearly three decades of no one static experience in and of itself gives visions in thispainting, allowing the
supporting, or independent scientists one the belief in the true unity and in - viewer a glimpse into the"alternate
doing 'underground' research before tegrity of the universe, and in ourselves
the enzyme inhibitor theory of Aya- as an integral part of the whole. Ecstatic
Above: Many species of theNorth
huasca pharmacology was put to the experience is what reveals to us the American plant genus Desmodium
test. Paradoxically, this research can sublime grandeur of our universe and contain the potent substance DMT in
rightfully claim that is stands exactl y in the fluctuating, shimmering alchemical their rootbark, making them suited in
the center of the research on the bio- wonder that constitutes our everyday thepreparation of drinks similar to
chemistry of consciousness and the ge- consciousness. Entheogens such as Ayahuasca.
netics of pathological brain functions! Ayahuasca could be the appropriate
... Ayahuasca research is not just on medicine for hypermaterialistic human-
the vertex of neuro-scientific research, ity on the threshold of the new millen-
but it is possible that the reversible nium, where it will be decided if our
MAO-inhibiting effects of Ayahuasca way will be continuing to grow and
could present a practical, less toxic alter- progress or if we will be destroyed in a
native to the harmful substances that are massive biological holocaust unparal -
finding medical uses!" leled by anything that has happened in
The value of these Ayahuasca analogs our realm in the last 65 million years .. .
lies in the entheogenic effects th at lead The entheogenic reformation is our
to a deeper spiritual ecology and an greatest hope for healing our dear
all-encompassing mystical insight. Aya- Mother Gaia, because it is bringing
huasca and its analogs bring about-but about a true religious revival that will
only with the right dosage -a shamanic help to bring in the new millennium."
ecstasy: All formulas for Ayahuasca analogs
"Shamanic ecstasy is the true ancient must contain an MAO inhibitor and a
religion, of which modern churches are DMT supplier.
merely pale imitations. Our ancestors Until now, most experiments have
discovered in many places, and at many been with Banisteriopsis caapi, Banister-
times, that suffering humanity could iopsis spp., and Peganum harmala , But
find in ecstatic entheogenic experiences there are other MAO inhibitors in nat-
the reconciliation between the cultiva- ure, such as caltrop (Tribulus terrestris) .
ted intelligence that separates each hu- Preferred DMT suppliers include Psy-
man being from other creatures and chotria viridis and Mimosa ten uiflo ra,
even from other humans, and the wild, although there are numerous other pos-
untamed, magnificent animal physical- sibilities (see tables). Above: Theseeds of the Mimosa sceb-
rella contain DMT and areusable in the
preparation of Ayahuasca analogs.

1: The leafof the extremely rare Acacia
phlebophylla is rich with DMT. It grows
only on one mountain in Australia.

2: TheAustralian nativeAcacia maidenii

contains a high concentration of DMTin
its bark.

Ayahuasca Analogs: Plants that contain DMT

Plant Family Drug Tryptamine

Gramineae (Poaceae)
Arundo donax L. Rhizome DMT
Phalaris arundinacea L. Grass , root DMT
Phalaris tuberosa L. (Italian strain) Leaves DMT
Phragmites australis (Cav.) TR. et ST. Rhizome DMT, 5-MeO -DMT

Leguminosae (Fabaceae)
Acacia maideniiF.v. Muell. Bark 0.36 % DMT
Acacia phlebophylla F.v. Muell. Leaves 0.3% DMT
Acacia simplicifolia Druce Leaves, bark 0.81 % DMT
Anadenanthera peregrina (L.) Spag . Bark DMT, 5-MeO-DMT
Desmanthus iIIinoensis (Michx.) Macm . Root-bark up to 0.34 % DMT
Desmodium pulchellum Benth. ex. Bak. Root bark DMT
Desmodium spp. DMT
Lespedeza capitata Michx . DMT
Mimosa scabrella Benth. Bark DMT
Mimosa tenuit/ora (Willd.) Poir. Root bark 0.57-1 % DMT
Mucuna pruriens DC. Seeds DMT, 5-MeO-DMT

Diplopterys cabrerana (Cuatr.) Gates Leaves DMT, 5-MeO-DMT

Virola sebifera Aub. Bark DMT
5 Virola theiodora (Spruce ex Benth.) Warb. Flowers 0.44 % DMT
3: The seeds of the SouthAmerican Virola spp. Bark, resin DMT, 5-MeO-DMT
tree Dictyloma incanescens. This tree
contains ample amounts of 5-MeO-
Psychotria poeppigiana MUELL. -ARG. Leaves DMT
4: The seeds of the tropical Mucuna Psychotria viridis R. et P. Leaves ' DMT
pruriensare preferred by the traditional
people to make jewelry. In addition they
contain highconcentrations of DMTand Rutaceae
5-MeO-DMT. Dictyoloma incanescens DC Bark 0.04 % 5-MeO-DMT
5: A species of the DMT-containing
genus Desmodium.

6: The Turkey Redvariety of the grass

Phalaris arundinacea contains liberal
amounts of DMT.

7:The root bark of the Mexican Mimosa

tenuit/ora (Mimosa hostillis) is full of
psychoactive alkaloids. The dried root
bark contains about 1 % DMT. It is
well suited for the production of an
Ayahuasca analog.

2 3

Juremahuasca or Mimohuasca

This Ayahuasca analog is known among people knowledgeable in the field as

a preparation that is the most psychoactive and easiest to tolerate. Per per-
son, prepare:
3 g Peganum harmala, finely ground
9 g root husk of Mimosa tenuit/ora
Lemon or lime juice
The ground seeds of Syrian Rue (Peganum harmala) are soaked in water and
swallowed or taken in a gelatin capsule. Fifteen minutes later, drink the boiled
mixture of lemon or lime juice and Mimosa husk.
After 45 to 60 minutes-often after brief nausea or vomiting-the visions
begin. They often take the form of fireworks or kaleidoscope-like designs,
flashing colors, fantastic mandalas, or travels to another world. The effects
are equal to the effects of the Ayahuasca preparations from the Amazon.

Ayahuasca Churches
In addition to the true shamanic use of Aya-
huasca, recently various syncretic churches
have been established that also use Aya-
huasca as part of their religious rituals. The
Santo Daime cult as well as the Ayahuasca
church, Uniao do Vegatal, hold regular
meetings in which the members-the great
_majority of whom are mestizos from the low-
er c1asses-drink Ayahuasca together and
sing pious songs. Led by a priest, the group
travels to the spirits of the trees as well as to
the Christian holy spirits. Many cult mem-
bers discover a new meaning to life and find
healing for the soul. For the members of
these Brazilian churches, which have also
made headway in Europe, the use of this
magic potion is just as legal as it is for the
shamans of the jungle.
Santo Daime, the ritual drink of a cult, and
hoesce, the sacrament of another church,
are both made according to an original
Indian recipe in which the Banisteriopsis
caapi vine and the leaves of the charcruna
shrub (Psychotria viridis) are boiled to make
an extremely psychedelic mixture.
The Santo Daime cult also has mission-
aries active in Europe, and this Brazilian
group has been especially successful in
Germany and the Netherlands. In Amster-
dam, they have their own church. Also in
the ' Netherlands, the potential use of Aya-
huasca to treat addictions is being tested.

Golden Angel's Trumpet TRUMPETS OF THE ANGELS
12 Blood-Red Angel's Trumpet

1: Theshamanic useof thegold-yellow The Gu ambiano of southern C olombia be left in her womb which will be borne '
flowering Brugmansia occurs primarily say of Brugm ansia vulcanicola: "H ow six months later in th e form of pips or
in Colombiaand northern Peru. ple asant is th e p erfume of the long, seeds of th e tree."
bell-like flowers of- the Yas, as one in- The spe cies of Brugmansia are nati ve
2: Theflowers andleaves are used by
hales it in the afternoon . . . But the tre e to South Am erica. Brugmansia in th e
many Indian shamans for medicinal
has a spirit in the form of an eagle which past has usually been considered to re-
has been seen to come flyin g throu gh pr esent a section of th e genus D atura.
3: The ripe fruit of the Brugmansia the air and th en to disapp ear .. . The Thorou gh studies of th e biology of
sanguinea. ThisAngel's Trumpet puts spirit is so evil th at if a wea k person sta- th ese plants have shown that th ey de-
outfar more fruitthan doesany other tions himself at th e foot of the tree, he serve to be classified in a distinct genus.
species. will for get every thi ng, . . . feeling up in The behavior of the species-as we ll as
the air as if on wings of th e spirit of th e th eir location-indicates long associa-
4:Theflower of Brugmansiasanguinea. Yas ... If a girl . . . sits restin g in the tion with man.
tr ee's shade, she wi ll dream about men T he hallucinogenic use of Brugman-
of the Paez tribe, and later a figure will sia may have come from kno wled ge of
the closely related D atura, knowledge
that pro to-Indi an Mo ngoloids brou ght
to th e N ew World in late Paleolithic
and Mesolithic times. As they migrated
southw ard, th ey encountered ot her sp e-
cies of D atura, especially in Mexico,
and bent th em to shamanic use. Upon
arr iving in th e Andes of South Am erica,
the y recog nized the resemblance of th e
Brugmansias to D atura and found th eir
psychoacti ve pr operties very similar. At
any rate, everyth ing about the use of
Brugm ansia bespeaks great antiquity.
Littl e is known, however, of pr e-
Conquest use of Brugmansia. Th ere
are, nevertheless, scatte red referenc es
to th ese hallucinogens. Th e French
scient ist de la Condamin e ment ion ed
its use among the Omagua of th e Rio
1 2 Ma rafion, The explore rs von Humbold t
and Bonpland remarked on Ton ga, th e
red-flowered B. sanguin ea, as a sacred
plant of th e priests in the Temple of th e
Sun at Sogamoza in Colombia .
Brugm ansia arborea, B. aurea, and
B. sangu inea usually occur above an al-
titude of six thousand feet. The seeds are
widely emp loye d as an additive to chi-
chao The crushed leaves and flowers are
prepared in hot or cold water to be ta-
ken as a tea. Leaves can be mixed with
an infu sion of Tobacco. Some Indians
may scrap e off the soft green bark of
the stems and soak it in water for use.
The Brugm ansia int oxication varies
but is always chara cter ized by a violent
ph ase. There is pr obably no more suc-
cinct description th an that of Joh ann].
3 4 Tschudi in 1846, who saw the effects in

