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Raci ne, Wi sconsi n
Hal l uci nogeni c pl ants have been used by man for thou
sands of years, probabl y si nce he began gatheri ng pl ants
for food. The hal l uci nogens have conti nued to recei ve
the atenti on of ci vi l ized man through the ages. Re
centl y, we have gone through a period during which so
phi sticated Western soci ety has "di scovered" hal l uci no
gens, and some sectors of that soci ety have taken up,
for one reason or another, the use of such pl ants. Thi s
trend may be desti ned to conti nue.
I t i s, therefore, i mportant for us to l earn as much
as we can about hal l uci nogeni c pl ants. A great body of
sci enti fc l i terature has been publ i shed about thei r uses
and thei r efects, but the i nformati on i s often l ocked away
i n techni cal j ournal s. The i nterested l ayman has a right
to sound i nformation on whi ch to base h i s opm1ons.
Thi s book has been wri tten partl y to provi de that ki nd
of i nformati on.
No mater whether we bel i eve that man' s i ntake of
hal l uci nogens i n pri mi tive or sophi sti cated soci eti es
consti tutes use, mi suse, or abuse, hal l uci nogeni c pl ants
have undeni abl y pl ayed an extensive rol e i n human
cul ture and probabl y shal l conti nue to do so. I t fol l ows
that a cl ear understandi ng of these physi cal l y and
soci al l y potent agents shoul d be a part of man' s general
educati on.
R. E. S.
Copyright 1976 by Western Publishing Compny, Inc. All rights resered, including
rights of reproduction and use in any form or by any means, including the making
of copies by any photo proess, or by any electronic or mechanical device, printed
or written or oral, or recording for sound or visual reproduction or for use
in any knowledg retrieval system or device, unless permission in writing is
obtained fo the coyright porietor. Prouced in the U.S.A. Published by Golden
Press, New York, N.Y. library of Congress Catalo Card Number: 74-21666.
What Are Hal l uci nogeni c Pl ants? . 5
Hal l uci noens in Pri mitive Soieties 7
Use in Modern Western World . 1 0
Fami ly Tree of the Pl ant Ki ngdom 1 2
Di stri bution of Hal l ucinogens 1 4
Chemi cal Composi tion . . . . 1 6
Pseudohal l ucinogens . . . . . 20
How Hal l uci nogens Are Taken 2 1
Ol d Worl d Hal l uci nogens . . . 22
Fl y Agaric Mushrom, 24 Agra, Ereriba, 28 Kwashi,
Gol anga, 29 Mari huana, 30 Turkestan Mi nt, 42
Syrian Rue, 43 Konno, 44 Bel l adOna, 46 Henbane,
48 Mandrake, 50 Dhatura, 52 l boa, 54
New Worl d Hal l uci noens . . . . . . . . 56
Pufbl l s, 57 Mushrooms, 58 Rape dos Indios, 72
Sweet Flag, 73 Vi rolas, 7 4 Masha-hari , 83 Jurema,
84 Yopo, 86 Vi l ca, 92 Genista, 93 Mescal Bean,
94 Colori nes, 96 Pi ul e, 97 Ayahuasca, 98
Shonshi , 1 07 Si ni cui chi , 1 08 San Pedro, 1 1 0
Peyote, 1 1 4 "Fal se Peyotes, " 1 24 Hierb loco, 1 26
Sacred Morni ng Glori es, 1 28 Hojas de Ia Pastore, 1 37
Col eus, Borrachera, Arbol de los Brujos, 1 38 Chiri c
Caspi , 1 40 Daturas, 1 42 Tree Daturas, 1 45
Cul ebra Borrachero, 1 48 Shan i n, Keul e, Tai que, 1 50
Tupa, Zacatechi chi , 1 52
1 54
Other Hal l uci noenic Plants .
1 56
More Information 1 57
I ndex 1 58
Hal l uci nogenic pl ants have been featured on many postage stamps:
( 1 , 6) Amanita muscaria, (2) frui t of Peganum hormala, (3) Atropa
belladonna, (4) Pancratium trianthum, ( 5) Rivea corymbosa, (7) Datura
stramonium, (8) Datura candida, (9) Hyoscyamus niger.
I n hi s search for food, earl y man tried al l ki nds of pl ants.
Some nouri shed hi m, some, he found, cured hi s i l l s, and
some ki l l ed hi m. A few, to hi s surpri se, had strange
efects on his mind and body, seemi ng to carry hi m i nto
other worl ds. We cal l these pl ants hal l uci nogens, because
they di stort the senses and usual l y produce hal l uci nati ons
-experi ences that depart from real i ty. Al tough most
hal l uci nati ons are vi sual , they may al so i nvol ve the senses
of heari ng, touch, smel l , or taste-and occasi onal l y
several senses si mul taneousl y are i nvol ved.
The actual causes of such hal l uci nati ons are chemi cal
substances in the pl ants. These substances are true nar
coti cs. Contrary to popul ar opi ni on, not al l narcoti cs are
dangerous and addi ctive. Stri ctl y and etymol ogi cal l y
speaki ng, a narcotic i s any substance that has a de
pressive efect, whether sl i ght or great, on the central
nervous system.
Narcoti cs that i nduce hal l uci nati ons are vari ousl y
cal l ed hal l uci nogens ( hal l uCi nation generators) , psy
chotomi meti cs ( psychosi s mi mi ckers) , psychotaraxi cs
( mi nd di sturbers) , and psychedel i cs ( mi nd mani festers) .
No one term ful l y sati sfes sci enti sts, but hal l uci no
gens comes cl osest. Psychedel i c is most wi del y used i n
the Uni ted States, but i t combi nes to Greek roots
i ncorrectl y, i s bi ol ogi cal l y unsound, and has acqui red
popul ar meani ngs beyond the drugs or thei r efects.
I n the hi story of manki nd, hal l uci nogens have prob
ably been the most i mportant of al l the narcoti cs. Their
fantasti c efects made them sacred to pri mi ti ve man and
may even have been responsi bl e for suggesti ng to hi m
the i dea of dei ty.
Paramount among the hal l ucinogens of rel i gi ous si gni fcance i s the
peyote cactus . Thi s i l l ustration, cal led "Morni ng Prayer in a Peyote
Ceremony, " is adapted from a pai nting by Tsa Toke, a Kiowa I ndi an.
These I ndi ans ore ri tual users of peyote. Central fre and crescent
shaped al tar are fanked b
ceremoni al eagle-feather fans; feathers
symbol i ze morni ng, and the bi rds, ri si ng prayers.
Hal l uci nogens permeate nearl y every aspect of l i fe i n
pri mi tive soci eti es. They pl ay rol es i n heal th and si ck
ness, peace and war, home l i fe and travel , hunti ng and
agri cul ture; they afect rel ati ons among i ndi vi dual s,
vi l l ages, and tri bes. They are bel i eved to i nfuence l i fe
before bi rth and after death.
MEDICAL AND RELIGI OUS USES of hal l uci nogeni c
pl ants are parti cul arl y i mportant i n pri mi tive soci eti es.
Abori gi nal peopl e attri bute si ckness and heal th to the
worki ng of spi ri t forces. Consequentl y, any "medi ci ne"
that can transport man to the spi ri t worl d i s consi dered
by many abori gi nes to be better than one wi th purel y
physi cal efects.
Psychi c powers have al so
been attri buted to hal l u
ci nogens and have be
come an i ntegral part of
pri mi ti ve rel i gi ons. Al l over
the worl d hal l uci nogeni c -...l
pl ants are used as hoi
medi ators beteen man
and hi s gods. The prophe
ci es of the oracl e of Del phi ,
for exampl e, are thought
to have been i nduced
through hal l uci nogens.
Makuna I ndi an medi ci ne man
under i nfuence of coapi ( aya
huasca or yaje) prepared from
bark of Banisteriopsis caapi.
Statue of Xochi pi l l i , the Aztec " Pri nce of Fl owers," unearthed i n
Tlal manal ca on the sl opes of t he volcano Popocatepetl and now on
di splay i n t he Museo Nacinal in Mexico Ci ty. Label s i ndi cate
pobable botanical interpretation of stylized gl yphs.
OTHER ABORI GI NAL USES of hal l uci nogens vary
from one pri mi tive cul ture to another. Many hal l uci no
geni c pl ants are basi c to the i ni ti ati on ri tual s of adol es
cents. The Algonqui n I ndi ans gave an i ntoxi cati ng medi
ci ne, wysoccan, to thei r young men, who then became
viol entl y deranged for 20 days. Duri ng thi s peri od, they
l ost al l memory, starti ng manhood by forgetti ng they
had been boys. The i boga root i n Gabon and caapi in
the Amazon are al so used i n such ritual s.
I n South Ameri ca, many tri bes take ayahuasca to
foresee the future, settle di sputes, deci pher enemy
pl ans, cast or remove spel l s, or i nsure the fdel i ty of
thei r women. Sensati ons of death and separati on of
body and soul are someti mes experi enced duri ng a
dreaml i ke trance.
The hal l uci nogeni c properties of Datura have been
thoroughl y expl oi ted, parti cul arl y i n the New Worl d. I n
Mexi co and i n the Southwest, Datura i s used i n di vi na
ti on, prophecy, and ritual i sti c curi ng.
Modern Mexi can I ndi ans val ue certai n mushrooms
as sacraments and use morni ng gl ori es and the peyote
cactus to predi ct the future, di agnose and cure di sease,
and pl acate good and evi l spi ri ts.
The Mi xtecs of Mexi co eat pufbal l s to hear voi ces
from heaven that answer thei r questi ons. The Wai kas
of Brazi l and Venezuel a snuf the powdered resi n of a
j ungl e tree to ri tual ize death, i nduce a trance for di ag
nosi ng di sease, and thank the spi ri ts for vi ctory in war.
The Wi totos of Col ombi a eat the same powerful resi n
to "tal k with the l i ttle peopl e. " Peruvi an medi ci ne men
dri nk ci mora to make themsel ves owners of another' s
i denti ty. I ndi ans of eastern Brazi l dri nk j urema to have
gl ori ous vi si ons of the spi ri t worl d before goi ng i nto
battle with thei r enemi es.
Our modern soci ety has recentl y taken up the use,
someti mes i l l egal l y, of hal l uci nogens on a grand scal e.
Many peopl e bel i eve they can achi eve "mysti c" or
" rel i gi ous" experience by al teri ng the chemi stry of the
body with hal l uci nogens, seldom real i zi ng that they are
merel y reverting to the age-ol d practices of pri mi tive
soci eti es. Whether drug-i nduced adventures can be
i denti cal with the metaphysi cal i nsi ght cl ai med by some
mysti cs, or are merel y a counterfei t of i t, i s sti l l con
troversi al . The wi despread and expandi ng use of hal l u
ci nogens in our soci ety may have l i ttl e or no val ue and
may someti mes even be harmful or dangerous. I n any
event, i t i s a newl y i mported and superi mposed cultural
trait wi thout natural roots in modern Western tradi ti on.
Detai l of a pai nti ng of a pri mi ti ve ayahuasca vi si on by Yando del Ri os,
contemporary Peruvi an artist.
Si mpl er pl ants are the mushrooms and molds ( fungi ) ,
seaweeds ( algae) , masses and l iverorts ( bryo
phytes) , and ferns ( pteridophytes) . More complex
are the seed plants ( spermataphytes) , subdi vi ded
into cone-bearers ( gymnosperms) and fower-barers
( angiosperms) , with one seed leaf ( monocots) or two
( dicots) , with petal s absent or seprate ( archi
chl amydeae) or petal s joined ( metachl amydeae) .
1 2
The majority of hal l uci nogeni c speci es occur among
the hi ghly evolved floweri ng pl ants and i n one
divi si on ( fungi) of the si mpler, spore-beari ng pl ants.
No hal l uci nogeni c spci es are yet known from the
other " branches" of the pl ant ki ngdom ( see pp. 1 2-
1 3) . Pl ants ill ustrated are representative psycho
acti ve speci es.
1 4
Hal l uci nogens are l i mi ted to a smal l number of types
of chemi cal compounds. All hal l uci nogens found in pl ants
are organi c compounds -that is, they contai n carbon
as an essenti al part of thei r structure and were formed
i n the l i fe processes of vegetabl e organi sms. No i norgani c
pl ant consti tuents, such as mi neral s, are known to have
hal l ucinogeni c efects.
Hal l ucinogeni c compounds may be di vi ded conven
ientl y i nto to broad groups: those that contai n ni trogen
in thei r structure and those that do not. Those wi th
nitrogen are far more common. The most i mportant of
those l acking ni trogen are the active princi pl es of mari
huana, terpenophenol i c compounds cl assed as di ben
zopyrans and cal l ed cannabi nol s-i n parti cul ar, tetrahydro
cannabi nol s. The hal l uci nogeni c compounds with ni trogen
i n thei r structure are al kal oi ds or rel ated bases.
" THC"
carbon atom
Q hydroen atom
@oxygen atom
carbon atom
hydroen atom

oxygen atom
nitroen atom
ALKALOI DS are a di verse group of some 5, 000 com
pounds wi th compl ex mol ecul ar structures. They con
tai n ni trogen as wel l as carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen.
Al l al kal oi ds are of pl ant ori gi n, though some proto
al kal oi ds occur i n ani mal s. All are sl i ghtl y al kal i ne, hence
thei r name. They are cl assifed i nto seri es based on
thei r structures. Many hal l uci nogeni c al kal oi ds are
i ndol es ( see below) or are rel ated to i ndol es, and the
majori ty have or may have ori gi nated i n the pl ant
from the ami no aci d known as tryptophan.
Most medi ci nal and toxi c pl ants, as wel l as hal l uci no
geni c pl ants, owe thei r bi ol ogi cal acti vi ty to al kal oi ds.
Exampl es of wi del y val ued al kal oi ds are morphi ne,
qui ni ne, ni coti ne, strychni ne, and cafei ne.
I NDOLES are hal l uci nogeni c al kal oi ds or rel ated bases,
al l of them ni trogen-contai ni ng compounds . I t i s most
surpri si ng that of the many thousands of organi c com-
1 7
pounds that act on vari ous parts of the body so few
are hal l uci nogeni c. The i ndol e nucl eus of the hal l uci nogens
frequentl y appears i n the form of tryptami ne deri vatives.
It is composed of phenyl and pyrrol segments ( see di a
gram on opposi te page) .
Tryptami nes may be "si mpl e" -that i s, wi thout sub
stituti ons -or they may have vari ous "si de chai ns" known
as hydroxy ( OH), methoxy (O), or phosphogl oxy
(OP03H) groups i n the phenyl ri ng.
The i ndol e ri ng ( shown i n red i n the di agram) i s evi
dent not onl y i n the numerous tryptami nes ( di methyl tryp
tami ne, etc. ) but al so in the vari ous ergol i ne al kal oids
{ergi ne and others), in the i bogai ne al kal oi ds, and in the
,-carbol i ne al kal oi ds ( harmi ne, harmal i ne, etc. ) . lysergi c
aci d di ethyl ami de (lSD) has an i ndol e nucl eus. One
reason for the si gni fcance of the i ndol i c hal l uci nogens
may be thei r structural si mi l arity to the neurohumoral
tryptami ne serotoni n ( 5- hydroxydi methyl tryptami ne) , pres
ent i n the nervous ti ssue of warm-bl ooded ani mal s.
Serotoni n pl ays a maj or rol e i n the bi ochemi stry of the
central nervous system. A study of the functi oni ng of
hal l uci nogeni c tryptami ne may experi mental l y hel p to
expl ai n the functi on of serotoni n i n the body.
A chemi cal rel ati onshi p si mi l ar to that beteen i n
dol i c hal l uci nogens and serotoni n exists between
mescal i ne, an hal l uci nogeni c phenyl ethyl ami ne base i n
peyote, and the neurohormone norepi nephri ne.
These chemi cal si mi l ari ti es between hal l uci nogeni c com
pounds and neurohormones wi th rol es i n neurophysi ol ogy
may hel p to expl ai n hal l uci nogeni c acti vi ty and even
certai n processes of the central nervous system. Other
al kal oi ds -the i soqui nol i nes, tropanes, qui nol i zi di nes, and
isoxazol es -are more mi l dl y hal l uci nogeni c and may
operate di ferentl y i n the body.
Serotoni n
Psi l ocybi n
h-N ( C
N,N = Di methyl tryptami ne

Harmal i ne

H2h-NH (CH3)2
Ergi ne
These are poi sonous pl ant compounds that cause what
might be cal l ed secondary hal l uci nati ons or pseudo
hal l uci nati ons. Though not true hal l uci nogeni c agents,
they so upset normal body functi ons that they i nduce
a ki nd of del i rium accompani ed by what to al l practi
cal purposes are hal l uci nations. Some components of
the essenti al oi l s-the aromatic elements responsi bl e
for the characteristic odors of pl ants-appear to act
i n thi s way. Components of nutmeg oi l are an exampl e.
Many pl ants havi ng such components are extremel y dan
gerous to take i nternal l y, especi al l y i f i ngested i n doses
hi gh enough to i nduce hal l uci nati ons. Research has not
yet shed much l i ght on the ki nd of psychoacti vi ty pro
duced by such chemi cal s.
Myristico frogrons is
the source of nutmeg
and mace.
Nepeto cataria
is known for its
sti mul ati ng
efect on cots.
Hal l uci nogeni c pl ants are used in a vari ety of ways,
dependi ng on the ki nd of pl ant materi al , on the acti ve
chemi cal s i nvol ved, on cul tural practi ces, and on other
consi derati ons. Man, i n pri mi ti ve soci eti es everywhere,
has shown great i ngenui ty and perspi caci ty i n bendi ng
hal l uci nogeni c pl ants to hi s uses.
fresh or dri ed, as are peyote
and teonanacatl ; or juice from
the crushed leaves may be drunk,
as wi th Salvia divinorum ( i n
Mexi co). Occasi onal l y a pl ant
deri vati ve may be eaten, as wi th
hasheesh. More frequentl y, a
beverage may be drunk:
ayahuasca, caapi , or yaje from
the bark of a vine; the San
Pedro cactus; j urema wi ne; i baga;
leaves of toloche; or crushed
seeds from the Mexi can morni ng
gl ories. Ori gi nal ly pcul i ar to
New Worl d cul tures, where i t
was one way of usi ng tobacco,
smoki ng i s now a wi despread
method of taki ng cannabi s. Nar
cotics other than tobcco, such
as tup, may al so be smoked.
SNUFFING is a preferred meth
o for usi ng several hal l uci nogens
-yopo, epena, sebi l , rap dos
indios. like smoki ng, snufng
is a New Worl d custom. A few
New World I ndi ans have taken
hal l uci nogens rectal l y-as in
the case of Anadenanthera.
One curious method of i n
duci ng narcotic efects i s the
African custom of i nci si ng the
scal p and rubbi ng the juice from
the oni onl i ke bul b of a species
of Pancratium acrss the i n
ci si ons. Thi s method i s a ki nd
of primitive counterpart of the
modern hypodermi c method.
Several methods may be used
i n the case of some hal l uci no
geni c pl ants. Virola resi n, for
exampl e, i s l i cked unchanged, i s
usual ly prepared i n snuf
form, i s ocas ional l y mde i nto
pl lets to b eaten, and my
someti mes be smoked .
tures to major hal l uci noeni c
speci es are becomi ng i ncreas
i ngl y i mportant in research.
Subsi diary pl ants are sometimes
added to the preparation to
alter, i ncrease, or l engthen the
narcotic efects of the mai n
ingredients. Thus, i n maki ng the
ayahuasca, caapi , or yaje
drinks, prepared basi cal l y from
Banisteriopsis caapi or B.
inebrians, several additives are
often thrown in: leaves of
Psychotria viridis or Banisteriopsis
rusbyana, whi ch themsel ves con
tai n hal l uci nogeni c tryptami nes;
o Brunfelsia or Dtura, both of
whi ch are hal l uci nogeni c i n thei r
own ri ght.
2 1
Exi sti ng evi dence i ndi cates that man in the Ol d Worl d
-Europe, Asi a, Afri ca, and Austral i a-has made l ess
use of native pl ants and shrubs for thei r hal l uci nogeni c
properti es than has man i n the New Worl d.
There is l i tl e reason to bel i eve that the vegetati on of
one hal f of the gl obe is poorer or ri cher in spci es wi th
hal l uci nogeni c properti es than the other hal f. Why, then,
should there be such di spari ty? Has man i n the Ol d
Worl d si mpl y not di scovered many of the nati ve hal l u
ci nogeni c pl ants? Are some of them too toxi c in other
ways to be uti l i zed? Or has man i n the Old Worl d been
cul tural l y less i nterested i n narcoti cs? We have no real
answer. But we do know that the Ol d Worl d has fewer
known speci es employed hal l uci nogeni cal l y than does the
New Worl d: compared wi th onl y 1 5 or 20 speci es used in
the Eastern Hemi sphere, the speci es used hal l uci nogen
i cal l y i n the Western Hemi sphere number more than 1 00!
Yet some of the Old Worl d hal l uci nogens today hol d
pl aces of pri macy throughout the worl d. Cannabi s,
undoubtedl y the most widespread of al l the hal l uci nogens,
i s perhaps the best exampl e. The several sol anaceous
ingredients of medi eval witches' brews -henbane, ni ght
shade, bel l adonna, and mandrake-greatl y i nfuenced
European phi l osophy, medi ci ne, and even hi story for many
years. Some pl ayed an extraordi nari l y vi tal rel i gi ous
rol e i n the earl y Aryan cultures of northern I ndi a.
The rol e of hal l uci nogens i n the cul tural and soci al
devel opment of many areas of the Ol d Worl d i s onl y
now bei ng i nvesti gated. At every turn, i ts extent and
depth are becomi ng more evident. But much more
needs to be done i n the study of hal l uci nogens and
thei r uses i n the Eastern Hemi sphere.
Amanita muscaria
yel l ow form
greatl y
enl arged
FLY AGARI C MUSHROOM, Amanita muscaria, may be
one of man' s ol dest hal l uci nogens. It has been sug
gested that perhaps its strange efects contri buted to
man' s earl y i deas of dei ty.
