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RAMONDE LA FLJENTE J U ~ RAMOS Mariblanca Facultad de Medicina, Universidad Placional Autonoma de MCxico

Brazil No. 33, Mexico, D.F.

The use of considerable repertory psychoactive drugs. most As in many other cultures, these powerful plants were cona of of them plants or substances derived from plants, was a dis- ceived as inhabited by gods at least by their representative or tinctive characteristic of ancient Mexican cultures. about spirits wluch can harmful or beneficent depending whoever Tallcing be cultural roots of Aztec people, a sixteenth century Indian in- approached it and what rituals or purificative measures were former said to the leanled friar Bernardino de Sahagun that, previously accomplished. It evident that,from thk point of is since distant times, Teochichimeca people the qualities, view, human beings were divided in two main groups: those lmew to one the essence of herbs and of roots. The so-called peyote was provided with special powers which had access directly their discovery.. .*(X,29, p. 173).So, fromremote times exists or several plantsor animals, depending on their magnitudeof an ancestral culture, a desert people culture that knew the power, and secondly, those which only couldmalce it guided marvelous effects of peyote and some other psychoactive by someone pertainingto the first group. This could only be plants and gave them an important in their religious and medical place done after developing sornetimes very complex a ritual. thought. In fact, this assertion is relative, because also in In that way, the useof psychoactive drugswas restricted. Only Teotihuacan, archeological researches has disclosed pictorial special people were allowed it commonly, and these people to use representations of datura species and ololiuqui, a convolwere the kings (tlatoani)and high pries& all of them invested vulaceous species, always represented in connection with with powers that make them similartoonly m&ng it easy gods Tlaloc, the god of the rain, maldng evident that in the most to maintain constant intercourse with the gods and the spiritu a civilized Mesoamerican lands, from very ancient times (at least world.J Tlis is the most important function of these plants all 3 O00 years ago), lcnowledge of hallucinogenic and other and substances, because it became the vehicle to preserve the psychotropic elements were well developed. These tindings natural order. This function, also, is the nearest to Wassons show that both Aztec cultural roots, that of Nomadic Chichimeca concept of enteogenic substances, defmng by this term the and that corresponding to the sophisticated Tolteca people, capability to generate a god inside the people that consume it.38 continuously declined in the realm of a supernatuml world In Wasssons word people have a god inside their body;us, for opened by psychoactive drugs. (based on Our review of prehispanic and early colonial documents), these substances provide its consumers with the THE USE OF PSYCHOACTIVE SUBSTANCES IN capability to fulfill duties and perform funetions reserved to PREHISPANIC IVIEXICO spiritual beings. This ability is developed by reinforcing the - Aztecs extensively used psychoactive drugs and provided tonalli, one the three human souk which aztec thidcers conthem with rich and multiple meanings. Generally spealcing ceived.19This entity for animus is responsible for consciousness these drugs were associated with the possibility to acquire and partially for thinlung, this last function comparted with specific powers, from the capacity to travel al1 over cosmic another sou1 settled in the heart, tonalli is involved also in the places to the ability to transforrn oneself some animal or in action of providing vital heat to the body the realization of in and any other dangerous being. volitive Inctions. these functions are &ninished tonalli All when As a very effective means beyond human to go limits, al1these is altered, especially when is out of the body. Obviously, it the substances were covered with a mist mystery and of restricted fonalli can leave the body in different circumstances, some in its employment to some selected people or to some special physiological, like sleep, another pathological, as uncounsoccasions. The infractors of taboos related with its use were ciousness,sz~sto,(a Mexican culture-bound syndrome), trmce advised that they at least could be made crazy or fools for States, hallucinatory processes, action of psychotropic substances In all these cases, the bnalli can travel beyond limits of the the ever if early death did not interveneg(XI,7, p. 129).

Actes du 2eColloque Euroen dEthnopharmacologieet de la 1 Conference internationale dEthnomdecine, Heidelberg, mars 1993. 1 24-27


human world and obtain knowledge of many aspects of the cated throughit. In this first case, the world reservedto kings supernatural realm. Then, tonalli is responsible for all the knowl-and priests opened its doors to merchants and warriors. After edge acquired in all these altered States of consciousness, and that and depending on special situations, some other people could also for all the actions performed under these circumstances. accede to the supematural world. In some people, and incertain specific moments, it is convenient to reinforce the activities of tonalli and search for, send it or maintain it outside the body. This is precisely the case of kings, which need constantly to be in communication with any of their multiple gods or protector spirits. Many of the govemment activities were finally religious activities, and these kings were also imbued with sacerdotal duties, charging them with the most delicate functions. Thus, they were the people mostly involved in the daily ingestion of psychoactive substances ingestion. Studying rutinary tlatoani activities is surprising by the immense variety of psychotropics included in their meals and usual beverages, in their pleasure activities, as well as al1their ritual obligations. The list is impressive, going from some aromatic flowers with some mind disturbing effects to peyote and hallucinogenic mushroomsZ7* 246). Atthe end ofthe (p. meal comes cocoa and diverse vanilla varieties and smoked tobacco mixed with liquid arnber and some hallucinogenic flowers, like those called hzceinacaztli (Cymbopetalum pendrrliflonm) and teonacaztli (Chiranthodendron pentadactyZon)8(X,26, p. 88) or also withpoyomatli, an until now unidentified plant which was believed to give knowledge of occult and future thingslO. Based on the of Lumholtz, testimony at the eve of this century, this plant perhaps corresponds to marijuana2(I1,p. 124). We want to remember here the banquet celebrated when Moctezuma 1decided to build the new Huitzilopochtli temple in Mexico, only after he ate some mushrooms and took counsel from the god did he arrive at the right choice(p. 259). These two examples give us some light to consider the existence of at least two main officia1 trends to psychotropics use: a daily consumption in low doses, maintaining the tonalli strength and making it able to accomplish its functions, and a ceremonial use, with a higher intoxication level, oriented to resolve delicate questions. A ritual that always included eating of psychoactive, or preferably, hallucinogenic drugs, was the complexone intending to send a messenger to some precise place in heavenor in the under world, in order to obtain some important supernatural information or direct indications and come back with to the it priest or tlatoani that sent him.

