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Several South-American native societies snuff psychoactive seeds in magic-religious rituals since ancient times.
To describe archeological, historical and ethnographical evidences regarding the ritual use of vilca or yopo (Anadenanthera sp).
Anadenanthera seeds were used in South America 3,000 years ago. Archeological studies found vilca seeds in funerary tombs from 1,000 BC in the north of Chile and Argentina; ceramics and snuff tubes were found in San Pedro de Atacama archeological sites from the same data, and in Tiwanaku ceremonial center in Bolivian Altiplano. Today, Anadenanthera sp is used by several native groups in Orinoco basin, where is known as yopo, and in the Brazilian and Colombian Amazon. Hallucinogenic effect is due to the presence of methyl-tryptamine derivatives. Most snuff is prepared from the roasted and powdered seeds, vegetable ash and/or lime obtained from shells.
Archeological and ethnographical data suggest that vilca was used and is still used by native shamans as a sacred seed in South America, due to its hallucinogenic effects.
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... Recently unearthed evidence such as paraphernalia (ceramics and snuff tubes) suggest that pre-Columbian cultures (~3000-4000 years ago) in the Caribbean and South America utilized seeds of the native tree A. peregrina (L.) Speg. as an entheogen in religious ceremonies [146,147]. The first, official written accounts of the hallucinogenic properties of A. peregrina bean-snuff was reported by Friar Ramon Pane who was commissioned by Christopher Columbus to explore Hispaniola . ...
The word “psychedelic” (psyche (i.e., the mind or soul) and delos (i.e., to show)) has Greek origin and was first coined by psychiatrist Humphry Osmond in 1956, who had been conducting research on lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) at the time. Psychedelic drugs such as N,N-DMT/DMT (N,N-dimethyltryptamine), 5-MeO-DMT (5-methoxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine), LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide), MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine) and psilocybin have had significant value as an entheogen in spiritual, religious (shamanic) and sociocultural rituals in Central and South American cultures for thousands of years. In the 1960s, the globalization of these drugs and their subsequent spread outside of their indigenous, old-world cultures, led to the subsequent implementation of strict drug control laws in many Western countries. Even today, psychedelics are still classified as Schedule I drugs, resulting in a still lingering negative stigmatization/perception, vilification, and ultimate criminalization of psychedelics. This controversy still lingers and still limits scientific research and full medical acceptance. For many years up until recently, the spiritual, religious and medicinal value of these drugs could not be explored in a scientific context. More recently, a second wave of psychedelic research is now focusing on psychedelics as neuropharmaceuticals to treat alcohol and tobacco addiction, general mood and anxiety disorders and cancer-related depression. There is now a vast array of promising evidence-based data to confirm the years of anecdotal evidence of the medicinal values of psychedelics. Natural therapeutic alternatives such as psychedelic drugs may provide a safe and efficacious alternate to conventional drugs used to treat mood and anxiety disorders. In a Western context in particular, psychedelic drugs as therapeutic agents for mood and anxiety disorders are becoming increasingly of interest amidst increasing rates of such disorders globally, changing social constructions, the implementation of government regulations and increasing investment opportunities, that ultimately allow for the scientific study to generate evidenced-based data. Alternative psychotherapeutic interventions are gaining interest also, because of their low physiological toxicity, relatively low abuse potential, safe psychological effects, and no associated persisting adverse physiological or psychological effects during and after use. On the other hand, conventional psychotic drugs and anti-depressants are becoming less favorable because of their adverse side effects. Psychedelic neuropharmaceutical interventions may with medical oversight be the solution to conventional psychiatric disorders such as depression and anxiety, and an alternative to conventional psychiatric treatment options. This paper will review the therapeutic potential of psychedelic drugs as alternative therapeutic options for mood and anxiety disorders in a controlled, clinical setting, where the chances of adverse psychological episodes occurring are mitigated.
... D'autre part, les graines de l'espèce A. colubrina possèdent des propriétés hallucinogènes et hypnotiques (Lorenzi, 2008). Certaines études indiquent que ces graines étaient utilisées dans le passé, et le sont encore actuellement, par des groupes indigènes d'Amérique latine lors de cérémonie rituelles sous forme de poudre à inhaler appelée « yopo » (Carod-Artal et Vázquez Cabrera, 2007 ;Rodd, 2002). À Ferraz Egreja, Byrsonima sp., Allophylus sp. ...