Peru. The native "fell into a heavy stu- cially shamans, have a developed Above: The seeds of Brugmansia sua-
por, his eyes vacantly fixed on the knowledge of the effects of th ese plants veo/ens areusedin Peru as an intoxi-
ground, his mouth convulsively closed; and grow them as private possessions. cating additive to cornbeer. They are
and his nostrils dilated. In the course of Usually the property of specific sha - taken bythe shamans in higher doses
mans, these cultivars have native na- andoften produce a delirium thatcan
a quarter of an hour, his eyes began to
lastfordayswiththe most powerful of
roll, foam issued from his mouth, and mes. The leaves of Buyes (B. aurea) are
his whole body was agitated by frightful employed mainly to relieve rheuma-
convulsions. After these violent symp- tism, an effective medicine with its hig h Be/ow: The Blood-Red Angel'sTrumpet
toms had passed, a profound sleep of concentration of trop ane alkaloids. is often planted in sacredplaces and
several hours' duration followed, and Biangan was employed formerly by cemeteries. Here is a large plant grow-
when the subject had recovered, he re- hunters: the leaves and flowers were ingwithan image of theMadonna in
lated the particulars of his visit with his mixed with dogs' food to enable them southern Chile.
forefathers ." to find more game. The tongue-shaped
At Tunja, among the Muisca, accord- leaf of Arnaron is valued as a suppurant
ing to a report in 1589, a "dead chief was and in trea ting rhe umatism. The rarest
accompanied to th e tomb by his women
and slaves, who were buried in different
layers of earth ... of which none was
.without gold . And so that the women
and poor slaves should not fear their
death before they saw the awful tomb,
the nobles gave them things to dr ink of
inebriating Tobacco and other leaves of
the tree we call Borrachero, all mixed in
their usual drink, so that of their senses
none is left to foresee the harm soon to
befall them." The species employed
were undoubtedly Brugmansia aurea
and B. sangu inea.
Among the Jivaro, recalcitrant chi l-
dren are given a drink of B. sanguinea
with parched maize; when intoxicated,
the children are lectured so that the spir-
its of the ancestors may admonish them.
In the Choco, Brugmansia seeds put
into magic chicha beer were thought to
produ ce in children an excitement dur-
ing which they could discover gold.
Indians in Peru still call Brugmansia
sanguinea by the name Huaca or Hua-
cachaca ("plant of the tomb") from the The Chemis try of Brugmansia
belief that it reveals treasures anciently
buried in graves . The solanaceous Brugmansia arborea, B. aurea, B. sanguinea, B. suaveo-
In the warmer parts of the wes tern lens, and B. versicolor contain the same tropane alkaloids as the Daturas:
Amazon, Brugmansia suaveolens, B. ver- scopo lamine, hyoscyamine , atropine, and the various seconda ry alkaloids of
sicolor, and B. x insignis are employed as the tropane group, such as norscopo lamine, aposcopolamine, meteloidine,
hallucinogens or as an admixture with etc . Scopo lamine, respons ible for the hallucinogenic effects, is always found
Ayahuasca. in the largest quantity. The leaves and stems of B. aurea, for example, with a
Perhaps no locality can equal the Val- total alkaloid of 0.3 percen t, contain 80 percent scopolamine, which is also
ley of Sibundoy in the Andes of Colom- the main alkaloid in the roots of Brugmansia.
bia for Brugmansia use. Th e Kamsa and
Ingano Indians use several species and a
number of local cultivars as hallucino-
gens. The Indians of this region, espe -
Right: The Valley of Sibundoy in south- culti var is Salaman, with bizarrely atro- of the cult ivars of Brugma nsia, it is used
ern Colombia is a locationof intensive ph ied leaves; it is emp loye d both in hallucinogenically for th e most difficult
use of Brugmansia. One of the most treating rheumat ism and as a hallucino- cases of divination and as an effective
renownedmedicine men of the Karnsa gen . T he extreme in aber ration is found medicine for rheumatic or arthritic
tribe is Salvador Chindoy. Here heis
in Q uin de and Munchira: these two are pams.
pictured in hisceremonial garbat the
beginning ofa Brugmansia-induced
used as hallucinogens but also in the The cultivars Quinde and Munchira
intoxicationfor purposes of divination. treatment of rheumatism and as emetics, are most frequently used for th eir psy-
carminatives, vermifuges, and suppur- choactive effects. The juice of the
Left: A youngKarnsa Indian boyof ants; Munchira likewise is empl oyed to crushed leaves or flowers is drunk eith er
Sibundoy, Colombia, holds a flower and treat erysipelas. Quinde is the most alone in a cold-water preparation or
leaves of Culebra Borrachera priorto widel y employed culti var in Sibundoy; with aguardiente (an alcoholic distillate
brewing a teafor the purpose of intoxi- Munchira the most to xic. T he rare of sugar). In Sibundoy only shamans
cation in preparationfor learning the Dientes and Ochre find their most im- usuall y take Brugmansia. Most shamans
secrets of useof hallucinogensin magic
portant use in the treatment of rh eu- "see " fearful visions of jaguars and
matic pains. poisonous snakes. Symptoms and un -
"A spirit so evil, our grandparents tell pleasant aftereffects probably have
us, was in these trees with flowers like contribut ed to the limitation of Brug-
lon g bells, wh ich give off the ir sweet mansia as a hallucinogen.
perfume in th e afternoon, that they The ] fvaro believe th at nor mal life is
were the foo d of th ose Indians at whose an illusion, th at the true powers behind
nam e people trembled : fierce Pijaos." daily life are supernatural. Th e shaman,
Cu lebra borrachero is tho ught by with his potent hallucinogenic plants,
some bot anists to be one of th ose mon- can cross over into the wo rld of ethere-
stro us cultivars . More potent than any al wonder and deal wi th the forc es of

evil. A ]fv aro boy at the age of six must From all viewpo ints , species of Brug- Right: The beautiful flowers of the An-
acquire an external soul, an arutam mansia have had a difficult tim e of it in gel'sTrumpet inspiredthe Symbolists
wakani, th e vision-p ro ducing soul th at spite of their great beauty. They are (fabric printed aftera designby
can allow him to com municate w ith an- plants of the gods, but not the agree able Alphonse Mucha, Paris 1896; originalis
in the WOrttemburg State Museum,
cestors. To get his arutam th e boy and gifts of th e gods, like Peyote, the mu sh-
Stuttgart, Germany).
his father make a pil grim age to a sacred ro oms, Ayahu asca. Their powerful and
wa terfall, bathing, fasting, and drinking w holly unpleasant effects, leading to Left: This drawing by a Guambiano In-
Tob acco water. M aikoa or Brugm ansia pe rio ds of violence and even temp or ary dian of the southern Andes of Colombia
juice may also be taken to effect contact insanity, toge ther w ith th eir sickening depicts a nativewoman under a Berra-
w ith th e supernatural during w hich the aftereffects, have con spired to put the m chero tree, Brugmansia vulcanicola.
boy's arutam appears as jaguars and in a place of second category. They are The portrayal of an eagle associated
anacondas and enters his bod y. plants of th e gods, true, but the gods do with an evilspirit indicates the danger-
The Jfvaro frequently take Natema not alw ays strive to make life easy for ous toxicity of this tree, whichcauses a
person tarrying under it to become for-
(Ayahuas ca) or Banisteriopsis to acquire man-so the y gave man th e Bru gman -
getful and to feel as if he wereflying.
th e aruta m, since it is a strong intoxi- sias, to which he must on occasion re-
cant, but Brugm ansia must be used if pair. The evil eagle hovers over man,
N atema is not successful. Maikoa intox- and his Borrachero is an ever-present
!catio.n, the ]fv aro assert, may cause reminder that it is not alwa ys easy to
InS am ty. attain an audience with the gods .


Page 145 top: The Peyote crowns take Ever since the arrival of th e first Euro- lished in native religions , and th eir ef-
on manydifferent forms, dependingon peans in the N ew \X!orld, Peyot e has forts to stamp out th is practice drove it
age and growing conditions. provoked controversy, suppression, and into hiding in the hills, where its sacra-
persecution. Condemned by the Span - ~ental use has persisted to the present
Page 145below:A group of large
ish conquerors for its "satanic trickery," tune.
Peyote cacti in their native habitat of
and attacked again and again by local H ow old is the Peyot e cult ? An early
government s and religiou s gro ups, th e Spanish chron icler, Fr ay Bern ardino de
plant has nevertheless continued to ph. y Sahagun , estimate d on the basis of sev-
a major sacramentalrole amo ng th e In- eral histori cal events record ed in In dian
dians of Mexico, w hile its use has sprea d chrono logy th at Peyote wa s kn own to
to the northern tr ibes in the U nite d the C hichimeca and Tolt ec at least
States in the last hundred years. The 1,890 year s before the arr ival of th e Eur-
pers istence and growth of the Peyote opeans. T his calculation wo uld give the
cult constitute a fascinat ing chapter in "d ivine plant" of Mexico an economic
the history of the New Worl d-and a history extending over a p eriod of some
challenge to the anthropo logists and two millen nia. Then Ca rl Lumholtz, the
psychologists, botanists and pharmaco - Danish ethnologist who did pioneer
logists who continue to studv the plant work among the Indians of Chihuahua,

Left: The flowering Peyote cactus and its con stituent s in con nection with suggested th at the Peyot e cult is far old-
(Lophophora williamsii). hu man affairs . er. He showed that a symbol employed
We mi ght lo gically call this need le- in th e Tarahumara Indi an P eyote cere-
Right: A Huichol yarn painting shows
less Mex ican cactu s th e proto typ e of mony appeared in ancient ritu alistic car-
the nurturing andfertile giftsof the
Peyote cactus.
th e New Wo rld hallucino gens. It w as vings preserved in Mesoamerican lava
one of the first to be discovered by Eu- rocks. Mo re recently, arch aeological
ropeans and was unqu estion ably th e discoveries in dry caves and rock shel-
mo st spectacular vision-inducing plant ter s in Texas have yielded spec imen s of
encounte red by th e Spanish conq ue r- Peyot e. Th ese specimens, fou nd in a
ors . T hey found Peyote firmly esta b- context suggesting cerem onial use, indi-

cate that its use is more th an seve n th ou -
sand years old .
The earliest European records con -
cerning this sacred cactus are those of
Sahagun, who lived fro m 1499 to 1590
and who dedicated most of his adul t life
to the Indians of Mexico. His precise,
firsthand observations were not pu b-
lish ed until th e nineteenth century.
Conse quently, credi t for the earliest
p ubl ished account must go to Juan
Cardenas, whose observations on the
ma rvelous secre ts of the Indies were
pu blished as early as 1591.
Sahagun's writings are among the
most important of all the early chroni-
clers . H e described Peyote use among
th e C hi chimeca, of the primitive desert
platea u of the north, recording for pos-
terity: "There is another herb like tunas
[Opuntia spp. ] of the earth. It is called
peiotl. It is white. It is fou nd in th e
north country. Those who eat or drink
it see visions either frightful or laugh-
able . This intoxication lasts two or three
days and th en ceases. It is a common
food of the Chichimeca, for it sustains
them and gives them courage to fight
and not feel fear nor hunger nor thirst.
And they say that it protects them from
all danger."
It is not known whether or not the
Chichimeca were the first Indians to
discover the psychoactive properties of
Peyote. Some students believe th at th e
Tarahumara Indians, living where Pe-
yote grew, were the first to discover its The Chemistry of Peyote
use and that it spread from them to the
Cora, th e H uicho l, and other trib es. The active principle of Lophophora williamsii, the first hallucinogenic plant to
Since the plant grows in many scattered be chemically analyzed , was already identified at the end of the nineteenth
localities in Mexico, it seems probable century as a crystallized alkaloid (see page 23). Because the dried cacti from
that its intoxicating properties were in - which the alkaloid was extracted are called mescal buttons , it was named
dependently discovered by a number of mescaline . In addition to mescaline, responsible for the visual hallucinogenic
tribes. effects , several related alkaloids have been isolated from Peyote and related
Several seventeenth-century Spanish cacti.
Jesuits testified that the Mexican In- When the chemical structure of mesca line was deter mined, it could be
dians used Peyote medicinally and cere - produced synthetically. The chemistry is relatively simple: 3,4,5,-trimethoxy-
monially for many ills and th at when phenylethylamine. The model of this structure is shown on page 186.
into xicated wi th the cactus they saw Mescal ine is chemically related to the neurotransmitter noradrena line (nor-
"horrible visions." Padre Andrea P erez epinephrine), a brain hormone, also shown here. The active dose of mesca-
de Ribas, a seventeenth-century Jesuit line is 0.5-0.8 gram when applied orally.
w ho spe nt sixteen years in Sinaloa, re-
ported that Peyote was usually drunk
but that its use, even medicinally, was

. _ ~" ' - ~'"""0J.

