"Moreover, [ihe Otomacos of the Orinoco basin] have another most evil habit,, to wil:; to intoxicate themselves through the nostrils, by using certain wicked powders which they call yupa. This powder totally deprives tpem of their reason, and ravening they grasp their weapons; if their women were not skillful in separating them and tying them up, daily much cruel hovoc would be committed. This is a horrible vice. They prepare this powder of some pods of the yupu, hence its name. The powder proper, however, has the odor of strong tobacco. What causes the fuiy and intoxication is what the ingenuity, of the devil makes them add to the powder The Saliva Indians and other tribes ... also use llie ytipa, but being gentle , benign and tun id, they do not become maddened like our Otomacos who ... before a battle ... would get into a frenzy wt.Ui yvpa, injuring themselves* and smeared with blood and full of rage* would enter the battle like mbid tigers."
Padre Jose Gumilla £1 Orinoco, 1 lust ratio y Drjenrii/io, 1745
observed its use in 1801. Other names for yopo are prrricri, and cohoba; the latter is ths Haitian name, but Its use has died out on that island. Other snuffs of South America incjude vilca and sebti, used in the southern part where A. peregrina is not found. The effects are quite similar. Its use was observed among the Iitcas in the sixteenth century and in Argentina shortly afterwards. Rape dos Indios is another snuff, made from the dried fruit of a large fig tree of the Central Amazon. A ceremonially used hallucinogen, its active agent is unknown. Cabeza de Angel (of the bean famijy), the resins of a shrub found in Mexico and Guatemala, was used as a snuff by the Aztecs for sedative, not hallucinogenic, purposes; its active principle Is likewise unidentified.
Australia and Malaya, the leaves and bark of the agara tree are mixed with the herb ereriba and the decoction is drunk, producing a powerful intoxication followed by a sleep filled with fantastic dreams. The active agent among the two dozen alkaloids in this brew is unknown. Gal an go, or nutroba, an herb of the ginger family found in New Guinea, produces hallucinogenic effects when the underground stems are chewed and eaten. Turkestan mint has been used as an intoxicant for centuries by the Tartars and other tribes from the Middle East to Central Asia. The leaves of the plant are toasted and mixed with sugar or honey before eating. Lagochlllne may be the active alkaloid. Kwashl, a plant bulb used by African bushmen, is neither eaten nor smoked, but rubbed upon incisions made in the head. Visual hallucinations are the result..
Another New Would botanical mind bender is a Mexican plant known as Salvia divinorum or Hojas de las Pastora. The Aztecs, who sometimes substituted it for sacred mushrooms or morning-glory seeds, called it pipiliinlzintli. Its effects are very similar to psUocybln. Wasson described the experience as "being be-mushroomed" and noted 3-D color patterns and kaleidoscopic hallucinations. The correct dose is about 70 leaves, chewed and swallowed. The active principle is in the juice of the leaves, but the substance is too unstable to have been isolated, although Albeit Hofmann did attempt its synthesis. An Interesting aspect of this hallucinogen, which has a long history of use in divination and healing rituals, is that it does not grow wild, but has to be cultivated, even in Mexico. A species of the common house plant cole us is closely related to Salvia divinorum and is reportedly used by the Mazatec Indians in the same manner as the other mint leaves. Americans who have tried getting off by eating the leaves and flowering tops of their coleus plants have not reported having hallucinogenic experiences.
Another member of the mint family found In many households Is catnip, which was, along with orégano, probably the herb most often misrepresented as marijuana. Everyone knows that cats are intoxicated by it. Some people have experienced a mild, marijuanalike high after smoking catnip mixed with tobacco, which somewhat potentiates its effects.
]urema, a '"miraculous drink1' of Brazil,, Is made from the roots of the Mimosa hostills shrub, which is closely related to the DMT trees. In fact, its active agent nigerino is identical to DMT, but other alkaloids In the plant must potentiate its effects, because DMT is not effective orally. )urema was formerly used by Brazilian Indians for dreaming prophetically about future battles, thus inspiring confidence, but its use seems to have disappeared. Hopi medicine men are reported to chew the large root of so'ksi, a plant found in the higher elevations of the Rockies ftom Colorado to northern.. Mexico. The active alkaloid of this species is unknown.
The seeds of the colorines and piule plants, which grow in Mexico and the American Southwest, closely resemble mescal beans but are much less toxic. Their use as hallucinogens is inferred from their appearance in a fourth-century a.d. fresco representing the Aztec rain god. The name piule also means morning-glory seeds in southern Mexico. The beans of colorines are red; those of piule are red and black..
Three auditory hallucinogens have been reported in Mexico. One of them, the puffballs of Oaxaca, is now discredited. Zacaiechichi (Aztec for "bitter grass") is used by the Chontals, also of Oaxaca, who brew it in a lea that they drink to have veit>al communications with the spirit world. Sinicuichi is the Mexican name for the shrub Heimia solicifolio (which is found throughout South America but not used as an hallucinogen lliere). from whose wilted leaves a drink is made. Other recommended doses are a heaping tablespoon (10 pn.) of the dried heit> or a cigarette, made of the dried leaves and smoked after consuming I lie drink. The effects are varied: auditory hallucinations, with either deafness or distorted sounds coming from apparently great distances; a darkening of I lie visual field; micropsia; and feelings of giddiness, drowsiness and euphoria. The active agent appears to be cryogenine (vertine).