Located in the south-western Mato Grosso state (Central Brazil), the vast territory of the Cidade de Pedra was continuously occupied since the mid-Holocene by several groups of hunter-gatherers. Rock paintings, lithic industries, ceramics, ornaments, combustion remains (etc.) testify their passages in the many rock art sites discovered since 1983. In this paper are presented the results of the first anthracological analyzes conducted in four of these rock shelters. The studies were realized from macro-remains carbonized from hearths, embers and concentrations. From the taxonomic identification of charcoal, the objectives are to highlight the practices of hunter-gatherers related to the collection of wood and the environment in which they evolved for nearly 5000 years. The results indicate that they practiced an opportunistic collection mainly focused on dry wood available in the vegetation around the sites. They evolved in an environment similar to that currently characterizes the region, a typical flora of the Cerrado Biome and seasonal climate.
Abstract: Anadenanthera colubrina var. cebil is an important tree species for its cultural, economic, and
medicinal uses in South America. In order to characterize A. colubrina populations, we collected fruits from four
different sites (San Bernardo, El Cebilar, Metán and El Gallinato) within the species distribution area in Salta
Province, Northwestern Argentina. For this, a total of 75 fruits and seeds per site were collected and described
using morphological (fruits size and weight; seed weight and number per fruit) and genetic descriptors (ribosomic
DNA extraction and PCR; nucleotide alignment and phylogenetic analysis) with standard protocols. Our
results showed that the San Bernardo population had the heaviest fruits and seeds (7.89±0.2g and 0.19±0.002,
respectively), and the Cebilar population the lightest (6.25±0.18g and 0.15±0.002g, respectively). Fruits and
seeds from Metán and El Gallinato showed similar and intermediate values. The proportion viable (39 to 55%)
and aborted (43 to 57%) seeds was different, while the proportion of predated (1.7 to 4.2%) seeds was similar
among populations. The genetic analysis showed variability of ITS sequences within the especies, and also when
compared with the same Brazilian species. Both, morphologic and genetic descriptors showed a high level of
similarity between San Bernardo and Metán, and between El Cebilar and El Gallinato populations. Further studies
are needed to assess levels of phenotypic and genetic variability within and between populations of different
plant species, since this information is crucial for biodiversity and germplasm long-term conservation.
The natives that dwell along the banks of the Orinoco and Amazon rivers have used different poisons from plants for centuries. The study reviews the historical and ethnographic aspects of the use of curares and timbós in the Amazonian region.
Curare is prepared by boiling the roots, bark and stalks of different plants belonging to the Loganiaceae (Strychnos) and Menispermaceae families (Chondrodendron, Curarea and Abuta). The curares of the eastern Amazon are extracted from different species of Strychnos that contain quaternary alkaloids, which act by blocking the neuromuscular junction. They are used to hunt wild animals and death comes about due to paralysis of the skeletal muscles. The first muscles to be paralysed are those of the eyes, nose and neck, and then those in the limbs; the diaphragm is the muscle that takes the longest to become paralysed. The earliest chronicles reporting their use were written by Fernandez de Oviedo, Cristoval de Acuna, Antonio de Ulloa and Jose Gumilla. La Condamine, Humbolt, Waterton and Schomburgk, among others, carried out a number of different ethnobotanical studies on curare. The ichthyotoxic poisons from plants, which are known as timbós or barbascos, are characterised by their high level of solubility, their fast diffusion and their high rate of activity. At least 70 plant species are used to poison the fish in the tributaries of the Amazon with the aim of make fishing easier. Sapindaceae, Papilionaceae, Euphorbiaceae and Theophrastaceae contain ichthyotoxic substances, such as rotenone or saponins.
Ethnohistorical and ethnographic accounts show that the Amazonian cultures have a deep understanding of the toxic properties of curares and timbós.
Current understanding of the preparation and use of yopo, a hallucinogenic snuff made from the ground seeds of the Anadenanthera peregrina tree, has departed little from the accounts of scientists and travelers made over a century ago. Schultes and others have made refinements to these early accounts. While several scholars have drawn attention to the fact that little ethnographic work has been conducted to assess the ethnobotanical diversity and cultural framework of the snuff hallucinogen complex, few subsequent studies deal with botanical variations in preparation and use. This article contrasts historical accounts of yopo preparation with ethnographic data I have recently collected among the Piaroa of southern Venezuela to demonstrate one way in which yopo preparation and use deviates from the basic model established by Humboldt, Spruce and Safford. Piaroa shamans include B. caapi cuttings in the preparation of yopo and consume doses of B. caapi prior to snuff inhalation concomitant with the strength of visions desired for particular tasks. I argue that the combined use of yopo and B. caapi by Piaroa shamans is pharmacologically and ethnobotanically significant, and substantiates claims of the use of admixtures in snuff; further ethnographic investigation of the snuff hallucinogen complex is necessary.