Fl y agari c mushrooms grow i n the north temperate re
gi ons of both hemi spheres. The Eurasi an type has a
beauti ful deep orange to bl ood-red cop fecked wi th
whi te scal es. The cop of the usual North Ameri can
tpe vari es from cream to on orange-yel l ow. There ore
al so chemi cal di ferences beteen the two, for the New
Worl d tpe is devoi d of the strongl y hal l uci nogeni c
efects of i ts Ol d Worl d counterpart .
The use of thi s mushroom as on orgi asti c and shaman
i sti c i nebri ant was di scovered i n Si beri a i n 1 730. Sub
sequentl y, i ts uti l izati on has been noted among several
i sol ated groups of Fi nno-Ugri on peopl es ( Ostyak and
Vogul ) in western Si beri a
and three pri mi ti ve tribes
( Chuckchee, Koryok, and
Komchodol ) i n northeast
ern Si beri a. These tribes
hod no other i ntoxi cant
unti l they l earned recentl y
of al cohol .
These Si beri ans i ngest
the mushroom al one, ei ther
sun-dri ed or toasted sl owl y
over a fre, or they may
toke it i n rei ndeer mi l k
or with the jui ce of wi l d
pl ants, such as a speci es
Amanita muscaria typi cal l y oc
curs in associ ati on wi th bi rches.
A Si beri an Chukchee man wi th wooden uri ne vessel , about to recycl e
and extend i ntoxi cati on from Amanita muscaria.
of Vaccinium and a speci es of Epilobium. When eaten
al one, the dri ed mushrooms are moi stened i n the
mouth and swal l owed, or the women may moi sten and
rol l them i nto pel l ets for the men to swal l ow.
A very ol d and curi ous practi ce of these tri besmen
i s the ri tual i sti c dri nki ng of uri ne from men who
have become i ntoxi cated wi th the mushroom. The acti ve
pri nci pl es pass through the body and are excreted
unchanged or as sti l l active deri vati ves. Consequentl y,
a few mushrooms may i nebri ate many peopl e.
The nature of the i ntoxi cati on vari es, but one or
several mushrooms i nduce a condi ti on marked usual l y
by twi tchi ng, trembl i ng, sl i ght convul si ons, numbness of
the l i mbs, and a feel i ng of ease characteri zed by hap
pi ness, a desi re to si ng and dance, col ored vi si ons,
and macropsi a ( seei ng thi ngs greatl y enl arged) . Vi ol ence
gi vi ng way to a deep sl eep may occasi onal l y occur. Par
ti ci pants are someti mes overtaken by curi ous bel i efs,
such as that experi enced by an anci ent tri besman who
i nsi sted that he had j ust been born! Rel i gi ous fervor
often accompani es the i nebri ati on.
Recent studi es suggest that thi s mushroom was the
mysteri ous God-narcotic soma of anci ent I ndi a. Thou
sands of years ago, Aryan conquerors, who swept
across I ndi a, worshi ped soma, dri nki ng i t i n rel i gi ous
ceremoni es. Many hymns i n the I ndi an Ri g-Veda are de
voted to soma and descri be the pl ant and i ts efects.
The use of soma eventual l y di ed out, and i ts i denti ty
has been an eni gma for 2,000 years. Duri ng the past
century, more than 100 pl ants have been suggested,
but none answers the descri pti ons found in the many
hymns. Recent ethnobotani cal detective work, l eadi ng
to i ts i denti fcati on as A. muscaria, i s strengthened by
the reference i n the vedas to ceremoni al uri ne dri nki ng,
si nce the mai n i ntoxi cati ng consti tuent, musci mol e ( known



E u,u

lboteni c Aci d

o-c cu

E u,
Musci mol e
Chemi cal formul as of
the imprtant Amanita
muscaria al kaloi ds.
onl y in thi s mushroom) , is the sol e natural hal l uci nogeni c
chemi cal excreted unchanged from the body.
Onl y in the l ast few years, too, has the chemi stry
of the i ntoxi cati ng pri nci pl e been known. For a century,
i t was bel i eved to be muscari ne, but muscari ne i s present
i n such mi nute concentrati ons that i t cannot act as the
i nebri ant. It i s now recogni zed that, i n the dryi ng or
extracti on of the mushrooms, i boteni c aci d forms several
deri vati ves . One of these is musci mol e, the mai n
pharmacol ogi cal l y acti ve pri nci pl e. Other compounds,
such as muscazone, are found i n l esser concentrati ons
and may contri bute to the i ntoxi cati on.
Fl y agari c mushroom i s s o cal l ed because of i t s age
ol d use in Europe as a fy ki l l er. The mushrooms were
l eft i n an open di sh. Fl i es attracted to and settl ing on
them were stunned, succumbi ng to the i nsecti ci dal
properti es of the pl ant.
Birches and Pines
-Chukchee-Koryok peoples
. ,
-Uralic peoples (Ostyok, Vogul, etc.
Mop of northern Eurasi a shows regi ons of bi rches and pi nes, where
Amanita muscorio typi cal l y grows, and areas i nhabi ted by ethni c groups
that use the mushroom as on hal l uci nogen.
AGARA (Galbulimima Belgraveana) is a tal l forest tree
of Mal aysi a and Austral i a. In Papua, nati ves make a
dri nk by boi l i ng the l eaves and bark wi th the l eaves
of ereri ba. When they i mbi be i t, they become vi ol ently
i ntoxi cated, eventual l y fal l i ng i nto a deep sl eep duri ng
whi ch they experi ence vi si ons and fantasti c dreams.
Some 28 al kal oi ds have been i sol ated from t hi s tree, and
al though they are bi ol ogi cal l y active, the psychoacti ve
pri nci pl e is sti l l unknown. Agora is one of four speci es
of Galbulimima and bel ongs to the Hi mantandraceae,
a rare fami l y rel ated to the magnol i as.
ERERI BA, an undetermi ned speci es of Homo/omena, i s
a stout herb reported to have narcotic efects when its
l eaves are taken wi th the l eaves and bark of agara.
The active chemi cal consti tuent i s unknown. Ereri ba i s a
member of the aroi d fami l y, Araceae. There are some
1 40 speci es of Homo/omena nati ve to tropi cal Asi a
and South Ameri ca.
Galbulimima Homalomena
Bushman appl yi ng
Pancrotium bul b
to scal p i nci si ons.
KWASHI (Pancratium trianthum) i s consi dered to be
psychoactive by the Bushmen i n Dobe, Botswana. The
bul b of thi s perenni al is reputedl y rubbed over i nci si ons
i n the head to i nduce vi sual hal l uci nati ons. Nothi ng i s
known of its chemi cal consti tuti on. Of the 14 other spe
ci es of Pancratium, mai nl y of Asi a and Afri ca, many
are known to contai n psychoactive pri nci pl es, mostl y
al kaloi ds. Some speci es are potent cardi ac poi sons.
Pancratium bel ongs to the amaryl l i s fami l y, Amaryl l i daceae.
GALANGA or MARABA (Kaempferia galanga) i s an
herb ri ch i n essenti al oi l s. Natives i n New Gui nea eat
the rhi zome of the pl ant as an hal l uci nogen. I t i s val ued
l ocal l y as a condi ment and, l i ke others of the 70
speci es in the genus, i t is used in l ocal fol k medi ci ne to
bri ng boi l s to a head and to hasten the heal i ng of burns
and wounds. I t i s a member of the gi nger fami l y, Zi ngi
beraceae. Phytochemi cal studies have reveal ed no
psychoacti ve pri nci pl e.
Hemp fel d in Afghani stan, showing portly harested crop of the short,
coni cal Cannabis indica grown there.
MARIHUANA, HASHEESH, or HEMP ( speci es of the
genus Cannabis) , al so cal l ed Ki f, Bhang, or Charas, i s
one of the ol dest cul ti vated pl ants. I t i s al so one of the
most wi del y spread weeds, havi ng escaped cul ti vati on,
appeari ng as an adventi ti ous pl ant everywhere,
except in the pol ar regi ons and the wet, forested tropi cs.
Cannabi s i s the source of hemp fber, an edi bl e
frui t, an i ndustri al oi l , a medi ci ne, and a narcoti c. Despi te
its great age and its economi c i mprtance, the pl ant
i s sti l l poorl y understood, characterized more by what
we do not know abut i t than by what we know.
Cannabi s i s a rank, weedy annual that i s extremel y
vari abl e and may attai n a hei ght of 18 feet. Fl ouri shi ng
best i n di sturbed, ni trogen-ri ch soi l s near human habi ta
ti ons, i t has been cal l ed a "camp fol l ower, " goi ng with
man i nto new areas.
I t i s normal l y di oeci ous-that i s, the mal e and fe
mal e parts are on di ferent pl ants. The mal e or stami
nate pl ant i s usual l y weaker than the femal e or pi sti l
l ate pl ant. Pi sti l l ate fowers grow i n the l eaf axi l s. The
i ntoxi cati ng consti tuents are normal l y concentrated i n a
resi n in the devel opi ng femal e fowers and adj acent
l eaves and stems.
btani sts. They di sagree abut the fami l y to whi ch i t
bel ongs and al so about the number of speci es. The
pl ant is someti mes pl aced i n the fg or mul berry fami l y
( Moraceae) or the nettl e fami l y ( Urti caceae) , but i t i s
now usual l y separated, together wi th the hop pl ant
(Humulus), i nto a di sti nct fami l y: Cannabaceae.
I t has been wi del y thought that there i s one speci es,
Cannabis sativa, whi ch, partl y as a resul t of selecti on
by man, has devel oped many "races" or "vari eti es, "
for better fbr, for more oi l content, or for. stronger
narcotic content. Sel ection for narcoti c activity has been
especi al l y notabl e i n such areas as I ndi a, where i ntoxi
cati ng properti es have had rel i gi ous si gni fcance. En
vi ronment al so has probabl y i nfuenced thi s bi ologi cal l y
changeabl e speci es, especi al l y for fber excel l ence and
narcotic acti vi ty. Current research i ndi cates that there
may be other speci es : C. indica and C. ruderalis. Al l
Cannabis i s nati ve t o central Asi a.
Cannabi s leaves ore palmately divi ded-normal l y i nto 3-7 l eafets,
occasi onal l y i nto 1 1- 13. Leafets vary in l ength from 2 to 6 i nches.
Cannabis sativa
seedl i ng
Chi nese characters T A MA, the
ol dest known name far cannabi s.
; = TA ( pronounced DA).
Literal l y thi s means an ault
man, and by extensi on may
si gni fy great or tal l .
J = MA. I t represents a
fber plant, l i teral l y a cl ump of
pl ants ( ) , growi ng near a
dwel l i ng (} ). Hence, the
two symbol s together mean
" the tal l fi ber pl ant,"
whi ch everywhere i n
Chi na si gni fies cannabi s.
HISTORY OF CANNABIS USE dates to ancient times.
Hemp fabrics from the late 8th century B.C. have
been found in Turkey. Specimens have turned up in
an Egyptian site nearly 4,000 years of age. In ancient
Thebes, the plant was made into a drink with opium
like efects. The Scythians, who threw cannabis seeds
and leaves on hot stones in steam baths to produce
an intoxicating smoke, grew the plant along the Volga
3,000 years ago.
Chinese tradition puts the use of the plant back
4,800 years. Indian medical writing, compiled bfore
1000 B.C., reports therapeutic uses of cannabis. That
the early Hindus appreciate its intoxicating properties
is atested by such names as "heavenly guide" and
"soother of grief." The Chinese referred to cannabis
as "liberator of sin" and "delight giver." The Greek
physician Galen wrote, about A.D. 160, that general
use of hemp in cakes produced narcoti c efects. In 1 3th
century Asi a Mi nor, organi zed murderers, rewarded wi th
hasheesh, were known as hashi shi ns, from whi ch may
come the term assassi n i n European l anguages.
Hemp as a source of fber was i ntrouced by the
Pi l gri ms to New Engl and and by the Spni sh and Portu
guese to thei r col oni es i n the New Worl d.
Objects connected with t he use
of cannabis were found in frozen
tombs of the ancient Scythians,
i n the Altai Mountains on the
brder between Russia and Outer
The smal l , tepee-like structure
was covered with a fel t or
leather mat and stood over the
copper censer ( four-l egged stool
l ike object) . Carbnized hemp
seeds were found nearby. The
two-handl ed pot contai ned can
nabis fruits. The Scythi an cus
tom of breathing cannabi s fumes
in the steam bath was men
tioned abut 500 B. C. by the
Greek naturalist Herodotus.
known for centuri es. I ts l ong hi story of use i n fol k medi
ci ne i s si gni fcant, and i t has been i ncl uded more re
centl y i n Western pharmacopoei as. I t was l i sted i n the
Uni ted States Pharmacopoeia unti l the 1930' s as val u
abl e, especi al l y i n the treatment of hysteri a. The proress
made i n modern research encourages the bel ief that
so prol i fc a chemi cal factory as Cannabis may i ndeed
ofer potential for new medi ci nes.
THE CHEMI STRY OF CANNABIS i s compl ex. Many or
ganic compunds have been i sol ated, some wi th nar
cotic properties and others wi thout. A fresh pl ant
yi el ds mai nl y cannabi di ol i c aci ds, precursors of the
tetrahydrocannabi nols and rel ated consti tuents, such as
cannabi nol , cannabi di ol , tetrahydrocannabi nol -carbxyl i c
aci d, sterei somers of tetrahydrocannabi nol , and can
nabi chromene.
It has been demonstrated recentl y that the mai n ef
fects are atri butabl e to delta- 1 -tetrahydrocannabi nol . The
tetrahydrocannabi nol s, which form an oi l y mi xture of
several i somers, are non-ni trogenous organi c com
punds derived from terpenes ( see page 16). They are
not al kal oi ds, al though traces of al kal oi ds have been
reprted i n the pl ant.
Unti l recentl y, l i ttl e was known about the efects of
pure tetrahydrocannabi nol on man. Control led studi es
are basi c to any progress. These are now possi bl e wi th
the recent synthesi s of the compound, a maj or advance
i n studyi ng the mechani sm of physi ol ogi cal activity of this
i ntoxi cant. Because the crude cannabi s preparations
normal l y used as a narcotic vary greatl y i n their chemi
cal composi ti on, any correl ati ons of thei r bi ol ogi cal
activity woul d be rel ativel y meani ngl ess.
A crude woodcut i l l ustrati on of cannabi s from the 151 7 edi ti on of the
European herbal Ortus sonitotis de herbis et plontis.
three contemporary desi gns
si lver hookah
from I ndio
Assortment of cannabi s pipes and water pi pes.
World, marihuana ( maconha in Brazil) is smoked-the
dried, crushed fowering tips or leaves, often mixed
with tobacco in cigarettes, or ''reefers.'' Hasheesh, the
resin from the female plant, is eaten or smoked, ofen
in water pipes, by millions in Moslem countries of
northern Africa and western Asia. In Afghanistan and
Pakistan, the resin is commonly smoked. Asiatic Indians
regularly employ three preparations narcotically: bhang
consists of plants that are gathered green, dried, and
made into a drink with water or milk or into a candy
(majun) with sugar and spices; charas, normally smoked
or eaten with spices, is pure resin; ganjah, usually smoked
wi th tobacco, consi sts of resi n-ri ch dri ed tops from the
femal e pl ant. Many of these unusual l y potent prepara
ti ons may be deri ved from C. indica.
NARCOTI C USE OF CANNABIS has grown in popu
l arity i n the past 40 years as the pl ant has spread to
nearl y al l parts of the gl obe. The narcoti c use of
cannabis in the Uni ted States dates from the 1 920' s
and seems to have started i n New Orl eans and vi
ci ni ty. I ncrease i n the pl ant' s use as an i nebri ant in
Western countri es, especi al l y i n urban centers, has l ed
to maj or probl ems and di l emmas for European and
Ameri can authori ti es. There is a sharp di vi sion of
opi ni on as to whether the wi despread narcotic use of
cannabi s is a vi ce that must be stamped out or is an
i nnocuous habi t that shoul d b permi tted l egal l y. The
subj ect i s debated hotl y, usual l y wi th l i mi ted knowl edge.
We do not yet have the medi cal , soci al , l egal , and moral
i nformati on on whi ch to base a sound j udgment. As
one writer has sai d, the mari huana probl em needs
" more l i ght and l ess heat. " Control l ed, sci enti fcal l y
val i d experi ments wi th cannabi s, i nvol vi ng l arge num
bers of i ndi vi dual s, h
ve not as yet been made.
Contemporary Ameri can cannabi s shoul der paches.
EFFECTS OF CANNABIS, even more than of other
hal l uci noens, are highl y vari abl e from person to pr
son and from one pl ant strai n to anoter. Thi s vari a
bi l ity comes mai nl y from the unstabl e character of some
of the constitents. Over a perio of ti me, for exampl e,
te i nactive cannabi diol i c aci d convers to acti ve tetra
hydroannabi nol s and eventual l y to i nacti ve cannabi nol ,
such chemi cal changes usual l y taki ng pl ace more rapi dl y
i n tropi cal than i n cool er cl i mates. Materi al from pl ants
of diferent ages may thus vary i n narcoti c efect.
The pri nci pal narcotic efect is euphori a. The pl ant
i s sometimes not cl assifed as hal l uci noeni c, and i t i s
true that its characteri sti cs are not typi cal l y psychoto
mi meti c. Everyti ng from a mi l d sense of ease and
wel l -bei ng to fantasti c dreams and visual and audi tory
hal l uci nati ons are reported. Beauti ful si ghts, wonderful
musi c, and abrrati ons of sound ofen entrance the
mind; bi zarre adventures to fl l a century take place i n
a matter of mi nutes.
Soon after taking the drug, a subject may fnd hi m
sel f i n a dreamy state of al tered consci ousness. Normal
tought i s i nterrupted, and i deas are someti mes pl enti -
I n many parts of Asi a the
use of cannabi s preparai ons
i s both soci al l y and l egl l y
acceptable. In predmi nantl y
Mosl em countries, cannabis i s
usual ly smoked i n waer pi ps,
someti mes cal l ed hookahs.
The i l lustration shows an
Afghani usi ng one of the
mny ki nds of water pipes
seen i n Asi a.
Market forms of cannabi s i ncl ude fnel y ground or " mani cured"
mari huana, "reefers" (smal l er than commercial tobacco ci garettes) ,
pure hasheesh, and compressed ki l o bricks.
ful , though confused. A feel i ng of exaltation and i nner
joy may al ternate, even dangerousl y, with fel i ngs of
depressi on, modi ness, uncontrol l abl e fear of death,
and pni c. Perception of ti me i s al most i nvari abl y
altered. An exaggeration of sound, out of al l rel ation to
the real force of the sound emi tted, may be accompani ed
by a curi ousl y hypnotic sense of rhythm. Although the
occasi onal vivid vi sual hall uci nati ons may have sexual
colori ng, the often-reported aphrodi si ac properties of
the drug have not ben substantiate.
Whether cannabi s shoul d be cl assi fed primari l y as a
sti mul ant or depressant or bth has never been deter
mi ne. The drug' s acti vi ti es byond the central nerous
system seem to be secondary. They consi st of a ri se i n
pul se rate and bl od pressure, tremor, vertigo, di f
cul ty in muscular coordi nation, i ncreased tacti l e sensi
tivity, and di l ati on of the pupi l s.
Al though cannabi s i s defni tely not addi ctive, psy
chologi cal dependence may often resul t from conti nual
use of the drug.
4 1
TURKESTAN MI NT (Lagochilus inebrians) is a smal l shrub
of the dry steppes of Turkestan. For centuri es i t has
been the source of an i ntoxi cant among the Taj i k,
Tartar, Turkoman, and Uzbek tri besmen. The leaves,
gathere i n October, are toasted, sometimes mi xed
with stems, frui ts, and fowers. Dryi ng and storage in
crease teir aromati c fragrance. Honey and sugar are
often added to reduce thei r i ntense bitterness.
Val ued as a fol k medi ci ne and i ncl uded in the 8th
edi ti on of the Russi an pharmacopoei a, it is used to
tret ski n di sese, to hel p check hemorrhages, and to
provide sedation for nervous di sorders. A crystal l i ne
compund i sol ated from the pl ant and name l ago
chi l i ne has proved to be adi terpene. Whether or not i t
produces the psychoactive efects of the whol e pl ant i s
unknown. There are some 34 other speci es of Lagochilus.
Members of the mi nt fami l y, labi atae, they are native
from central Asia to I ran and Afghani stan.
Peganum harmala ,
enl arged
SYRI AN RUE (Peganum harmala) grows from the Medi
terranen to northern I ndi a, Mongol i a, and Manchuri a.
Everywhere i t has many uses i n fol k medi ci ne. I ts sees
have been employe as a spice, and its frui ts are the
source of a re dye and an oi l .
The sees pssess known hal l uci noeni c al kal oi ds,
especi al l y harmi ne and harmal i ne. The esteem i n whi ch
te peopl es of Asi a hol d the pl ant i s so extraordi nary
that it mi ght i ndi cate a former rel i gi ous use as an hal
l uci noen, but the purposeful use of the pl ant to i n
duce vi si ons has not yet ben establ i shed through the
l i terature or fel d work.
The cal trop fami ly, Zygophyl l aceae, to which Syri an
rue bl ongs, compri ses abut two dozen genera nati ve
to dry prs of the tropi cs and subtropi cs of bth
hemi spheres.
