Mother Nature’s Roller Coaster Park And Tea Emporium…
Most of us love roller coasters and amusement rides, we grew up with them and we trust the mechanics have been figured out. Some of us even figure them out ourselves and make new ones. They have to put it through rigorous testing and when they know its safe, they let us on! So when a new ride comes in to a park, nobody questions that it will be fun and safe, we just race off and have a good time. Human beings have always loved joy rides, we’ve always sought altered states … and we always will.
Before the advent of technology and modern mechanics, we had many ways to find fun and inspiration, like mind-altering substances. I see these as being similar to rides in an amusement park. Some, like cannabis are nice as the ferris wheel, you can go round and round and take in the view. (Some people don’t like the ferris wheel, so they happily stand on the side and hold your cotton candy, and some never make it to the park!) Substances can range in intensity and some are more like roller coasters, and with proper mitigation you’ll come out having a blast. Most people don’t spend the day on these rides, and those that do would have found some crazy joy ride anyway.
Lately because of the drug war, there have been a litany of ‘smoking spice’, ‘herbal ecstasy’ and ‘tripping blends’, chemistry made up in someones basement to serve the wants of the people. They make and take these substances because they have to pass drug tests but they still want the experience. Synthetic THC (synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonists JWH-018) sprayed on Damiana or BZP (Benzylpiperazine) pressed into pills with unknown agents, have been a huge seller in the last decade, replacing weed and ecstasy, and has been banned by some governments for the links to seizures and possibly death. People come into my shop constantly and I am always telling them the potential dangers of these substances, most of them were unaware and agree with me in the end that we don’t necessarily need them … Mama’s got a Coaster Park that can provide fun and excitement for the whole gang!
The first time I ever did Salvia Divinorum, I thought, “what a carpet ride!” I was folding and rolling along not even aware of this place. When I came back down, all I could wonder about was how the hell could I buy this at any gas station and I couldn’t buy weed! Before I had done the Salvia, I had done my proper research and took it knowing it could never harm me, just maybe scare the bejesus out of me. I also know it has to be set up and mitigated properly, with a guide who’s not on it, just like the rides in the amusement park where I go – there’s an operator not on the ride! I may not understand the physics of it, but I trust the operator and off I go!
I hear a lot of negative comments about the entheogens I sell, and I can’t help but think that all those experiences that people are having are not being set up properly. Imagine bringing an old skool Peruvian shaman to a roller coaster park and taking him to the biggest ride, not telling him what’s up and just strapping him in to the ride and sending him off! When he got off the ride, he’d puke, lose his mind temporarily and never trust you again!
This is how I feel about enthoegens, they can be a lot of fun and very inspiring, but most of the time the scene isn’t set up right. We shouldn’t be able to buy salvia at the gas station. We shouldn’t be making synthetic THC. We shouldn’t be buying our fun from questionable sources, and we should be respecting the power these plants have. It should be more than just a joy ride to us.
Similarly the medicinal herbs should not be taken for granted. Just because there’s no joy ride, doesn’t mean it’s not going to make you feel good! Some of the medicine in the medicinal herbs can kick you in the ass over time, yet never get you high!
The stuff described below can cause a bit of confusion, but it’s not confusing stuff! These plants have all been classified legal in my country of Canada, but check the laws in your area, some may be legal if ‘not for human consumption’, and some may be outright illegal. Also before trying anything out, do your research, especially if you take medication, have anxiety disorder or are prone to addiction. Even non addictive substances can be habit forming, or scare the living crap out of you!
SECTION 1 – APHRODISIACS & MOOD BOOSTERS
DAMIANA (Turnera diffusa) is a fragrant flower belonging to the family Passifloraceae and it contains active compounds including damianin, tetraphyllin, beta-catotene, eucalyptol and tannins. It has a long history of use in drinks, teas, smoking blends and wines, and has been used traditionally for social gatherings as well as medicine for sexual dysfunction and mood disorders. This herb has recently gotten bad press and been banned in some places as it is the base they use to spray fake THC and other bad chemicals. Taken by itself it presents absolutely no harm to the body.
BLUE LOTUS (Nymphaea caerulea) is a tasty purple and yellow flower that hails from Egypt to the Orient and has been used for thousands of years as an anti depressant and aphrodisiac. It contains nuciferine and aporphine, sedating and mildly psychoactive alkaloids. In high doses or mixed with red wine, it can cause euphoria, and when eaten cause sedation. The effects are delightful without a sluggish stoned feeling.