of Other common uses were that curative and divinatory rituals, which were extensivdy disseminated until colonial times, and rediscovered by anthropological research only some years ago. In this sense, some psychotropics were employed intending to induce in both the patient the curer an altered of and state consciousness intending to bring boththem to a supematuof ral reality in order to the origin of illness and remedies. find its Sometimes, only the doctor takes the marvelous substance and comes back this world, after while, with visions and pecuto a liar interpretations about any consulted problem, from witchcraft to disbalance, and idenwing thieves to soothsaying. from

If sometimes hallucinogenes were openly cultivated, those practices were hidden all over the Spanish period, emerging
only when discovered by religious authorities. Being relegated to marginal people, and mainly Indians for three centuries, to divine plants were converted to devilish features.


Independently from extensive ethnobotanical knowledge al1 over the country, Mexicanpsychoactive plants were discovered by Western Cultures only a hundred years ago, when some anthropologists started to travel inland and register rituals involving the use of psychotropic plants.

Among these classical descriptions are Lumholtz, about of that peyote consumption in Tarahumara and Huichol tribes (19O2Jz2, very interesting Schultespaper about ololiuhqui the (1941)28 and the widely known works of Wasson about hallucinogenic mushrooms (1958)~ 35,36. 34, Two late sixteenth century chroniclers, Alvarado Tezozomoc and Alva Ixtlilxochitl, both descendants of noble Indian families, From these primary works, scientific interest arose from the agreed, in fact, that mushroom consumption was amore extended most diverse fields: anthropology, botany, phytochemistry, practice, in only case limited to kings and priests. The sacred pharmacology, history, etc. Development of research areas mushrooms, called teonanacatl by Aztecs signifying flesh of was only a question of time. the gods divine mushroom according to the most accepted came botany, in the sense of taxonomical, ethnobotany or First translations of the term, were included in dl ceremonial ban- and economy botany, and almost simoultaneously, anthropolquets of high social status warriors and merchants, especially ogy, truying to understand cultural in variability and developing those previously involved in any important military campaign or of cultural functions of psychotropic substances. the study commercial expedition. this way, hallucinogenic mushrooms In constitute a relatively open categoryin view of the possibility that people from the most different social levels may be intoxi-

Actes du2 Colloque EuropCendEthnophmacologieet de la 1 leConfCrence internationale dEthnomdecine, Heidelberg, mars 1993. 24-27



Nowadays, ethnobotany of Mexican psychoactive plants is a relatively well known subject. Results of extensivefield work have been compared with historical data and, in this way, the subsistence of a hard prehispanic cultural basis is now absolutely recognized. The substances employed are the same consumed five hundred years ago, and the desired effects are also the same. The huichol healer (rnaraiiem) proceed in the same way as did the fifteenth century Aztec priest-doctor. Leaving aside the presence of Christ, the Holy Virgin and some Christian saints, the indigenous prehispanic substratum pervades in litanies and prayers, and obviously in the imaginary structures of world that are madeaccessible with the drug.