'. . '.

Left: Following visions received during forbidden and punished, since it was century, a Spanish missIOnary in Na-
the Peyote ritual, the Huichol bring connected with "heathen rituals and yarit recorded the earliest account of a
beaded "Peyote snakes" decorated with superstitions" to contact evil spirits Peyote ritual. Of the Cora tribe, he re-
designs of the Peyote to remote moun- through" diabolic fantasies." ported: "C lose to the musician was
tainshrines of EarthMother as an
The first full description of the living seated the leader of the singing, whose
offering of gratitude.
cactus was offered by Dr. Francisco business it was to mark time. Each had
Right: An old andverylarge Peyote Hernandez, who as personal physician his assistants to take his place when he
cactus thatis addressed as "Grand- of King Philip II of Spain was sent to should become fatigued. Nearby was
father" by the Indians. Notice theyoung study Aztec medicine. In his ethnobo- placed a tray filled with Peyote, which
crowns. tanical study of New Spain, Dr. Her- is a diabolical root that is ground up
nandez described peyotl, as the plant and drunk by them so that they may
was called in the Nahuatl language of . not become weakened by the exhaust-
the Aztecs: "The root is of nearly med- ing effects of so long a function, which
ium size, sending forth no branches or they begin by forming as large a circle
leaves above the ground, but with a of men and women as could occupy
certain woolliness adhering to it on ac- the space that had been swept off for
count of which it could not aptly be this purpose. One after the other, they
figured by me. Both men and women went dancing in a ring or marking time
are said to be harmed by it. It appears with their feet, keeping in the middle
to be of a sweetish taste and moder- the musician and choir-master whom
ately hot. Ground up and applied to they invited, and singing in the same
painful joints, it is said to give relief. unmusical tune that he set them. They
Wonderful properties are attributed to would dance all night, from five
this root, if any faith can be given to o'clock in the evening to seven o'clock
what is commonly said among them in the morning, without stopping nor
on this point. It causes those devouring leaving the circle. When the dance was
it to be able to foresee and to predict ended, all stood who could hold them-
things . . ." selves on their feet; for the majority,
In the latter part of the seventeenth from the Peyote and wine which they

"In conscious ness dwells the wo ndro us,
with it man attains the realm be yon d th e material ,
and the Pe yot e tells us,
where to find it."
-Antonin Artaud, The Tarahumnrs (1947)

drank, were un able to utili ze thei r

T he ceremo ny amo ng the Co ra, Hui-
chol, and Tarahu mara Indians has prob-
ably changed little in content over the
centuries: it still cons ists, in great part,
of dan cing.
Th e mod ern H uicho l Peyote ritual
is the closest to the pre-C olumb ian
Me.xican ceremonies. Sahagun's de-
scr iptio n of the Teochichimeca ritual
could very well be a description of
the contemporary H uichol ceremony,
for these Indians still assemble to -
gether in the desert th ree hundred
miles northeast of th eir homeland in
th e Sierra Madres of wes tern Mexico,
still sing all night, all day, still weep
exceedi ngly, and still so esteem Peyote
abo ve any other psychotr opic plant
that th e sacred mushrooms , Morning
Glories, Datura, and oth er indigeno us
hallucinogens are consigned to the
realm of so rcerers .
Most of th e early records in Mexico
we re left by missia'naries who opposed priest near San Antonio, Texas, pub - Above: Different cacti that areknown in
lished a manual in 1760 containing Mexico as Peyote, Hikuli, Peyotillo, or
th e use of Peyote in religious practice.
quest ions to be asked of converts . In - False Peyote. They primarily contain
To them Peyote had no place in Chris-
cluded were the follow ing: "Have you the substance mescaline andother
tianity because of its pagan assoc iatio ns. psychoactive alkaloids.
Since the Spanish ecclesiastics were in- eaten th e flesh of man? Have yo u ea-
Above left: Ariocarpusretusus
to lerant of any cult but th eir ow n, fierce ten Peyote ?" Another priest, Pad re Above right: Astrophyton asterias
persecution resulted. Bu t the Indians Nicolas de Leon, similarly exami ned Below left: Aztekium riterii
were reluctant to give up thei r Peyote po tential converts: "Art th ou a sooth- Belowright:Ariocarpus fissuratus
cult s estab lished on centuries of tradi- sayer ? Dost thou fore tell events bv
tion . read ing omens, interpreting dreams ~r Left: The earliest known botanical illus-
by tr acing circles and figur es on tration of Lophophora wiJliamsii, pub-
The sup pression of Peyo te, however,
water ? D ost tho u garn ish with flow er lished in 1847. It has been foundin
we nt to great length s. Fo r examp le, a archaeological sites more than seven
garlands th e places where idols ar e
thousandyears of age. It was probably
kept ? D ost th ou suc k th e blood of
the first and most spectacular vision-
ot hers ? Dost thou wander abo ut at inducing plant encounteredby the
night , calling up on demo ns to help Spanish conquerors of Mexico.
thee ? Hast thou drunk Peyote or given
it to others to dri nk, in order to dis-
cove r secrets or to discover where sto-
len or lost arti cles were?"
During th e last decad e of th e nine-
teent h centur y, th e explorer Ca rl Lu m-
holtz observed the use of Peyote amonz
the Indians of the Sierr a Madre O cci-
dent al of Mex ico, pri marily the Huich ol
and Tarahumara, and he reported on th e
Peyote cerem on y and on various kind s
of cacti emp loye d w ith Lophoph ora
williamsii or in its stead.

"You see how it is when we walk for the Peyote.
How we go, no t eating, not dr inking, w ith much will.
All of one heart . H ow one goes being Huichol.
That is our unity. That is what we must defend ."
- Ramon Medina Silva

Left: In Huichol geography, Wirikuta, the H ow ever, no ant hro pologist ever par- foo d take n for the stay in Wirikuta is
place of the ancestor-gods, is the local- ticip ated in or observed a Peyote hunt corn tortillas. The pilgrim s, however,
ity of the origin of the sacred life of the until the 1960s, when anthr opo logists eat Peyo te while in Wirikuta. The y mu st
tribe. Peyote grows here and is col- and a Mexican writer were perm itt ed tr avel great distances. Today, much of
lected on the annualpilgrimages made
by Huichols to accompany several pil- the tr ek is do ne by car, but forme rly the
bysmallgroupsof devout Huichols.The
trip to Wirikutais longandarduous, with
grimages. O nce a year, th e H uichols Indians walked some two hundred
the pilgrimstraveling as Ancient Ones. make a sacred trip to gather Hikuri, as miles .
Like the gods, they refrain from food, the sacred cactus is called. The tr ek is The pr eparation for gathering Peyote
sex, and sleep during this extraordinary led by an experi enced m ara'aleam e or involves ritual confession and purifica-
trip. When they first enterthe domain of shaman, w ho is in contact with Tatewari tion. Publi c recitation of all sexual en-
their Paradise, the mara'akame Ramon (O ur grandfather-fire). Tatewari is the counte rs must be made, but no show of
Medina Silvagesturestoward Kau- oldest H uichol god, also known as H i- shame, resentment , or jealousy, nor any
kayari (powerspots) that oncewere kuri, the Peyote-god. He is personified expression of hostility, occurs. For each
the livingformsof the gods.
with Peyote plant s on his hands and offense, the shaman makes a kno t in a
feet, and he interprets all the deities to string that, at the end of the ritual, is
th e mod ern shamans, often th ro ugh vi- burned. Following the confession, the
sions, sometimes indirectly throu gh group, preparing to set out for Wirikuta-

Kauyumari (the Sacred De er Person an area located in San Luis Potosi-

and culture hero). Tatewari led th e first mu st be cleansed before journeying to
Peyote pil grimage far from the p resent paradise .
area inh abited by the nine tho usa nd U po n arr iving within sight of the
Huichols into Wirikuta, an ancestral re- sacred mountains of Wirikuta , the pil-
gion w here Peyote abo und s. Guid ed by grims are rit ually washed and pra y for
the shaman, the participants, usually ten rain and fert ility. Amid the pr aying and
to fifteen in number, take on the iden- chanting of the shaman, the dangerous
tity of deified ancesto rs as they foll ow crossi ng int o th e O therworld begins.
Tatew ari "to find th eir life." This passage has two stages: first, the
T he Peyote hunt is literally a hun t. Pil- Gateway of the Clashing C louds, and
grims carry Tobacco gour ds, a necessity seco nd, th e opening of the Clouds.
for the journey's ritual. Water gourds are These do not represent actua l localities
often taken to transpo rt wa te r back but exist on ly in th e "geograph:v of the
home from Wirikuta. Often th e on ly mind"; to the participants the passing

Right: A Peyote hunter spreads out his harvestat

Left: The basketscarried to Wirikuta contain onlya few

personal andceremonial objects. On the return trip they
are filled with the Peyote buttons collected on the pil-
grimage. The Huichol say that Peyote is ''very delicate,"
so the heavily ladenbasketsare carefully transported
back to the Sierras in order to avoid bruising the cactus.
Leaning against the basket is a Huichol violin, used to
providemusic for the Peyote dancing.

Below right: Huichol lndians returning from a


Below left: A Peyote hunter with a basketfulof Peyote


fro m one to th e othe r is an event filled has seen the deer tracks. H e draws his Page 148 right: Each pilgrim has
with emo tion . arrow and shoots th e cactus. T he pil- brought offeringsto Peyote. After these
Upon arr ival at the place w here the grims make offe rings to thi s first Hi- giftsarecarefully displayed,the pilgrims
raise candles in thedirection of the as-
Peyote is to be hunted, th e shaman be- kuri. More Peyot e is sought, basketfuls
cending sun. They weep and pray that
gins ceremonial practices, telling sto ries of th e plant eventually bein g co llected.
the godsaccept their offering, whil e
from th e ancient P eyot e tradi tion and O n the following day, more Peyot e is Ramon (second from r:ght) fervently
invo king pro tection for th e events to collected, some of w hich is to be shar ed chants.
co me. Those on their firs t p ilgrimage w ith those who remai n at hom e. Th e
are blind folded, and th e participants rest is to be sold to the Cora and Tara-
are led by th e shama n to the "cosmic humara Indians, w ho use Peyote hut do
th reshold," w hich onlv he can see. All no t have a quest.
celebrants stop, light candles, and mur- T he ceremonv of distribu tiu.; To-
mur pra yers, w hile th e sha man, imbued bacco is th en c~rried out. Am ) \~'s are
w ith supe rnatural forces, chants. placed po inting to th e Jour po in ts of
Finally, Peyote is fou nd. T he shaman the co mpass; at midnight a fire is bu ilt.