KANNA (Mesembryanthemum expansum and M. tor
tuosum) is the common name of two speci es of South
Afri can pl ants. There is strong evi dence
hat one or both
were used by the Hotentots of southern Africa as vi si on
i nduci ng narcoti cs. More than two centuri es ago, i t was
reported that the Hottentots chewed the root of kenna,
or channa, keepi ng the chewed materi al i n the mouth,
wi th these resul ts: "Thei r ani mal spi rits were awakened,
thei r eyes sparkled and thei r faces mani fested l aughter
and gaiety. Thousands of del i ghtsome i deas appeared,
and a pl easant j ol l ity which enabled them to be amused
by si mpl e jests. By taki ng the substance to excess, they
l ost consci ousness and fel l i nto a terri bl e del i ri um. "
Si nce the narcotic use of these two speci es has not
been observed di rectl y, vari ous btani sts have suggested
that the hal l uci nogeni c kenna may actual l y have been
cannabi s or other i ntoxi cati ng plants, such as several
species of Sclerocarya of the cashew fami l y. These two
species of Mesembryantemum do have the common
name kenna, however, and they al so contai n al kal oi ds
that have sedative, cocai nel i ke properti es capabl e of
produci ng torpr in man.
n the dri er parts of South Afri ca, there are al to
gether 1 ,000 species of Mesembryanthemum-many,
l i ke the i ce pl ant, of bi zarre form. About two dozen
speci es, i ncl udi ng the two described here, are consi dered
by some botani sts to represent a seprate genus, Scele
tum. Al l bel ong to the carpetweed fami l y, Aizoaceae,
mai nl y Sout Afri can, and are bel i eved to be rel ated to
the pokeweed, pi nk, and cactus fami l i es.
BELLADONNA (Atropa belladonna) is wel l known as
a hi ghl y poi sonous speci es capabl e of i nduci ng vari ous
ki nds of hal l uci nati ons. I t entered i nto the fol kl ore and
mytology of vi rtual l y al l European peopl es, who feared
its deadl y power. I t was one of the i ngredi ents of the
trul y hal l uci nogeni c brews and oi ntments concocted by
the so-cal l e wi tches of mei eval Europe. The attracti ve
shi ny brri es of the pl ant sti l l ofen cause it to be acci
dental l y eaten, with resul tant pi soni ng.
The name bel l adonna ( "beauti ful l ady" i n I tal i an)
comes from a curi ous custom practi ced by I tal i an
women of hi gh soci ety duri ng medi eval ti mes. They
woul d drop the sap of the pl ant i nto the eye to di l ate
the pupi l enormousl y, i nduci ng a ki nd of drunken or
gl assy stare, consi dered in that period to enhance
femi ni ne baut and sensual ity.
The main acti ve pri nci pl e i n bel l adonna i s the al kal oi d
hyoscyami ne, but the more psychoactive scopol ami ne
i s al so present. Atropi ne has al so been found, but
whether i t i s present i n the l i vi ng pl ant or i s formed
during extraction i s not cl ear. Bel l adonna i s a commerci al
source of atropi ne, an al kal oi d with a wi de vari ety of
uses in modern medi ci ne, especi al l y as an anti sposmodi c,
an anti secretory, and as a mydri ati c and cardi ac sti mu
l ant. The al kal oi ds occur throughout the pl ant but are
concentrated especi al l y in the l eaves and roots.
There are four speci es of Atropa di stri buted i n
Europe and from central Asia to the Hi mal ayas. Atropa
bel ongs to the ni ghtshade fami l y, Sol anaceae. Bel l a
donna i s native to Europe and Asia Mi nor. Until the
1 9th century, commerci al col l ection was pri mari l y from
wild sources, but si nce that ti me cul tivation has been
i ni ti ated i n the Uni ted States, Europe, and I ndi a, where
it is an i mportant source of mei ci nal drugs.
enl arged
HENBANE (Hyoscyamus niger) was often i ncl uded in the
witches ' brews and other toxic preparations of medi eval
Europe to cause vi sual hal l uci nati ons and the sensation
of fi ght. An annual or biennial native to Europe, i t has
long been val ued i n medi ci ne as a sedative and an
anodyne to i nduce sl eep.
The pri nci pal al kal oi d of henbane i s hyoscyami ne, but
the more hal l uci nogeni c scopolami ne i s al so present i n
si gni fcant amounts, al ong wi th several other al kal oi ds
i n smal l er concentrations.
Henbane i s one of 20 species of Hyoscyamus, mem
bers of the ni ghtshade fami l y, Sol anaceae. They are
native to Europe, northern Afri ca, and western and
central Asi a.
Medieval witches cooki ng "magic" brew with toad and henbane.
Hyoscyamus niger
fruit, in
cal yx
fruit with
cal yx removed,
showing cap
MANDRAKE (Mandragora ofcinarum), an hallucinogen
with a fantastic history, has long been known and feared
for its toxicity. Its complex history as a magic hypnotic
in the folklore of Europe cannot be equaled by any
species anywhere. Mandrake was a panacea. Its folk
uses in medieval Europe were inextricably bound up
with the " Doctrine of Signatures," an old theory hold
ing t hat the appearance of an object indicates its
special properties. Te root of mandrake was likened to
the form of a man or woman; hence its magic. If a
mandrake were pulled from the earth, according to
superstition, its unearthly shrieks could drive its collector
Woodcuts from
Hortus sanitatis, 1 st edition
Mayence, 1 485
mad. In many regi ons, the people cl ai med strong
aphrodi si ac properties for mandrake. The supersti ti ous
hold of thi s pl ant i n Europe persi sted for centuri es.
Mandrake, with the tropane al kal oi ds hyoscya
mi ne, scopol ami ne, and others, was an active hal l uci no
genic i ngredi ent of many of the witches' brews of Europe.
I n fact, i t was undoubtedly one of the most ptent
i ngredi ents i n those compl ex preparations.
Mandrake and fve other species of Mandragora be
long to the ni ghtshade fami l y, Solanaceae, and are
nati ve to the area between the Medi terranean and the
Hi mal ayas.
Mandragora ofcinorum
5 1
DHATURA and DUTRA (Datra met/) are te common
names i n I ndi a for an i mprtant Ol d World spcies of
Datura. The narcotic properties of thi s purpl e-fowered
member of the deadl y nightshade fami ly, Sol anaceae,
have been known and value i n I ndi a si nce prehi story.
The plant has a long hi story i n other countri es as wel l .
Some writers have credited it wi t bi ng respnsi bl e for
the i ntoxi cating smoke associated with the Oracle of
Del phi . Early Chi nese writings report an hal l uci nogen
that has been i denti fe wi th this spci es. And i t i s un
doubtedl y the plant that Avicenna, the Arabi an physi ci an,
mentione under the name jouzmathel i n the 1 1 th
century_. Its use as an aphrodi si ac in the East I ndi es was
recorded in 1 578. The pl ant was hel d sacred in Chi na,
where pepl e bel ieved that when Buddha preached,
heaven spri nkled the pl ant with dew.
Neverthel ess, te uti l ization of Datura preparati ons
i n Asi a entai l e much l ess ritual than i n the New Worl d.
In many parts of Asi a, even toay, seds of Datura are
often mi xed wi th food and tobcco for i l l i ci t use, es
peci al l y by thi eves for stupefyi ng vi cti ms, who may re
mai n seri ousl y i ntoxi cated for several days.
Datura mete/ is commonly mi xed wi th cannabi s and
smoked in Asi a to thi s day. leaves of a white-fowere
form of the pl ant ( considered by some botani sts to be
a disti nct speci es, D. fastuosa) are smoked wi th can
nabi s or tobacco in many parts of Africa and Asi a.
The pl ant contai ns hi ghl y toxi c al kal oi ds, the pri nci pal
one bei ng scopolami ne. Thi s hal l uci nogen i s present i n
heaviest concentrati ons i n the leaves and seeds. Scopl a
mi ne is found al so in the New Worl d speci es of Datra
( pp. 1 42- 1 47) . Datura ferox, a rel ated Ol d World
species, not so wi despread i n Asi a, i s also val ued for
i ts narcotic and medi ci nal properti es.
doubl e
Datra met/
Datra ferox
IBOGA ( Tabernanthe iboga), nati ve to Gabon and the
Congo, is the only member of the dogbane fami l y,
Apocynaceae, known to be used as an hal l uci nogen.
The pl ant i s of growi ng i mportance, provi di ng the
strongest si ngl e force agai nst the spread of Chri s
ti anity and I sl am i n thi s regi on.
The yel l owi sh root of the i boga pl ant i s empl oyed
i n the i ni ti ati on ri tes of a number of secret soci eti es,
the most famous bei ng the Bwiti cul t. Entrance i nto the
cult i s condi ti onal on havi ng "seen " the god pl ant Bwiti,
whi ch i s accompl i shed through the use of i boga.
The drug, di scovered by Europeans toward the mi d
dle of the l ast century, has a reputation as a powerful
sti mul ant and aphrodi si ac. Hunters use it to keep them
sel ves awake al l ni ght. large doses i nduce unworl dl y
vi si ons, and " sorcerers " ofen take the drug to seek i n
formati on from ancestors and the spi ri t worl d.
I bogai ne i s the pri nci pal i ndol e al kal oi d among a dozen
others found i n i boga.
The pharmacol ogy of i bo
gai ne is wel l known. In
addi ti on to bei ng an hal
l uci noen, i bgai ne i n
large doses i s a strong
central nervous system
sti mul ant, l eadi ng to con
vul si ons, paral ysi s, and
arrest of respi rati on.
" Payment of t he Ancestor s, "
taki ng place btween two shrubby
bushes of Tabernanthe iboga in
the Fang Cult of Bwi ti , Congo.
( Photo by J . W. Fernandez. )
enl argd
In the New World-North, Central , and South Ameri ca
and te West I ndi es-te number and cul tral i m
portance of hal l uci nogens reached amazi ng hei ghts i n
the past-and i n pl aces thei r role i s undi mi ni shed.
More than ni nety speci es are empl oyed for thei r
i ntoxi cati ng pri nci pl es, compared to fewer than a dozen
i n the Old Worl d. I t woul d not be an exaggerati on to
say that some of the New World cultures, parti cul arl y
i n Mexi co and South America, were practi cal l y en
sl aved by the rel i gi ous use of hal l uci nogens, which ac
qui red a deep and control l i ng si gni fcance i n al most
every aspect of l i fe. Cul tures i n North Ameri ca and
the West I ndi es used fewer hal l uci nogens, and thei r
rol e often seemed secondary. Al though tobacco and
coca, the source of cocai ne, have become of worl d
wi de i mportance, none of the true hal l uci nogens of
the Western Hemi sphere has assumed the gl obal si gnif
cance of the Old Worl d cannabi s.
No ethnol ogi cal study of Ameri can I ndi ans can be
consi dered compl ete without an i n-depth appreci ation
of thei r hal l uci noens. Unexpected di scoveri es have
come from studyi ng the hal l uci nogeni c use of New
Worl d pl ants. Many hal l uci nogeni c preparati ons cal l ed
for the addi ti on of plant addi ti ves capabl e of al teri ng the
i ntoxi cati on. The accompl i shments of abori gi nal Ameri
cans i n the use of mi xtures have been extraordi nary.
Whi l e known New Worl d hal l uci nogens are numerous,
studi es are sti l l uncoveri ng speci es new to the l i st. The
most curi ous aspect of the studies, however, i s why, in
view of thei r vital i mportance to New Worl d cul tures,
the botani cal identities of many of the hal l uci nogens
remai ned unknown unti l comparativel y recent ti mes .
PUFFBALLS ( Lycoperdon mixtcorum and L. marginatum)
are used by the Mi xtec I ndi ans of Oaxaca, Mexi co, as
audi tory hal l uci nogens. After eati ng these fungi , a
native hears voices and echoes. There is apparently no
ceremony connected wi th pufbal l s, and they do not en
joy the pl ace as di vi natory agents that the mushrooms
do in Oaxaca. L. mixtecorum ls the stronger of the to.
I t i s cal l ed gi -i -wa, meani ng " fungus of the frst qual i ty. "
L. marginatum, whi ch has a strong odor of excrement,
is known as gi -i -sa-wa, meani ng ' ' fungus of the second
qual i ty. "
Al though i ntoxi cati ng substances have not yet been
found i n the pufbal l s, there are reports i n the l i tera
ture that some of them have had narcotic efects when
eaten. Most of the esti mated 50 to 1 00 species of
Lycoperdon grow i n mossy forests of the temperate
zone. They bel ong to the Lycoperdaceae, a fami l y of
the Gasteromycetes.
The use of hal l ucinogeni c mushroms, whi ch dates bck several thou
sand years, centers i n the mountai ns of southern Mexi co.
MUSHROOMS of many speci es were used as hal l u
ci nogens by the Aztec I ndi ans, who cal led them
teonanacatl , meani ng "fesh of the gods " i n the
Nahuatl I ndi an l anguage. These mushrooms, al l of the
fami l y Agari caceae, are sti l l val ued i n Mexi can magi co
rel i gi ous ri tes. They bel ong to four genera: Conocybe
and Panaeo/us, al most cosmopol i tan in thei r range;
Psilocybe, found i n North and South Ameri ca, Europe,
and Asia; and Stropharia, known i n North Ameri ca, the
West I ndi es, and Europe.
MUSHROOM WORSHIP seems to have roots in cen
turies of native tradition. Mexican frescoes, going back
to A. D. 300, have designs suggestive of mushrooms.
Even more remarkabl e are the artifacts called mush
room stones (p. 60), excavated in large numbers from
highland Maya sites in Guatemala and dating back to
1000 B. C. Consisting of a stem with a human or animal
face and surmounted by an umbrella-shaped top, they
long puzzled archaeologists. Now interpreted as a kind of
icon connected with rel igious rituals, they indicate that
3,000 years ago, a sophisticated religion surrounded
the sacramental use of these fungi .
It has been suggested that perhaps mushrooms were
the earliest hal l ucinogenic pl ants to be discovered. The
other-worldl y experience induced by these mysterious
forms of plant life could easily have suggested a spiritual
pl ane of existence.
Detai l from a fresco ot
Teponti tlo ( Teoti huocan,
Mexico) representi ng
Tloloc, the god of clouds,
rai n, and waters . Note
the pole bl ue
mushrooms wi th orange
stems and al so the
"col ori nes "-the darker
blue, bean- shaped forms
wi th red spot s. See pages
96 and 97 for di scussi on of
col ori nes and pi ule.
( After Heim and Wasson. )
Typical icons probbly associated wi th mushroom cults dti ng bck
3,000 years i n Guatemal a.
mai nl y from the extensi ve descri pti ons wri tten by the
Spani sh cl eri cs. For thi s we owe them a great debt.
One chroni cl er, writing i n the mi d- 1 500' s, after the
conquest of Mexi co, referred frequentl y to those mush
rooms " whi ch are harmful and i ntoxi cate l i ke wi ne, "
so that those who eat them "see vi si ons, feel a fai nt
ness of heart and are provoked to l ust' ' ; the natives
" when they begi n to get exci ted by them start danc
ing, si ngi ng, weepi ng. Some do not want to eat but
si t down . . . and see themselves dying i n a vi si on;
others see themselves bei ng eaten by a wi l d beast;
others i magi ne that they are capturi ng pri soners of war,
that they are ri ch, that they possess many sl aves, that
they had commi tted adultery and were to have thei r
heads crushed for the ofense.
A work of Atec medi ci ne menti ons three ki nds of
i ntoxi cati ng mushrooms. One, teyhui ntl i , causes " mad
ness that on occasion i s l asting, of which the symptom
i s an uncontrol l abl e l aughter; there are others whi ch
. . . bri ng before the eyes al l sorts of thi ngs, such as
wars and the l i keness of demons. Yet others are not
l ess desi red by pri nces for thei r festival s and banquets,
and these fetch a hi gh pri ce. With ni ght-l ong vi gi l s are
they sought, awesome and terrifyi ng. "
Detai l from fresco ot Socual a, Teoti huacan, Mexi co, showi ng four
greeni sh ' ' mushrooms" that seem to b emergi ng from the mouth of
a god, pssi bl y the Sun God.
, -
6 1
SPANISH OPPOSITION to the Aztecs' worship of pagan
deities with t he sacramental aid of mushrooms was
strong. Although the Spanish conquerors of Mexico
hated and attacked the religious use of al l hallucinogens
-peyote, ololiuqui, toloache, and others-teonanacat l
was t he target of special wrath. Their rel igious fanati
cism was drawn especiall y toward this despised and
feared form of pl ant life that, through its vision-giving
powers, held the Indian in awe, allowing him to com
mune direct l y with his gods. The new religion, Christi
anity, had nothing so attractive to ofer him. Trying to
stamp out the use of the mushrooms, the Spaniards
succeeded only in driving the custom into the hinter
lands, where it persists today. Not onl y did it persist,
but the ritual adopted many Christian aspects, and the
modern ritual is a pagan-Christian blend.
The pagan gad of the underworl d speak s through the mus hroom,
teonanocat l , as represented by a Mexi can arti st i n the 1 6th century.
( From the Magliabecchiano Codex, Bi bl ioteca Nazi onal e, Fl orence. )
A 1 6th-century i l l ustration of teonanacatl ( a) , the i ntoxi cati ng mushroom
of the Aztecs , sti l l val ued i n Mexican magi corel i gi ous rites; i denti ty
of ( b) i s unknown. From Sahaun' s Historic general de las cosas de
Nueva Espana, Vol . IV ( Fl orenti ne Coex) .
sl ow in comi ng. Dri ven i nto hi di ng by the Spani ards,
the mushroom cul t was not encountered i n Mexi co for
four centuri es. Duri ng that ti me, al though the Mexi can
fora was known to i ncl ude vari ous toxi c mushrooms, i t
was bl i eved that the Aztecs had tri ed to protect thei r
real sacred pl ant: they had l ed the Spani ards to bel i eve
that teonanacatl meant mushroom, when i t actual l y
meant peyote. I t was poi nted out that t he symptoms
of mushroom i ntoxi cati on coi nci ded remarkabl y wi th
those descri bed for peyote i ntoxi cati on and that dri ed
mushrooms mi ght easi l y have been confused wi th the
shri vel ed brown heads of the peyote cactus. But the
numerous detai l ed references by careful wri ters, i n
cl udi ng medi cal men trai ned i n botany, argued agai nst
thi s theory.
Not unt i l the 1 930' s were btani sts abl e t o i denti f
speci mens of mushrooms found in actual use in di vi no
tory ri tes i n Mexi co. later work has shown that more
than 20 speci es of mushrooms are si mi l arl y empl oyed
among seven or eight tri bes i n southern Mexi co.
tee I ndi ans of northeastern Oaxaca i l l ustrates the im
portance of the ri tual i n present-day Mexico and how
the sacred character of these pl ants has persi sted from
pre-conquest ti mes . The di vi ne mushrooms are gathered
duri ng the new moon on the hi l l si des before dawn by
a vi rgi n; they are often consecrated on the al tar of the
local Cathol i c church. Thei r strange growth pattern hel ps
make mushroms mysteri ous and awesome to te Maze
tee, who cal l them ' nti -si -tho, meani ng "worshi pful ob
ject that spri ngs forth. " They bel i eve that the mushroom
spri ngs up mi raculousl y and tat i t may be sent from
outer rel ms on thunderblts. As one I ndi an put it
poeti cal l y: " The l i tl e mushroom comes of i tsel f, no one
knows whence, l i ke the wi nd that comes we know not
when or why. "
The al l -ni ght Mazatec ceremony, led usual l y by a
woman shaman ( curandera) , compri ses l ong, compl i cated,
and curi ousl y repeti ti ous chants, percussive beats, and
Curandera with Mazatec patient and di sh af sacred mushrooms.
Scene i s typical of the al l -night mushroom ceremony. Curandera i s
under the infuence of the mushrooms.
prayers. Ofen a curi ng rite takes pl ace duri ng whi ch
the practitioner, through the "power " of the sacred
mushrooms, communi cates and i ntercedes wi th super
natural forces. There i s no questi on of the vibrant
rel evance of the mushroom ritual s to modern I ndi an
l i fe i n southern Mexi co. None of the atraction of
these di vi ne mushrooms has been l ost as a result of
contact with Chri sti ani ty or modern i deas. The spi ri t of
reverence characteri sti c of the mushroom ceremony is as
profound as that of any of the world' s great rel igi ons.
KI NDS OF MUSHROOMS USE D by diferent shamans
are determi ned partly by personal preference and partly
by the purpose of the use. Seasonal and regi onal
avai l abi l ity al so have a beari ng on the choi ce. Stropharia
cubensis and Psilocybe mexicana may be the most com
monl y employed, but hal f a dozen other speci es of
Psilocybe as wel l as Conocybe siliginoides and Panaeo/us
sphinctrinus are al so i mportant. The nati ve names are
colorful and someti mes si gni fcant. Psi/ocybe aztecorum
is cal l ed "chi ldren of the waters" ; P. zapotecorum,
" crown-of-torns mushroom"; and P. caerulescens
var. nigripes, "mushroom of superior reason. " ( See i l
l ustrati ons on pp. 66-67) . The possi bi l i ty exi sts that
other hal l uci nogeni c speci es of mushrooms are al so used.
I t i s possi ble, too, that Psilocybe speci es are used as
i nebri ants outsi de of Mexi co. P. yungensis has been
suggested as the mysteri ous "tree mushroom" that earl y
Jesui t mi ssi onari es reported as bei ng empl oyed by the
Yuri magua I ndi ans of Amazonian Peru as the source of
a potent i ntoxi cati ng beverage. Thi s speci es i s known to
contai n an hal l uci nogeni c pri nci pl e. Fi el d work i n modern
ti mes, however, has not di scl osed the narcoti c use of
any mushrooms in the Amazon area.
THE EFFECTS OF THE MUSHROOMS i ncl ude muscul ar
rel axati on or l i mpness, pupi l enl argement, hi l arity,
and difcul ty in concentrati on. The mushrooms cause
bth vi sual and audi tor hal l uci nati ons. Vi si ons are
brethtaki ngl y l i fel i ke, in col or, and in constant moti on.
They are fol l owed by l assi tude, mental and physi cal
depressi on, and al teration of ti me and space percep
ti on. The user seems to be i solate from the worl d
around hi m; wi thout l oss of consci ousness, he becomes
whol l y i ndiferent to hi s surroundi ngs, and hi s dream
l i ke state becomes real i ty to hi m. Thi s pecul i ari ty of
the i ntoxi cati on makes i t i nteresti ng to psychi atri sts .
One i nvesti gator who ate mushrooms in a Mexi can
I ndi an ceremony wrote that " your body l i es i n the
darkness, heavy as l ead, but your spirit seems to soar
. . . and wi th the speed of thought to travel where i t
l i steth, i n ti me and space, accompanied by the shaman' s
si ngi ng . . . What you are seei ng and . . . heari ng
appear as one; the musi c assumes harmoni ous shapes,
gi vi ng vi sual form to i ts harmoni es, and what you are
seei ng takes on the modal i ti es of musi c-the musi c of
the spheres.