For example, brief description of of the main tracts in a some an actual Mazatec ritual acts as an illustration: e r inquiring what d is the problem that brings the siclc to search help through From the top social functions, a long descendent list may be person settled, giving way tosome less important people to participate the mushrooms, the healer, who conducts the hallucinatory exin the consumption of psychotropic substances, but this had effect perience, provides mushrooms to the people in the room and only in special conditions, always involving actions. ritual supervises that they eat them correctly. Then come monotonous litanies expressing heders power and her his invoca- This may be a simple classificatory trait, a narrative one. the or tions to superior powers areinsaid language contained in the the THE PHYSICAL PROPERTIES. sacred book. After periodsabsolute silence, the Seuora of sudderlly begnn to n~oan, at-first.tlzen louder There were silent A second classificatory trend is the one which proceeds &er low panses, mzd then I-enetvedhzumzing. Then the hzmming stopped consideration of physical properties. Tl~eseare, in Mexican in and she began to articulate isolated ~~llables, syllable COIF prehispanic thinking, those placed a hot-coldaxis. Proposed each for the first time, some years ago, in the late sixties, byLopez sisting qfa corlsoilant~ollo~~Ied vowel, sharply by a pmnouwed.. . After n tinte the syllables coalesced intow01-d~ the Sellera Austin incorporating in his personal historical observation some and begarz to chant.. .31 For a long t h e these rythme voices flooded anthropological remarks made before by Aguirre Beltram and Viarrojas, for example, this axis has turn out to be the most the atmosphere, accornpanied by percussivesounds of clapping important and evident reference point to etlmotavonomicalconhands, slapped knees, smack on the forehead and whamming on siderations.AU creatures are defimed as being moreless hot or or the chest. Wasson, and the participantsin those rituals concede all cold, and then to be cold, coldest, hot or hottest in an infiinte that Maria Sabina, the healer that introduced hirn to the sacred minimaldifferences.So p~y0t.I hot. s m e is The mushrooms, was a woman of rare moral and spiritual power. series divided by occurs with ololiuhqui, but information is contradictory relating The same is expressed aboutd genujne Mazatec healers. l to its prehispanic uses, which insists its relation with water on The induced travel is developed in several stages, going and thus malces it cold, and that referred to hallucinogenic mushfrom a terrifying self disintegration, to thepossibility of putrooms. Then, the first instance, based lzallucinogenic properin ting order in the hallucinatory experience, reconstruct the ties, is dubious, because perhaps of these plants are cold. sorne adjacent world and control the mushroom effects. This last kind of experience involves, of course, the mastering of the This consideration leads us to propose another situation: cold nlushroom cultural world, and not accessiblefrom the start. and hot are only external, observable propcrties, but are always is evident for a deep order. Cold would be related to water, to earth It requires an extensive and deep preparation. and its profundity, the underworld, the infernal gods and godesses, the night, the femenine essence.. with . Hot, Sun, with SOME IhEMAWKS ABOUT AZTEC TAXONQMY heaven and the upper floors in the vertical cosmic axis, with ceOF PSYCHOACTIVE SUBSTANCES kstial gods, withmascuulinity, with tiredness.. Then psychotro. With al1these data repertoire in mind. we rnay now proceed pic elernents may be coldhot, depending on its cosmological to or some ethnotaxonomical considerations. pervasive presence The relations and are no longer evident of their primary properties. of specific taxonomical axis, which is sometirnes evident, anhl a very simplified way, we propose to start considering psyother tirne hidden in the occult, gives chanceto observe us the chotropic substances as divided, in the same way that is uniit and distinguish between different classificatory series.

For example, we can malaing an obvious division by taking start in account the social of persons involvedthe ingestion of class in psychotropics. The commentaries exposed this same pafirst in per corresponds to it. Rulers and priests have a very special i lhis way. For thema lot of plants andanimal$ determined by n their peculiar virtues are being reserved the use of a special group was restricted to them, thatof remedies intendedto the rulers, &e the one enumerated in the called chapter in the so Libellus de rnedicinalihus indonml herbis, better knownas Codex de la Cruz-Badianus. Afteranalizing all the elements exposed that in place, one of us proposes thatall these conlpounds there beare cause of their psychoactive properties3. The priests will l inx cludedinthissame group, because the religous activities of rulers, and also because the near participation of priests in govemment duties.

Actes du Colloque Europken dEthnophamlacologie de la I l e Conf6rence internationale dEthnom&lecine, Heidelberg,24-27 mars 1993. et


Taxonomy of psychotropic plants has been a favorite field for botanists. From ClassicalAntiquity Teophrastus, Dioscorides and Pline abounded in descriptions of Helleborus, Solanum, mandrake, poppies..Alist which was completed after the sixteenth . century by scientists that studied New World plants, like Nichola Monardes or Francisco Hemandez. Limneus didnt leave aside Classified after multiparametric criteria, peyotl is solar, then the subject, publishing interesting book about Inebriantia, the an heavenly, therefore is hot, and its desert habitat clearly plants that produce important mental changes and alterations. it makes correspond to these references.It also produces hallucinatory The works of Richard Evans Schultes, Roger Heim, Pablo Reko processes. In this way, peyotl corresponds to a solar group and Faustin0 Miranda opened the field to modern classification. of plants which includes the hallucinogenic cacti, some plants al1 From the late sixties onwards it was recognized that plants like cacahuaxochitl (Qzm-aribea funebris), tonacalxochitl with psychotropic properties come from a limitated number (Phdranthusmiers) or tonatiuh ixiuh (not identified). of botanical families. Among them,the most important are A very complex relation approximates peyotl with ololiuhqui- Cactace, represented bypeyote (Lophophora williamsii) and teonanacatl. These two last plants are closely related to and otherrelated cactus, like hikuli or bakana (Coryphantha water, humidity and, to Tlaloc and the rain and water gods. so, compacta Engelm Britt. Rose), hikuli mulato & (Epithelantha To these Tlalocs plants will added aggregate. among other micromeris Engelm Weber ex Britt. & Rose) and saguaro be plants, iyauhtli (Tagetes erecta). This species introduces into (Cantegia gigantea Engelm Britt. & Rose); this probleme a really interesting botanical family -the - Solanace, with al1 the membersof Datura genus, known Asterace or Composit- which need to more studied in in Ancient Mexico as toloatzin, tlapatl and nexhuac, and be greater detail. Modern studies on prehispanic religion put in tobaco, with hallucinatory effects registered in historical evidence a close relation between Tlaloc with solar gods,sources and recently suggested by a Californian research team; mainly in most ancient traditions,like Teotihuacan or Zapotecan; in these ancient peasant cultures, and rain are the most valu- Leguntinos, represented by colorin (Erythrina ameriSun able vital factors. Tlaloc some common attributes with has Sun cana), genista (Cytisus Canariensis), an interesting plant originating from the Canary Islands and extensively emgods and traces jaguar features may one of these. of be ployed as hallucinogenic by Tarahumara Indians, frijol de We now have a first group: plants or animal substances, like mezcal (Sophora secundifora) and some mimosa varietjaguar blood or deer horn, for example, related to Sun and ies, among them the tepezcohuite which is provided also heavens, of hot nature and very near to Tlaloc and solar gods. with important cicatrizing properties; Generally speaking, these are hallucinogenic plants or ani- Convolvulaceceincluding the famous ololiuhqui (Turbina mal substances. corymbosa) and piule (Ipomoa violacea), although al1 the The opposite group is that of night, hell, lunar related substances, plants receive this same name; seeds of these near in concept with godesses, mainly moon and fertility godesses, - and last, but not least, mushrooms, from Agaricace and but we can not exclude gods like Tezcatlipoca, related to punishStroph,ariace families, generically called teonanacatl, a ment and destruction. Among these substances toloatzin (Datura nahuatl word that signifies divine mushrooms. meteloides)take frst place, which is only one of many plants of in that family very wello w n in ancient Mexico. These feminineOther families are less important attending the quantityof h plants have the most fearful effects, including madness and species provided with psychotropic action, but some of their death. or Then, it is possible to contrast both groups and characterize specimens are important by their extensive usebecause of them their dramatic effects. Among these, we can mention the by hallucinogenic versus madness inductors, symbolical catas Lythrace, with Heinzia salicifolia,popularly called sinicuiche, egories of polar cosmic opposites. as its representative and the hrniaceae with Salvia divinomm Leaving for a moment al1 these cultural facts. we invite you This enumeration is course not a comprehensive one. of Actucome with us to have a tour through botany, before arriving at ally we have noticed a hundred psychoactive plants known and the pharmacological world where we will try to expose the used in Prehispanic Mexico, but our list covers the most influmain phytochemical characteristicsof Mexican psychotropic ential ones and exemplifies most botanical families with of the plants and its pharmac.ologica1properties. this kind of representatives. From a botanically pointview, of it is interesting to indicate that these families correspond to al l those whichin the OldWorld have psychoactive plants.