Page 1S1/eft: The Huichol "trinity" of Right: A Huichol sacrificialbowl deco-
deer, maize, and Peyote is a hypersym- rated with Peyote designs.
bolic complex, a concept harkening
backto the time of creation. This para-
disiacal eraantedates the separationof
plants fromanimals, with Peyote repre-
sentingthe trans-temporal link with the
supernatural. Onthe annual Peyote
huntof the Huichol, the pilgrimsshoot
the first found Peyote with an arrow and
thatspecial Peyote is likened to a dying According to the H uic ho l, Tob acco cult is less import ant. Many buy th eir
deer and accordedparticularchants; sup plies of the cactu s, usually from
belo ngs to fire.
offerings of maize seeds are likewise
The shaman prays, p lacin g the offer- H uichol. Altho ug h th e two trib es live
ing of Tob acco before the fire, to uching several hundred mile s apart and are not
Page 151 right: The Yaqui Indians of it with feathers, th en distributing it to closely relat ed, th ey share th e same
northern Mexico symbolize the Peyote each pilgr im, who puts it into his gourd, name for Peyote- Hikuri-and the
cactus as a buck, as in this wood symbolizing th e birth of Tobacco. two cults have many points of resem-
carving. The H uichol Peyote hunt is seen as a blance .
retu rn to Wirikuta or Paradise, th e arche- The Tarahumara Peyote dance may
typ al beginning and end of a mythical be held at any tim e du ring the yea r for
health, tr ibal prosperity, or for sim ple
worship. It is sometimes incorporated
int o other established festivals . The
principal part of the ceremony consis ts
of dances and praye rs followed by a day
of feasti ng. It is held in a cleared area,
neatly swept. Oak and pine logs are
dragged in for a fire and oriented in an
east -west direction. T he Tarah umara
name for th e dance means "mov ing
abo ut th e fire," and excep t for Peyote
itself, the fire is the most important ele-
The leader has several women assis-
tan ts who prepare the Hiku ri plants
for use, grinding th e fresh cacti on a
metate, being car eful not to lose one
drop of the resulting liqu id. An assis-
tant catc hes all liqu id in a gourd, even
the wa ter used to was h the metate.
The leader sits we st of th e fire, and a
cross may be erected opposite him. In
front of the leader, a sma ll hole is dug
into which he may spit. A Peyote may
be set befo re him on its side or in-
sert ed into a root-shaped hole bor ed
in th e grou nd. He inverts half a gourd
ove r the Peyote, turning it to scratc h a
circle in the earth around the cactus.
Removing the gourd temporarily, he
draws a cross in th e dust to represent
Above: "It is one, it is a unity; it is our- past. A modern Huichol m ara'ak am e th e world, th ereupon replacing the
selves:' Thesewords of Huichol expressed it as follows: " O ne day all gour d. This appa ratus serves as a reso -
mara'akame Ramon Medina Silva de- w ill be as yo u have seen it th ere, in Wir- nator for the rasping stick: Peyote is
scribe the mystical rapport unfolding iku ta, The Fi rst P eopl e w ill co me back. set under the resonator, since it enjoys
among communicants in the Peyote
The fields w ill be pure and crystalline, the sound.
ceremonies that is suchan important
dimension in the livesof thesepeople.
all thi s is not clear to me, but in five Incense fr om burning cop al is th en
In this yarn painting, six peyoteros and more yea rs I will know it, throu gh more offered to th e cross . After facing east,
the shaman (on top) achievethat unity revela tions. The world will end , and th e knee ling, and crossing themselves, the
in a field of fire. In the center of the u nity will be here again . But only for leader's assistants are given deer-hoof
peyoteros is Tatewari, the First Sha- p ure Huichol. " rat tles or bells to shake during the
man, as a five-plumedfire. Amo ng the Tarahumara, the P eyote dance.

Below: The Huichol shaman Ramon Medina Silva bois-the deer, the Peyote, the maize of five colors-
silently awaits his Peyote visions. Wrapped in his blan- all, all that you have seen, there in Wirikuta, when we
ket, gazing into the ceremonial fire, he sits motionless go to hunt the Peyote-these are beautiful. Theyare
for many hours as he receives messages from the beautiful becausethey are right:' (From Barbara
gods. He said of the Peyote pilgrimage: "Our sym- Myerhoff, Peyote Hun~

T he gro und-up Peyote is kept in a pot legislators and engendered heated and,
or crock near the cross and is served in a unfortunately, often irres po nsible op -
gourd by an assistant: he makes three pos ition to its free use in American In-
rounds of th e fire if carrying the gourd dian ceremonies.
to the leader, one if carrying it to an or- It was the Kiowa and Comanche In -
dinary participant. All the songs praise dians, apparently, who in visits to a na-
Peyote for its protection of th e tr ibe and tive group in northern Mexico first
for its "beaut iful intoxication ." learn ed of this sacred American plant.
H ealing ceremo nies are often carr ied In dians in the United States had been
out like the Huichol's, restricte d to reservations by th e last half

The Tarahumara leader cures at day-

break. The first terminates dancing by
giving three raps. He rises, accompanied
by a yo ung assistant, and, circling th e
patio, he to uches every forehead with
water. He to uches the patient th rice,
and placing his stick to the patient's
head, he raps three times . The dust pro-
duced by the rapping, even though infi-
nitesimal, is a powerful health- and life-
giver and is saved for medicina l use.
T he final ritu al sends Peyote hom e.
The leader reaches toward the rising
sun and raps thrice. "In th e early morn-
ing, Hikuli had come from San Ignacio
and from Satapolio riding on beautifu l
green doves, to feast with the Tarahu-
mara at th e end of the dance whe n th e
peopl e sacrifice food and eat and drink.
H aving bestowed his blessings, Hikuli
forms himself into a ball and flies to his
shelter at the time ."
Peyote is employed as a religious sa-
crament among more tha n forty Amer-
ican Ind ian tr ibes in many parts of th e
United States and wes tern Ca nada. Be-
cause of its wide use, Peyote early at-
tracted th e attention of scientists and

Right.· The red Mescal beans (Sophora

Above left: The roadman in the Native of the nineteenth century, and much of gious activity, American Indians orga-
AmericanChurch officiates at the th eir cultural heritage w as disintegrat- nized th e Peyote cult into a legally
Peyote meeting as a representative of ing and disappearing. Fac ed with thi s recognize d reli gious group, th e N ative
theGreatSpirit. It is his dutyto showthe disastrous inevit ability, a numb er of In - A merican Church. This reli gious move-
"Peyote road" to theparticipants. The
dian leaders, especially from tribes rel o- m ent, unknown in th e United States
roadman in Stephen Mopope's painting
holds traditional ceremonial objects as-
cated in Oklahoma, began actively to before 1885, numbered 13,300 members
sociated with the religion: the fan, staff, spread a new kind of Peyote cult ad ap - in 1922. In 1993 there were at least
andrattle. On his cheek is painted the ted to th e needs of the more advanc ed 300,000 members am ong seventy differ-
crown of a Peyote plant. In the center Indian groups of the United States. ent trib es.
picture, alsoby Mopope, chanting parti- The Kiowa and Comanche w ere ap - Indians of the United Stat es, livin g far
cipantssit inside thesacredtepee,in parently the most active proponents of from the natural area of Peyote, must
the middle of which is Father Fire and the new religio n. Today it is the Kiowa- use the dried top of the cact us, the so-
thecrescent moon altar. Above the te- Comanche type of Peyote ceremony called mescal button, legally acquired
peeis the Peyote waterdrum. The
that, with slight modifications, prevails by either collection or purchase and dis-
photograph on the far rightdepicts the
north of the Me xican border. This cere - tribution through the U.S. postal ser-
Sioux medicinemanHenry CrowDog
chanting at a Peyote meeting on the mony, to judge from the rapid spread of vices . Some American Indians still send
Rosebud Reservation. the new Peyote religion, must have ap - pilgrims to gather the cact us in the
pealed strongly to the Plains tribes and fields, fo llowing the custom of Me xican
Abovemiddle: Also byMopope, This later to other groups. Indians, but mo st tribal gro ups in the
shows the participant who sitssingingin Succ ess in spreading the new .Pe y ote United States must procure their sup-
theinterior of his sacred tipi.In the mid- cult resulted in strong opposition to its plies by purchase and mail.
dle is Father Fireandthe sickle shaped practice from missionary and loc al gov- A member may hold a meeting in gra-
altar. Above thetipi is thewatercon-
ernmental gro ups . The ferocity of this titude for the recovery of health, the
opposition often led local governments safe return fr om a voyage, or the succ ess
Aboveright: Sioux Medicine ManHenry to en act rep ressive legislation, in spite of of a Pe yote pil grimage; it may be held to
Crow Dogat a Peyote Gathering on the ove rw helming scientific opinion th at celebrate th e birth of a bab y, to name a
Rosebud reservation. Indians sh ould be permitted to use child, on th e first four birthdays of a
Peyote in reli gious practices. In an at- ch ild, for doctoring, or even for general
tempt to protect th eir rights to free reli - th an ksgivin g.

Left: The Peyote rattle is an important
instrument for the Peyote ceremony of
the Native American Church.

The Kickapoo hold a Peyote service clay; the tepee is taken do wn as soon as Above'fighf: The photograph portrays
for th e dead, and th e bod y of the de- th e all-night ceremony is over. Som e the roadman's feathered staffof author-
ceased is brought int o the ceremo nial tribes hold the ceremony in a wooden ity: two smoking sticks for lightingthe
tepee. The Kiowa may have five services ro und-house with a permanent alta r of ritualcigarettes, one of which indicates
in the combination of the thunderbird
at East er, four at Christmas and cement inside, and the O sage and Qua-
andthe crossthe melding of Christian
Th ank sgivin g, six at th e New Year. paw Indians oft en have electrically
and Nativeelements; cornshucks for
Especially among the Kiowa , meetings light ed round- ho uses. cigarettes; a drumstick; several gourd
are held only on Saturday nigh t. Any- Th e Father Peyot e (a large " mesc al rattles; two Mescalbean necklaces,
on e who is a memb er of the Peyote cult button" or dried top of the Peyot e part of the roadman's dress; a bundle of
may be a leader or "roadman." There plant) is placed on a cros s or rosette of sagebrush; Peyote buttons; a Peyote
are certain taboos that th e roa dman, sage leaves at th e center of the altar. This ceremony necktie; a black "Peyote
and sometimes all particip ants, mu st crescent -shaped alt ar, sym bol of th e cloth," an eagle wing-bone fluteand
observe. The older men refrain fro m spirit of Peyot e, is never taken from th e a small pileof "cedar" needles for
eating salt the day before and aft er a altar during the ceremony. As soon as
meetin g, and they may not bathe for th e Father Peyote has been put in plac e,
several days follow ing a Peyot e service. all talkin g stops, and all ey es are direc-
Th ere seem to be no sexual tab oo s, as in ted to ward the altar.
the Mexican tribes, and the ceremony is Tobac co and corn shucks or blac k-
fre e of licentiou sness. Women are ad- jack oak leaves are passed around th e
mitted to meetings to eat Peyote and to circle of worshipers, each maki ng a ci-
pray, but the y do not usually particip ate ~arette fo r use durin g the leader 's op en-
in the singing and drumming. After the mg prayer.
age of ten, children may attend meet- The next procedure invo lves purifica-
ings, but do not take part until the y are tion of the bag of mescal buttons in ce-
adults. dar incense. Foll owing this blessin g, the
Peyote ceremoni es differ from tribe roa dman takes four mesc al buttons
to tribe. T he typical Plains Indian ser- from the bag, which is then pas sed
vice takes place usually in a tepee erect ed around in a clockwise dir ecti on , each
over a carefully made altar of eart h or .wo rshiper taking fo ur. More Peyote

Top left:The Peyote Goddess, or Earth
Mother, of the Huichol in a modern de-
piction. Her dress is decorated with
symbols of the sacred cactus. The
Peyote is her giftto humans in orderthat
they mayenter into contact withher. By
knowing her, manlearns to respect and
honor the earth anduse her wisely.