MILD EUPHORIANTS Quite a few plants that flourish in the U.S. and elsewhere produce a mild euphoria akin to that pioduced by weak marijuana when their leaves are smoked. Lobelia, popularly^ known as Indian tobacco, is one of the best known. In the high Andes it's used by the Mapuche Indians, who call it Htpa and devil's tobacco. Lobeline is the active agent of the plant, which can also be drunk as tea.
Plants native to the U.S. that have the alkaloidal constituents to produce a light grass high include darniana, California poppy, hydrangea, hops (of the same Family as Cnnnnbis sntivu),
passionflower and Scotch broom. Some of these substances are combined in smoking mixtures sold today as "herbal highs." Ordinary tobacco (NiccliChia tubo cum) was an hallucinogenic plant of the New Woiid, the use of which was noted by Columbus on his first voyage to America. Plants of this genus are still used today as hallucinogens by several South American tribes and as adjuncts in the Mazatec mushroom ceremony, in peyote rituals, in DMT sessions, smoked with kif in Morocco and in European hashish joints.
HERBAL ENERGIZERS Herbal stimulants and tonics, popularly _ known as organic speed, are being increasingly used by people who have sensitized themselves to "body consciousness" through psychedelics and marijuana and have joined the general trend toward natural diet and health food.
Ginseng, an herbal energizer known in the Orient for 5,000 years, is probably the most popular organic speed in the U.S. today. It's available in capsules, powder or liquid-or you can chew the dried root.. There are different grades of ginseng, priced according to potency. The highest quality, Chinese Imperial, sells for $5,000 for a pound and a half. Korean Red Heaven is the next grade down, followed by Japanese Red Heaven and American Wild, grown in hardwood forests in the eastern CJ.S.
A stalling dose is about one inch of the man-shaped root, moistened and chewed slowly. The taste is quite unpleasant, especially compared to coffee and cola drinks, which may he the reason 95 percent of the ginseng grown in the U.S. is exported to the Orient. . Teas and powder-pastes made from the root are easier to gel down. It has been claimed that ginseng maintains and restores health, prolongs life and increases sexual potency. These claims have neither been proved nor disproved; it probably lakes some years of dedicated use to find ouL.
Cotu-kola is the ginseng of the Hindus. It affects the nervous system, whereas ginseng affects the glands. Fo-ti-ii£iig is a smaller and somewhat more potent variety of Cotu-ko!o. A teaspoon of the powder, one capsule or the chewing of two leaves per day is claimed to be energizing.
Betel chewing, which, in 1924. Lewin estimated to be the practice of 200 million Asians, has been traced back more than 2,000 years. Areca nut (the large seed of an Asian palm tree) is wrapped in the leaf of the betel pepper tree, to which is added a pinch of burnt lime and flavorings. One puhn (betel chew) is usually sucked for an hour, or less, but real addicts in India keep popping fresh puhn in their moutlis all day long. The mixture, releases
a volatile oiJ called arecoline, which stimulates the eNS and provides a general feeling of well-being. The degree of the effects is apparently determined by the species and maturity of the nut, as well, as the frequency of use. Betel chewing is habituating, and excessive use can be harmful,, but nothing so serious as opium, alcohol or tobacco.
Khal, a shrub indigenous to Ethiopia, eventually spread across Arabia. Eighty percent of the adull population of Yemen chews the young buds and fresh leaves as a stimulant thai also produces feelings ofeuphoria and wild laughter. The alkaloids found in khat-particularly cathine-are amphetamine-related; the presence of ascorbic; acid provides a good balance. Overindulgence can lead to general nervous deterioration.
A popular herbal stimulant indigenous to the U.S. is goldenseal, one of the most important medicines formeoiy used by Native Americans, and a substance Listed in the U.S. Pharmacopeia for the past century, particularly for its value in treating surface inflammations. A pinch of powdered goldenseal taken daily is said to stimulate the nerves and improve the general condition of the body.
PSEUDOHALLUCINOGENS Smoking the dried pulp scraped from the inside of banana skin and smoking a cigarette thsough a rotten green pepper ("Jackson illusion pepper") were passing fads of the late Sixties. Introduced in San Francisco, the practice spread to New York and elsewhere, and although widely decried as a hoax, enough people claimed they were gelling mildly high (from smoking as many as thcee or four banana reefers) to cause the FDA to investigate. While official studies showed no psychoactivity resulted from smoking these substances, some underground chemists pointed out that the skin of the banana (as well, as of the pineapple and plum) contains a serotoninlike chemical.. A tryptamine-related substance was also found in the green pepper-which happens to be a member of the nightshade family.
The fact that these smoking practices died out rather quickly suggests that they were social phenomena predicated on a hoax (or a hope), rather than the causes of hallucinogenic j experiences. The power of suggestion, the willingness of people to hallucinate and the predictable reactions of the media and the government all. contributed to make these fads a notable sociological event. But the idea that common foods may harbor hallucinogenic compounds that can be released under the righi conditions is nothing if not provocative.
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