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Herbals such as Culpepcr's went through hundreds of editions, supplying household remedies to generations, but it was the wile lies of Europe who learned and practiced herbal magic and knew firsthand the direct effects of hallucinogenic substances. The witches, of course, were violently persecuted, as were ihe Indian shamans and medicine men of the New World for their deification of plants and llieir pagan rituals. Modem science became increasingly technical, analytical and antimagica) in dealing with illness and disease: I lie spirit or deily residing in the plant turned out to be a chemical compound. Gradually herbs lost their status as curatives in Western., medicine, to be replaced by an arsenal of pharmaceutical preparations-tinctures, _ extracts, synthetics. In the nineteenth century digitalis, was extracted from foxglove, morphine from the opium poppy, quinine from the bark of the cinchona tree, cocaine from the coca leaf.. Scientific investigators, sucli as Ernst von Bibra and M. C. Cooke in the nineteenth century and Caiil Harlwich, Louis Lewin and Richard E, Schulles in the twentieth, have presented systematic overviews of the stimulant, sedative and hallucinogenic resources of the plant kingdom.

Meanwhile, the ritual use of plant hallucinogens, so forcefully suppressed and in some cases replaced by the alcoholic beverages of the white Christian culture, survived 111 rough secret, underground practice, or because the remoteness of a tribe helped the rituals escape detection. A new generation of "ethnobotanisls" and cultural anthropologists discovered ihe surviving culls and the magical plants. Many young people whose drugs of choice were suppressed by modern society strongly identified with Native American

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Continue reading here: An Ancient Mushroom Ceremony

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