verse, in three main groups: that heavenly, comprehensiveto al1 beings related to the thirteen celestial floors; those living on the earths surface, and the beings referred to in the nine undenvorld regions. So, we have some celestial and hot by nature, some cold and infernal, giving here the Mexican prehispanic and not Christian significance to hell; a mixture, a product of an essential oil transitional nature, is the main property of earth issurface, people and beings.


et 24-27 Actes du2eColloque Europen dEthnophamacologie de la 1leConfrence internationale dEthnomdecine, Heidelberg, mars 1993.


Table 1
Superior plants Cncnlin DG. Calea L. Cnnnnbis L. Cnnlegicn B. & R. Lem. Coryphnntn (Engelm.) Echinocereus Engelm. Epithelnnthn Weber es B. & R. Lophophorn Coult. Mnnznzillnrin Haw. Pelecyphorn Ehrenb. Pnchyerelcs (A. Berger) B. Sr R. Enfhrinn L. Mimosa L. M l m m Adans. Cesalpinin L. Cytislts L. Rhynchosin Lonr. Sophora L. Snlvin L. Heinzin L. & O. Lobelin L. Coliaria L. SCilQllS L. Tngetes L. Tngetes L. Pemetpz Gaud.-Beaup. BrusrnnnsinPers. B n ~ s ~ m ~Pers. sin cerntocalmln Dnturn L. Datura L. Dntltrn L. Petmin Juss. Solandm Sw. 7iwbinn Rafin. Ipomoen L. Nymphnen L. Oncidilm Sw. Urgnndia Endl.

C. cordifolin L. f. C. zncntechichi Schlecht. C. sntim L. C. gignnten (Engelm.) Britt. & Rose C. cornpactn (Engelm.) Britt. & Rose E. triglochidintlcs(Engelm.) E. lnicrotneris (Engelm) Weber ex Britt. Sr Rose L. willinmsii (Lem.) Coult. M. senilis (Lodd.) Weber P. aselifonnis Ehrenb. P. pecten-nboriginrtrll (Engelm.) Britt. & Rose E. nmericnnn Mill. 1 . hostilis (Mat.) Benth. M M.pncrietrs (L.) DC. C. sepinria Roxb. C. cnnnriensis (L.) O. Kuntze R. phnseoloides DC. S seczmd$orn (Ort.) Lag. ex DC. . S. divinonma Epl. & Jativa-M. H. salicifolin Link & Otto L. arpn L. C. thyvzifoZin HBK. ex Willd. S ntrovirens Willd. . T. lucida Cav. T. erectn Willd. P. fimm (Hook e-x DC.) Klotzch B. nrboren (L.) Lagerh. B. nuren (L.) Lagerh. D. Ort. D. inoxin Mill. (D. meteloides) D.nzetel. L. P. violacen Lindl. S. brevicalyx Standl. 7:coryhnmn (L.) Rafin. 1. violncen L. N. amph (Salisb.) DC. O. cebolleta (Jacq.) W. U.speciosn Endl.
P. cenelescens Mun.

Asterncerc Asterncem Cnnnrrbir~~~cea Cnctncem CflCtllCetE Cnctncerc Cnctmea Cnctacece Cnctncen. Cnctncea Cnctncem Fabacca Minmacea Fnbncea Casnlsiniacerc Fabacen Fubncem Fnbncea LnnzinceE Lythracece CllnlpnnltI~7ce~ Corialiarcrc Cyperncem Asterncele Astemcem Ericncem Solnnacea Solnnacem Solanncea

SolntlncelE? Solanncea Solnmcerc c@llsol~~lllncea Convolvlhcea Nymphencerc Orchidncem Snpindncea? Strophnrincele Strophnrincea Agnlicacece Strophnriacete Coprinacelt. Lvcoperdmea Lycoperdacea

Mushrooms Psiloqbe Stmpharin (Fr.) Qulet Conocybe Fayod Prnmeolris Fr. Copelnndiu Bres. Lvcoperdon L. Lvcoperdon L.