HORNY GOAT WEED (Epimedium) has been used in China and eastern Europe for thousands of years as a stimulant, aphrodisiac and to treat osteoporosis. Taken as a tea or ground into a powder and eaten, this herb contains icariin, purported to work by increasing levels of nitric oxide, which relaxes muscle tissue. It has been demonstrated to relax penile tissue and increase blood pressure. Icariin also stimulates osteoblast activity in bone tissue and can help with the treatment of osteoporosis.
SWEET FLAG (Acorus calamus) is a root used by Native Americans for its antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and even aphrodisiac properties. The scented leaves and more strongly scented rhizomes have traditionally been used medicinally and to make fragrances, and the dried and powdered rhizome has been used as a substitute for ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg. It contains methyl amine, choline, tannins and mucilage, and has been used traditionally across the world for its sedative, laxative, diuretic, and carminative properties and for a variety of ailments including gum troubles, indigestion, anxiety and in the treatment of drug hysteria.
WILD DAGGA (Leonotis leonurus) also known as Lion’s Tail, is a plant species in the mint family, native to the southern Africa region. The main psychoactive component is leonurine, which has euphoric effects. Lion’s Tail is also purported to have anti-inflammatory and hypoglycemic properties. It is often associated with Cannabis as they share the same slang, ‘dagga’ and has a similar effect as THC, only not as potent. The flowers and leaves can be made into tea, the flowers can be smoked or the resin extracted. When eaten in high doses it can produce feelings of happiness and even ecstasy.
SASSAFRAS (Sasafras albidum) has been used by Native Americans for its energizing, antidepressant, anticoagulant and antiseptic properties. The root bark contains safrole, a substance thats been banned by some states and countries as it is the precursor to MDA and MDMA. A tea made from this bark can be used to treat hypertension, rheumatism, swelling, skin sores, kidney problems, menstrual disorders, bronchitis and dysentery.
PASSION FLOWER (Passiflora) has over 500 species, the fresh or dried leaves are used to make a tea or the leaves can also be smoked. It has been used by all cultures over the world for a variety of things like depression, insomnia, hysteria, and epilepsy. Many species have been found to contain beta-carboline harmala alkaloids, which are MAO inhibitors with anti-depressant properties. MAOI’s can also be combined with other herbs to potentiate their effects.
SYRIAN RUE (Peganum harmala) is a plant of the family Nitrariaceae. It is native from the eastern Iranian region west to India and has been used for thousands of years for a variety of purposes. The seeds and specifically seedcase contain harmine and harmaline, and a few other alkaloids that are purported to be analgesic, anti-inflammatoiry, anti-bacterial and anthemintic. These seeds can be eaten raw or brewed into a tea, can reduce depression and anxiety and produce a feeling of well-being. Harmaline is a central nervous system stimulant and a reversible inhibitor of MAO-A (RIMA), a category of antidepressant, that can also be combined with other herbs to boost their effect. Some scholars identify harmal with the entheogenic haoma of pre-Zoroastrian Persian religions.
KANNA (Sceletium tortuosum) contains Mesembrine and 4 other compounds that can help reduce depression, anxiety, stress and tension. High doses have been shown to produce distinct inebriation and stimulation often followed by sedation. The plant is not hallucinogenic and no adverse effects have been documented. Kanna is considered by many to potentiate the effects of other psychoactive herbal material, such as cannabis. It should not be combined with other SSRIs, MAOIs, or cardiac medications. Headaches in conjunction with alcohol have also been noted.
SECTION 5 – SLEEP AID & PAINKILLERS
SKULLCAP (Scutellaria lateriflora) is a member of the mint family and is a hardy perennial herb native to North America. At least 295 chemical compounds have been isolated from Scutellaria, among them flavonoids and diterpenes. Studies show that Scutellaria and its active principles possess wide pharmacological actions, such as antitumor, anti-angiogenesis, hepatoprotective, antioxidant, anticonvulsant, antibacterial and antiviral activities. It has also shown to reduce anxiety, pain and muscle spasms, help boost the immune system and help expel phlegm and toxins.
KAVA (Piper methysticum) can help with sleeplessness and pain. Kava’s active principal ingredients are the kavalactones, of which at least 15 have been identified and are all considered psychoactive. Effects of kavalactones include mild sedation, a slight numbing of the gums and mouth, and vivid dreams. Kava has been reported to improve cognitive performance and promote a cheerful mood. Kava has similar effects to benzodiazepine medications, including muscle relaxant, anaesthetic, anticonvulsive and anxiolytic effects. It is consumed ground and eaten or drank in a shake. It should not be taken with other substances, especially alcohol, nor should it be taken if liver damage is present.