"Al l your senses are si mi l arly afected; the ci garette
. . . smel l s as no ci garette before had ever smel l ed;
the gl ass of si mpl e water i s i nfni tel y better than cham
pagne . . . the bemushroomed person i s poi sed i n
space, a di sembodi ed eye, i nvi si bl e, i ncorporeal , seei ng
but not seen . . . he is the fve senses di sembodi ed . . .
your soul is free, l oses al l sense of ti me, al ert as it
never was before, l i vi ng an eterni ty in a ni ght, seei ng
i nfni ty i n a grai n of sand . . . [The vi si ons may be of]
al most anythi ng . . . except the scenes of your every
day l i fe. " As with other hal l uci nogens, the efects of
the mushrooms may vary wi th mood and setti ng.
A sci enti st' s descri pti on of hi s experi ence after eati ng
32 dri ed speci mens of Psilocybe mexicana was as fol
l ows: " . . . When the doctor supervi si ng the experi ment
bent over me . . . he was transformed i nto an Aztec
pri est, and I woul d not have been astoni shed if he had
drawn an obsi di an kni fe . . . i t amused me to see how
the Germani c face . . . had acqui red a purel y I ndi an
expressi on. At the peak of the i ntoxi cati on . . . the
rush of i nteri or pi ctures, mostl y abstract moti fs rapi dl y
changi ng i n shape and col or, reached such an al armi ng
degree that I feared that I would be torn into thi s
whi rl pool of form and col or and woul d di ssol ve. After
about six hours, the dream came to an end . . . I fel t
my return to everyday real i ty to be a happy return
from a strange, fantasti c but quite real l y experi enced
world i nto an ol d and fami l i ar home. "
CHEMI CAL CONSTI TUTI ON of the hal l uci nogeni c mush
rooms has surpri sed scienti sts. A whi te crystal l i ne
tryptami ne of unusual structure-an aci di c phosphori c
aci d ester of 4- hydroxydi methyl tryptami ne-was i so
l ated. Thi s i ndol e derivative, named psi locybi n, is a
new tpe of structure, a 4- substi tuted trptami ne wi th
a phosphori c aci d radi cal , a type never before known
as a natural l y occurri ng constituent of pl ant ti ssue.
Some of the mushrooms al so contai n mi nute amounts
of another i ndol i c compound-psi l oci n-whi ch i s un
stabl e. Whi l e psi l ocybi n has been found al so i n Euro
pean and North Ameri can mushrooms, apparentl y onl y
i n Mexi co. and Guatemal a have psi l ocybi n-contai ni ng
mushrooms been purposeful l y used for ceremoni al i n
toxi cati on.
b I
H - C - H
Psi l oci n i s bl ieved by some
biochemi sts to b the precursor
of the more stable psi l ocybi n.
H o = P -o
+ I I
H /N-
0 H - C -H
H - C -H
H -
Psi l ocybi n
N -C -H
H - C - H H
H -C -H
Psi l oci n
A laboratory cul ture of Psilocybe mexicana, grown from spores,
an i nnovation that speded anal ysi s of the ephemeral mushroom.
( After Hei m & Wasso: Les Champignons Hallucinogimes du Mexique)
CHEMI CAL I NVESTI GATI ON of the Mexi can mushrooms
was di fcul t unti l they coul d be cul ti vated. They are
al most whol l y water and great quanti ti es of them are
neede for chemi cal analyses because thei r chemi cal
consti tuti on is so ephemeral . The cl ari fcati on of the
chemi stry of the Mexican mushrooms was possi bl e onl y
because mycol ogi sts were abl e to cul ti vate the pl ants
i n numbers sufci ent to sati sfy the needs of the chem
i sts. Thi s accompl i shment represents a phase i n the stdy
of hal l uci nogeni c pl ants that must be i mi tated i n the
i nvesti gati on of the chemi stry of other narcoti cs. The
l aboratory, i n this case, became an efci ent substitute
for nature. By provi di ng sui tabl e condi ti ons, sci enti sts
have l earned to grow many speci es i n arti fci al cul ture.
Cultivation of edi bl e mushrooms i s an i mportant
commerci al enterpri se and was practiced i n France earl y
i n the seventeenth century. Cultivation for l aboratory
studi es is a more recent devel opment.
7 1
fruit ( 1 i n.
i n di ameter)
RAPE DOS INDIOS (Maquira sclero
phylla; known also as 0/mediopere
bea sclerophyla) is an enormous
tree of the fg fami ly, Moraceae.
I n the Parlana regi on of the cen
tral Amazon i n Brazi l , the I ndi
ans formerly prepared an hal l uci no
geni c snuf from the dri ed frui ts.
The snu was taken i n tri bl cere
moni al s, but encroachi ng ci vi l ization
has obl i terated its use.
Further studies of thi s narcoti c
are needed. The prel i mi nary chemi
cal i nvesti gati ons made so far
have not i ndi cated what the active
pri nci pl e may be.
SWEE FLAG (Acorus calamus), al so cal led sweet
cal omel , grows i n damp pl aces i n the north and south
temperate regi ons. A member of the arum fami l y,
Araceae, i t i s one of two speci es of Acorus. There i s
some i ndi rect evi dence that I ndi ans of northern Canada,
who empl oy the pl ant as a medi ci ne and a sti mul ant,
may chew the rootstock as an hal l uci nogen. In excessive
doses, i t i s known to i nduce strong vi sual hal l uci na
ti ons. The i ntoxi cati ng properti es may be due to a-asarone
and /-asarone, but the chemi stry and pharmacology of
the pl ant are sti l l poorly understood.
Col ombi an I ndi ans usi ng a snufng tube fashi oned from bi rd bone.
VI ROLAS (Virola calophy/la, V. calophylloidea, and V.
teiodora) are among the most recentl y di scovered hal
l uci nogeni c pl ants . These j ungl e trees of medi um si ze
have gl ossy, dark green l eaves wi th cl usters of ti ny
yel l ow fowers that emi t a pungent aroma. The i ntoxi
cati ng pri nci pl es are i n the bl ood-red resi n yi el ded by
the tree bark, whi ch makes a powerful snu.
Virola trees are native to the New Worl d tropi cs.
They are members of the nutmeg fami l y, Myri sticaceae,
whi ch compri ses some 300 speci es of trees i n 1 8 genera.
The best known member of the fami l y i s Myristica fra
grans, an Asi ati c tree that i s the source of nutmeg
and mace.
I n Col ombi a, the species most often used for hal
l uci nogeni c purposes are Virola calophylla and V. cal
ophy/loidea, whereas i n Brazi l and Venezuela the I n
di ans prefer V. theiodora, whi ch seems to yi el d a more
potent resi n.
fower cl uster,
enl arged
Strip of br from
Vrola tree, showing
ozing red resi n.
prepare from te br of Virola
tees by I ndians of the north
western Amazon and the hed
waters of te Ori noco. A anthro
ploist who obsered the Yekwana
I ndi ans of Venezuel a in thei r prep
aration and use of the snu i n 1 909
"Of speci al i nterest are cures,
duri ng whi ch the wi tch doctor i n
hal es hakudufha. Thi s is a magi cal
snuf used excl usivel y by wi tch
doctors and prepred from the
br of a certai n tre which,
punded up, is bi l ed in a smal l
erhenware pot, unti l al l the water
has evaporated and a sei ment
remai ns at the btom of the pt.
"Thi s sedi ment i s toaste i n the
pt over a sl i ght fre and i s then
fnely powdered wi th the blade of
a kni fe. Then the sorcerer blows a
l i tl e of the powder through a
ree . . . i nto the ai r. Next, he
snufs, whi l st, wi th the same reed,
he absorbs the powder i nto each
nostri l successivel y.
' ' The hakudufha obvi ousl y has
a strong sti mul ati ng efect, for
i mmedi ately the witch doctor be
gi ns to si ng and yel l wi l dly, al l the
whi l e pi tchi ng the upper port of
hi s bdy backwards and forards. "
Among numerous tri bes in estern Col ombi a, the
use of Virola snuf, often cal l ed yakee or pri ca, i s
restri cted to shamans. Among the Wai k6 or Yanonamo
tri bes of the frontier regi on of Brazi l and Venezuel a,
epena or nyakwana, as te snuf i s cal led, i s not re
stri cted to medi ci ne men, but may b snufe cere
moni al l y by all adul t males or even taken occasi onal l y
wi thout any ritual basi s by men i ndi vi dual l y. The medi
ci ne men of these tri bes take the snuf to i nduce a
trance that is bel i eved to aid them in di agnosi ng and
treati ng i l l ness.
Al though the use of the snu among the I ndi ans of
South America had been described earl i er, its source
was not defni tel y identifed as the Virola te unti l 1 954.
Waiko I ndian scrapi ng Virola
resi n into pt, prepratoy to
cooing i.
PEPARATION OF VI ROLA SNUFF vari es among di f
ferent I ndi ans. Some scrape the soft i nner layer of the
bark and dry the shavi ngs gentl y over a fre. The shav
i ngs are stored for l ater use. When the snuf i s needed,
the shavi ngs are pul veri zed by poundi ng wi th a pestl e
i n a mortar made from the frui t case of the Brazi l -nut
tree. The resul ti ng powder i s si fted to a fne, pungent
brown dust. To thi s may be added the powdered l eaves
of a smal l , sweet-scented weed, Justicia, and the ashes
of amasita, the bark of a beauti ful tree, Elizabeta
princeps. The snuf i s then ready for use.
Other I ndi ans fel l the tree, stri p of and gentl y heat
the brk, collect the resi n i n an erhenware pt, bi l
Dried Justicia leaves ore ground
bfore bi ng added to snuf.
it down to a thi ck paste, sun-dry the paste, crush i t
wi th a stone, and si f i t. Ashes of several barks and
the l eaf powder of Justicia may or may not be added.
Sti l l other I ndi ans knead the i nner shavi ngs of
freshl y stri pped bark to squeeze out al l te resi n and
then bai l down the resi n to get a thi ck paste that i s
sun-dri ed and prepared i nto snu wi th ashes added.
The same resi n, appl i ed di rectl y to arrowheads and
congeal ed i n smoke, i s one of the Wai ka arrow poi sons.
When suppl i es of snu are use up i n ceremoni es, the
I ndi ans often scrape the hardened resi n from arrow
tips to use it as a substi tute. It seems to be as ptent
as the snuf itsel f.
Woi ka I ndian si fti ng ground
Justicio l eaves to mke fne pw
dr for aditive to Vrolo snuf.
A SNUFF-TAKI NG CEREMONY is conducted annual l y
by many Wai ka tri bes to memorial ize those who have
died the previ ous year. Endocanni bal i sm compri ses part
of the ri te; the ashes of cal ci ned banes of te departed
are mixed into a fermented bnana dri nk and are
swal l owed wi th the beverage.
The ceremony takes pl ace in a l arge round house.
Fol lowi ng i ni ti al chanti ng by a master of ceremony, the
men and ol der bays form groups and bl ow huge amounts
of snu through l ong tubes i nto each other' s nostri l s
( p. 74) . They then begi n to dance and to run wi l dly,
shouti ng, brandi shi ng weapns, and maki ng gestures of
bravado. Pai rs or groups engage i n a strange ritual in
whi ch one parti ci pant thrusts out his chest and i s pounded
forceful l y wi th fsts, cl ubs, or rocks by a compani on,
who then ofers hi s own chest for reci procation. Al though
thi s puni shment, in retri bution for real or i magi ned
gri evances, often draws bl ood, the efects of the nar
coti c are so strong that the men do not fi nch or show
si gns of pai n. The opponents then squat, throw thei r
arms about each other,
and shout i nto one another' s
ears. Al l begi n hoppi ng
and crawl i ng across the
foor i n i mi tati on of ani
mal s. Eventual l y al l suc
cumb to the drug, l osi ng
consci ousness for up to
hal f on hour. Hal l uci na
ti ons ore sai d to be ex
perienced duri ng thi s ti me.
Wai ka rond house i n
cl earing in Amazon frest.
EFFECTS OF VI ROLA SNUFF are fel t wi thi n mi nutes
from the ti me of i nitial use. Fi rst there i s a feel i ng of
i ncreasi ng exci tabi l ity. Thi s i s fol l owed by a numbness
of the l i mbs, a ti tchi ng of the face, a l ack of muscul ar
coordi nati on, nasal di scharges, nausea, and, frequentl y,
vomi ti ng. Macropsi a-the sensati on of seei ng thi ngs
greatl y enl arged-i s characteri sti c and enters i nto Wai k6
bel i efs about hekul as, the spi ri t forces dwel l i ng in the
Virola tree and control l i ng the afai rs of man. Duri ng
the i ntoxi cati on, medi ci ne men often wi l dl y gesti cul ate,
fghti ng these gi ganti c hekul as.
shown by recent studi es to be an excepti onal l y hi gh con
centration of tryptami ne al kal oi ds i n the resi n. Wai k6
snuf prepared excl usivel y from the resi n of Virola
teiodora has up to 8 percent of tryptami nes, mai nl y
the hi ghl y acti ve 5-methoxy-N, N-di methyl tryptami ne.
Two new al kal oi ds of a diferent tpe-,-carbl i nes
have al so been found i n the resi n; they act as monoami ne
oxi dase i nhi bi tors and make it possi bl e for the tryptami nes
to take efect when the resi n i s taken oral l y.
snufng i t are someti mes empl oyed. The pri mi ti ve nomadi c
Maku of Col ombi a often merel y scrape resi n from the
brk of the tree and l i ck i t i n crude form. Te Wi toto,
Bora, and Mui nane of Col ombi a prepre l i ttl e pel l ets
from the resi n, and these are eaten when, to practice
witchcraft or di agnose di sease, the medi ci ne men wish
to " tal k wi th the spi ri t peopl e" ; the i ntoxi cati on begi ns
fve mi nutes afer i ngesti on. There i s .some vague evi
dence that certai n Venezuel an nati ves may smoke the
bark to get the i ntoxi cati ng efects.
8 1
Waika I ndi ans i s one of te recent di scoveri es i n the
study of curare. Te red resi n from the bark of Virola
teiodora is smeared on an arrow or dart, whi ch i s
then gentl y heate i n te smoke of a fre ( shown i n
the i l l ustration below) to harden the resi n. The ki l l i ng
action of the poi son is slow. Te chemi cal consti tuent
of the resi n responsi bl e for this action i s sti l l unknown.
I t i s i nteresti ng that al though the arrows are ti ppe
whi l e the hal l uci nogeni c snuf i s bei ng prepare from
resi n from the same tree, the two operati ons are car
ri ed out by diferent medi ci ne men of the same tri be.
Many oter pl ants are empl oyed i n South Ameri ca i n
prepari ng arrow pi sons, most of them members of the
fami l i es Loani aceae and Meni spermacee.
Wai k6 I ndi an hol ding pison
dars i n smoky fre to congeal
Virola resi n, appl ied by dippi ng
or spreai ng with fngers.
MASHA-HARI (Justicia pectoralis var . stnophylla) is a
smal l herb cul ti vated by the Wai ka I ndi ans of the
Brazi l i an-Venezuel an fronti er regi on. The cromati c l eaves
are occasi onal l y dri ed, powdered, and mi xed wi th the
hal l uci nogeni c snu made from resi n of the Virola tree.
Other speci es of Justicia have ben reporte to be em
pl oyed i n that regi on as the sol e source of a narcoti c
Hal l uci nogeni c consti tuents have not yet been found
i n Justicia, but i f any speci es of the genus is uti l i zed as
the onl y i ngredi ent of an i ntoxi cati ng snuf, then one or
more active constituents must be present. The 300
speci es of Justicia, members of the acanthus fami l y,
Acanthaceae, grow in the tropi cs and subtropi cs of both
hemi spheres.
JUREMA (Mimosa hostilis) is a poorly understood shrub,
the roots of whi ch provi de the "mi racul ous j urema dri nk, "
known in estern Brazi l as aj uco or vi nho de j uremo.
Other speci es of Mimosa ore al so l ocal ly cal l ed j urema.
Several tri bes i n Pernambuco-the Kari ri, Pankaruru,
Tusha, and Ful ni o-consume the beverage i n ceremoni es.
Usual l y connected wi th warfare, the hal l uci nogen was
used by now exti nct tri bes of the area to ' pass the
ni ght navi gati ng through the depths of sl umber " j ust
pri or to sal l yi ng forth to war. They woul d see "gl ori ous
vi si ons of the spi ri t l and . . . ( or) catch a gl i mpse of
the cl ashi ng rocks that destroy souls of the dead j our
neyi ng to thei r gol or see the Thunderbi rd shooti ng
l i ghti ng from a huge tuft on hi s head and produci ng
cl aps of thunder . . . " It appears, however, that the
hal l uci nogeni c use of M. hostilis has nearl y di sappeared
in recent ti mes.
Li ttl e i s known about the hal l uci nogeni c properti es of
thi s pl ant, which was di scovered more than 1 50 years
ago. Earl y chemi cal studi es i ndi cated an active al ka
loid given the name ni geri ne but later shown to be
i denti cal wi th N, N-di methyl tryptami ne. Si nce the tryp
tami nes are not active when taken oral ly unl ess in the
presence of a monoami ne oxidase i nhi bitor, i t i s obvi ous
tat the j urema dri nk must contai n i ngredi ents other than
M. hosti l i s or that the pl ant i tsel f must contai n an i n
hi bi tor in i ts ti ssues.
The genus Mimosa, cl osel y al l i ed to Acacia and
Anadenantera, compri ses some 500 speci es of tropical
and subtropi cal herbs and smal l shrubs. The mi mosas
bel ong to the subfami l y Mi mosoideae of the bean fami ly,
Legumi nosae. Most of them are Ameri can, al though some
occur i n Afri ca and Asi a. Jurema i s nati ve onl y to the
dry regi ons of eastern Brazi l .
si ngl e fower,
enl arged
YOPO or PARICA (Anadenanthera peregrina or Pipta
denia peregrina) is a South Ameri can tree of the bean
fami l y, Legumi nosae. A potent hal l uci nogeni c snuf is
prepared from the seeds of tis tree. Te snu, now
used mai nl y in the Ori noco basi n, was frst reprted
from Hi spani ol a in 1 496, where the Tai na I ndi ans cal l e
it cohoba. I ts use, whi ch has di ed out in the West I ndi es,
was undoubtedl y i ntroduced to the Cari bbean area by
I ndi an i nvaders from South Ameri ca.
The hal l uci nogeni c pri nci pl es found in A. peregrina
seeds i ncl ude N, N-di methyl tryptami ne, N-monometyl
tryptami ne, 5-methoxydi methyl tryptami ne, and several
rel ated bases. Bufoteni ne, al so present i n A. peregrina
seeds, apporentl y is not hal l uci nogeni c. El uci dati on of
the chemi col make-up of the seeds of the yopo tree has
onl y recentl y been accompl i shed. Future studi es may
i ncrease our knowl edge of the acti ve pri nci pl e of these
from tri be to tribe. The pods, whi ch are borne pro
fusel y on the yopo tree, are Aat and deeply con
stri cted beteen each seed. Gray-bl ack when r i pe,
the seed pods break open, exposi ng from three to
about ten Aat seeds, or beans. These are gathered
duri ng January and February, usual l y i n l arge quanti ti es
and often ceremoni al l y. They are frst sl i ghtl y moi stened
and rol l ed i nto a paste, whi ch is then roasted gentl y
over a sl ow fre unti l i t i s dried out and toasted. Some
ti mes the beans are al l owed to ferment before bei ng
rol l ed i nto a paste. After the toasti ng, the hardened
paste may be stored for l ater use. Some I ndi ans toast
the beans and crush them wi thout mol di ng them i nto
a paste, gri ndi ng them usual l y on an ornate sl ab of
hardwood made especi al l y for the purpose.
Several earl y expl orers descri bed the process.
I n 1 801 Al exander von Humbol dt, t he German natural i st
and expl orer, detai l e the preprati on of yopo by the
Mai pures of the Ori noco. I n 1 85 1 , Richard Spruce, an
Engl i sh expl orer, vi si te the Guahi bs, another tib of
the Ori noco, and wrote: " In prepri ng the snuf, the
roaste seeds of ni opo are placed i n a shal l ow wooen
pl ater that is hel d on the knee by means of a brood
handl e graspd frml y with te lef hand; ten crushed
by a smal l pestle of the hard wood of pao d' arco . . .
whi ch i s hel d beten the fngers and tumb of the
right hand. "
The resul ti ng grayi sh-green powder i s al most al ways
mi xe wi t abut eual amounts of some al kal i ne sub
stance, whi ch may b l i me from snai l shel l s or the
ashes of plant materi al . Apparentl y, the ashes are made
from a great vari ety of pl ant materi al s: the burned frui t
of the monkey pot, the brk of many diferent vi nes
and trees, and even the roots of sedges. The addi ti on
of the ashes probabl y serves a merel y mechani cal pur
pose: to keep the snuf from caking i n the humi d cl i mate.
The addi ti on of l ime or ashes to narcotic or sti mu
l ant preparati ons i s a very wi despread custom i n both
hemi spheres. They are often adde to betel chew,
pituri , tobacco, epna snuf, coca, etc. In the case of
yopo snu, the al kal i ne admi xture seems not to be es
senti al . Some I ndi ans, such as the Guahi bos, may oc
casi onal ly take the powder al one. The explorer Alex
ander von Humboldt, who encountered te use of yop
i n the Ori noo 1 75 years ago, mi stakenl y stated that
" . . . i t i s not to be bel i eved that the ni opo acaci a
pods are the chi ef cause of the sti mul ati ng efects of
the snu . . . The efects are due to freshl y cal ci ned
l i me. " In hi s ti me, of course, the presence of active
tryptami nes in the beans was unknown.
bi rd-bne
snufng tube
with palm
fuit nosepieces
Snufng Paraphernal i a
snufng tub
with shaf
of reed and
a pal m fruit
pstl es
or crushers
mortar troy
fo gri
yapo seeds
A yopo tree (Anodenanthera peregrina) in Amazoni an Brazi l . The
seeds of thi s tree are the source of a ptent hal l uci nogeni c snuf.