S cubemis Earle. .
C. siligineoides Heim.

P. sphinctrims (Fr.) Qudet C. cynnescens (Berk. & Br.) Singer L. mi-xtecorm Heim
L. rnarginntlmtn Vitt.

Actes du 2eColloque Europgen d'Ethnopharmacologieet de la 1leConfkrence internationale d'EthnomCdwine, Heidelberg. 24-27 mars 1993.



Recent Only to give some examples we can mention the European and research proved that peyote, from a chemical point of Asian Datura species, or mandragora and belladonna among view, is a more complex plant. Actually 30 alkaloids of l4 the Solanacece; the existence of Leguminos like Rhynchosia, phenethylamine and tetrahydroisoquinoline typesz5, have Minzosa and Cmalpinia species or the extensive knowledge ofbeen isolated from it. psychedelic mushrooms both hemispheres. in In addition the main active principles reported in the literato It is also important to mention that these botanical identifications have been a very difficult task because the problems inherent in the relation of historical sixteenth century sources (most of them written in nahuatl or coming from pictorial manuscripts), with living plants whose magical actions were usually hidden by the Indian people fearful after almost five hundred yearsof religious harassment. ture, the discovery of dopamine is really interesting. It was isolated from other cacti like Pachycereuspecten-aboriginum and Carnegica gigantea.

Bis interesting to note that in the last century some Senecio species were included among the peyote complex because of the appearanceof its roots. In the very accurate studies at the Institu

Hordenine The importance of having a definite botanical identification M-methyl-4-hydroxy-3-methoxyphenethylamine of psychoactive plants comes from two main trends:the ex3-demethylmescaline+3,4-demethylmescaline isting confusion derived exclusiveuse of popular names, from N,N-demethyl3-demethylmescaline because synonymy frequently involves different species, and the existence of some phytochemical characteristics shared Mescaline by members of the same plant family.This last trait makes it N-methyhnescaline+ N-Formylmescaline+ Nacetylmescaline Anhalamine possible to formulate a botanical chemotaxonomy that enables one to establish some scientific hypothesis explaining Anhalinine Anhalidine ethnobotanical facts. Anhalonidine Most of the above mentioned plants have been studied chemically, from the early nineteenth century until today, from the first O-methylanhalonidine Pellotine simple alkaloid studies to the most sophisticated modern research. Perhaps the first substances recognized and studied were the Isopellotine tropanic alkaloids of some European Solanace, like Anhalonine Hyoscyamus niger and Hyoscyan~us albrrs, belladonna or some Lophophorine European Datura species, the same that are later found in Peyophorine Mexican toloatzin or tlapatl; nevertheless, the first Mexican psychotropic plant recognizedas non-existent in Europe and Medico Nacional they were still called Tepic peyote and Peyote extensively studied was peyotl, primarily classified as from the Valley ofMexico, but correctly classifed as Senecio. In Anhaloniurn lewinii from the name of his discoverer, Louis phyto chemical thesis, different plant species both contain this Lewin. A little later, a variety of similar cacti emerged as havthe same alkaloid types and have similar hallucinatory effects. ing analogous effects. Some of them were classified also as Anhalonium, i.e. Anhaloniunz williamsii25, and were converted The same can be said of two plants employed as peyote substitutes among Tarahumaras,Oncidium cebolleta (Jacq.) Sw. by botanical taxonomists in Lophophora. and Scirpus sp., little studied plants, without any serious From 1888, Lewin had identified in peyote an active principle which was called anhalonine and proved to be, like the chemical screening. plant itself -according to Lewin-an extremely strong stimu- Discovered later by scientists, hallucinatory mushrooms had lant and capable of provokingmuscular cramp in laboratory been well known in al1 Mesoaperica. Pertaining to a very . animals)160+bWith thisfinding, Lewin inaugurates an epoch ample species group, and including also Amartita ntuscaria, of discoveriesand surprises.The fiist was the recognition that which use has been recently documented in ethnobotanical cacti, hitherto consideredbiologically hannless, may posess studies in the highlands of Oaxaca, mushrooms constitute a as considerabletoxic properties. To the end of the century, Lewin very interesting complex. In the sixties,Albert Hoffmann isohad discoveredfour alkaloids in A. lewinii, among them mes- lated psilocybine and psilocine, making biological autocaline, to which were attributed the vision-producing proper- assays. It is sure that Psilocybe and Stropharia species have ties, and onlyone in Lophophora williamsii, pellotine, which more alkaloids that have so far not been reported as having psychotropic effects. had nopharmacological effects of this typeg.


Table 2 Main Peyote alkaloids

Actes du 2eColloque Europen dEthnophmacologie et laIle Confrence internationale dEthnomdecine, Heidelberg, mars 1993. de 24-27


as the Lewin 1924s asserts there A big surprise was fumishedto the scientific community whenand mescaline is only one recorded. It is also important to design studies in ololiuhqui (Turbina corynzbosa) and tlilitzin (Ipomaa violacea), both Convolvulacece, yielded ergolinic allcaloids relation to long term and repetitive doses, in conditions more related to LSD. Another time it was HoffmannWho obtained similar to that observed in ritual use. Another research strain from it lysergic acid amide and hydroxyethylamideI2. In is that of analyzing the separate effects and pharmacological Iponma violacea there are five times more alkaloids than in characteristics of al1 the other allraloids different from mesololiuhqui31(pp.66,67). caline, which are studied biosynthesis level but no more2. at a 13.