KRATOM (Mitragyna speciosa) is a plant from the coffee family hailing from south east Asia and has been used for depression, anxiety, chronic pain, fatigue and opiate withdrawal. 40 unique compounds had been discovered in the leaves, including mitragynine, mitraphylline, and 7-hydroxymitragynine (which is currently the most likely candidate for the primary active chemical in the plant). There are many strains and forms it comes in; Maeng-Da; Red Viened and Balinese are the most common, a powder made from the leaves is eaten or made into a tea or capsules. No overdose of Kratom has ever been reported.
WHITE WILLOW (Salix alba) is a species of willow native to Europe and western and central Asia and is the natural source of Salicin, a precursor to Salicylic Acid (aspirin), isolated in 1938. A tincture made with ethanol, or a strong tea made from this bark can help reduce pain, reduce fever and help with rheumatism and arthritis. This remedy is also mentioned in texts from ancient Egypt, Sumer, and Assyria.
DREAM HERB (Calea ternifolia), otherwise known as Mexican Dream Herb or Calea Zachatechichi this plant has almost 20 identified compounds. It grows from southern Mexico to Costa Rica, and has traditionally been used for oneiromancy (a form of divination based on dreams.) Smoked or made into a tea can produce a feeling of extreme calmness with lucid dreaming later during sleep.
SECTION 6 – ENTHEOGENS
WORMWOOD (Artemisia absinthium) this plant has been used by Egyptians, Greeks, Romans and across Europe as a highly prized medicinal plant. It has a number of elements including glycoside (absinthin and ababsinthin). As a tea it has been used for a variety of ailments like digestive disorders, loss of appetite, stomach and bowel trouble, heartburn and liver or gall congestion. As an alcoholic liquor it can become extremely intoxicating and is banned in most countries. Prolonged use can be damaging. Research is recommended.
MORMON TEA (Ephedra sinica or Ephedra funerea) is known in Chinese as ma huang and has been used in traditional medicine for 5,000 years. Native Americans and Mormon pioneers drank a tea brewed called Mormon Tea. The effects of Ephedra are due to the presence of the alkaloids ephedrine and pseudoephedrine. These compounds stimulate the brain, increase heart rate, constrict blood vessels (increasing blood pressure), and expand bronchial tubes (making breathing easier). Their thermogenic properties cause an increase in metabolism, evidenced by an increase in body heat. Ephedra is widely used by athletes as a performance-enhancing drug, despite a lack of evidence that it improves athletic performance. Ephedra may also be used as a precursor in the manufacture of methamphetamine, hence Ephedra is illegal in some places.
FLY AGARIC (Amanita muscaria) this famous red and white mushroom is found wild all over the world, but originates from Eastern Europe and Scandinavia. Amanita muscaria contains several biologically active agents, at least one of which, muscimol, is known to be psychoactive. Ibotenic acid, a neurotoxin, serves as a prodrug to muscimol, with approximately 10-20% converting to muscimol after ingestion. The chemicals are water soluble and a tea made from this mushroom can often cause sedation then hallucination. It was used as an intoxicant and entheogen by the peoples of Siberia, and has a religious significance in these cultures. A fatal dose has been calculated as 15 caps. Deaths from this fungus have been reported in historical journal articles and newspaper reports, but with modern medical treatment, fatal poisoning from ingesting this mushroom is extremely rare. The North American Mycological Association has stated there were no reliably documented fatalities from eating this mushroom during the 20th century.
HAWAIIAN BABY WOODROSE (Argyreia nervosa) is a perennial climbing vine that is native to the Indian subcontinent and introduced to numerous areas worldwide, including Hawaii, Africa and the Caribbean. These powerful seeds contain ergoline alkaloids, such as Ergine or lysergic acid amide (LSA), which can produce hallucination. The plant is a rare example of a plant whose hallucinogenic properties were not recognized until recent times, first brought to attention in the 1960s. The skin of the seed can cause stomach discomfort and flatulence, so it must be sanded before grinding and brewing into tea or tincture.
OLOLUIHQUI (Turbina corymbosa) these seeds come from Mexico and contain Ergine (LSA), an ergoline alkaloid that produces hallucination. The Nahuatl word ololiuhqui means “round thing”, and refers to the small, brown, oval seeds of the morning glory. The seeds are also used by Native shamans in order to gain knowledge in curing practices and ritual, and are also named Rivea corymbosa, ‘Little Gods’, ‘Seeds of the Virgin’ and ‘Christmas Vine’. While little of it is known outside of Mexico, its seeds were perhaps the most common psychedelic drug used by the natives. The chemical composition was first described in 1960 by Dr. Albert Hofmann and has been studied by the CIA for its potency in varieties.
