The first specimen of Brugmansia candida was collected in 1935 by one H. Garcia-Barriga in Colombia. Since then, various forms have been described. In Colombia, extracts of the leaves are consumed in ceremonies for purposes of divination, prophecy and healing. The Kamsa associate the plant with the jaguar, the strongest of shamanic animals, and so one can understand that the plant represents a very powerful shamanic tool. The Kamsa use D. candida exclusively for divination and only turn to it in very serious cases, as it can cause the shaman who ingests it to enter a comatose state for two to three days. During this time, an assistant watches over the shaman and records any messages he may come forth with.
Rapa Dos Indios, which means “Indian snuff”, is believed to have been made from the fruit of an enormous forest tree, Maquira sclerophylla (known also as Olmedioperebea sclerophylia), part of the fig family. In the Pariana region of the central Amazon in Brazil, the indigenous peoples once prepared a hallucinogenic snuff of the dried fruits. The snuff was taken in tribal ceremonials, but encroachment of other societies has obliterated its use.
The pituri plant had enormous economic value to the Aborigines. Pituri roads existed with extensive trade networks that extended from northern to southern desert areas, which permitted Aborigines to trade the plant. Most of the Aboriginal weaving and written communications systems including nets, dilly bags and marker sticks, were used to carry the pituri plant or identify the trader in hostile territory.
The mandrake holds a special distinction as being the most famous of all magical plants, due to its many magical and medical uses and the immense amount of mythology it has generated. Historians have determined that the earliest mention of the mandrake refers to its use in Babylon; various records are contained in the cuneiform tablets of the Assyrians and the Old Testament. The earliest evidence of ritualistic use occurs in an Ugaritic cuneiform text from Ras Shamra, dated between the fifteenth and fourteenth century B.C.E.
The extreme left-handed path of Indian Tantrists known as the Aghori ingest both psychoactive plants and poisons in order to experience the divine consciousness. Shiva, the god of inebriants and poison, was said to have personally consumed every plant at the beginning of time. This caused him to turn blue, like the flower of the blue aconite. In a similar way, then, the Aghori ingest poisons in order to become one with Shiva. One particularly advanced blend, which only the bravest of practitioners are said to smoke, consists of blue aconite and ganja.
When the Maori first settled in New Zealand (Aotearoa) from Polynesia in the north-east almost 800 years ago (the Maori navigator Kupe first visited Aotearoa approximately 1000 years ago), they gave Polynesian names to local plants and animals that seemed similar to plants and animals that they were already familiar with. An example is the naming of a plant they discovered in New Zealand as kava (or kavakava), after the sacred plant Piper methysticum Forst. which is found on various islands across the South Pacific, from New Guinea to Hawaii.
Veratrum album, or white hellebore, was considered to be one of the most important medicinal plants in pre-historic Greece. Both the white and black variations of hellebore were thought to be sacred herbs of the gods, as noted by the great Greek philosopher Theophrastus, mentor to Aristotle and Plato. It has been speculated that the name “hellebore” meant “food of Helle”, Helle referring to the Pelasgian goddess who was the namesake of Hellespont.
Identified as the Aztec visionary inebriant oliliuhqui, the plant’s round seeds have been found to contain LSA (Lysergic Acid Amides). In the early 1960s, Albert Hofmann isolated the active psychoactive components of Turbina corymbosa (contained in the seeds, the leaves and the roots), which he recognized to be ergot alkaloids, which were closely related to the constituents of Claviceps purpurea and LSD.
Salvia divinorum is the queen of magical mysterious plants. She requires patience, understanding, and acceptance of her often terrifying lessons. She won’t tolerate being just a curiosity, or used for thrill seeking behavior. She desires that you create a relationship with her. Even if you have never seen a live Salvia divinorum plant and have only used the dried leaves, that relationship must still be cultivated. Those who choose to not do this are usually scared shitless when they finally do force a breakthrough. But by growing this magical teacher she learns about you and what your intentions are.
MAOI stands for monoamine oxidase inhibitor. In order to understand what an MAOI is, we must first understand what monoamine oxidase (MAO) is. MAO is an enzyme which oxidizes, thereby breaking down, certain compounds to prevent them from reaching organs such as the brain when necessary. So, an MAOI is a compound that inhibits the activity of MAO enzymes.
Patchouli is used widely in modern perfumery and modern industry. It has an extremely powerful scent and the leaves can simply be left out in order to scent an entire room. Patchouli is also used extensively in body care products, and has been for thousands of years. It produces a rich and musky scent that is considered to be both a stimulant and an anti-depressant. The scent of patchouli is also well known in that it can cover up most any unpleasant smell almost immediately.
Desfontainia spinosa is reported to be used as an entheogen in Chile and southern Colombia. In Chile, it is known as Taique, in Colombia as borrachero (“intoxicator”). Colombian shamans of the Kamsa’ tribe take a tea of the leaves to diagnose disease or “to dream”. Some medicine men (Curanderos) assert that they “go crazy” under its influence. The southern Chileans also use the leaves to make a yellow dye for coloring fabrics.