Top right: A Huichol man withthe small

Peyote garden he hasplanted in his vil-
lage andwhich he lovingly cares for.

Above: A Huichol shaman may be called for at any time during the cons idered sacred by N ative Am ericans,
(mara 'akame) singswithhis assistants ceremony, the amount consumed being a divine "messenger" enabling th e indi-
in front ofthe temple in which the Peyote left to personal discretion . Some peyo- vidual to communicate with God with-
ceremony will take place. tists eat up to thirty-six buttons a night, out the medi um of a prie st. It is an
and some boast of having ingested up- earthly representative of God to many
Page 155top: The groundPeyoteis
mixedwithwater andgivento the parti-
wards of fifty. An average amo unt is peyotists. " God told th e Dela wares to
cipantsat the intoxicatingceremony. probably about tw elve. do good even befor e H e sent Christ to
Singing starts with the roadman, th e th e whites who killed Him .. 0'" an In-
initial song always being th e same, sun g dian explained to an anthropologist.
or chanted in a high nasal tone. Tran s- " God made Peyote. It is His power. It
lated, the song means : "May the gods is the power of Jesus. Jesus came after-
bless me, help me, and give me power wards on this earth, after Peyote ...
and understanding. " God (through Peyote) told the Del a-
Sometimes, the roadman may be wares the same things that Jesus to ld
asked to treat a patient. This procedure th e whites."
varies in form. The curing ritual is al- Correlated with its use as a religious
most always simp le, consisting of pray- sacrament is its presumed value as a
ing and frequent use of the sign of the medicine. Some Indians claim tha t if
cross. Peyote is used correctly, all other medi-
Peyote eaten in cerem on y has as- cines are superfluous. Its suppo sed cura-
sumed th e role of a sacrament in part tive properties are responsible pr obabl y
becau se of its biological activity: the more than any other attr ibute for the ra-
sense of well- being th at it induces and pid diffusion of th e Peyote cult in th e
the psychological effects (the chief of United States.
which is the kaleid oscopic play of richly The Peyot e religion is a medico-
colored visions) often experi enced by religiou s cult . In considerin g Native
th ose who indulge in its use. Peyot e is Am erican medicines, one must always

· :i\...
I : .K..
: f'..
, ....

bear in mind th e differe nce between tw o types of " me dicines" : th ose wit h
th e ab origin al concep t of a medicinal purely ph ysical effects (tha t is, to re-
age nt and that of our modern \'\1estern lieve too th ache or dig esti ve up sets);
medicine. Indigenous societies, in gen - and the medicines , par ex cellence, that
eral, cannot co nceive of natural death put the me dicine ma n int o communica-
or illn ess but belie ve that th ey are du e tion, th rou gh a variety of visions, wi th
to superna tural interference. T he re are the malevole nt sp irits that cause illness
and dea th.
The factors responsible fo r th e rapid
growth and tenacity of the Pey ote re-
ligion in the United States are many
and int errelated. Among the most ob-
vious, however, and th ose most often
cited, are: th e ease of legally ob taining
supp lies of the hallucinogen; lack of
federal restraint; cessat ion of intertri-
bal warfa re; reservatio n life with co n-
seque nt intermarriage and peaceful
exchange of so cial and religious ide as;
ease of transp ort ation and postal co m-
munication; and th e gene ral atti tude of
res ignation to ward encroaching \'\1es- Above: A modern Peyote bird of the
tern culture. Navajo.
In th e year 1995 the use of peyote by
members of the N ative A merican Left: A Peyote ian (Navajo) madeirom
Church was made legal by Bill C linton ! peacock ieathers is used by the Indians
to induce visions.

63 Blue Meanies
64 Hoop-petticoat
65 Dark-rimmed Mottlegill
76 San Isidro "There is a world beyond ours, a w orld pecially offensive to the Europe an ec-
PSILOCYBECYANESCENS th at is far awa y, nearb y, and inv isible. clesiastical authorities, and th ey set out
77 Wavy Cap And th ere is where G od lives, w here to eradicate thei r use in reli giou s prac-
PSILOCYBE MEXICANA the dead live, th e spirits and the saints, tice s.
78 Teonanacatl a world w here everything has alrea dy "They possessed another m eth od of
PSILOCYBE SEMILANCEATA happ ened and everything is known. intoxication, which sharpened their
79 Liberty Cap That w orld tal ks. It has a lan guage of cruelty; for if they used certain small
its ow n. I report what it says. The sacred toadstools . . . th ey would see a th ou -
mushroom takes me by the hand and sand visions and esp ecially snakes . . .
brings me to the world where every- They called these mushrooms in their
thing is known. It is they, the sacred lan guage teunamacatlth, w hich means
mu shrooms, th at speak in a w ay I can 'God 's flesh,' or of th e De vil w hom the y
understand. I ask th em and th ey answer worshiped, and in thi s w ise wi th that
me. When I return fro m the trip th at I bitter victual by th eir cru el G od w ere
have take n wi th th em, I tell w hat th ey th ey hou seled. "
have to ld me and what th ey have shown In 1656, a guide for mission aries ar-
me. " gued agains t Indian idolatries, including
Thus does th e famo us Ma zatec sha - mu sh ro om ingestion, and reco mm en-
man Marfa Sabina reverent ly descri be d ed th eir extirp ation. Not only do re-
the god-given po wers of the intoxicat- ports condemn Teonanacatl, but actual
ing mu shrooms that she uses in her illustrations also denounce it. One de-
cer em ony, which has come down fr om picts the devil enti cing an Indian to eat
ages past. th e fungus; another has th e devil per-
Few pl ants of th e gods have ever bee n fo rming a dan ce up on a mu shro om .
held in gre ater reverence th an th e sacr ed "But before explaining this [ido la-
mushro oms of M exico. So hallow ed try] ," one of the clerics said, " I wish to
were th ese fung i th at th e Aztecs called explain the natu re of the said mush-
them Teonanacatl (" divine flesh ") and room s [that] we re small and ye llow ish,
used them onl y in th e most ho ly of th eir and to collect th em th e priests and old
Above: Oneofthelargest fruiting bodies
ceremonies. Even th ough, as fungi, men, appointed as ministers for these
of Psilocybeazurescens everfound.
mu shrooms do not blossom, the A ztecs impostures, went to the hills and re-
referred to them as "flower," and the In- mained almost the whole night in sermo-
dians who still use them in religious ri- nizing and in superstitious praying. At
tuals have endearing terms for them, dawn, when a certa in little breeze which
such as " little flo wers. " they know begins to blow, the y w ould
When the Spaniards conquered M ex- gather them, attributing to th em deity.
ico, they.w ere aghast to find the natives When they are eaten or drunk, th ey in-
worshiping their deities with the help of to xicate, depriving those who partake of
inebriating plants: Peyotl, Ololiuqui, th em of thei r senses and making them
Teonanacatl. The mushrooms were es- belie ve a thousand absurdities."

1. Psilocybe mexicana 4. Psilocybe caerulescensvar. mazatecorum

2. Psilocybe semperviva 5. Psilocybe caerulescens var. nigripes
3. Psilocybeyungensis
Below: In 1979the largest andmost potent mushroom
in the Psilocybe genus wasfound in Astoria, Oregon.
Psilocybe azurescens contains the highest concentra-
tionof psilocybine of all mushrooms.

Dr. Francisco H ernandez, personal

p hysician to the king of Spain, wrote
that three kinds of intoxicating mush -
rooms w ere worshiped. After describ-
ing a lethal species, he stated th at
"others when eat en cause not death bu t
madness that on occasion is lasting, of
w hich the sy mpto m is a kind of uncon-
trolled lau ghter. U su ally called teyhuin-
tli, these are deep yellow, acrid and of a
not displeasing fre shness. There are
others again w hich, w itho ut inducing
lau ghter, bring before the eyes all kinds
of visions, such as w ars and th e likeness
of demons. Yet others are there not less
desired by princes for their fiestas and
banquets , of great price. With night-
lon g vigils are they sou ght, awesome
and terrifying. This kind is tawny and
som ewh at acrid. "
For four centu ries nothing was
kn own of th e mushroom cu lt; and it
was even doubted that mus hrooms were
used hallucinogenically in ceremony.
The Church fathers had done such a
succ essful job of drivin g the cult into
hiding through persecution that no
anthropologist or botanist had ever un-
cov ered the reli gious use of these mus h-
rooms unt il this century.
In 1916 an American bo tanis t finally
proposed a "solution" to the identifica-
tion of Teonanacatl, concluding that
Teon anacatl and the Peyote we re the
same drug. Motivated by distrust of the
chroniclers and Indians , he int imated
that the natives, to p rotect Peyote, were
indicating mushrooms to th e aut hori-
ties. He argued that the dried, brownish,
disk like crown of Pe yote resembles a

6. Psilocybe cubensis 9. Psilocybe siligineoides

7. Psilocybe wassonii 10. Panaeolus sphinctrinus
8. Psilocybe hoogshagenii
Below: In Europe andNorth America
there are countless modern artifacts
that reflect the contemporary mush-
room cult.

Above: Mushrooms withpsychoactive dried mushroom-so remarkably that it sidered a Psilocybe. The most impo rtant
properties are foundaround theworld. will even deceive a mycologist. It was species appear to be Psilocybe mexicana,
In manyplaces 'f-shirts withmushroom not until the 1930s tha t an understand- P. cubensis, and P. caerulescens.
motifs are available for the traveling ing of the role of hallucinogenic mush- These various mushrooms are now
mushroom lover. Embroidery from
rooms in Mexico and a kno wled ge of known to be employe d in divinato ry
Kathmandu, Nepal.
their botanical identi fication and chemi- and religious rites among the Maz atec,
Aboveright: The Psilocybepelliculosa cal composition start ed to become .Chinantec, Ch atin o, Mixe, Zapotec,
is a relativelyweakmoderatelyactive available. In the late 1930s the first two and Mixtec of O axaca; the Nahua and
mushroom fromthe Pacific NorthWest. of the man y species of sacred Mexican possibly th e Otorni of Puebla; and the
mushrooms were collect ed and asso- Tarascans of Michoacan. The present
ciated with a modern mushroom cere- center of intensive use of the sacred
mony. Subsequent field research has mushrooms is among the Mazatec.
resulted in the discov ery of som e two Mushrooms vary in abundance from
dozen species. The most imp ortant be- year to year and at different seasons.
lon g to the genus Psilocybe, twelve of There may be years when one or more
which have been rep orted, not includ - species are rare or absent- they vary
ing St ropharia cub ensis, sometimes con - in their distribution and are not ubi-

Left: The sixteenth-century Spanish
friar Bernardino de Sahagun
denounced the Aztec'ssacramental
useof Teonanacatl, the"wondrous
mushroom." Thisdrawing, which
appears in Sahagun's famous chronicle,
Codex Florentino, depicts a demonlike
spirit overcrudely drawn mushrooms.