Yopo snuf i s i nhal ed through hol l ow bi rd-bone or
bambo tubes. The efects begi n al most i mmedi atel y:
a ti tchi ng of the muscl es, sl i ght convul si ons, and l ack
of muscul ar coordi nati on, fol lowed by nause, vi sual
hal l uci nati ons, and di sturbed sleep. An abnormal
exaggerati on of the si ze of obj ects ( macropsi a) i s
common. I n an earl y descri pti on, t he I ndi ans say that
thei r houses seem to ' ' . . . be turned upsi de down and
that men are wal ki ng on thei r feet i n te ai r. "
South Ameri can I ndi ans of the upper Ori noco region in characteristic
gesticul ati ng postures while under the i nfuence of yop snuf.
9 1
VI LCA and SEBIL are snufs believed to have been
prepared in the past from the beans of Anadenanthera
colubrina and its variety cebi/ in central and southern
South America, where A. peregrina does not occur. A.
colubrina seeds are known t o possess the same hallu
cinogenic principles as A. peregrina (see p. 86 ) .
An early Peruvian report, dated about 1 57 1 , states
that Inca medicine men foretold the future by communi
cating with the devil through the use of vilca, or
huilca. In Argentina, the early Spaniards found the
Comechin Indians taking sebil "through the nose" to
become intoxicated, and in another tribe the same
plant was chewed for endurance. Si nce these Indian
cultures have disappeared, our knowledge of vilca
snufs and their use is limited.
Ancient Snufng Instruments
woden mortar
and pestl e
wi th i nci sed
desi gns;
Bol iv ia
snuf tray wi th
bi rd-head desi gns;
Bol i vi a
GE NISTA ( Cytisus canariensis) is empl oyed as an hal l uci
nogen i n the magi c practices of Yaqui medi ci ne men
i n northern Mexi co. Nati ve to the Canary I sl ands, the
plant was i ntoduced i nto Mexi co. Rarely does any
noni ndi genous pl ant fnd i ts way i nto the rel i gi ous and
magi c customs of a peopl e. Known al so by the sci enti fc
nome Genista canariensis, thi s speci es i s the "geni sta "
of fori sts.
Pl ants of the genus Cytisus ore ri ch i n cyti si ne, on
al kal oi d of the l upi ne group. The al kal oid has never
been pharmacol ogical ly demonstrated to hove hal l uci
nogeni c activity, but i t i s known to be toxi c and to cause
nausea, convul si ons, and death through fai l ure of
respi rati on.
About 80 speci es of Cytisus, bel ongi ng to the bean
fami l y, Legumi nosae, ore known i n the Atl anti c i sl ands,
Europe, and the Mei terranean area. Some speci es
are hi ghl y ornamental ; some ore poisonous.
MESCAL BEN ( Sophora secundifora), al so cal l ed red
bean or coral i l l o, i s a shrub or smal l tree wi th si lvery
pods contai ni ng up to six or seven red beans or seeds.
Before the peyote rel i gion spread north of the Ri o
Grande, at l east 1 2 tri bes of I ndi ans i n northern Mexi
co, New Mexi co, and Texas practi ced the vi si on-seeki ng
Red Bean Dance centered around the i ngesti on of a
dri nk prepare from these seds. Known al so as the
Wi chi ta, Deer, or Whi stl e Dance, the ceremony uti l i zed
the beans as an oracul ar, di vinatory, and hal l uci no
geni c medi um.
Because t he red bean dri nk was hi ghl y toxi c, often
resul ti ng i n death from overdoses, the arri val of
a more spectacul ar and safer hafl uci nogen in the form
of the peyote cactus ( see p. 1 1 4) l ed the nati ves to
abandon the Red Bean Dance. Sacred el ements do not
often di sapper compl etel y from a cul ture; today the
seeds are used as an adornment on the uni form of
the leader of the peyote ceremony.
An earl y Spani sh expl orer menti one mescal beans
as an arti cl e of trade i n Texas i n 1 539. Mescal beans
have been found at si tes dati ng before A. D. 1 000,
with one si te dati ng back to 1 500 B. C. Archaeol ogical
evidence thus points to the exi stence of a prehi stori c
cul t or ceremony that used the red beans.
The al kal oid cyti si ne i s present i n the beans. I t
causes nausea, convul si ons, and death from asphyxi ati on
through i ts depressi ve acti on on the di aphragm.
The mescal bean is a member of the bean fami l y,
Legumi nosae. Sophora comprises about 50 species
that are nati ve to tropi cal and warm parts of both
hemi spheres. One speci es, S. japonica, is medi ci nal l y
important as a god source of ruti n, used i n modern
medi ci ne for treati ng capi l l ary fragi l i ty.
Sophora secundifora
foweri ng
{ woody pd)
ceremoni al necklace
{ Ki owa tri b, Anaarko, Okl ahoma)
COLORINES ( several speci es of Erytrina) may be used
as hal l uci nogens i n some parts of Mexi co. The bri ght
red beans of these pl ants resembl e mescal beans
( see p. 94) , l ong use as a narcotic i n northern Mexi co
and i n the Aeri can Southwest. Both beans are some
ti mes sold mi xed together i n herb markets, and the
mescal bean pl ant i s someti mes cal l ed by the same com
mon name, col ori n.
Some speci es of Erytrina contai n al kal oi ds of the
i soui nol i ne type, which el i ci t activi ty resembl i ng that
of curare or arrow poisons, but no al kal oi ds known
to possess hal l uci nogeni c properti es have yet been
found in these seeds.
Some 50 species of Erytrina, members of the bean
fami l y, legumi nosae, grow i n the tropi cs and subtropi cs
of bth hemi spheres.
frui t ing
PIULE ( several species of Rhynchosia) have beautiful
red and black seeds that may have been valued as a
narcotic by ancient Mexicans. What appear to be these
seeds have been pictured, together with mushrooms,
falling from the hand of the Aztec rain god in the
Tepantitla fresco of A. D. 300-400 ( see p. 59) , sug
gesting hallucinogenic use. Modern I ndians in southern
Mexico refer to them as piule, one of the names also
applied to the hallucinogenic morning-glory seeds.
Seeds of some species of Rhynchosia have given
positive alkaloid tests, but the toxic principles have
still not been characterized.
Some 300 species of Rhynchosia, belongi ng to the
bean family, Leguminosae, are known from the tropics
and subtropics. The seeds of some species are im
portant in folk medicine in several countries.
A Y AHUASCA and CAAPI are two
of many l ocal names for ei ther of
to speci es of a South Ameri can
vi ne: Banistriopsis caapi or 8.
inebrians. Both are gi ganti c j ungl e
l ianas wi th ti ny pi nk fowers. Li ke
the approxi matel y 1 00 other speci es
i n the genus, thei r botany i s poorl y
understood. They bel ong to the
fami ly Mal pi ghiaceae.
An hal l uci nogeni c dri nk made from
the bark of these vi nes i s wi del y
used by I ndi ans i n the western Ama
zon-Brazi l , Col ombi a, Peru, Ecua
dor, and Bol i vi a. Other l ocal names
for the vi nes or the dri nk made
from them are dopa, natema, pi nde,
and yaj e. The dri nk i s i ntensel y
bi tter and nauseati ng.
I n Peru and Ecuador, the dri nk
i s made by raspi ng the bark and
boi l ing it. In Col ombi a and Brazi l ,
the scraped bark i s squezed i n
col d water to make the dri nk. Some
tri bes add other pl ants to al ter
or to i ncrease the potency of the
dri nk. In some ports of the Ori noco,
the bark i s si mpl y chewed. Recent
evidence suggests that i n the
northwestern Amazon the pl ants
may be used i n the form of snu.
Ayahuasca is popul ar for its " tel e
pathi c properti es, " for whi ch, of
course, there is no sci enti fc bosi s.
ERLIEST PUBLISHED REPRTS of ayahuasca date from
1 858 but in 1 85 1 Richard Spruce, an Engl i sh ex
pl orer, had di scovered the pl ant from whi ch the i n
toxi cati ng dri nk was made and descri bed it as a new
species. Spruce al so reported that te Guahi bos al ong
the Ori noco River in Venezuela chewe the dri ed stem
for i ts efects i nstead of prepari ng a dri nk from the bark.
Spruce col l ected foweri ng materi al and al so stems for
chemi cal study. I nteresti ngl y, these stems were not
anal yzed unti l 1 969, but even afer more tan a cen
tury, they gave resul ts ( p. 1 03) i ndi cati ng the presence
of al kal oi ds.
In the years si nce Spruce' s di scovery, many expl orers
and travel ers who passed through the western Amazon
regi on wrote about the drug. It i s wi del y known i n the
Amazon but the whol e story of thi s plant i s yet to be
unravel e. Some writers have even confuse ayahuasca
with compl etel y diferent narcotic pl ants.
Colorado I ndi an fom Ecuador raspi ng the bark of Banisteriopsis
a step in preparation of the narcotic ayohuasca dri nk.
1 00
to exampl es of
pttery vessel s
used i n
The ceremoni al vessel used in the ayahuasca ritual i s always hung
by the I ndi ans under the eaves at the ri ght si de of a house. Al though
ocasional ly redecorated, it i s never woshed.
EFFCTS of dri nki ng ayahuasca range from a pl easant
i ntoxi cati on wi th no hangover to vi ol ent reacti ons wi th
si ckeni ng after-efects. Usual l y there are vi sual hal l uci na
ti ons in col or. I n excessive doses, the drug bri ngs on
ni ghtmari sh vi si ons and a feel i ng of reckl ess abandon.
Consci ousness i s usual l y not l ost, nor i s there i mpai rment
of te use of the l i mbs. In fact, danci ng is a maj or part
of the ayahuasca ceremony in some tri bes. The i ntoxi cati on
ends wi th a deep sl eep and dreams.
An ayahuasca i ntoxi c
ti on i s difcul t t o descri be.
The efect of the active pri nci pl es vari es from person to
person. In addi ti on, preparati on of the dri nk vari es
from one regi on to another, and vari ous pl ant addi ti ves
may al so al ter the efects .
1 01
The Yuruparf ceremony in the Colombian Amazon i nvolves ritual
ayahuasca i ntoxi cation. The I ndi ans are blowing sacred br futes.
CEREMONI AL USES of ayahuasca are of major i mpor
tance in the l i ves of South Ameri can I ndi ans. In eastern
Peru, medi ci ne men take the drug to di agnose and treat
di seases. I n Col ombi a and Brazi l , the drug i s empl oyed
in deepl y rel i gi ous ceremoni es that are roated in tri bl
mythol ogy. I n the famous Yurupari ceremony of the
Tukanoan I ndi ans of Amazoni an Col ombi a-a ceremony
that i nitiates adol escent boys i nto manhoo-the drug
i s gi ven to fori fy those who must undergo the severely
pi nful ordeal that forms a part of the rite.
The i ntoxi cati on of ayahuasca or caapi among these
I ndi ans is thought to represent a return to the ori gi n
of al l thi ngs: the user "sees" tri bal gods and the
creation of the universe and of man and the ani mal s.
Thi s experi ence convi nces the I ndi ans of the rel ity of
thei r rel igi ous bel i efs, because they have " seen" every
thi ng that underl i es them. To them, everday l i fe i s
unreal , and what caapi bri ngs them i s the true real ity.
1 02
CHEMICAL STUDIES of the two ayahuasca vi nes have
suered from the botani cal confusion surroundi ng them.
However, i t appears that both speci es owe thei r hal l u
ci nogeni c activity pri mari l y to harmi ne, the maj or
,-carbol i ne al kal oi d in the pl ants. Harmal i ne and
tetrahydroharmi ne, al kal oi ds present in mi nor amounts,
may al so contri bute to the i ntoxi cation. Earl y chemi cal
studi es i sol ated these several al kal oids but di d not
recogni ze thei r i denti ty. They were given names as "new"
al kal oi ds. One of these names-tel epathi ne-i s an
i ndi cation of the wi despread bel i ef that the dri nk pre
pared from these vi nes gave the I ndi an mei ci ne men
tel epathi c powers.
Harmi ne


Harmal i ne

Tetrahydroharmi ne
Chemical formul as of Bonisteriopsis caapi and 8. inebrians al kal oids.
I ndol e nucl eus i s shown i n red.
1 03
PLANTS ADDED TO A YAHUASCA by some I ndi ans i n
the preparation of the hal l uci nogeni c dri nk are amazi ngl y
diverse and i ncl ude even ferns. Several are now known
to be active themselves and to al ter efectively the
properti es of the basic dri nk. Among these are Datura
suaveo/ens ( p. 1 45) and a speci es of 8runfelsia ( p.
1 40) -bth members of the ni ghtshade fami l y, Sol ana
ceae, and both contai ni ng active pri nci pl es.
Two addi tives, empl oyed over a wi de area by many
tri bs, are especi al ly si gni fcant. The l eaves ( but not
the bark) of a thi rd speci es of 8anistriopsis-8.
rusbyana-are often added to the preparati on " to
l engthen and brighten the vi si ons. ' ' Cal led oco-yaje
i n the westernmost Amazon regi on of Col ombi a and
Ecuador, the I i ana is cul ti vated for thi s purpose, al ong
with 8. caapi and 8. inebrians.
Over a much wider area, i ncl udi ng Amazoni an Brazi l ,
Col ombi a, Ecuador, and Peru, the l eaves of several
speci es of Psychotria-especi al ly P. viridis-are added.
Thi s 20-foot forest treel et bel ongs to the cofee fami l y,
Rubi aceae. Li ke 8. rusbyana, it has been found recentl y
to contai n the strongl y hal l uci nogeni c N, N-di metyl
tryptami ne.
N, N-Di methyl tryptami ne ( DMT)
1 04
ANOTHER KIND OF CAAPI is prepared from T etraptris
metytica, a forest vi ne al so bel ongi ng to the fami l y
Mal pi ghiaceae. One group of Maku I ndi ans of the
northwesternmost part of the Brazi l i an Amazon prepares
a col d-water dri nk from the bark. There i s no other pl ant
i ngredi ent. The dri nk is very bi ter and has an unusual
yel l ow hue. Thi s may be the " second ki nd" of caapi
menti oned by several expl orers as caapi -pi ni ma, meani n
" pai nted caapi . "
Al though T. methystica produces efects i denti cal wi t
tose of Banisteriopsis caapi, we sti l l know nothi ng of
its chemi stry. However, it is cl osel y rel ated to Banistriop
sis and there is every probabi l i t that si mi lar or i den
ti cal al kal oi ds are present.
There are 90 species of Tetraptris-vi nes and smal l
trees found throughout the humi d Ameri can tropi cs.
SHANSHI ( Coriaria thymifolia) is a widespread Andean
shrub long recogni zed as very poisonous to catle. It
has recently been reported as one of the plants used
as an hallucinogen by peasants in Ecuador . Shanshi is
their name for the plant. The fruits are eaten for thei r
intoxicating efects, which include the sensation of
fight. The wei rd efects are due possibly to an un
identifed glycoside, but the chemistry of this species
is still poorly understood. Shanshi is one of 15 species
of Coriaria, most of which are shrubs. They are found
i n the mountains from Mexico to Chile, from the
Mediterranean area eastward to Japan, and also in New
Zealand. Coriaria is the only known genus in the
family, Coriariaceae.
1 07
SI NICUI CHI (Heimia saliciflia) i s a poorl y understoo
but fasci nati ng audi tory hal l uci noen of central Mexi co.
I ts leaves, sl i ghtly wi lted, are crushed and sooked i n
water. The resul ti ng j ui ce i s put i n the sun to fer
ment i nto a sl i ghtl y i ntoxi cati ng dri nk that causes
gi ddi ness, darkeni ng of the surroundi ngs, shri nkage of
te worl d, and drowsi ness or euphoria. Ei ther deafness
or audi tory hal l uci nati ons may resul t, wi th voi ces or
sounds di storted and semi ng to come from a di stance.
Parakers cl ai m that unpleasant after-efects are rare,
but excessive dri nki ng of the i ntoxi cant can be qui te
harmful .
Si ni cui chi i s a name given al so to other pl ants that
are i mportant bth medical l y and as i ntoxi cants in
vari ous parts of Mexi co. Other i ntoxi cati ng si ni cui chi s
are Erytrina, Rhynchosia, and Piscidia, but Heimia
salicifolia commands the greatest respect. Wi th the
cl osel y rel ated H. myrtifolia, i t has i nteresti ng uses i n fol k
medi ci ne. Onl y i n Mexico, however, i s the hal l uci nogeni c
use i mportant.
Heimia bel ongs to the l oosestri fe fami l y, Lythraceae,
and represents an American genus of three hardl y
di sti ngui shabl e species that range i n the hi ghl ands from
southern Uni ted States to Argenti na. Presence of hal l uci
nogeni c pri nci pl es was unknown i n thi s fami l y, but
chemi sts have recentl y found si x al kal oi ds i n Heimia
saliciflia. They bel ong to the qui nol i zi di ne group. One,
cryogeni ne or verti ne, appears to be the most active,
al though the hal l uci nogeni c efects fol l owi ng i ngesti on
of the total pl ant have not yet been dupl i cated by any
of te al kal oi ds i sol ated thus far. Thi s provi des us wi th
another exampl e of the often appreci abl e diference be
teen the efects of drugs taken as natural products
and the efects of thei r purifed chemi cal consti tuents .
1 08
Heimio solicifolia
sl i ghtl y
enl arged
1 09
( fowers are
ni ght-bl omi ng
and very
( spi nes often
SAN PEDRO ( Trichocereus pachanoi) i s a l arge col um
nar cactus wi del y cul tivated as an hal l uci nogen i n the
Andes of Peru, Ecuador, and Bol ivi a. The nati ves, who
al so cal l i t aguacol l a or gi ganton, recogni ze several
" ki nds, " whi ch difer mai nl y in the number of r i bs,
the most common type havi ng seven. Thi s cactus is
someti mes pl anted al ong fel ds as a fence row to keep
sheep and catl e from roami ng.
An i ntoxi cati ng dri nk cal l e ci mora i s made from
the San Pedro cactus. Short lengths of the stem, often
sold i n native markets, are sl i ced l i ke loaves of bread
and ten boi led in water for several hours, someti mes
with supersti ti ous obj ects such as cemetery dust and
powdered bones.
Al though ci mora i s often made from San Pedro al one,
several feld researchers i ndi cate that a vari ety of
I 1 0
From collection of MunsonWilliams-Proctor Institute-Utica, N. Y.
of stem
other pl ants may someti mes be added to the brew. These
i ncl ude the cactus Neoraimondia macrostibas, an Andean
speci es the chemi stry of whi ch has not yet been deter
mi ned; the shrub Pedilanthus tithymaloides of the cos
tor oi l fami l y; and the companul aceous /sotoma longi
fora. All these pl ants may have bi odynami c consti tuents.
On occasi on, other more obvi ousl y potent pl ants ore
added-Datura, for exampl e.
Onl y recentl y have researchers become aware
of the i mportance of the " secondary" pl ant i ngre
di ents often empl oyed by pri mitive soci eti es. The fact
that mescal i ne occurs i n the San Pedro cactus does not
mean that the dri nk prepared from i t may not be al tered
by the addition of other pl ants, al though the si gnif
cance of the addi tives i n changi ng the hal l uci nogeni c
efects of t he brew i s sti l l not ful l y understood.
1 1 1
Ci mora is the basi s of a fol k heal i ng ceremony
that combi nes anci ent i ndi genous ri tual with i mporte
Chri sti an el ements. An obserer has descri bed the pl ant
as ' ' the catalyst that activates al l the compl ex forces at
work in a folk hel i ng sessi on, especi al ly the vi si on
ary and di vi natory powers" of the nati ve medi ci ne man.
But the powers of San Pedro are supposed to extend
byon mei ci ne; it i s said to guard houses l i ke a dog,
havi ng the abi l it to whi stl e i n such unearthl y fashi on
that i ntruders fee i n terror.
Al though San Pedro i s not cl osel y related btan
i cal l y to pyote, the same al kal oi d, mescal i ne, i s re
sponsi bl e for the vi sual hal l uci nations cause by both.
Mescal i ne has ben i sol ated not onl y from San Pero
but from another species of Trichocereus. Chemi cal
studi es of Trichoereus are very recent, and therefre
i t is possi bl e that additional al kal oi ds may yet be
found i n T. pachanoi.
Trichocereus compri ses about 40 speci es of col umnar
cacti that grow in subtropi cal and temperate ports of
the Andes.
There i s no reason to suppose that the use of the
San Pedro cactus i n hal l uci nogeni c and di vi natory ri t
ual s does not have a long hi story. We must reconi ze,
certai nl y, tat the moern use has ben afected greatly
by Chri sti an i nfuences. These i nfuences are evident
even i n the naming of the cactus after Saint Peter, pos
sibl y stemmi ng from the Christian bel ief that Sai nt
Peter hol ds the keys to heaven. But the overal l con
text of the ritual and our moern understandi ng of the
San Pero cul t, whi ch i s connecte i nti mately wi th moon
mythology, l eads us to bel i eve that i t represents an
autenti c amal gam of pagan and Chri stian el ements.
I ts use seems to be spreadi ng i n Peru.
1 1 2
Pachycereus pecten-aboriginum
ti p of
foweri ng
Cowe, or Pachycereus pecten-aboriginum, i s one of the pl ants com
bined with the Son Pedro cactus by the Torohumore of Mexi co. It is
not defnitely known whether thi s tol l organ cactus i s hal l uci noeni c.
1 1 3
Lophophora williamsii
plant i n fower,
with accessory heads
PEYOTE ( Lophophora williamsii), an unobtrusi ve cactus
that grows i n rocky deserts, i s the most spectacul ar
hal l uci nogeni c plant of the New World. It i s al so one of
the earl i est known. The Aztecs used it, cal l i ng i t peyotl .
Peyote is a smal l , feshy, spi nel ess cactus wi th a
rounded gray-green top, tufts of whi te hai r, and a l ong
carrotl i ke root. It rarel y exceds 71h i nches in l ength or
3 i nches across. The I ndi ans cut of the crowns to
sun-dry i nto brown, di scoi dal "mescal butons " that l ast
l ong periods and can be shi pped to di stant poi nts for
use. When the top i s severed, the plant often sprouts
new crowns so that many-heade peyotes are common.