A wide range of fungi and medicinal herbs, rich in hallucinogenic substances and widely used for mystic and medicinal purposes, can give rise to neurotoxic symptoms.
We review the toxic syndromes that can arise from the ingestion of hallucinogenic fungi, cacti and plants, together with descriptions of cases of acute poisoning resulting from the use of medicinal herbs and from foodstuffs that are contaminated by mycotoxins. A series of different psychedelic fungi belonging to the Psilocybe, Panaeolus and Stropharia genera contain hallucinogenic alkaloids such as psilocybin. Some of the most notable plants displaying hallucinogenic and sedative properties are Papaver somniferum, Erytroxylum sp. and Cannabis sativa. Infusions of ayahuasca are obtained from the lianas and roots of different plants with psychoactive properties, such as Banisteriopsis caapi and Psychotria viridis, which contain alkaloids derived from tryptamine and from the beta carboline harmala. Peyote, a cactus rich in mescaline, and Claviceps purpurea (a fungus rich in LSD) are strong hallucinogens. We also examine ergotism and mycotoxicosis from Arthrinium sp. Poisoning from mycotoxin containing moulds on sugar cane can give rise to encephalopathy and late dystonia. Some of the more noteworthy medicinal plants for which neurological toxicity has been reported are Hypericum perforatum, kava kava (Piper methysticum), Aconitum sp. and Callilepis laureola.
Because of the increasingly more widespread consumption of herbs and fungi and their potentially neurotoxic effects, in clinical practice there is a need to be aware of the neurological syndromes deriving from their use.
A substantial number of the mind-altering plants that are presently known had their origin in the New World. Before the arrival of the Spanish, many of them were used by the pre-Columbian Indians for magical, religious, and other purposes. The chroniclers of the sixteenth century recorded a considerable amount of information about these plants, but only a few hallucinogenic plants were transported to Europe. Some of these plants are well known - the ololiuqui and the teonanacatl are good examples - because their use persisted after the Spanish conquest, mostly in remote places, as the Spanish clergy did not appreciate the use of mind-altering plants. The use of many well-known and lesser-known hallucinogenic plants has been described extensively by several authors, but their descriptions refer mainly to contemporaneous use of these plants (Luiz Diaz 1977; Schultes & Hofmann 1973; Emboden 1972; Schultes 1965; Guerra & Olivera 1954). In the present article, the use of some little-known hallucinogenic plants by the Aztecs, the ruling tribe in Mexico at the time of the conquest, will be considered.
There are various enema scenes on classic Maya pottery, which undoubtedly represent rituals and may very well indicate that the ancient Maya took intoxicating enemas in a ritual context. This idea is quite contrary to the traditional view that the ancient Maya were a contemplative people, who did not indulge in ritual ecstasy. The occasional display of vomiting actors would seem to provide a plausible reason why the Maya opted for rectal application. Some scenes present a fair amount of evidence that an alcoholic beverage may have been taken rectally. Anecdotal experimental evidence suggests that an alcoholic liquid may certainly induce or intensify a state of inebriation, when it is administered via the rectal route. Other scenes open up the possibility that tobacco and the water lily or some other flowering plant may have served as an enema ingredient. The phytochemistry and psychopharmacology of tobacco are well documented and there can be little doubt that this herb may produce toxic effects, when it is taken in the form of a clyster. Unfortunately, little is still known about the constituents and pharmacological activity of the water lily. It is sometimes speculated that this plant is hallucinogenic, but experimental confirmation of this view is still awaited.
Part one of the paper discusses ethnobotanical, chemical and general pharmacological aspects of intoxicating snuff rituals in the western hemisphere. Four categories of ritual snuff ingredients arise from this multidisciplinary approach: It is well established that the plant contains one or more psychoactive principles and the Indian use of the plant as a ritual snuff ingredient is confirmed or quite probable: Anadenanthera, Erythroxylum, Nicotiana, Virola; It is well established that the plant contains one or more psychoactive principles, but the Indian use of the plant as a ritual snuff ingredient is not well recorded or even unlikely: Banisteriopsis, Cannabis, Datura, Ilex guayusa; The Indian use of the plant as a ritual snuff ingredient is confirmed or quite probable, but it is not well established that the plant contains one or more psychoactive principles: Justicia pectoralis, Pagamea macrophylla, Tanaecium nocturnum; The Indian use of the plant as a ritual snuff ingredient is not well recorded, and it is not well established that the plant contains one or more psychoactive principles: Acorus calamus, Capsicum, Macquira sclerophylla, Piper interitum. Part two of the paper discusses the nasal pharmacokinetics and efficacy of possible ritual snuff constituents. The literature yields convincing clinical evidence that atropine, cocaine, nicotine and scopolamine are effective following nasal application, but experimental confirmation of the efficacy of nasal tryptamine alkaloids is still awaited. In self-experiments, 6.4 mg/kg of caffeine produced substantial plasma levels via the nasal route, but 0.5 mg/kg of harmine did not produce measurable plasma levels, when taken as a nasal powder. Without additional experiments, it is difficult to give a definite explanation for this negative result.