VOAGANGA (Voaganga africana) comes from West Africa, the bark and seeds of the tree are used in Ghana as a stimulant, aphrodisiac, and psychedelic. These effects are due a complex mixture of iboga alkaloids such as voacangine, voacamine, vobtusine, amataine, akuammidine, tabersonine, coronaridine and vobtusine. Of particular pharmaceutical interest is voacangine, which is a common precursor in the semi-synthesis of the anti-addiction medication ibogaine. Brewed as a tea, it can be nauseating at first then euphoric, often producing hallucination. When the effects are done, it often has created new thinking patterns and addiction to substances has been lessened. Research is recommended.
PERUVIAN TORCH (Echinopsis peruviana) is a fast-growing columnar cactus native to the western slope of the Andes in Peru, between about 2,000–3,000 m (6,600–9,800 ft) above sea level. It contains the psychoactive alkaloid mescaline as well as other alkaloids. The Peruvian Torch is similar to the San Pedro cactus (Echinopsis pachanoi) which is found in the same region. The human use of the cactus dates back thousands of years to the northern coast of Peru and the monks of a pre-Inca culture known as Chavín (900 BC to 200 BC). They prepared a brew called “achuma”, “huachuma” or “cimora” which was used during ritualistic ceremonies to diagnose the spiritual links to a patient’s illness.
ACACIA (Acacia confusa) also known as Hawaiian Rainbow Tree is found all over the Pacific islands. Traditionally this tree has been used for charcoal and support beams and the gum used in chemical products, food and drink. Dranks as a tea, it has mild medicinal effects. The inner root bark contains many compounds including DMT, dimethyltryptamine, which is normally broken down in the stomach, however if brewed in a tea with an MAO inhibitor it can produce a hallucinogenic effect, research is recommended.
JUREMBA (Mimosa tenuiflora) also known as Mimosa Hostilis, this perennial tree is native to the northeastern region of Brazil and found as far north as southern Mexico. It has traditionally been used to treat skin lesions, couch and bronchitis, veinous leg ulcers and washing animals to keep parasites away. It is rich in tannins, making it excellent for dyes, charcoal and construction materials. The bark is known to be rich in tannins, saponins, alkaloids, lipids, phytosterols, glucosides, xylose, rhamnose, arabinose, lupeol, methoxychalcones and kukulkanins, and it has been recently shown to have a DMT (Dimethyltryptamine) content of about 1%, and the presence of the other compounds makes it orally active without taking an MAOI. A tea brewed from the ground inner root bark can produce trance and mild hallucination, and when combined with an MAOI, it can be more intensive, research is recommended.
DIVINER’S SAGE (Salvia divinorum) is a psychoactive plant which can induce dissociative effects and is a potent producer of “visions” and other hallucinatory experiences. Native to the cloud forest in the isolated Sierra Mazateca of Oaxaca, Mexico. It’s chief psychoactive ingredient ia a structurally unique diterpenoid called salvinorin A a potent k-opioid. It is not an alkaloid, (meaning it does not contain a basic nitrogen), unlike most known opioid receptor ligands and it is the first documented diterpene hallucinogen. By mass, it is the most potent naturally occurring hallucinogen. Research has shown that salvinorin A is a potent and selective κ-Opioid receptor. Results from a study at the University of Iowa indicate that it may have potential as an analgesic and as a therapeutic tool for treating drug addictions. Taken traditionally as a tea with fresh leaves or chewed, modern methods have made it a smokeable substance with far more powerful effects. There are no known addictions or fatalities due to the drug itself.
All research has been done from a variety of sources, but the science and most of the wording has been quoted from Wikipedia, along with my own interjections. The purpose of this blog is not to train but rather to educate. Humans will always seek joy rides, I’m hoping with this knowledge it will help some of those joy rides to be more responsible!
Herb Wisdom – http://www.herbwisdom.com/herblist.html
Richters – http://www.richters.com/
Mountain Rose Herbs – http://www.mountainroseherbs.com/
A Modern Herbal – http://botanical.com/
I Am Shaman – http://www.iamshaman.com/
Erowid – http://www.erowid.org/
Psychonaught – http://www.psychonaut.com/forum.php
Urban Shaman – http://www.urbanshaman.net/
Neurosoup – http://www.neurosoup.com/
The Shroomery – http://www.shroomery.org/
The Spirit Molecule – http://www.thespiritmolecule.com/