The peyote use constitutes really a complex, that goes beyond simple pharmacology to religious significance, and inFrom the eighteenth century, Linneus had classified certain volves also the employment of a relatively large number of cactus species that include Coryphantlza compacts, called plants that produced conscience and behaviour alterations unBakana and Wichuri, provided with phenyiethylamines; der the generic name Inebriantials. A century ago, Lewin proposed the fiist detailed classification to design the different Epithelanta micromeris,called hilruli like true peyote, conalEraloids and terpenes and renowned pharmacological actionson the mind.He proposed a new ge- taining phenylethylamine neric groups: narcotic substances, divided it in euphorica to develop, in the medicine-man, a clear sight that makes and or mental sedatives, phantasticahallucinogenic substances, him capable of communicating with distant curers, sorcerers or inebriantia, now limitedto alcohol and some anaesthetics, and spirits; some cacti of the genus Ariocaryus, with the same hypnotica and e~cicitantia~~. r midcentury, Delay and type of alkaloids, but renowed to be stronger than peyote in Me its Deniker proposed another classification, a functional one, re- effects and, therefore used in witchcraft; Pelecyphora aseliformis, called peyotillo, little peyote, with an unlcnown ducing the genera to psycholeptic, psychoanaleptic and psychodysleptic and grouped some families in each one of chemical composition; some species of Echinocerezls a very themj. In this paper, we only deal with psychodysleptics, and little studied plant which seems to have tryptamine and adopt the family division proposed by 1972 for Mexican nilamndariaspecies,specially Mammilaria heydenii, containin Diaz plants5. So we consider hallucinogenics, trance inductors, ing N-methyl 3,4-dimethoxyphenylethylamine,which procognodysleptics and dream inducing substances, causing duced in shamans a deep sleeping syndrome with drearns abou state pp. delirious states and neurotoxic psychodisleptics6, following very long distances, sometimes a cosmic t r i ~ ~ ~ ( 66-7 1). in this last item proposal of Brawley and Duffield the ( 1972). Gen- Besides the peyote group, there is another cactus with erally?this classification corresponds the most relevant trends to hallucinogenic properties. These are called saguaro, whose of the American College Psychophannacology, distinguish- botanical name is Carnegicn gigantea and Pachycereus of ing psychotropic drugs affecting perceptual-neuromotor funcpecfen-aboriginzlm,called by Tarahumara Indians cauve or tions, those with effects over cognition and memory and those wichowaka, this last word signifying madness. From the first affecting associative learning and n c t i ~ n s ~ ~ . fu at least four alkaloids have been isolated: 5-hydroxycarnegine, corcarnegine, 3-methoxytyramine and arizonine, the later HALLUCINOGENIC SUBSTmCES being a veryactive tetrahydroquinolineaU~aloid~~(pp. 76-77). The most important plants in this group are peyote and To the Paclzycereus are said to cause hallucinatory effects and teonanacatl (hallucinogenic mushrooms). The allcaloids the capability of turning people crazy. These properties are involved are indolics psilocybin, dimethyltryptamine, me LSD clearly related to its allcaloids:4-hydroxy-3-rnethylphenylalaand aphenethylamine, mescaline. nine and four tetrahydroisoq~inolines~(pp. 66-67). Itis convenient to add Oncidium cebolleta and Scirpus sp., whose Peyote hallucinations have been described in antbropological literature from the last years of the nineteenth century. The chemical constituents have not been studied, but with strong hallucinogenic effects that were c o n f i e d ethnobotanically. mescaline isolation opens research field and the experimental the study of its pharmacological characteristics.By now the first The other very important hallucinogenic is that of mushgroup psychiatrie studies in peyote alkaloidsare in the classics au- rooms. The main species involved are from the genera of thors. These are thatICl~ver~ Beringer, which contains of and Psilocybe and tropharia, rich in psilocybin and psylocin, both precise descriptionsof the hallucinations characteristics with alEraloids with well known pharmacological properties studied special emphasis colored visions and important auditive from 1957 by Delay3, and after wards experimentally of of in Mexico components, the latter especially in the last moments of the by Nieto. Phenomenologically the psilocybe and stropharia intoxicating experience after some days repetitive use. or of hallucinations are characterized by a deep of sou1liberasense It is necessary to point out that this field is, in reality reduced tion, visions of geometic figures either sharp edges, bright to testing the effects of the pure alkaloids. It is clearly neces- colors and, at f i s t experiences a depersonalization and iost a s a r y to conduct comparative studies between complete plant sense of reference structure. This last item disappears after som