Peyote was frst descri bed botani cal l y in 1 845 and
1 1 4
fower of
L. williamsii
L. williamsii
whole pl ant
with tapering
carrotl ike root
dri ed peyote crowns
( mescal buttos)
Lophophora difuse
cal l ed Echinocactus williamsii. It has been gi ven many
other techni cal names. The one used most commonl y by
chemi sts has ben Anhalonium lewinii. Most btani sts
now agree peyote bel ongs i n a di sti nct genus, Lopho
phora. Tere are two speci es: the widespred L. wil
liamsii and the l ocal L. difuse in Queretaro.
Peyote is native to the Rio Grande val l ey of Texas
and northern and central parts of the Mexi can pl ateu.
It bel ongs to the cactus fami l y, Cactaceae, compri si ng
some 2 ,000 speci es in 50 to 1 50 genera, native pri
mari l y to the dri er parts of tropi cal Ameri ca. Many
speci es are val ued as horti cul tral curi osi ti es, and some
have i nteresti ng fol k uses among the I ndi ans.
1 1 5
USE OF PEYOTE BY THE AZTECS was descri be by
Spani sh chroni cl ers. One reported that those who ate
it saw frightful vi si ons and remai ned drunk for two or
three days; that it was a common food of the Chi ch
i meca I ndi ans, "sustai ni ng them and gi vi ng them courage
to fght and not feel fear nor hunger nor thi rst; and
they say that it protects them from al l danger . " I n
1 59 1 , another chroni cl er wrote that the nati ves who
eat i t " l ose thei r senses, see visi ons of terrifyi ng si ghts
l i ke the devi l , and are abl e to prophesy thei r future wi th
' satani c tri ckery. ' "
Dr. Hernandez, the physi ci an to the Ki ng of Spi n,
descri bed the cactus as Peyotl zacatecensis and wrote
of its "wonderful properties. " He took note of i ts
smal l s ize and descri bed i t by sayi ng that " i t scarcel y
i ssues from the earth, as i f i t di d not wi sh to harm those
who fnd and eat i t. " Recent archaeol ogi cal fnds of
peyote buttons i n the state of Texas are approxi matel y
1 ,000 years ol d.
was strong among the Spani sh conquerors. One earl y
Spani sh church document l i kened the eati ng of peyote
to canni bal i sm. Upset by the rel i gi ous hol d that peyote
had on the I ndi ans, the Spani sh tried, wi th great vi gor
but l i ttl e success, to stamp out i ts use.
By 1 720, the eati ng of peyote was prohi bited through
out Mexi co. But despi te four centuri es of ci vi l and ec
cl esi astical persecuti on, the use and i mportance of peyote
have spread beyond i ts early l i mited confnes. Today it i s
so strongl y anchored i n native l ore that even Chri sti an
i zed I ndi ans bl i eve that a patron sai nt-EI Santo Ni no
de Peyotl -wal ks on the hi l l s where peyote grows.
There i s conti nui ng opposi ti on i n certai n rel i gi ous
1 1 6
organi zati ons in the Uni ted States to the I ndi ans ' use
of peyote as a ceremoni al sacrament. Neverthel ess,
the federal government has never seri ousl y questi oned
or i nterfered wi th the practi ce si nce it is essenti al l y
a rel i gi ous one. Those tri bes l i vi ng far from sources
of peyote-some as far north as Canada-can l egal l y
i mport mescal butons by mai l . Despi te consti tuti onal
guarantees separati ng church and state, however, a
few states have enforced repressi ve l aws agai nst even
the rel i gi ous use of peyote.
Huichol I ndian art indicating the importance of peyote in a trinity in
vol ving mn and the maize pl ant.
1 1 7
the Tarahumare, Hui chol , and other Mexi can I ndi ans.
The Tarahumare bel ieve that when Father Sun l ef earth
to dwel l above, he left peyote, or hi kul i , to cure man' s
i l l s and woes; that peyote si ngs and tal ks as i t grows;
that when gathered i t sings happi l y i n its bags all the
way home; and that God speaks through the pl ant in
thi s way.
Many legends about the supernatural powers of peyote
underl i e its rel i gi ous i mportance. It mi ght be esteemed
merely as an everyday medi ci ne, but i t has been exal ted
to a posi ti on of near-di vi nity. The peyote-col l ecti ng
tri p of the Hui chol s, for exampl e, i s hi ghl y rel i gi ous,
requi ri ng pi l gri ms to forego adul t experi ences, especi al l y
sexual , for i t reenacts the frst peyote quest of the
di vi ne ancestors . The pi l gri ms must confess in order to
become spi ri t and enter i nto the sacred country through
gateway of cl ashi ng cl ouds, a j ourney whi ch,
accordi ng to thei r tradi ti on, repeats the "j ourney of the
soul of the dead to the underworl d. "
EFFECTS OF PEYOTE on the mi nd and body are so
utterl y unworl dl y and fantastic that i t i s easy to under
stand the nati ve bel i ef that the cactus must be the
resi dence of spi ri t forces or a divi ni ty. The most spectac
ular of the many efects i s the kal ei doscopi c play of
i ndescri babl y ri ch, colored vi si ons. Hal l uci nati ons of
heari ng, feel i ng, and taste often occur as wel l .
The i ntoxi cati on may be di vided i nto two peri ods:
one of contentent and extrasensi tivity, fol l owed by
arti fci al cal m and muscul ar sl uggi shness at whi ch ti me
the subj ect begi ns to pay l ess attenti on to hi s sur
roundi ngs and i ncrease hi s i ntrospective "meditation. "
Before vi si ons appear, some three hours after eati ng
1 1 8
Paraphernalia used in a typical Pl ains I ndian peyote ceremony. Note
the bl end of Christian and pgan symbol s on the smoke-stick.
peyote, there ore fashes and sci nti l l ati ons i n col ors,
thei r depth and saturati on defyi ng descri pti on. The
vi si ons often fol low a sequence from geometri c fgures
to unfami l i ar and grotesque obj ects that vary wi th the
i ndividual .
Though t he col ored vi sual hal l uci nati ons undoubtedl y
underl i e the rapi d spread of the use of peyote, espe
ci al l y i n those I ndi an cul tures where the quest for vi si ons
has al ways been i mportant, many natives assert that
vi si ons are "not good" and l ock rel i gi ous si gni fcance.
Peyote' s reputati on as a panacea and al l -powerful
"medi ci ne" -both in physi cal and psychi c senses
may be equal l y responsi bl e for i ts spread.
1 1 9
publ i c attention about 1 880 when the Ki owa and the
Comanche I ndi ans establ i shed a peyote ceremony de
rived from the Mexi can but remodel ed i nto a vi si on
quest ri tual typi cal of the Pl ai ns I ndi ans. Use of peyote
had been recorded earl i er, i n 1 720, i n Texas. How the
use of peyote di fused from Mexi co north, far beyond
the natural range of the cactus, i s not ful l y known.
Duri ng the 1 880' s, many I ndi an mi ssi onari es were
active in spreadi ng the peyote ceremony from tribe to
tri be. By 1 920, the peyote cul t numbered over 1 3,000
fai thful i n more than 30 tribes i n North Ameri ca. I t
was l egal l y organi zed, partl y for protecti on agai nst
ferce Chri sti an-mi ssi onary persecution, i nto the Native
Ameri can Church, which now cl ai ms 250, 000 members .
Thi s cul t, a combi nati on of Chri sti an and native el ements,
teaches brotherl y l ove, hi gh moral pri nci pl es, and
abstenti on from al cohol . I t consi ders peyote a sacrament
through whi ch God mani fests Hi msel f to man.
THE PEYOTE RI TUAL as practiced by I ndi ans i n the
Uni ted States vari es somewhat from tri be to tri be.
A typi cal Pl ai ns I ndi an ceremony takes pl ace weekl y
i n an al l -ni ght meeting i n a teepee. Worshi pers si t i n
a ci rcl e around a hal f-moon al tar of sand ( see p. 6) on
whi ch a l arge speci men cal l ed a " Father Peyote" i s
set and at whi ch a sacred fre burns. The ashes are
shaped i nto the form of a thunderbi rd. The ceremony,
le by a " roadman, " consi sts of chanti ng accompani e
by rattle and drum, al ternati ng with prayers, l essons,
testi moni es, and occasi onal l y a curi ng ri tual . At ni ght
dri e peyote tops ( mescal buttons) are moi stened and
swal l owed-from 4 to 30 or more. The ri tual ends wi th
breakfast at dawn when the teepee i s haul ed down.
1 20
I ndi an pinti ng of Peyote "roadman"-leader of the Peyote ceremony.
( Original painti ng is by Stephen Moppe, Kickapo I ndian arist; i n
col l ection of Harvard Botani cal Museum. )
1 2 1
A PEYOTE VI SI ON was descri bed by a sci enti st who
experi enced i t as fol l ows : " . . . clouds . . . tai l of
pheasant turns i nto bri ght yel l ow star; star i nto sparks.
Movi ng, sci nti l l ati ng screw; hundreds of screws. A
sequence of rapi dl y changi ng obj ects in agreeabl e col ors .
A rotati ng wheel in the center of a si l very ground . . .
The upper part of a man wi th a pal e face and red
cheeks, ri si ng sl owly from below. Whi l e I am thi nki ng
of a fri end, the head of an I ndi an appears. Beads i n
di ferent col ors . . . so bri ght that I doubt my eyes are
closed . . . . Yel l ow mass l i ke sal twater tafy pi erced
by two teeth. Si l very water pouring downward, suddenl y
fowing upward . . . expl odi ng shel l s turn i nto strange
fowers . . . A drawi ng of a head turns i nto a mush
room, then a skel eton i n l ateral vi ew . . . Head and
l egs are l acki ng . . . Soft, deep darkness with movi ng
wheel s and stars i n . . . pl easant col ors. Nuns i n si l ver
dress . . . quickl y di sappeari ng. Col l ecti on of bl ui sh
i nk bottl es wi th l abel s. Red, browni sh, and vi ol et threads
runni ng together i n the center. Autumn l eaves turni ng
i nto mescal buttons . . . Man i n greeni sh vel vet j umpi ng
i nto a deep chasm. Strange ani mal turns i nto a pi ece
of wood i n hori zontal posi ti on. "
THE CHEMI STRY OF PEYOTE i s extremel y i nteresting
and i s sti l l subj ect to i ntense study by chemi sts and
pharmacologi sts. More than 30 acti ve consti tuents
have been found i n the peyote ti ssues . They are mai nl y
al kal oi ds of two types: phenyl ethyl ami nes and i soqui no
l i nes. Much pharmacol ogi cal and psychol ogi cal research
has been done on mescal i ne, the al kal oi d responsi bl e
for the col ored vi si ons, but the efects of most of the
other consti tuents, al one or i n combi nati on, are not wel l
1 22
Anhal i ne
Anhal oni di ne

Mescal i ne
. OH
Anhal ami ne

' "
'c H
c H
w lophophori ne


H c
Anhal oni ne Anhal i di ne
" FALSE PYOTS" are other spci es of cacts use
by the Tarahumare and Hui chol I ndi ans of northern
Mexi co. One, cal l ed hi kul i mul ato, i s bel i eved to make
the eyes so l arge and cl ear that the user can see
sorcerers. Thi s smal l cactus has been i denti fed as
Epithelantha micromeris. A speci es known as hi kul i
sunami (Ariocarpus fssuratus) i s sai d to be more power
ful than peyote ( hi kul i ), and the Tarahumare bel ieve
that robbers are powerl es
to steal when thi s cactus
cal l s sol di ers to i ts ai d.
Hi kul i wal ul a sael i ami , meani ng "hi kul i of greatest
authori ty, " i s so rare that i t has not yet been i denti fed,
Epithelantha micromeris
pl ant in fower,
wi th
Ariocarpus fssuratus
fruits, enl arged
but it is reputedly the most powerful of al l hal l uci n
geni c cact i . Among the Hui chol , tsuwi ri (Ariocarpus
retusus) is considered dangerous to eat; it is bel i eved
capabl e of sorcery and decepti on, dri vi ng a man mad
i n the desert i f he has not been properl y i nstructed by
the shaman or i s not i n a state of ri tual puri ty that
al l ows him to fnd the true peyote pl ant.
Nothi ng i s known of the chemi stry of Epithelantha.
Several toxi c al kal oi ds, especi al l y anhal oni ne, have been
found i n Ariocarpus, but mescal i ne i s apparentl y absent.
Pelecyphora aselliformis, another "fal se peyote, " has
recentl y been found to contai n al kal oi ds.
section af
Ariocarpus refusus
plant in
Pelecyphora aselliformis
habi t of flower and l eaf fl ower and l eaf
PerneHya parviflia of P. parvifolia of P. fvrens
HI ERBA LOCA and T AGLLI (Pernettya furens and P.
parvifolia) are two of about 25 speci es of Pernetya,
mostl y very smal l subshrubs that grow in the hi ghl ands
from Mexi co to Chi l e, the Gal apagos and Fal kl and
i sl ands, Tasmani a, and New Zeal and. These pl ants
bel ong to the heath fami l y, Eri caceoe, al ong wi th the
cranberry, bl ueberry, Scotch heather, rhododendron,
and trai l i ng arbutus. Several speci es are known to be
toxi c to cattl e and man, but only these two are known
defni tel y to be empl oyed as hal l uci nogens .
Pernetta furens, whi ch i n Chi l e i s cal l ed hi erba
l oco ( " maddeni ng pl ant") or hued hued, has frui ts that,
when eaten, can cause mental confusi on, madness, and
permanent i nsani ty. The i ntoxi cati on resembl es that
fol l owi ng the i ngesti on of Datura.
The frui t of tagl l i , of Ecuador, is wel l recognized as
poi sonous, capabl e of i nduci ng hal l uci nati ons and other
psychi c al terati ons as wel l as afecti ng the motor nerves .
Though the chemi stry of these and other speci es of
Peretya needs further study, it seems that the toxi ci ty
may be due to andromedotoxi n, a resi noi d, or to
arbuti n, a gl ycosi de. Both compounds are rather com
mon i n thi s pl ant fami l y.
1 26
Pernettya furens
floweri ng
frui t,
enl arged
enl arged
1 27
(Rivea corymbosa and Ipomoea violacea) provi de Mexi
can I ndi ans with hal l uci nogeni c seeds. Al though the
morni ng gl ory fami l y, Convol vul aceae, has been i m
portant as the source of several medi ci nes and many
ornamental s, onl y i n recent years has i t been di scovered
that some of the 1 , 700 temperate and tropi cal speci es
contai n hi ghl y i ntoxi cati ng pri nci pl es. I n other parts of
the world the concentrati on of these pri nci pl es may be
hi gher than in the Mexi can morni ng gl ori es, yet they
seem never to have been used as hal l uci nogens.
Seeds of Rivea corymbosa Seeds of Ipomoea violacea
Shortl y after the conquest of Mexi co, Spani sh chron
i cl ers reported that ol ol i uqui and tl i tl i l tzi n were i mportant
di vi natory hal l uci nogens of Aztec rel i gi on, magi c, and
medi ci ne. Ol ol i uqui i s a smal l , round, browni sh seed
from a vine, coatl -xoxouhqui ( "snake pl ant " ), with
heart-shaped l eaves and white fowers; tl i tl i l tzi n i s a
bl ack, angul ar seed. These were recentl y i denti fed
respecti vel y as the seeds of Rivea corymbosa and Ipomoea
violacea. Si nce botani cal nomencl ature i n thi s fami l y i s
not al ways cl ear, these two speci es are someti mes cal l ed
Turbine corymbosa and Ipomoea tricolor, respecti vel y.
Whereas much was wri tten about ol ol i uqui , tl i tl i l tzi n was
merel y menti oned i n the anci ent writi ngs.
1 28
USES of the morni ng gl ory
cal l ed ol ol i uqui were of
major i mportance to the
Aztecs. Ol ol i uqui i s pre
sumed to have pai n-ki l l i ng
properti es. Before maki ng
sacri fces, Aztec pri ests
rubbed themsel ves wi th an
oi ntment of the ashes of
i nsects, tobacco, and
ol ol i uqui to benumb the
fesh and lose al l fear.
Hernandez, physi ci an to
the Ki ng of Spai n, wrote
that ' ' when the pri ests
wanted to commune wi th
thei r gods and recei ve
messages from them,
they ate thi s pl ant to i n-
Earl i est i l l ustrati on of Rivea
duce a
del i ri um, and a
, al so known as ala-
thousand vi si ons . . . ap-
l i uqui ( Hernandez; Rome, 1 651 ) .
peered to them. "
One earl y chroni cl er wrote that ol ol i uqui " depri ves
of hi s senses hi m who has taken i t, for i t i s very
powerful . " Another contended that "the natives com
muni cate i n thi s way wi th the devi l , for they usual l y
tal k when dr unk wi th ol ol i uqui and ar e decei ved by the
hal l uci nati ons whi ch they attri bute to the dei ty resi di ng
i n the seeds . "
The seeds were venerated and pl aced in the i dol s of
I ndi an ancestors. Oferi ngs were made to them under
the stri ctest secrecy i n pl aces unknown to persons not
i nvol ved i n the worshi p.
1 29
I DE NTI FI CA liON of ol ol i uqui and tl i tl i l tzi n as morni ng
gl ori es had to wai t for four centuri es, because eforts of
the Spani sh to eradi cate the use of these sacred hal l u
ci nogens drove them i nto the hi l l s. Several crude draw
i ngs i n the chroni cl es i ndicated that ol ol i uqui was a morn
i ng gl ory. Mexi can botani sts i denti fed i t as such as
earl y as 1 854. But doubts persi sted because the morn
i ng gl ory fami l y was thought to be devoi d of i ntoxi
cati ng pri nci pl es, and no member of the fami l y had ever
been seen empl oyed as an hal l uci nogen. Mai nl y on the
basi s of si mi l ari ty of the fowers, i t was suggested earl y
i n the 1 900' s that ol ol i uqui was not a morni ng gl ory but
a Datura ( p. 1 42) , a known hal l uci nogen sti l l used i n
Mexi co. Not unti l 1 939 were actual speci mens of Rivea
corymbosa used in Mazatec I ndi an di vi natory ri tual s
col l ected i n Oaxaca and i dentifed as the ol ol i uqui of
the anci ent Aztecs. Ipomoea violacea was found 20
years later i n ceremoni al use among the Zapotecs of
the same regi on and i denti fed as tl i tl i l tzi n.
An i l l ustrati on of ol ol i uqui i n frui t, from Sahagun' s Histor ic de las
Casas de Nueva Espana, vol . IV, book XI. Sahagun, a Spani sh friar,
wrote about the marels of the New Worl d i n the years 1 529- 1 590.
1 30
PRESENT USE of the sa
cred Mexi can morni ng
gl ory seeds difers l i ttl e
from anci ent practi ces.
The seeds are used for
di vi nati on, prophecy, and
di agnosi s and treatment
of i l l ness by many tri bes,
especi al l y the Chati nos,
Chi nantecs, Mazatecs,
and Zapotecs. I n al most
I ndi an gi rl from Oaxaca gri nd
al l Oaxacan
vi l l ages,
i ng
oea seeds on
a metate.
the seeds serve the I n-
di ans "as an ever present hel p i n ti me of troubl e. "
The modern ceremony, featuri ng the use of morni ng
gl ory seeds to treat an i l l ness, i s a curi ous bl endi ng of
ol d I ndi an bel i efs and Chri sti ani ty. The nati ve who is
to be treated col l ects the seeds hi msel f. About a
thi mbl eful of the seeds-often the magi c number is 13-
is measured out. The seeds are ground by a vi rgi n,
usual l y a chi l d, in a speci al ri tual accompanied by
compl ex prayer. Water i s
added, the resul ti ng bev
erage i s strai ned, and
the pati ent dri nks i t at
ni ght i n si l ence. After
more prayers, he l i es
down wi th someone by
hi s si de who l i stens to
what he says whi l e i n
toxi cated. Thi s determi nes
the cause of hi s troubl es.
I ndi an pati ent dri nki ng poti on
prepared from
omoea seeds.
1 3 1
Pearly Gates
Rivea corybosa
1 33
EXPERIMENTAL STUDI ES of the narcoti c morni ng
gl ori es began i n 1 955 when a psychi atri st publ i shed
notes on sel f-experi mentation with Rivea seeds, showi ng
that they brought on an i ntoxi cati on accompani ed by
hal l uci nati ons. Thi s announcement prompted chemi sts
to exami ne the pl ant, but no active pri nci pl e could be
found unti l the 1 960' s. At that time the chemi st who
di scovered LSD anal yzed the plant and found several
al kal oi ds cl osel y rel ated to that potentl y hal l uci nogeni c
synthetic compound.
Hi s astoni shi ng di scovery met wi th wi despread di s
bel i ef, partl y because these l ysergi c-aci d derivatives
had hi therto been known i n nature only i n the pri mi ti ve
fungus ergot (Ciaviceps purpurea), a parasite on the
grai ns of rye. In Europe, when ergot was acci dental l y
ground up i n a mi l l wi th rye four and eaten i n bread
made from the four, i t poi soned whol e towns, causi ng
a terri bl e i ntoxi cati on and l eadi ng frequentl y to wi de
spread i nsani ty and death. I n the Mi ddl e Ages, before
causes were understood and preventative measures
taken, these mysteri ous mass attacks were cal led St.
Anthony' s Fi re and were attri buted to God' s wrath.
Hal f a dozen of these ergol i ne al kal oi ds have been
found i n seeds of Rivea corymbosa and Ipomoea vio
lacea. The mai n hal l uci nogeni c consti tuents of both seeds
are ergi ne ( d-l ysergi c aci d diethyl ami de) and i soergi ne,
but other rel ated bases occur i n mi nor amounts-chi efy
chanocl avi ne, el ymocl avi ne, and l ysergol . The total al ka
l oid content of Ipomoea violacea i s fve times that of
Rivea corymbosa, which expl ai ns why the natives use
fewer of the Ipomoea seeds i n prepari ng for thei r
ritual s. Whi l e these al kal oi ds are not uncommon i n
numerous morni ng gl ori es around the worl d, apparentl y
onl y i n Mexi co have the pl ants been uti l ized as narcoti cs.