quitous. Furthermore, each shaman

has his own favorite mushrooms and
may forgo others; Maria Sabina, for The Chemis try of Teonanacatl
example, will not use Psilocybe cuben-
sis. And certain mushrooms are used Teonanacatl, the sacred mushrooms of Mexico, owe their hallucinogenic ef-
for specific pu rp oses. T his means that fects to two alkaloids known as psilocybine and psilocine. .
each ethnobo tanical expedi tion may The main component , psilocybine , is the phosphoric acid ester of psilocine,
not expect to find th e same assortme nt which occurs usually only in trace elements. Psilocybine and psilocine, being
of species employe d at one tim e, even tryptamine derivatives, belong to the class of indole alkaloids. Their crystals
in th e same locality and by th e same are shown on page 23; their chemical structure on page 186. The chemical
peopl e. relationship of these hallucinogens to the physiological compound serotonine
Chemica l stu dies have indicated that is especially significant. Serotonine, the molecular model of which is shown
psilocybine and, to a lesser extent, psi- on page 187, is a neurotransmitter and, therefore , important in the biochem-
locine are present in many of the species istry of psychic functions. Both psilocybine and psilocine can be produced
of the severa l genera associated wi th the synthe tically. The active dose in man is 6-12 mg. Twenty to 30 mg induce
Mexican ceremony. In fact, these com- strong visions.
po unds have been isolated from many
species of Psilocybe and other genera in
widely separated part s of the world,
although the evidence available suggests
that onl y in Mexico are psilocyb ine-
containing mushrooms at present uti -
lized in native ceremonies.
The modern mushroom ceremony is
an all-night seance that may include a
curing ritual. Chants accompany the
main part of the ceremony. T he intoxi-
cation is characterized by fantas tically
colored visions in kaleidoscopic move-
ment and sometimes by auditory hallu -
cina tions , and th e part aker loses him self
in unearthly flights of fancy.
T he mushrooms are collected in the
forests at the time of the new moon by
a virgin girl, th en taken to a church to
remain briefly on the altar. They are
never sold in the marketplace. T he Ma-
zatec call the mushrooms Nti-si-tho, in rooms. Excerpt s fro m her chant, all in Above left: In Mexico an unusualsaint
the beautiful tonal Mazatec language, named EINinois worshiped in the
which "Nti" is a particle of reverence
give an idea of her many" qualifications." Catholic Church. TheMexican Indians
and endearment; the rest of the name understand him as an embodiment of
means "that w hich springs forth." A the sacred mushroom, which theyalso
Mazatec explained this thought poeti- "Woman who thunders am I, woman call Nino. (Altarin San Cristobal deLas
cally: "The little mushroom comes of it- who sounds am 1. Casas, Chiapas)
self, no one knows whence, like th e Spiderw oman am I, hu mmingbird
wind that comes we know not whence woman am I ... Above right: The tropicalMagic Mush-
nor why." Eagle woman am I, important eagle room Psilocybe cubensis (Stropharia
T he male or female shaman chants for woman am 1. cubensis) wasfirstgathered in Cuba
Whirling wo man of th e whirlw ind and mycologically ascertained. It grows
ho urs, wit h frequ ent clapping or percus- in all tropical zones, preferringcow
sive slaps on th e thighs in rhythm with am I, wo man of a sacred, enchanted
th e chant. Maria Sabina's chanting, place am I,
which has been reco rded, studied, and Woman of th e shooting stars am 1."
translated, in great part proclaims hum-
bly her qu alifications to cur e and to int er- R. G ordon Wasson, th e first non-
pre t divine p ower thr ou gh th e mush- Indian fully to witness th e Mazat ec

In 1958, the famous Mazatec shaman cerem on y, wrote the following under- tell a man who has been born blind what
Maria Sabina performed a Ve/ada (night standing tho ughts about this use of the seeing is like? In the present case this is
vigil) on behalfof a seventeen-year-old mushrooms: an especially apt analogy, because su-
youth, Pefecto Jose Garcia, who was "H ere let me say a word abo ut the perficially th e bemushroo med man
seriously ill.
natu re of the psyc hic disturbance th at shows a few of th e obje ctive symptoms
Left to right: Pefecto awaits thecom-
the eating of the mushroom causes. This of one who is into xicated, drunk. Now
mencement of the Ve/ada. dist urbance is wholly different from the virtually all the words describing the
effect of alcohol, as different as night state of drunkenness, from ' int oxicated'
Pefecto stands up at thebeginning of fro m day. We are entering upon a dis- (wh ich literally means 'poisoned')
theceremony, and Maria Sabina turns cussion in which the vocab ulary of the through the scores of current vulgar-
her head to gaze at him. English language, of any Euro pean lan- isms, are contemptuo us, belittl ing, pe-
The shaman has incensedpairs of guage, is seriously deficient . jorative. H ow curi ous it is th at modern
sacred mushrooms andhandsPefecto "There are no apt words in it to char- civilized man finds surcease from care in
the intoxicating plant foringestion. acterize one's state when one is, shall we a drug for wh ich he seems to have no
say, ' bemushroomed.' For hundreds, respect! If we use by analogy the terms
Pefecto has heard the unfavorable
diagnosis, which Maria Sabina has
even tho usands, of years, we have suitable for alcohol, we prejudice the
learned throughthe help of the mush- thought about these things in terms of mushroom, and since there are few
rooms-that there is no hope for his alcohol, and we now have to break th e amo ng us who have been bemush-
recovery. He collapses in terrorand bounds imp osed on us by our alcoho lic roo med, th ere is danger that th e experi-
despair. obsessio n. We are all, willy-nilly, con- ence will not be fairly judged . What we
fined within the prison walls of our need is a vocabulary to describe all the
The shaman andherdaughter, adverse
everyday vocabulary. With skill in our modalities of a divine inebriant . . ."
diagnosis notwithstanding, continueto
chant, hoping for moreinsight-even
choice of words, we may stretch ac- Upon receiving six pairs of mush -
though she haslearned that Pefecto's cepted meanings to cover slightly new rooms in th e ceremony, Wasson ate
soul has been irrevocably lost. feelings and thoughts, but whe n a state them. He experienced the sensation of
of mind is utterly distinct, wholly nove l, his soul being removed from his body
then all our old words fail. How do yo u and floatin g in space. He saw "geometric

patterns, angular, in richest colors, Popol Vuh . Actually, more than tw o "The nines santos (Psilo-
w hic h grew into arc hitectural struc- hundred mushroom sto ne effigies have
tu res, th e sto nework in brilliant colors, been discovered, the oldest dating from
cybe mexicana) heal.
gold and ony x and ebony, exten ding th e firs t millen nium B. c . Although the They lower fevers, cure
beyond the reach of sight, in vistas mea - majority are G uatemalan, some have colds, and give freedom
sureless to man. T he architectural been unearthed in El Salvador and H on- from tooth aches. They
visions seemed to be oriented, seemed duras and ot hers as far n ort h as Vera-
to belong to th e . . . architecture d e- cru z and Guerrer o in Mexico. It is now pull th e evil spirits out of
scribed by the visionaries of the Bible." clea r th at whatever the use of th ese th e bod y or free the spirit
In the faint moonlight, "the bo uquet on "mushroom stones," the y ind icate th e of the sick."
the tab le assumed the dimensions and great anti quity of a sop histicated sacred
- Marla Sabina
shape of an imperial con veyance, a tr i- use of hallucinogeni c mushroom s.
umphant car, draw n by . . . creatures A superb statue of Xochipilli, Aztec
known only to mythology." Prince of Flowers, from the early six-
M ushrooms have apparently been tee nt h century, was rece ntl y discovered
ceremonia lly employed in M esoa merica on th e slopes of the vo lcano Mt, Pop e-
fo r ma ny centuries. Several early sources catepe tl (see illu stration, P: 62). H is face
have suggested that Ma ya n languages in is in ecstas y, as though seeing visio ns in
Guatemala had mushrooms nam ed for an intoxication; hi s head is slightly
the underworld. Miniature mu shr oom tilted, as th ou gh hearing voices. His
sto nes, 2,200 years of age, have been bod y is engrave d w ith st yli zed flowers
found in arc haeological sites near Gua- th at have bee n identif ied as sacred, most
temala C ity, and it has been postulated of them inebriat ing, plants. The pedestal
th at stone mu shroom effigies bu ried on which he sits is decorated with a de -
with a M ayan di gnitary sugges ted a sign rep rese nting cr oss-sect ions of th e
connection with th e Nine Lords of the caps of Psilocybe aztecorum, a halluci -
Xibalba, described in the sacred book nogenic mushroom known only from

Right: A celebrantdepicted in the
sixteenth-century Magliabecchiano
Codex is ingesting a pair of hallucino-
genic mushroomsduringa sacred rite.
Behindhim is theLordofthe Under-
world, Mictlantlcuhtli.Thethree jade
greenmushroomsin frontof the cele-
brantundoubtedlywerepainted in this
color to indicate theirgreat valueas
sacred objects.

this vo lcano . Thus Xo chipi lli undoubt- very hot to th e taste. N o person w ho
edly represents not simply th e Prince of drinks thi s bre w fails to fall under its ef-
Flowers but more spe cifically the Prince fects afte r three dr au ghts of it, since it is
of In ebriating Flowers, including the so strong, or more correctly, so toxic." It
mu shrooms th at , in N ahu atl p oetry, has been sug gested th at the tree mu sh -
we re called "flow ers" and "flo we rs that ro om mi ght have been the ps ychoactive
in to xicate ." Psilo cybe yungensis, which occurs in thi s
H ave psilocybine-containing mu sh- re gion .
rooms ever been employed as magico- In Colombia, many anthropomor-
religious hallucinogens in th e New p hic gold pectorals with two domelike
World? The answer is probably yes. ornaments on the head have been found.
A sp ecies of Psilocybe and possibly They are in th e so-called D arien sty le,
also Panaeolus are used tod ay near the and th e majority of them have been un-
classic M ay a ceremo nial center of eart he d in th e Simi area of northwe stern
Palenque, and hallucinogenic mush- Colombia and in th e Calima region on
rooms have been report ed in use alo ng th e Pacific coast. For lack of a better
the border betw een C hiapas in Me xico term, they have been called "telepho ne-
and G ua temala. W he ther th ese mo d- bell gods ," since the holl ow semi-
ern mu shroom practices in th e Maya sphe rica l ornaments resem ble the bells
region rep resent vest iges of forme r of old-fa shioned teleph on es. It has been
use or have been recently introduce d sugges ted th at th ey represe nt mu sh-
fro m Oaxaca it is not possible as yet roo m effigies. The discovery of similar
to say. art ifacts in Panam a and Costa Rica and
N evertheless, evide nce is now accu- one in Yucatan might be interp ret ed to
mulating to in dicate th at a mu shro om suggest a p rehistoric continuu m of a
cult flourished in prehistoric times- sacred mushroom cult from Me xico to
fro m 100 B. C . to ab out A . D . 300-400 in South America.
northwestern Me xico: in Colim a, Jalis- Farther to th e south in South America,
co, and Nayarit. Funerary effigies, with there is archaeol ogical evidence ·that
two "horns" p rotru ding from the head, may suggest the religious importance
are believed to represent male and fe- of mushrooms. Moche effigy stirrup
ma le" dei ties" or priests assoc iated with vessels from Peru, for example, have
mushrooms. Traditions among contem- mushroomlike cephalic ornaments.
porary Huichol Indians in Jalisco also While the archaeological evidence is
sug gest the former reli gious use of these convincing, the almost complete lack of
fungi "in ancient times." reference in colonial literature to such
What about South America, where use of mushrooms, and the absence of
Above: Albert Hofmann visited the sha- thes e ps ychoactive mushrooms abound ? any known modern hallucinogenic use
manMarfa Sabina in 1962andtook There is no evidence of such use today, of m us hrooms amo ng aboriginal groups
manyportraits of her. but indications of th eir appa rent former of South America, gives caus e for cau-
employment are many. The Yurimagua tion in the interpretation of w hat other-
Page 163: The sincerity andabsolute
Indians of the Peruvian Amazon w ere w ise mi ght easily be inte rpreted as
faith in the revelatorypower of the
mushrooms is evident in thesephoto- . reported in the late seventeenth and ancient mushroom effigies from south
graphs of Maria Sabina, who, during the early eighteenth centuries to be drinking of Pan ama. If, however, it becomes evi-
nightlong chanting andclapping cere- a potently inebriating bevera ge made dent th at th e various archaeological
mony, feels herself fully in contactwith from a "tree fungus ." The Je suit rep ort artifacts fr om South America men-
the other world, which the mushrooms stated that the Indians "mix mushrooms tioned above do represent hallucino -
have allowed her to visit. that gro w on fallen tr ees with a kind of genic mushrooms, then the area for
reddish film that is found usually at- their significance in America will be
tached to rotting trunks. This film is greatly am plified.