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time, when intoxicated people e m to recover control over l his Calea zacatechichi qualified as dream state inducing in the is or her mind. some individuals, depending on the dosage, most recent researches. fact, it produces somnolence, someIn the In emotional conditions, the personal drug sensitivity and culturalbeing soporiferous; it causes a very tranquil state and times factors involved, the intoxicating experience can evolve in an feels and hears the pulse and the heart beat. one acute psychosis characterized by strong anxiety. In the same group we include Heimia salicifolin, called Presumably, psilocyn and psilocibyn acts over specific neu- sinicuiche, that is a trance inductor which is capable of proronal cells, mainly serotoninergic systems limbic system ducing hallucinations when employed in high doses. It proat in is and and lateral geniculatus corpus, this last can be evidenced duces very selective auditive hallucinations, also utilized fact to by the presence visual phenomena. These neurones are also remember ancient events, also those that occurred before of very sensitive to small LSD systemic doses, similar to birth. It contains alkaloids of the quinolidine type and mushroom alkaloid doses necessary to develop hallucinations. cryogenine,the latter being responsible for its febrifugeproperties, whereas some of these alkaloids seem psychoactive. The pharmacological and ethnophannacological studies on Mexican hallucinogenic mushrooms are still promising to be NEUROTOXICAND DELIRIOGENIC PLANTS an important field of research. The study of small actions is The main groupin this sectionis that of Datura. As we have only at early stages and only discriminative studies directed its seen in this same paperof botanical paragraphs,Datura speto make differencesbetween biological basic effects and culcies are abundant and were also abundantly utilized in turally leamed phenomena are mentioned. In the same way, prehispanic and Colonial Mexico. Nevertheless, ethnobotaniexperimental psychoses studies, started late fifties, have in the cal information is really poor with respect to ritual uses, but is only continued on anirregular basis. abundant when speaking about magics, specially magic love and black magic, where is employed to make peoplecrazy. it TRANCE INDUCTORS l all In recent years, studies of altered states of consciousness, at- Al the group constituents provoke the intoxication symptoms of tropane alkaloids like atropine, scopolamine and tracted attention over trance states, its cognitive possibilities hyosciamine, all of them present in high doses. memory Loss of and its cultural applications. and changes of level conciousness are specifcally related the of There are some effective trance inductors among Mexican psyto this plant genera. Curiously, prehispanic taxonomists chotropic plants. The most celebrated is ololiuhqui (Rwbina classified Datura a a nocturne plant, a dangerous plant which s corymbosa), a plant that was recognized early and classified can only be used by really powerful sorcerers. by Urbina in 190331 erroneously identified as a Datzua and species by Safford 1916, a mistake maintained Lewin in in by CONCLUSION 1924 and corrected by Reko in 192826 anddefinitively by From these few data we think it is possible to proceed to a Schultes28 thirteen years Its chemical composition explains later. its psychopharmacology and uses as an excellent divinatory more functionalclassification that expresses faithfully ancient its Mexican preoccupations and give us access to a better underdrug that provokes dreams, provided with cognitive elements, The among them the possibility to identify thieves, sorcerers or standing of that marvelous culture. analysisof phytochemspirits involved in illness. It differs completely from the istry and modern considerations about the functional hallucinogenic plants producing lethargy, indolence, initability; characteristics of the central nervous system, enable one, to when the eye is closed some visual fantasies appear, always realize detailed studies of these substances on specific recepmantaining a real mental accuracy,al1 these symptoms are tors discerning the compatibility of psychotropic effects as but detected accompanied by a palsy of the will that converts the intoxicatedclinically by Aztec healers and modem phytochemical science. From an endocultural point of view,the separaperson to a simple spectator,to an observer. tion between hallucinogenic substances, madness inductors, Similar to ololiuhqui is violaces, another Convolvulace Ipoma trance inductors, wellbeing producers, etc. gives the possius provided with a hard charge of the same alkaloids. bility to develop studies with the intention to explore the role The Virgin Herb (Salvia divinorzm) coines from an other bo- of the different states of consciousness in prehispanic cultanical family employed in divinatory rituals by ancient Az- tures and the social scope associated to them. tecs and Mazatecs and causes similar effects as ololiuhqui. No definitive chemical studies about it are available to date and any of the chemical components isolated and seems to deserve attention; nevertheless it works in practice, may be due to terpenic components. In some way effects have been its compared with thatmarijuana, including hypnagogic of image production in superficial sleep phases5.