1 34
Head of rye infested with
Claviceps purpurea, the ergot
fngus. The purple-bl ack structures
are the ergot scleroti a.
Ergi ne
l soergi ne
CH 20H
Chanocl avi ne
El ymocl avi ne
LSD 25
Ergometri ne
( Ergonovi ne)
Al kal oi ds of the sacred Mexican morni ng gl ori es, showi ng thei r chemi cal
relationshi p to LSD.
1 35
ceo, i ncl udi ng the popul ar ornamental s Heavenl y Bl ue,
Pearl y Gates, Fl yi ng Saucers, Bl ue Stars, and Weddi ng
Bel l s, as wel l as other vari eti es of Ipomoea, contai n
hal l uci noeni c consti tuents. Other genera, notabl y
Argyreia and Stictocardia, al so contai n these sub
stances. The Hawai i an wood rose (A. nervosa), for
exampl e, has been found to be hi ghl y i ntoxi cati ng.
Seeds of I . cornea, whi ch are known to possess bio
dynami c constituents, are sai d to be used as hal l uci no
gens in Ecuadori an fol k medi ci ne. I n fact, hal l uci nogeni c
compounds are so preval ent i n thi s fami l y, both geo
graphi cal l y and botani cal l y, that i t i s di fcul t to ex
pl ai n why the morni ng glories hove not been more
widely empl oyed as narcoti cs by pri mitive soci eti es. Or
hove they?
frui t
enl arged
HOJAS DE LA PASTORA (Salvia divinorum), of Mexi co,
i s the onl y one of 700 speci es of Salvia known to be
used as an hal l uci nogen. Mazatec I ndi ans of Oaxaca
empl oy the l eaves as a di vi natory narcoti c, hence di vi
norum ( "of the di vi ners " ). The Mazatecs cal l the pl ant
hoj as de I a Pastore i n Spani sh and shka-Pastora i n thei r
nati ve tongue, both names meani ng "l eaves of the
Shepherdess. " The l eaves are chewed fresh, or the
pl ants are ground on a metate, then di l uted with water
and fl tered for dri nki ng.
The pl ant i s not known i n the wi l d and rarel y, i f ever,
devel ops from seed. The Mazatecs pl ant thi s mi nt vegeta
ti vel y i n remote mountai n ravi nes, and most fami l i es use
i t as a drug when the sacred mushrooms (p. 58) or
morni ng gl ory seeds (p. 1 28) are scarce. I t i s commonl y
bel i eved to be the hal l uci nogeni c pi pi l zi ntzi ntl i of the
anci ent Aztecs.
I ngesti ng l eaves of the pl ant has been found experi
mental l y to i nduce an i ntoxi cation si mi l ar to that of the
sacred mushrooms but l ess striking and of shorter dura
ti on. I t is characterized by three-di mensi onal col ored
desi gns i n kal ei doscopi c moti on. Chemi cal studi es have
as yet fai l ed to i sol ate any psychoactive component.
1 37
COLEUS ( Coleus pumilus and C. blumei) is cul ti vated by
the Mazatecs of Oaxaca, Mexico, who reputedl y employ
the l eaves i n the same way as they use the l eaves of
Salvia divinorum ( see p. 1 37) . I ndeed, the I ndi ans
recogni ze the fami l y rel ationshi p beteen these two
genera of mi nts, both of the fami l y Labi atae. They refer
to S. divinorum as I a hembra ( " the femal e") and to
C. pumilus as el macho ( " the mal e") . There are two
forms of C. blumei, which they cal l el ni no ( " the chi l d")
and el ahi j ado ( " the godson ") .
These two speci es are native to Asi a, where they are
val ued in fol k medi ci ne but apparentl y have not been
used as hal l uci nogens. No hal l uci nogeni c pri nci pl e has
yet been di scovered i n the 1 50 known Coleus speci es.
BORRACHERA ( Jochroma fuchsioides) is one of about
to dozen speci es of lochroma, al l nati ve to the hi gh
l ands of South America. There are suspi ci ons and un
confrmed reports that several speci es of l ochroma are
l oal l y taken in hal l uci natory dri nks, ei ther al one or
mi xed wi th other narcotic pl ants, by I ndi ans in the
Si bundoy Val l ey of southern Col ombia. Al though no
chemi cal studi es have been made of lochroma, i t be
l ongs to the ni ghtshade fami l y, Sol anaceae, wel l recog
ni zed for its toxi c and hal l uci nogeni c pri nci pl es.
ARBOL DE LOS BRUJOS ( " sorcerers' tree " ) or latue
(Latua pubifora) i s used by the Mapuche I ndi an medi ci ne
men of Val di vi a, Chi l e, to cause del i ri um, hal l uci na
ti ons, and occasi onal l y permanent i nsani ty. There i s no cul t
or ritual surroundi ng i ts use, but the tree i s wi del y feared
and respected. Dosages are a cl osel y guarded secret, and
it is wi del y bel i eved that a madness of any desi red dur
ation may be i nduced by a medi ci ne man who knows
1 38
/ochroma fuchsioides
how to measure the doses properl y. The nati ves empl oy
the fresh frui ts.
The al kal oi ds hyoscyami ne and scopol ami ne have been
i sol ated from the frui t and are responsi bl e for i ts potent
efects. The onl y speci es of Latua known, the tree i s con
fned to costal mountai ns of central Chi l e. I t bel ongs to
the ni ghtshade fami l y, Sol anaceae.
1 39
CHI RIC-CASPI and CHI RI C SANANGO (Brunfelsia) are
the most common of the native names for several speci es
of shrubs that appear to have been i mportant
hal l u
ci nogens among some South Ameri can I ndi an tri bes.
The use of the name borrachero, whi ch means " i n
toxi cator, " i ndi cates that the natives of Col ombi a,
Ecuador, and Peru recogni ze the shrub' s narcoti c
properti es, and the speci al care taken i n i ts cul ti vati on
seems to suggest a former rel i gi ous or magi c pl ace i n
tr i bol l i fe. Recentl y, real evi dence has poi nted to the
use of several species of Brunfelsia ei ther as the source
of an hal l uci nogeni c dri nk, as among the Kachi naua
of Brazi l , or as an addi tive to other hal l uci nogeni c
dri nks, as among the Jlvaro and Kofan I ndi ans of
The speci es hal l uci nogeni cal l y empl oyed are B. grandi
fora and B. chiricaspi. Al l speci es, however, enter i nto
fol k medi ci ne, bei ng used especi al l y to reduce fevers
and as anti rheumati c agents. B. unifora ( as B. hopeana)
has been i ncl uded i n the Brazi l i an pharmacopoei a.
Chemi cal i nvesti gati on of t he active compounds i n
the vari ous speci es of Brunfelsia i s sti l l i n t he i ni ti al
stage, and what the acti ve pri nci pl es may be has not
yet been determi ned. The genus compri ses 40 speci es
of shrubs native to tropi cal South Ameri ca and the West
I ndi es. It bel ongs to the ni ghtshade fami l y, Sol anaceae.
of branch,
showi ng thi n,
faky brk
enl arged
1 4 1
DATURAS (Datura) form a genus of some 20 speci es
of the ni ghtshade fami ly, Sol anaceae. They occur and
are used as hal l uci nogens i n both hemi spheres. The drug
is usual l y prepred by droppi ng pul veri zed seeds i nto
fermented dri nks or by steepi ng l eaves and ti gs i n
water. Use difers wi del y from tri be t o tri be.
I ntoxi cati on caused by the drug i s characteri zed i ni ti al
l y by efects so vi ol ent that physi cal restrai nt must be
i mposed unti l the partaker passes i nto a stage of sl eep
and hal l uci nati ons. The medi ci ne man i nterprets the vi
si ons as vi si tati ons of the spi ri ts and i s supposedl y thus
abl e to di agnose di sease, apprehend thi eves, and
prophesy the f
Some of the I ndi ans in the Andes of southern Col om
bi a cul ti vate a number of cl ones of hi ghl y atrophi ed
"varieti es, " perhaps i nci pi ent speci es. They may be the
resul t of mutations i nduced by vi ruses. Bi ol ogi cal mon
strosi ti es, thei r i dentifcation to speci es i s ofen difcul t.
Medi ci ne men mai ntai n that they difer in patency from
the usual Daturas, an i ndi cati on that perhaps thei r
chemi cal consti tuti on as wel l as thei r morphol ogy has
been changed. They seem to be confned to Si bundoy,
a mountai n-gi rt val l ey in the hi gh Andes of Col ombi a.
Basical ly, al l speci es of Datura have a si mi l ar chemi cal
composi ti on. Thei r acti ve pri nci pl es are mai nl y hyoscya
mi ne and scopol ami ne, whi ch are tropane al kal oi ds.
Scopol ami ne i s often the maj or consti tuent. A number of
mi nor, chemi cal l y rel ated al kal oi ds may be present:
atropi ne, norscopal ami ne, metel oi di ne. The di ferences
among speci es are chi efy i n the rel ati ve concentrati ons
of these vari ous al kal oids. Though hi ghl y toxi c, most spe
ci es have been used extensivel y i n medi ci ne from earl y
ti mes to the presnt. Thei r use i n fol k medi ci ne der ives
from thei r high concentrati on of al kal oi ds.
1 42
JI MSON WEED or thorn appl e
(Datura stramonium) i s an i l l
scented weedy annual wi th
white to purpl i sh fowers. Probbl y
native to North America, it now
grows in temperate and sub
tropi cal regi ons around the
world. Al l prs of the pl ant,
especial l y the browni sh-black
seeds, are toxi c. Thi s species is
bel ieved to have ben the chief
ingredient . of wysoccan, used by
te Aloqui n I ndi ans of east
em Norh America before the
ritual of i ni tiation i nto man
hod ( see p. 9) .
TORNA-LOCO (Datura cerato
caula) i s a feshy plant with
thick, forki ng stems that grows
i n marshes and shal low waters.
Its unusual habi tat and i ts
strong narcotic properties
earned i t a special place among
the ancient Mexican hal l uci no
gens. The Aztecs, who i nvoked
its spirit i n treating certai n
di seases, referred to i t as
"si ster of ol ol i uqui , " one of the
mrni ng gl ori es ( see p. 1 28) .
Its modern Mexi can name, lorna
loco ( "maddeni ng pl ant" ), i ndi
cates i ts potency as a narcotic.
1 43
TOLOACHE (Datura inoxio;
known al so as D. mete/aides), a
coarse, cl i mbi ng annual native
to Mexico and southwestern
United States, has a long
hi story of use as on hal l uci nogen.
I t wos extremel y important to
the Aztecs, who called i t tolootzi n.
Hernandez recorded many
medical uses but warned that
token i n excess i t would drive a
ptient to madness.
The modern Torohumores sti l l
od the roots, seeds, and l eaves
to their maize beer. Zunis value
the plant as a narcotic, an anes
theti c, and a poul tice for treating
wounds. Onl y the rai n priests
ore permitted to gather it. The
priests put the powdered root
i n their eyes; also they chew the
root to commune with spirits
of the dead, aski ng i ntercession
for rai n.
The Lui seios use on i nfusi on
of tolooche i n on i ni tiation cere
mony. The young parti ci pants
who drink i t donee, screami ng
l i ke ani mal s, unti l they drop and
succumb to the drug' s efects.
Yumons toke i t to i nduce dreams,
gai n occul t powers, and predict
the future. Yokuts use the drug
i n a spri ng ceremony to assure
good health and long l i fe to the
young. The related D. disco/or
and D. wrightii of the some
region ore si mi l arl y used.
TREE DATURAS of several speci es are nati ve to South
Ameri ca where they go by such native names as bor
rachero, campani l l a, mai coa, fori pondi a, huanto, toe,
and tonga. Al l are cul ti vated pl ants, unknown in the
trul y wi l d state and associ ated wi th man si nce earl i est
ti mes.
Datura suaveolens i s i ndi genous to the warmer l ow
l ands. Recogni zed as toxi c and narcoti c, i t i s used as
an hal l uci nogen, al one or as an admi xture. The northern
Andes, from Col ombi a to Peru, appears to be the center
of the group' s ori gi n. Speci es from thi s regi on are D.
arborea, D. aurea, D. candida, D. dolichocarpa, D.
sanguinea, and the newl y di scovered D. vulcanicola
( see pp. 1 46- 1 47 for exampl es) .
Abori gi nal peopl es from Col ombi a to Chi l e val ue
these trees as sources of ri tual i sti c hal l uci nogens and
medi ci nes. In Chi l e, the Mapuche I ndi ans use D. candida
and D. sanguinea to correct unrul y chi l dren. The Jlvaros
say that the spi rits of thei r ancestors admoni sh recal ci
trant chi l dren duri ng the hal l uci nati ons. The anci ent
Chi bchas of Bogota used D. aurea seeds to i nduce
stupor in the wives and sl aves of dead warri ors and
chi eftai ns before they were buri ed al ive to accompany
husbands and masters on the l ast tri p.
At Sogamoza, Col ombi a, I ndi ans took D. sanguinea
ceremoni al l y i n the Templ e of the Sun. The narcoti c
prepared from thi s red-fowered speci es i s known l ocal l y
as tonga. Many Peruvi an natives sti l l bel i eve that tonga
permi ts them to communi cate wi th ancestors or other
departed soul s. I n Matucanas, Peru, I ndi ans say i t wi l l
reveal t o them treasures preserved i n anci ent graves, or
huacas, hence the l ocal name for the pl ant-huacacachu
( "grave pl ant ") . The tree daturos ore someti mes con
si dered a di sti nct genus: Brugmansia.
1 45
1 46
D. aurea,
san guinea
Si bundoy I ndi an wi tch
doctor col lecting leaves
and fowers of
amesianum. Perhaps
nowhere in the New
World does the
imprance of
hal l ucinogens i n native
magic and medi ci ne
acqui re such si gni fcance
as in the Vol l ey of
Si bundoy, whi ch has
ben characterized as
"the most narcotic
consci ous area of the
New World. "
CULEBRA BORRACHERO (Methysticodendron amesian
um), a tree reachi ng a hei ght of 25 feet, i s known onl y
from cul ti vated trees i n the Kamsa I ndi an town of Si bun
doy, Col ombi a. The I ndi ans al so cal l i t mi tskway borra
chera ( " snake i ntoxi cant ") .
Thi s tree i s the onl y speci es of its genus and may
represent an extremel y aberrant form of a tree speci es
of Datura. I ts 1 1 - i nch whi te fowers di fer from those of
the tree daturas i n havi ng their bel l -shaped corol l a spl i t
nearl y to the base.
An i nfusi on of the l eaves is sai d to be more potent
and dangerous to use than si mi l ar preparati ons of Datura.
The chemi cal composi ti on expl ai ns its great potency: 80
percent of the several typi cal tropane al kal oi ds present is
scopol ami ne. Even i n smal l doses, thi s drug may cause
exci tement, hal l uci nati ons, and del i ri um. The trees are the
speci al property of certai n medi ci ne men who empl oy
the drug i n di fcul t cases of di sease di agnosi s, di vi nati on,
prophecy, or wi tchcraft.
1 48
SHANI N (Petunia violacea) is one of the most recentl y
reported hal l uci nogens. I t i s taken by the I ndi ans i n Ecu
ador to induce the sensation of fight. Al though an
al kal oi d of unknown i denti ty has been reported from thi s
speci es of petuni a, phytochemi cal i nvesti gati on of pe
tuni as is urgentl y needed.
Some 40 speci es of petun
as grow in South Ameri ca
and i n warmer parts of North Ameri ca. Members of the
ni ghtshade fami l y, Sol anaceae, they are cl osel y al l i ed to
te genus Nicotiana ( tobacco) . Petunia violacea as wel l
as other speci es are horti cul tural l y i mportant. Cul tivated
varieti es, with thei r attractive, funnel -shaped bl ooms,
are popul ar garden fowers that bl oom profusel y through
out the summer months.
KEULE ( Gomortega keule) i s a smal l tree restri cted to
about 1 00 square mi l es in central Chi l e. It i s the onl y
speci es i n a rare fami l y, Gomortegaceae, rel ated to the
nutmeg fami l y. The Mapuche I ndi ans of Chi l e are said to
eat the frui t of keul e, or hual hual , for i ntoxi cati on, b1t
whether the efects are trul y hal l uci nogeni c i s not yet
known. So far, there have been no chemi cal studi es
made of thi s tree.
TAI QUE (Desfontainia hookeri) i s a shrub of Andean
val l eys. I ts l eaves, made probabl y i nto a tea, are em
pl oyed i n southern Chi l e as a fol k medi ci ne and as a
narcoti c. Whether thei r efects are trul y hal l uci nogeni c
i s not known, nor has thei r chemi cal composi ti on been
i nvesti gated. The genus Desfontainia contai ns one or
to other Andean speci es and bel ongs to the fami l y
Desfontai ni aceae. A rel ated fami l y, Logani aceae, i n
cl udes the pl ants from whi ch certai n South Ameri can
arrow poi sons are made.
1 50
TUPA (Lobelia tupa), a tal l , vari abl e pl ant of the high
Andes, i s al so cal l ed tabaco del di abl o ( "devi l ' s tobac
co" ) . I n Chi l e, the Mapuche I ndi ans smoke the dri ed
l eaves of thi s beauti ful red-fowered pl ant for thei r nar
coti c efects. Whether they are trul y hal l uci nogeni c has
not yet been establ i shed. They contai n the al kal oi d
l obel i ne and several derivatives of i t. The same al kal oi d
occurs i n some North Ameri can speci es of Lobelia, espe
ci al l y L. infata, known l ocal l y as I ndi an tobacco. It has
been used medi ci nal l y and as a smoki ng deterrent. There
are 300 speci es of Lobelia, mostl y tropi cal and sub
tropi cal , and they bel ong to the bl uebel l fami l y, Campa
nul aceae. Some are hi ghl y prized as garden ornamental s.
ZACATECHI CHI ( Calea zacatechichi), an i nconspi cuous
shrub rangi ng from Mexi co to Costa Ri ca, i s a recentl y
di scovered hal l uci nogen that seems to be used onl y by
the Chontal s of Oaxaca. They take i t to "cl ari fy the
senses " and to enabl e them to communi cate verbal l y
wi th the spi ri t worl d. From earl i est ti mes, the pl ant ' s
i ntensel y bitter taste ( zacatechi chi i s the Aztec word mean
i ng "bi tter grass " ) has made i t a favori te fol k medi ci ne
for fevers, nausea, and other complai nts.
After dri nki ng a tea made from the shrub' s crushed
dri ed l eaves, an I ndi an l i es down i n a qui et place and
smokes a ci garette made of the dri ed l eaves. He knows
that he has had enough when he feel s drowsy and hears
his own pul se and heartbeat. Recent studi es i ndicate the
presence of an uni denti fed al kal oi d that may be respon
si bl e for the audi tory hal l uci nati ons.
There are a hundred or more speci es of Calea. They
bel ong to the dai sy fami l y, Composi tae, and grow on
open or scrubby hi l l si des in tropi cal Ameri ca. Some
speci es enter i nto fol k medi ci ne.
1 52
Lobelia tupa
Co/eo zacatechichi
1 53
Psychopharmacol ogy studi es the efects of drugs, espe
ci al l y hal l uci nogens, on the central nervous system.
The efects of psychoactive agents resul t from con
sti tuents that bel ong to many cl asses of chemi cal s. Al l
have one characteri stic in common: they are bi odynami c,
afecti ng normal metabol i sm of the ani mal body.
Hal l uci nogens act di rectl y on the central nerous sys
tem, but they may al so afect other parts of the body.
They have both physi cal and psychic acti vi ty. Thei r ef
fects are usual l y short-l ived, l asti ng onl y as long as the
chemi cal remai ns at the poi nt of action in the body.
Pseudohal l uci nati ons-often i ndi sti ngui shabl e to the l ay
man from true hal l uci nati ons-may be caused by many
abnormal condi ti ons upseti ng body homeostasi s, or nor
mal metabol i sm: fevers, fasti ng, l ack of water for l ong
peri ods, poi sons, etc. Pseudohal l uci nati ons may often be
of much l onger durati on than hal l uci nati ons.
I f a pl ant contai ns an active substance, i ts medi cal
potenti al is of i nterest to pharmacol ogi sts. I nvesti gati on
may i ndicate that true hal l uci nogeni c compounds have
val ue for purposes far removed from thei r psychoacti vity.
An exampl e i s scopol ami ne, an al kal oi d of the ni ghtshade
fami l y. Taken i n proper doses, i t i ntoxi cates, i nduci ng a
state beteen consci ousness and sl eep and characteri zed
by hal l uci nati ons. Scopol ami ne, however, has medi cal
uses not associated wi th the central nervous system: i t
i s anti spasmodi c and anti secretory, mai nl y i n the al i
mentary canal and uri nary tracts.
Some psychi atri sts bel i eve that mental di sorders are
the resul t of an i mbal ance in body chemi stry: " For every
ti sted thought, there is a twisted mol ecul e. " Some spe
ci al i sts formerl y thought and sti l l mai ntai n that " model
1 54
Crayon drawi ng
by a Tukanoan I ndian
of Amazoni an Colombia,
depicting one of the
images exprienced duri ng
an abri gi nal caapi i ntoxi cation.
Col l ected i n the fel d
by the Col ombi an
anthropol oist Dr. Gerardo
Rei chei -Dol mataf, who studied
the mythol ogi cal si gni fiance
of hal l ucinogens
among the I ndi ans.
psychoses" -arti fci al l y i nduce states si mi l ar to some
abnormal mental condi ti ons-might be a val uabl e ana
l yti c tool . There are many si mi l ari ti es between psychoti c
condi ti ons, such as schi zophreni a, and the mental state
i nduced by hal l uci nogens. Whether or not the use of
hal l uci nogens to create such model psychoses wi l l b
of therapeuti c val ue is sti l l a questi on, but there is l i ttl e
doubt that hal l uci nogens may be of experi mental hel p
i n understandi ng the functi oni ng of the central nervous
system. One speci al i st states that studi es of "vari ous as
pects of the normal and the abnormal " may el uci date
certai n areas of the " hi nterl and of character. "
It must be remembered that al terati on of the functi on
of the central nervous system by chemi cal s i s not new;
it i s ol der than written hi story. I n the past, especi al l y i n
pri mi ti ve soci eti es, hal l uci nogens were empl oyed i n
magi co-rel i gi ous and curi ng ri tual s, rarel y for pl easure.