"I take the ' little one w ho springs up out of the earth'
(Psilocybe caerulescens) and I see Go d.
I see him sp ring ing up
out of th e eart h."
- Maria Sabina

Hierba de la Pastora

Right: Salvia divinorum is easyto Closely associated with the Indian

recognize by its square stem. mushroom cults is the use of another
psychoactive plant, Hierba de la Pastora
Below: A pastemadeof the freshleaves (Salvia divinorum) . It is not entirely
of Salvia divinorum is chewed slowly. clear if it was used in the pre -Spanish
times . It is possible that it was the
Pipi ltz intzintli of the Aztecs.
The male or female shamans of th e
Mazatecs of Oaxaca use Salvia divinor-
um, which is also known as hoja de la

Page 165 top left: Painted nelli e is used pastora (leaf of the shep her d) or pas- burnin g Copal incense, and some
by the Mazatecs as a replacement for tora, in rituals associated with divina- prayers are said to consecrate the leaves.
Salvia divinorum. tion or healing, genera lly as a sub stitute After chew ing the leaves, th e partici-
for the otherwise preferred psychoac- pants lie down and remai n as still and
Page 165topright: Coleus pumilus is
tive mushrooms. Maria Sabiria remar- silent as possib le. Salvia ritua ls last
considered by the Mazatecsto be re-
latedto Salvia divinorum.
ked: "When I am in the time that there barely longer than one to two hours, as
are no mushrooms and want to heal the effects of the leaves last a signifi-
Page 165middle: Salvia divinorum in someone who is sick, then I must fall cantly shorter time than those of mush-
the Mexicanrain forest. .back on the leaves of pastora. When rooms. If the visions are strong enough,
you grind them up and eat them, they the healer finds the cause of the illness,
work just like the niiios. But, of course, or some other problem. H e or she gives
pastora has nowhere near as much po - .the patient appropriate advice and ends
wer as the mushrooms." the meeting.
The ritual use is remarkably similar to Salvia divinorum, which is also known
the use of mushrooms. Salvinia divi- as Aztec sage, is native to the Mazatec
norum rituals take place at night in areas of the Sierra Madre Oriental in
comp lete darkn ess and stillness. Eit her the Mexican state of Oaxaca . It grows
the healer is alone with the patient or naturally in tropical rain fores ts in an
th ere are also other patients and poss i- altitude of three hundred to eighteen
bly some health y participants present . hundre d meters. Salvia divinorum, be-
Before th e shaman chews and sucks on cause of its limited geographic habitat,
the leaves, th ey are held over some belongs to the rares t of psychoactive

plants, but is cultivated by plant lovers
all over the world. T his reproduction is
achieved with cuttings. Wha t Was Pipiltzintzintli?
The Mazatecs take thirteen pairs of
fresh leaves (twenty-six leaves alto - The ancient Aztecs knew and used a plant called Pipiltzin tzintli (the purest
gether) and twist them into a kind of ci- little prince) very similarly to the use of Psilocybe mexicana in entheoqenic
gar or chaw, which is put into the mouth rituals. The re are masculine and feminine forms of this plant, macho and
and sucked or chewed. The juice is not hembra. In the National Archives in Mexico City, there are Inquisition files
swallowed, bu t the active ingredients from the years 1696, 1698, and 1706 that mention Pipiltzintzin and hint at its
are absorbed through the mucous mem- intoxicating effects. Various authors have taken this to be Salvia divinorum.
branes in the side of the mouth. For one
of these cigars, it takes at least six fresh
leaves, but one can use eight or ten
leaves for a stronger effect . The effects
with the chewing method begin in al-
most exactly ten minutes and last ap-
proximately forty-five min utes.
The dried leaves can also be smoked.
With this method, half of a fairly large
leaf (two or three deep inhalations) in-
duces a strong psychoactive reaction.
Generally, one or two leaves are smoked.
Most people who have smoked,
chewed, or taken a tinctur e of Salvia di-
vinorum report very bizarre, unus ual
psychoactive effects, which are not very
comparable with euphoric or psychede-
lic substances. There is often perceived
to be a "bending" of space; and a feeling
of sway ing or out-of-body experiences
is also typical.
In the traditional taxonomy of the
Mazatecs, Salvia divinorum is related
to tw o forms of labiates. Salvia is known
as the "mother" (la hembra), Coleus pu -
milus is considered to be the "father" (el
macho), and Coleus blumei is known as
el nene (the child) and el ahiajado, th e
godchild. The fresh leaves are used just
as those of Salvia divinorum -that is,
they are chewed like chewing tobacco. The Chemistry of Salvia divinorum
This connection gives the Coleus the re-
putation of being psychoactive plants. The leaves contain the neocerodan-diterpenes salvinorin A and salvinorin 8
(also known as divinorin A and divinorin B), as well as two other, similar sub-
stances that have not yet been precisely identified. The main ingredient is
salvinorin A (chemical formula: C23H2S0S), which has extreme conscious-
ness-altering effects with amounts as small as 1So-S00mg . Salvinorin is not
an alkaloid. It was first described by Ortega et al. by the name of salvinorin
(1982). Later, Valdes et al. described it under the name of divinorin A (1984).
The neurochemistry of salvinorin is still an unsolved puzzle-,The iDgredieQts
have not bound to any receptors in any receptor tests (the NovaSglilen meth-
od). The plant also contains loliolid.

San Pedro

Above left: Pieces of San Pedro piled up "San Pedro has a special symbolism in cacti ..." and" as it is very strong, after
forsalein the"witches' market" in curanderismo [folk healing] for a rea- they drink it they remain without judg-
Chiclayo in northern Peru. son: San Pedro is always in tune with ment and deprived of their senses, and
... the powers of animals, of strong per- they see visions that the devil represents
Above right:Thefast-growing San
sonages or beings, of serious beings, of to them ..." As with Peyote in Mexico,
Pedro cactus develops few, if any,
thorns when cultivated.
beings that have supernatural power. . ." the Roman Church fought against the
The San Pedro cactus, Trichocereus San Pedro cactus: "This is the plant with
pachanoi, represents undoubtedly one which the devil deceived the Indians ...
of the most ancient of the magic plants in their paganism, using it for their lies
of South America. The oldest archaeo- and superstitions ... those who drink
logical evidence, a Chavin stone carving lose consciousness and remain as if
in a temple in northern Peru, goes back dead; and it has even been seen that
to 1300 B. c. Almost equally old textiles some have died because of the great fri-
from Chavin depict the cactus with ja- gidity to the brain. Transported by the
guar and hummingbird figures. Peru- drink, the Indians dreamed a thousand
vian ceramics made between 1000 and absurdities and believed them as if they
700 B. c. show the plant in association were true ... "
with the deer; and others, several hun- The modern use of the San Pedro cac-
dred years later, have the cactus with tus, along the coastal regions of Peru
the jaguar and stylized spirals illustrat- and in the Andes of Peru and Bolivia,
ing the hallucinogenic experiences in - has been greatly affected by Christian
duced by the plant. On the southern influence-influences even in the name
coast of Peru, large ceramic urns of the applied to the plant, originating possi-
Nazca culture, dated 100 B. C.-A. D . 500, bly in the Christian belief that St. Peter
depict San Pedro. holds the keys to heaven. But the overall
The use of Trichocereus was wide- context of the moon-oriented ritual sur-
spread in Peru when the Spanish ar- rounding its use indicates that it is truly
rived . One ecclesiastical report said that an amalgan of pagan and Christian ele-
shamans "drink a beverage they call ments.
Achuma which is a water they make San Pedro is now employed to cure
from the sap of some thick and smooth sickness, including alcoholism and in-

The Chemistry of San Pedro

Trichocereus contains as its main alkaloid mescaline, responsible for the vi-
sual hallucinogenic effects. From dried specimens of San Pedro, 2 percent
mescaline has been isolated. In addition, hordenine has also been detected .

sanity, for divination, to undo love Top: The San Pedro cactus
wi tchcraft, to counter all kinds of sor- (Tfichocereus pachanoi).
cery, and to ensure success in personal
Above ieft: The flowers of San Pedro
ventures. It is only one-but th e princi-
remain closed during the daytime.
palone-of many "magical" plant s
known to and used by sha mans and col- Above right: In the early eveningthe
lected near sacre d lagoons high in th e large flowersof the San Pedroblossom
An des. in sumptuous splendor.
At th ese lagoon s, shamans go annu-
ally for purificat ion and to visit special Far left:A species fromthe Iti cttocet-
indivi duals, experts in sorcery and eus genus that has not yet been
"owners" of divine pla nts capa ble of botanicallycategorized. It grows in
northwesternArgentina, where it is also
awaking, with San Pedro, supernatural
called San Pedro andused psycho-
spi ritual powers. Even the sick exer t actively.
themselves to make pilgrimages to these
remote holy places. It is thoug ht that
th e penitent may undergo a metamor-
p ho sis in these lagoons and that the
p lants, especiall y San Pedro, from these
areas possess extraordinarily powerful
prop erti es to cure illness an d to influ-
ence w itchcraft .
Shamans spec ify four "kinds" of the
cactus, distinguish ed by th e number of
ribs: th ose with four ribs are rare and
considered to be th e most pot ent, wi th
very spec ial sup ernatu ral pow ers, since
th e four ribs represent th e "four w inds"
and th e "four roads."
T he cactus is kn own in northern coast-
al P eru as San Pedro, in th e northern