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1. ALVARADO TEZOZOMOC F., 1944, Cronica Maicana, Mexico, 23. LWDSTR0M J., Biosynthesis of mescaline and tetraisoquinoline Leyenda. &aloi& in Lophoplzora wiZliamsiiCern.)Coult. ocurrence and biosynthwis la. BERINGER K., 1926, Der hlescalinrausclz. Seine Gesclzichte und of cathecholamines and other intemediates, Acta Chem Scartd., 25,3489. Ersclleinuligsweise,Monographien aus dem Gesamtgebiet der Neurolo24. MC LAUGHLIN J.L., 1973, Peyote: an introduction. Lloydia, 36, gie und Psychiatrie, Berlin, Springer. 1-7. 2. BRUHN J.H.,B R W C., 1973,Alkaloids andetbnobotany ofmexican 25. MICHAELIS J., 1896, Beitriige 2111' ve~gleiclzenden Anatomie der peyote cacti and related species, Econornic Botatty, 27,2,241-251. GatftrrzgenEchinocactus, F/inmillariazmd Anhalonizm. Berlin. 3. DELAYJ., PICHOTP.,LEMPERIERE.T., MCHOLAS CHARLES J., 26. E R 0 B.P., 1928, Alcaloides y glucosidos en plantas mesicanas. 1957, Effects psychophysiologiqueslade psilocybine, Compte-rendushebMenlorias y Revista de la Sociedad Cientifica Atltonio Alzate, 49, 379donladairesdes saances del'Acad&~iedes sciences, 247, 1235-1238. 419. 4. DELAY J., DENIIER P., 1961, Mthodes clzi~~~iot~~lkrape~rti~iqltes elz 27. SAHAGUNB. de, 1956,Historia General de las cosas de la N u e ~ ~ a Paris, Masson. psychiatrie. Les nouveaxr r~zdica~~~e~~tspsychotropes, Espaiia, 4 vol., Mexico, Porrua. S. DIAZ J.L., 1977, Ethnopharmacology sacred psychoactive plants of 38. SCHULTES R.E., 1941, A cntztribution to the kzowledge qf Rivea used by the Indians of Mexico, Ailmal Review of PhannacoZogy and co~~nzbosa. narcotic ololizlhqui o the Aztecs. Cambridge (Mass.), The f To.xicology, 11,647-675. Botanical Museumof Harvard University. 6. id., 1985, Plantas magicas y sagradas de la medicina indigena de 29. SCHULTES R.E., HOFFMANN A., 1915, PZants of tlte gods, Mexico. Etnofarmacologiay psiquiah-ia experimental, in VIESCA C., Origins ofhallzicinogenic zrse, Maidenhead, MacGraw Hill, 66-77. LOPEZ AUSTW A., Ln Medicina en Mexico Antiguo, Vol. 1, Historia General de la Medicina en Aile.xico, Mexico, UNAM, 23 1-250. 30. UHLENL,UTH E.H., 1988, Effects of psychotropic drugs on major functions in normal humans and infrahuman species, in MELTZER H.Y. 7. DOBKIN DE RIOS, M.D., 1975, Una teoria transcultural de aluci(d.). Ps~chopharnzacology,New York,Raven Press, 1455. nogenos de origen vegetal, in DfAZ J.L. (d.), Etnofarnzacnlogia de plantas alucinogenas latinoanlericalzas, Vol. 4, Mexico, Cuadernos 31. UFtBINA M., 1903, El peyote y el ololiuhqui, Anales del Ailztseo Cientificos CEMEF. Naciorla1 de Mexico, 7 , 5 4 8 . 8. Florentine Codex, 1961, English translation by Charles Dibble and 32. VIESCA C., 1917, Los psicotropicos y la medicina de los Arthur J.O. Anderson, Santa Fe, New Mexico. gobernantes entre los aztecas, in VIESCA C . (d.) Estzcdios de etnoboranica y antropologia medica, Mexico, MEPLAM. 9. HEFFTER A., 1931, Archiv fiir e.rperimcntellr Pathologie und Pharnzakologie, XXXE (1894) und XL (1898). cited by LEWIN L., 33. WASSON R.G., The hallucinogenic nzushrooms of Mexico: an Phantastica, New York. udverztzlrein ethrzonzycological e.rploratiorz, Transactionsof the New York Academy of Sciences, Series II, 21,4,325-329. 10. HERPJANDEZ F., 1960, Historia Natural de In Nueva Espaiia, 2 vol., Mexico, U M 1, 105. N , 34. id., Seeking the magic mushroom, Life Magazine, may 13, 1951. 11. HOFFMANN A., HEIM R., BRACK A., ICOBEL H., 1955, 35. id., 1958, The divine mushroom: primitive religion and hallucinatory aus Psilocybin, ein psychotroper Wirtstoffden mexikanischen Rauschpilz agents, Pmc. Ain. Phil. Soc., 102, 221-223. Psilocybe me.i.icana Heim., E.xperientia, 14, 101-112. of 36. id., 1962,The hallucinogenic mushrooms Mexico and psylocibin: 12. HOFFMANN A., 1961, Die Wirkstoffe der mexiltanischen a bibliography, Bot. Mus. ka$'., 20 ,20-73. Zauberdroge Ololiuhqui,Planta Med., 9,354-367. 31. id., 1980, The wonderous mzlshroonz, New York, MacGraw Hill. 13. KAPADIAG.J.,FAYEZM.B.E.. 1910, Peyote constituents: 38. id.. ?, El camino a Elensis, Mexico, Fondode Cultura Econ6mica. chemistry, biogenesis and biological effects, o Phanmzcetctical Jou~nalf Sciences, 59, 1699-1727. 14. I(APADL4 G.J., FAYEZ M.B.E., 1973, The Chemistry of Peyote Alkaloids, Lloydia, 36, 1,9-35. 15. KLUVER H., 1924, Mescal und hallucination Mechanismus, Berlin (english edition Chicago University Press,1966). by 16a. LEWIN L., 1888, ber Arrhaloniunl lewinii Henn., Archiv fiir esperintentelle Patlzologie,XXIV, 401. 16b. LEWIN L., 1594, ber Arzhalonium lewitzii Henn. und andere Cacteen, Arcizivfiir e.xperi~nentelle Pathologie, X U X . 17. LEWIN L., 1924, Phaiztastica,Berlin. 18. LINNAEUS C., 1742, bzebriantia, Upsal% 19. LOPEZ A.A., 1980, Cuerpo Izzrmano e ideologia, 2 vol., Mexico, UNAM, 223-252. 20. LOPEZ A.A., 1911, Texros de medicina tzahzmtl, Mexico, SEP. 21.LUMHOLTZ K., 1902, illexico Desconocido. Mexico, Editora Nacional.

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Actes du 2eColloque Europhn d'Ethnophannacologieet de la Ile Confkrence internationale d'Ethorndecine, Heidelberg. 24-27 mars 1993.