1 55
In some cul tures, notabl y those suferi ng accul turati on,
hal l uci nogens are someti mes used to enhance soci al con
tacts or even for explai ni ng mental di sorders. I f we com
pre uses of hal l uci nogeni c pl ants i n pri mi tive soci eti es
with the medi cal val ue cl ai med for them by some psy
chi atri sts, we see that model psychoses are not a new
devel opment. Arti fci al l y i nduced psychoses have l ong
been used as heal i ng practi ces in pri mitive cul tures.
Al though many modern psychi atri sts are cri ti cal of
chemi cal psychoses as tool s i n treati ng mental abrra
ti ons, i t i s too early completely to rule out thei r possi bl e
medi cal val ue.
In addi ti on to the hal l uci nogeni c pl ants used by pri mi
ti ve pepl es, numerous other speci es contai ni ng bi o
dynami c pri nci pl es are known to exi st. Many are common
househol d vari eti es l i ke catni p, ci nnamon, and gi nger.
No rel i abl e studies have been made of the hal l uci nogeni c
properti es of such pl ants. Some of the efects reported
to have been caused by them may be i magi nary; other
reports may be outri ght hoaxes. Neverthel ess, many
of these pl ants do have a chemi stry theoretical l y capabl e
of produci ng hal l uci nations. Experi mentation conti nues
wi th pl ants-common and uncommon-known or sus
pected to be hal l uci nogenic, and new ones are con
ti nual l y bei ng di scovered.
1 56
Cooper, John M. , "Sti mul ants and Narcoti cs, " i n HANDBpO OF
SOUTH AMERI CAN I NDI ANS, J . H. Seward ( Ed. ) , Bureau of Ameri
can Ethnol ogy, Bul l eti n No. 1 43, U. S. Government Pri nti ng
Ofce, Washi ngton, D. C. , 1 949
DRUGS, Publ i c Heal th Servi ce Publ . No. 1 645, U. S. Government
Pri nti ng Ofce, Washi ngton, D. C. , 1 967
Emboen, Wi l l i am J. , Jr. , NARCOTI C PLANTS , Macmi l l an Co. , New
York, 1 972
Harner, N. J. , HALLUCI NOGENS AND SHAMANI SM, Oxford Universi ty
Press, New York, 1 973
Hartwi ch, C. , DI E MENSCHLI CHEN GENUSSMI TTEL, Chr . Herm. Tauchnitz,
Lei pzi g, 1 9 1 1
Hei m, R. , and R. Gordon Wasson, LES CHAMPIGNONS HAUUCI NOGENES
Du MEXI QUE, Edi t. Mus. Hi st. Nat. , Pari s, 1 958
Hofer, A. , and H. Osmund, THE HALLUCI NOGENS, Academi c Press,
New York, 1 967
C. Thomas, Publ i sher, Spri ngfel d, I l l . , 1 972
UsE AND ABUSE, Routledge and Kegan Paul , London, 1 964
Pel t, J. -M. , DROGUES ET PLANTES MAGI QUES, Hori zons de france, Sires
bourg, 1 97 1
Saford, Wi l l i am E. , " Narcoti c Pl ants and St i mulants o f the Anci ent
1 9 1 6, Washi ngton, D. C. , 1 9 1 7
Hafner Press, New York, 1 973
Schultes, Ri chard Evans, "The Botani cal and Chemi cal Di stri bution
of the Hal l uci nogens , " i n ANNUAL REVI EW OF PLNT PHYSI OLOGY, 2 1 ,
1 970.
Schul tes, Richard Evans, and Al bert Hofmann, THE BTANY AND
CHEMI STRY OF HALLUCI NOGENS, Charl es C. Thomas Publ i sher,
Spri ngfel d, I l l . , 1 973
Taylor, Norman, fLI GHT FROM REALI TY, Duel l , Sl oan and Pearce, New
York, 1 949
court, New York, 1 967
1 57
Acorus calamus, 73
Afghanistan, 30, 38, 40,
Africa, nati ves of, 9, 21 ,
29. 38, 44, 54
Agora, 2 8
Al gonquin Indians ( U. S. ) ,
9, 43
Al kaloids, 1 6, 1 7-1 9, 2 1 ,
26-27, 28, 29, 43,
45 , 46, 48, 5 1 , 52,
54, 70, 8 1 , 84, 86,
93, 94, 96, 97, 1 03,
1 04, 1 06, 1 08, 1 1 2,
1 2 2- 1 2 3, 1 25, 1 34,
1 35, 1 39, 1 42, 1 48,
1 50, 1 5 2, 1 5 4
defned, 1 6
Amanita muscaria, .,
Aazon, Indians of, 9,
65, 72, 76, 8 1 ,
98, 1 0, 1 02 , 1 04,
1 06
Anadenanthera sp. , 2 1 ,
86-9 1 , 92
Ades, I ndi ans of, 1 07,
1 1 0, 1 42, 1 45, 1 50
Adromedotoxin, 1 26
Anhalonium lewinii, 1 1 5
Abol de los brujos, 1 38
Arbutin, 1 26
Argyrela sp. , 1 36
Ariocarpu sp. , 1 24, 1 25
Arrow poison, 79, 82,
96, 1 50
Ai a, 3 1 , 38, 40, 42, 5 2
Atropa belladonna, 4,
Atropine, 46, 1 4 2
Avicenna ( Arab. phys. ),
Ayahuasca, 7, 9, 1 1 , 2 1 ,
98-1 05
Aztecs, 8, 58, 6 1 , 62,
63, 69, 97, 1 1 4,
1 28, 1 29, 1 30, 1 37,
1 43, 1 44, 1 52
Banisteriopsis sp. , 7, 2 1 ,
98-1 05, 1 06
Belladonna, 1 5, 22, 46-
1 58
Bhang, 30, 38
Borrachera, 1 3 8- 1 3 9
Brgmania sp. , 1 45
Brunfelsia sp. , 2 1 , 1 04,
1 40- 1 4 1
Bushmen, 29
Bwiti cult, 54
Caapi, 7, 9, 2 1 , 98- 1 06
Cole a zacalchichi, 1 52-
1 5 3
Canada, Indi ans of, 73
Cannabinol s, 1 6, " 36, 40
Cannabis sp. , 1 4 , 2 1 ,
22, 30-4 1 , 45, 52,
See also Marihuana
Catnip, 1 56
Cawe, 1 1 3
Central nervous system,
1 8, 54, 1 54, 1 5 5
Charas, 30, 38
Chemi stry of hal l uci no
gens, 1 6-1 9, 26-
27, 36, 70-7 1 , 1 03,
1 04, 1 2 2- 1 23,
1 34- 1 35
Chi na, 34, 5 2
Chi ric-caspi, 1 40- 1 4 1
Chi ric sanango, 1 40- 1 4 1
Christianity, 54, 6 2 , 65,
1 1 2, 1 1 6, 1 20, 1 3 1
Cimora, 9 , 1 1 0-1 1 2
Ci nnamon, 1 56
Clavicep purpura, 1 35
Coca, 56
Cocaine, 56
Coleu sp. , 1 38-1 39
Colori nes, 59, 96
Conocybe sp. , 58, 65, 6 7
Coria ria thymifolio, 1 07
Culebra brrachero,
1 48- 1 49
Curare, 82
Curing ri tual s, 9, 76, 77,
1 1 2, 1 20, 1 3 1
Cyti i ne, 93, 94
Cytisus conoriensis, 93
Datra ( New World sp. ),
4, 9, 2 1 , 1 04, 1 1 1 ,
1 26, 1 30, 1 42-1 47,
1 48
Datra (Ol d World sp. ) ,
Dturas, 1 42-1 44
Dturas, tree, 1 45-1 47,
1 48
Dl phi , Oracle of, 7, 52
Desfontoinia hookeri,
1 50- 1 5 1
Datura, 5 2-53
Dibenzopyrans, 1 6
" Doctrine of Si gnatures,"
Dutra, 52-53
East I ndi es, 52
fchinococtus williamsii,
1 1 5
Elizabetha princep5, 78
Endocanni bl i sm, 80
Epna, 2 1 , 77, 8 8
Epilobium, 25
Epitelontho micromeris,
1 24- 1 25
Ereri ba, 2 8
Ergot, 1 34
Erythrina sp. , 96, 1 08
Europe, medieval , 22, 46,
48, 50-51
False peyotes, 1 24-1 25
Fly agari c, 1 !. 23, 24-
Fol k medi ci ne, 7, 9, 36,
42, 43, 97, 1 08 ,
1 09, 1 1 8, 1 1 9, 1 3 1 ,
1 36, 1 38, 1 4 1 , 1 42,
1 44, 1 45, 1 48, 1 50,
1 52, 1 55- 1 56
Gal ango, 2 9
Golbulimima belgraveana,
Galen ( Gr. physician) , 34
Ganj ah, 38-39
Genista conoriensis, 93
Gi nger, 1 56
Gomorega keule, 1 50-
1 5 1
Hl luci nati ons, 5 , 20, 28,
29, 40-4 1 , 44, 46,
48, 54, 57, 6 1 , 68,
73, 84, 90, 1 01 ,
1 08, 1 1 2, 1 1 6, 1 1 8-
1 1 9, 1 22, 1 29, 1 37,
1 38, 1 42, 1 4 8, 1 5 2
auditory, 5 7 , 6 8 , 1 08,
1 1 8- 1 1 9, 1 5 2
defned and causes, 5
Hl lucinogens
and deity, 5, 7, 24,
59, 1 02 , 1 1 8 Justitia sp. , 78, 79, 83
and psychiatry, 68, Kaempferia galanga, 2 9
1 54- 1 56 Kanno, 44-45
and spirit world, 9, 1 1 8 Keule, 1 50- 1 5 1
chemi stry, 1 6-1 9 Kif, 30
defned, 5 Kiowa Indians ( U. S. ) , 6,
how token, 2 1 1 20
i n modern world, 1 0- Kwashi , 29
1 1 Logochilus inebrians, 4 2
i n plant kingdom, 1 4- latua pubifora, 1 38-
15 1 3 9
i n pri mitive societies, lobelia sp., 1 5 2- 1 53
7-9, 2 1 Lophophora sp. , 1 1 4-
medi cal uses, 7
1 23
New World, 2 1 , 35, LSD, 1 8, 1 34, 1 35
56- 1 53 Lycoperdon sp. , 57
Old World, 22-55 Mace, 20, 74
psychic pwers from, 7 Macropsi a, 25, 8 1 , 90
rel i gious uses, 7, 3 1 Mandragora olcinarum,
Hsheesh, 2 1 , 30-4 1
50-5 1
Hwaiian wood rose, 1 36
Mandrake, 2 2, 50-5 1
Heimia sp. , 8, 1 08-1 09 Mapuche Indians ( S. A. ) ,
Hmp, 30-4 1
1 38, 1 45, 1 50, 1 5 2
Hnbane, 2 2 , 48-49
Maquira sclerophylla, 72
Hrnandez ( Spn
. phys. ) ,
Maraba, 29
1 1 6, 1 29, 1 44
Marihuana, 1 6, 30-4 1
Hierba loco, 1 26-1 27
chemi stry, 36
Hj as de Ia Pastora, 1 37
classifcation, 3 1
Homo/omena sp. , 28
efects, 40
Hp, 3 1
hi story, 34-35
HaHentots, 44
medi ci nal val ue, 36
Hui chol Indians ( Mex. ) ,
methos of usi ng, 38
1 1 8, 1 24, 1 25 narcotic use, 39
Humboldt, Alexander von, Masha-hari, 83
Maya I ndi ans ( Guo!. ),
Humul us, 3 1 59, 60
Hyoscami ne, 46, 48, 5 1 , Mazalec I ndi ans ( Mex. ) ,
1 39, 1 4 2 64-65, 1 30, 1 3 1 ,
Hyscyamus niger, 4 , 1 3 7, 1 3 8
Medical uses of hallucin-
lboa, 9, 2 1 , 54-55
oens, 36, 46, 48,
Iboaine, 1 8 , 1 9, 54 52, 94, 1 08, 1 42,
lbotenic acid, 26, 27 1 44, 1 5 2, 1 54
Incas, 92
Mescal bean, 94-95, 96
India, 22, 26, 3 1 , 34, Mescal buHons, 1 1 4, 1 1 5,
43, 46, 52
1 1 6, 1 1 7, 1 1 8, 1 1 9,
Indian tobacco, 1 52
1 20
lndoles, 1 7-1 9, 54, 1 03 Mescaline, 1 8, 1 1 1 , 1 1 2,
lochroma fuchsiodes, 1 38. 1 22, 1 23, 1 25
1 39
Mesembranthemum sp. ,
Ipomoea sp. , 1 2 8- 1 36 44-45
lotoma longiRora, 1 1 1 Methysticodendron ames-
Jimson weed, 1 4 3
ionum, 1 48- 1 49
Jurema, 9, 2 1 , 84-85
Mexico, Indi ans of, 9, 2 1 ,
56, 57, 58-65, 68,
93, 94, 96, 97,
1 1 3, 1 1 6, 1 1 8, 1 24,
1 25, 1 30, 1 3 1 , 1 38,
1 44, 1 52
Mimosa hosti/is, 84-85
Mixtecs ( Mex. ) , 9, 57
" Model psychoses," 1 54
-1 56
Morni ng glories, 8, 9,
1 5 , 2 1 , 97, 1 28-
1 36, 1 37, 1 4 3
Aztec use, 1 28, 1 29
chemi stry, 1 34, 1 35
i dentifcati on, 1 30
medi cal uses, 1 29, 1 3 1
rel i gious uses, 1 2 9, 1 3 1
varieties, 1 36
Mosl ems, 38, 40
Mushrooms, 8, 9, 1 5,
58-7 1 , 1 37
Aztec use, 58, 61 -63
chemistry, 70, 7 1
efecs, 68, 69
i denti fcti on, 63
modern Mazatec cre-
mony, 64-65
opposition to, 62
stones, 59, 60
worshi p, 59
Myristica fragrans, 20
Narcoti c, defned, 5
Neoroimondio macrosti-
bas, 1 1 1
Nepeto catara, 20
New Guinea, 29
Nicotiana sp. , 8 , 1 50
Nicoti ne, 1 7
Nutmeg, 20, 74
Oaxaca ( Mex. ) , 57, 64,
1 30, 1 3 1 , 1 37, 1 38,
1 5 2
Olmedioperebea sclero
phy/la, 72
Olol i uqui , 62 , 1 28 , 1 29,
1 30, 1 43
Oracle of Dl phi , 7, 5 2
Orinica Bsi n ( S. A. ) , 86,
88, 9 1 , 98, 1 0
Pachycerus pectn
aboriginum, 1 1 3
Pakistan, 38
Poncrotium triantum, 4,
2 1 , 29
1 59
Papua, natives of, 28
Parica, 77, 86-91
Pedilanthus tithymaloides,
1 1 1
Peganum harmala, 4, 43
Pelecyphora aselliformis,
1 25
Perettya sp. , 1 26- 1 27
Petunia violacea, 1 50-
1 5 1
Peyote, 6 , 9, 1 4, 1 8, 2 1 ,
62, 63, 94 , 1 1 4-
1 2 3
Aztec use, 1 1 6
chemi stry, 1 2 2- 1 23
efects, 1 1 8
modern use i n U. S. ,
1 1 7, 1 20
opposition to, 1 1 6
religious i mportance,
1 1 8- 1 1 9
ritual, 1 20
vi si on, 1 1 6, 1 22
Peyotes, "Fal se, " 1 24-
1 25
Pharmacoloy, see Alka
loids, Chemistry
Piptadenia peregrina, 86
-9 1
Piscidia, 1 08
Pi ul e, 97
Pl ai ns l ndi ans ( U. S. ) , 1 1 9,
1 20
Pion! kingdom, 1 2-1 5
Pseudohal l uci nations, 1 54
Pseudohal l uci noens, 20
Psilocybe sp. , 8, 58, 65,
66, 67, 69
Psi l oybi n, 1 9, 70
Psychedelics, 5
1 54- 1 55
Psychotaraxics, 5
Psychotomi meti cs, 5
Psycho tria vi rid is, 1 04,
1 05
Pufbal l s, 9, 57
Qui ni ne, 1 7
Rap dos i ndi os, 2 1 , 72
Red Bean Dnce, 94
" Reefers, " 38, 4 1
Rhynchosia sp. , 97, 1 08
Rig-Veda, 26
Rio Grande Valley ( Tex. ) ,
1 1 5
Riveo corymhosa, 4, 8,
1 28-1 ' 35
St . Anthony' s Fire, 1 34
Salvia divinorum, 2 1 ,
1 37, 1 38
San Pedro cactus, 2 1 ,
1 1 0- 1 1 3
Scopolamine, 46, 48, 5 1 ,
52, 1 39, 1 42 , 1 48,
1 54
Scythi ans, 34, 35
Sebil, 2 1 , 92
Serotoni n, 1 8, 1 9
Shan in, 1 50- 1 5 1
Shanshi , 1 07
Siberian tribes, 2 4-27
Sibundoy Val ley ( S. A. ),
1 38, 1 48
Si ni cui chi , 1 08- 1 09
Snuf, 2 1 , 72, 76-8 1 ,
86-89, 92 , 98
Soma, 26
Sophora sp. , 94-95
Sorcerer' s tree, 1 38
South American I ndi ans,
7, 9, 1 1 , 56, 65,
72 , 74, 76-82, 83,
84, 86-91 , 92, 1 00,
1 02, 1 06, 1 07, 1 1 0,
1 1 2, 1 38, 1 4 1 , 1 42,
1 45, 1 48, 1 50, 1 52
Spruce, Ri chard, 88, 1 00
Sticlocardia, 1 36
Stropharia sp. , 58, 65,
Sweet calomel, 73
Sweet fg, 1 4, 73
Syrian rue, 43
Tabemanthe iboga, 54-
Tagl i i , 1 26-1 27
Taino Indians ( W. Indies) ,
Taique, 1 50-1 5 1
Tajik tri bs, 42
Tarahumare I ndi ans ( Mex. ) ,
1 1 3, 1 1 8, 1 24, 1 44
T arlar tri bs, 42
Teananacatl , 2 1 , 58, 62,
T erpenphenolic com
punds, 1 6
Tetra hydroca nnobi nol s,
1 6, 36, 40
Tetraptris methystica, 1 06
Tlitl i l tzi n, 1 28, 1 30
Tobacco, 2 1 , 56
Toloache, 2 1 , 62, 1 44
lorna-loco, 1 43
Tree daturas, 1 45-1 47
T richocerus sp. , 1 1 0-1 1 2
Tropanes, 1 8, 5 1 , 1 48
Tryptami nes, 1 8, 1 9, 2 1 ,
70, 8 1 ' 84, 86, 1 04
Tup, 2 1 , 1 5 2- 1 5 3
Turbine corymbosa, 1 2 8
Turkestan mi nt, 42
Turkoman tri bes, 42
Uni ted States I ndi ans, 6,
9, 56, 94, 96, 1 1 9,
1 20, 1 4 3
Urine dri nki ng ri tual , 25
Uzbek ti bes, 42
Voccinium, 25
Vi l ca, 92
Virola sp. , 2 1 , 74-82, 83
Vi rol as, 2 1 , 7 4-8 2, 83
as pi son, 79, 82
chemi stry, 8 1
efects, 8 1
ritual , 80
snuf, 7 4-76, 8 1
Waika Indi ans ( S. A. ) , 9,
77, 79, 80-8 1 ' 82,
West Indi es, 86
Wisteria sinensis, 20
Wi tches' brews, 22, 46,
48, 5 1
Wod rose, 1 36
Wysoccan, 9, 1 43
Yaj e, 7, 2 1 , 98
Yop, 2 1 , 86-9 1
Yurupari ceremony, 1 02
Zacalechi chi , 1 5 2- 1 53
Front cover, cl ockwi se from lower left: fly agaric mushrom, si ni cui chi ,
morni ng gl ory, tree datura, peyote, cannabi s. Bock cover, see page 62 .
1 60 B C D E
RICHARD EVANS SCHULTES, Ph. D. , F. L. S. , i s professor of
nat ur al sci ences and di rector of t he Botan i cal Museu m at
Harvard Uni vers i ty. An i nter nat i onal l y known botani st spe
ci al i zi ng i n narcoti c, medi ci nal and poi sonous pl ants, Dr.
Sch u l tes spent some 14 years i n Sout h Amer i ca l i vi ng
among I ndi an t r i bes i n order t o i nvest i gate di rectl y thei r
uses of s uch pl ants. Dr. Schul tes i s t he reci pi ent of n umer
ous honors, among t hem a decorat i on from t he gover n
ment of Col ombi a for hi s work i n t he Amazon, and i s a
member of several Amer i can and for ei gn academi es of sci
ence, i ncl udi ng t he Nat i onal Academy of Sci ences. He i s
edi t or of t he j ou r nal Economic Botany and t he aut hor of
many sci ent i f i c papers; wi t h Al bert Hofmann he wrote The
Botany and Chemistry of Hallucinogens.
ELMER W. SMI TH, a new Engl and Yankee by bi rth and
i ncl i nat i on, i s a free- l ance ar t i st, sel f-taught i n ar t , wi t h an
M. S. degree from t he Uni vers i ty of Massachusetts. He i l l us
t rated t he Gol den Gui de ORCHI DS, and has t ravel ed and
col l ected i n t he Amazon wi t h hi s fr i end and col l eague t he
aut hor of HALLUCI NOGENI C PLANTS. Smi th' s work ap
pears i n ch i l dren' s books as wel l as i n sci ent i f i c j ou r nal s,
and he has i l l ust rated nu mer ous textbooks i n t he f i el d of
bi ol ogy. Currentl y he i s an a rt i st at t he Botani cal Mus eum
of Harvard Uni vers i ty.