Only in recent years has San Pedro
been correctly identified. In early che-
mical and psychiatric studi es in Peru,
the cactu s was misidenti fied as Op untia
cylin drica. Only recently have stu dies
indicated the great significance of the
vegetal additives, an investigation th at
deserv es more attention. On occasion,
magic demands that other additives be
employ ed; powd ered bones and ceme-
tery du st are commo nly used to ensure
the effectiveness of the brew. As on e ob-
server has stated: San Pedro is " the cat-
alyst that activates all the complex
forces at work in a folk healing session,
especially th e visionary and divinatory
powers" of th e shaman, who can make
him self the owner of another man's
identity. But the magic of San Pedro
Top left: A ceramic pot irom the Chimu Andean area as Huachuma, and in Boli- zoes far beyond curing and divination,
culture, A.D . 1200. The owl-faced via as Achuma; the Bolivian term chu- for it is believed to guard houses like a
female depicted on this vessel is prob- m arse (" to get drunk") is derived from
ably anherbalist andshaman; sheholds
do g, w histling in an unearthly fashion
Achuma. Aguaco lla and Gigant6n are its and forcing intruders to flee in terror.
Huachuma (Trichocereus). Even today
Ecuadorean names . The principal effects of Trichocereus
in native markets, the women who sell
the hallucinogenic cactus are usually
T he stems of the cactus, normally pachanoi have been descri bed by a sha-
both herbalists andshamans, and purchased in the market, are sliced like man : ". .. the drug first pr oduces . . .
according to nativebeliefs, the owlis bre ad and boiled for up to seven hours drowsiness or a dreamy state and a feel-
associated withthesewomen. in water. After the drinking of San Ped- ing of lethargy . .. a slight dizziness .. .
ro, ot her medicinal herbs, the help of th en a great 'vision,' a clearing of all the
Top right: There are many herbs called which is freq uen tly sought, begin to talk faculties . .. It produces a light numb-
"conduro" that belongto different gen- to the shaman, activatin g his own "inner
era (for example, Lycopodium) andare power." San Pedro may be taken alon e,
traditionally usedas ingredients in the
but oft en other plants, separately boi-
San Pedro drink.
led, are added and the drink is th en
Middle: A north Peruvian curandero called Cimora. Among the numerous
(healer) sets up his "mesa" for the San plant additives emp loyed are the !"n-
Pedro ritual on the banks of Shimbe dean cactus N eoraimondia rnacrostibas,
Lake. a species of the amaranthaceou s Iresin e,
the euphorbiaceous Pedilanthus titby-
Belowright:The mesais surrounded by m aloides, and Isotoma longiflora of the
magical staves. They are either from Campanulaceae. All of th ese plants, ex-
pre-Columbian graves or modern repli-
. cept Iresine, may have biody?amic
casmade fromthe Amazonian Chonta
principles. Iresin e has the reputation of
curing "insanity." Bru gmansia aZ-:1'ea
and B. sanguin ea, two p ot ent hallucino-
gens in their own right, are frequently
add ed.

ness in th e bod y and afterward a tr an-
quillity. And the n comes detachment, a
typ e of visual forc e ... inclusive of all
the senses . . . including the sixth sense,
th e telepath ic sense of transmitting one-
self across time and matter . . . like a
kind of removal of one's tho ugh t to a
distant dimension."

"Fo ur-ribbed cacti . .. are considered

to be very rare and very lucky . . . to
have special pr op ert ies
because they correspo nd
to th e 'fo ur winds' and th e 'four
supernatural powers associated with
the cardinal points . . ."
- D ouglas Sharon

During th e ritual, partIcIpants are T he shaman may take the drug him - .Top left: Harvested and stored pieces
"set free fro m matt er" and engag e in self or give it only to th e pa tient , or bot h of San Pedro continue living and often
flight through cosm ic regions. It was may take it. The aim of thi s shamanic begin growing again after months, even
curing rit ual is to make th e patient years.
prob ably shamans who used the San
Pedro cactus that a Spanish officer in "b loom " dur ing th e night ceremony, to
Top right: The Wolf's Milk plant (Pedi-
Cuzco, Peru, described in th e sixteenth make his subconscious "o pen like a lanthus tithymaloides) is sometimes
cent ury: "Among the Indians, th ere flower," even like th e night-blooming addedto theSan Pedrodrink in orderto
was another class of w izards, pe rmitted Trichocereus itself. Patients sometim es strengthen its effects. Sometimes is has
by the Inc as to a cert ain degree, wh o are contemplative and calm, sometimes been said that Pedilanthusis hallucino-
are like sorcerers. They take th e form break into danc ing or even th row th em- genic, but this hasnot been proved.
they w ant and go a long distance selves writhing on the ground.
through th e air in a short time; and As with so many other hallucinogens, Above: The viewof the mesagives a
here is a plant given by th e gods to man clear impression of the syncretic cos-
the y see what is happenin g, th ey sp eak
mology of the modern healer. Gods and
with th e devil, who answers them in to help him expe rience an ecstasy-
deities from different cultures lay next to
certa in sto nes or in other thing s th at sepa ration of the soul from th e bod y- snail shells, archaeological objects, and
they venerate . . ." Ecstatic magical "in a very tenuo us, simp le fashion and perfumebottles.
flight is still characte ristic of the co n- almos t instantaneou sly." T his ecstasy
temp orary San Pedro ceremony : "San provides preparations for the sacre d
Pedro is an aid which one uses to ren- flight th at enab les man to expe rien ce
der the spirit mo re pleasant, more man - medi ation between his mortal existence
ageab le . . . One is transported across and the supernatural forces -an activity
time, matter, and distance in a rapid establishing dir ect contac t throu gh this
and safe fashio n . . ." plant of th e gods .

Morning Glory
95 Ololiuqui

Four centuries ago, a Spanish mission- twining habit. In 1651, the physician of
ary in Mexico wrote: "Ololiuqui ... de- the king of Spain, Francisco Hernandez,
prives all who use it of their reason . .. identified Ololiuqui as a Morning Glory
The natives communicate in this way and professionally reported: "Ololiu-
with the devil, for they usually talk qui, which some call Coaxihuitl or snake
when they become intoxicated with plant, is a twining herb with thin, green,
Ololiuqui, and they are deceived by var- cordate leaves; slender, green, terete
ious hallucinations which they attribute stems; and long, white flowers. The seed
to the deity which they say resides in is round and very much like coriander,
the seeds ... " whence the name [in Nahuatl, the term
A recent report indicates that Ololiu- Ololiuqui means 'round thing'] of the
Top left:TheOloliuqui vine Turbina qui has not lost its association with the plant. The roots are fibrous and slender.
corymbosa. deity in Oaxaca: "Throughout these re- The plant is hot in the fourth degree. It
ferences we see two cultures in a duel to cures syphilis and mitigates pain which
Top right: Flying Saucers area favorite is caused by chills. It relieves flatulency
death [the Spanish and the Indians]
cultivated strain of theenchanting
[with] the tenacity and wiles of the In- and removes tumors. If mixed with a lit-
Morning Glory, Ipomoea violacea.
dians defending their cherished Ololiu- tle resin, it banishes chills and stimulates
Above: An earlypainting of Ololiuqui qui. The Indians seem to have won out. and aids in a remarkable degree in cases
from Sahagun's Historia delas Cosas Today in almost all the villages of Oax- of dislocations, fractures, and pelvic
de Nueva Espana, written inthesecond aca one finds the seeds still serving the troubles in women. The seed has some
halfof thesixteenth century, clearly de- natives as an ever present help in time of medicinal use. If pulverized or taken in
picts theplant as a Morning Glory. trouble." As with the sacred mush- a decoction or used as a poultice on the
rooms, the use of the hallucinogenic head or forehead with milk and chili, it is
Morning Glories, so significant in the said to cure eye troubles. When drunk, it
life of pre-Hispanic Mexico, hid in the acts as an aphrodisiac. It has a sharp taste
hinterlands until the present century. and is very hot. Formerly, when the
A Spanish report written shortly after priests wanted to commune with their
the Conquest stated that the Aztecs have gods and to receive a message from
"an herb called coatl-xoxo uhqui [green them, they ate this plant to induce a de-
snake], and it bears a seed called Ololiu- lirium. A thousand visions and satanic
qui." An early drawing depicts it as a hallucinations appeared to them. In its
Morning Glory with congested fruits, manner of action, this plant can be com-
cordate leaves, a tuberous root, and a pared with Solanum maniacum of

The Chemistry of the Ololiuqui

Lysergic acid alkaloids are the hallucinogenic compounds of Ololiuqui. They

are indole alkaloids that have also been isolated from Ergot. Lysergic acid
amide, also known as ergine, and lysergic acid hydroxyethylamide are the
main components of the alkaloid mixture in Ololiuqui. Their molecular ar-
rangement is shown on page 187. The tryptamine radical in the ring structure
of lysergic acid establishes its relationship with these ergoline alkaloids as
well as with the active principles of Psilocybe and of the brain hormone ser-
LSD, lysergic acid diethylamide , a semi-synthetic compound , is the most
potent hallucinogen known today. It differs from lysergic acid amide only by
replacement of two hydrogen atoms for two ethyl groups (p, 187). The active
principle of Ololiuqui (hallucinogenic dose 2-5 mg), however, is about 100
times less potent than LSD (hallucinogenic dose 0.05 mg).

Dioscoride s. It grows in warm plac es in mind to penetra te . . . They consult it Above left: The very woody trunkof the
the fields." through one of th eir deceiving docto rs, Ololiuqui vine.
Other early referen ces stated that some of whom prac tice O loliuq ui
"Ololiuq ui is a kind of seed like th e len- drinking as a profession . . . If a doctor Above right:The capsules andseeds of
Ipomoea violacea are characteristic.
til . . . produc ed by a species of ivy . . .; wh o does not drink Ololiuqui wishes to
when it is drunk, this seed deprives of free a patient of some tr ouble, he advises Below:The Europeanbindweed
his senses him who has take n it, for it is th e patient himself to part ake . . . The Convolvulus tricoloralsocontains
very powerful" and that "i t will not be docto r appo ints the day and ho ur when psychoactivealkaloids, although there
wro ng to refrain fro m tellin g where it th e drink must be taken and establishes is no knowledge of any traditional use.
groes, for it matters littl e that this plant th e reason for the patient's drinking it.
be her e described or th e Spaniards be Finally, the one drinking Ololiuqui ...
made acquainted with it." Another wri- must seclude himself in his room ... No
ter marveled: " It is remarkable how one must enter during his divination . . .
much faith these nativ es have in the H e . . . believes th e Ololiuqui ... is
seed, for . .. th ey consult it as an oracle revealing what he wa nts to know. When
to learn many things . . . especially th ose th e delirium is passed, th e doctor comes
. .. beyond the power of th e human out of seclusio n reciting a th ousand

Right:In South America the bindweed
Ipomoea carnea is usedas aninebriant.
It alsohasthepsychoactive alkaloid

Above: An ancient Indian Mother God- fabrications .. . thus keeping the patient fore their gods, saying that it is the food
dessandher priestly attendants with a deceived." The confession of an Aztec of the gods ... and with it they become
highly stylized vineof Ololiuqui, in one penitent illustrates the Ololiuqui asso- witch-doctors and commune with the
of themurals fromTeotihuacan, Mexico, ciation with witchcraft: "I have believed devil."
dated aboutA. D. 500.Hallucinogenic
in dreams, in magic herbs, in Peyote, in In 1916, an American botanist sus-
nectar appears to flowfromthe blos-
somsof the plant, and"disembodied
Ololiuqui, in the owl ..." pected erroneously that Ololiuqui was
eyes" andbirdsareotherstylistic fea- The Aztecs prepared a salve that they a species of Datura. His reasons were
turesassociated with hallucinogenic employed in making sacrifices: "They several: Datura; was a well-known in-
intoxication. took poisonous insects .. . burned them toxicant; its flower resembled a Morn-
and beat the ashes together with the ing Glory; no psychoactive principle
foot of the ocotl, Tobacco, Ololiuqui was known from the Morning Glory
and some live insects . They presented family; the symptoms of Ololiuqui in-
this diabolical mixture to their gods toxication resembled those caused by
and rubbed their bodies with it. When Datura; and "a knowledge of botany
thus anointed, they became fearless to has been attributed to the Aztecs which
every danger." Another reference as- they were far from possessing .. . The
serted that "they place the mixture be- botanical knowledge of the early Span-

Left: The Morning Glory Ipomoea viola-
ceaas a wildflower in southern Mexico.

ish writers was perhaps not much Above: Depiction of MorningGlories

more extensive." This misidentification andvisionary eyes onan ancient Indian
was widely accepted. wallpaintingin Tepantitla (Teotihuacan),
Only in