Tobacco originates in the New World, where its use by the Pre-Columbian Indians was described by Spanish chroniclers. Studying these accounts it appears that a relatively large part of the descriptions, dealing with the use of tobacco by the Aztecs in Mexico, and on the Caribbean Isles, is devoted to the narcotic and hallucinogenic use of tobacco. In Mexico this use was mainly associated with the priesthood. It is concluded that in Pre-Columbian times tobacco possessed mind-altering properties, which were used by the indigenous population.
Part one of the paper discusses ethnobotanical, chemical and general pharmacological aspects of intoxicating snuff rituals in the western hemisphere. Four categories of ritual snuff ingredients arise from this multidisciplinary approach:
(1) It is well established that the plant contains one or more psychoactive principles and the Indian use of the plant as a ritual snuff ingredient is confirmed or quite probable: Anadenanthera, Erythroxylum, Nicotiana, Virola;1.
(2) It is well established that the plant contains one or more psychoactive principles, but the Indian use of the plant as a ritual snuff ingredient is not well recorded or even unlikely: Banisteriopsis, Cannabis, Datura, Ilex guayusa;
(3) The Indian use of the plant as a ritual snuff ingredient is confirmed or quite probable, but it is not well established that the plant contains one or more psychoactive principles: Justicia pectoralis, Pagamea macrophylla, Tanaecium nocturnum;
(4) The Indian use of the plant as a ritual snuff ingredient is not well recorded, and it is not well established that the plant contains one or more psychoactive principles: Acorus calamus, Capsicum, Macquira sclerophylla, Piper interitum.
Part two of the paper discusses the nasal pharmacokinetics and efficacy of possible ritual snuff constituents. The literature yields convincing clinical evidence that atropine, cocaine, nicotine and scopolamine are effective following nasal application, but experimental confirmation of the efficacy of nasal tryptamine alkaloids is still awaited. In self-experiments, 6.4 mgkg of caffeine produced substantial plasma levels via the nasal route, but 0.5 mgkg of harmine did not produce measurable plasma levels, when taken as a nasal powder. Without additional experiments, it is difficult to give a definite explanation for this negative result.
The Kamayura tribe is made up of 300 persons living in the Alto Xingu in Mato Grosso, Brazil. Their traditional system of health care is based on the pajé, a witch doctor who uses plants and prayers for treatment.
Field work was done in the Kamayura village holding successive interviews with the chief and the pajé Takumá to obtain information regarding the neurological disorders found there, the indigenous beliefs regarding illness (natural or based on witch-craft), their classification and traditional treatment based on plants. The terms employed were translated from Kamayura into Portuguese.
Illness in Indians is caused by the revenge of the spirit (mama'e) of the animal killed by the huntsman. Epilepsy (Teawurup) or armadillo disease is caused when a huntsman kills an armadillo. It is treated with two roots, tsimó and wewuru, kneaded, diluted in water and applied to the eyes. An infusion of enamum root is also used. Migraine or monkey disease causes a pulsatile headache and vertigo. Mental retardation and infantile cerebral palsy are included in the ant-bear disease. Depression is treated with the plant 'iputunú'; which is applied diluted in water to the face of the patient so that he no longer sees his dead relations and may be cured. Schizophrenia or apuayat (owl disease) also occurs, but not parkinsonism or stroke.
The Kamayura pajes have established a system of health-care based on magic folklore, transmitted orally and making use of traditional plants.
Summarized are psychonautic bioassays (human self-experiments) of pharmañopo--crystalline bufotenine (5-HO-DMT; 5-hydroxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine; dimethylserotonine), at times combined with harmaline or harmine-via intranasal, sublingual, intrarectal, pulmonary (inhaled vapor) and oral routes. This is done by way of pharmacological modeling of diverse South American shamanic inebriants, principally the snuffs ñopolyopo and cebílhaáj, prepared from seeds of Anadenanthera peregrina var. peregrina and A. colubrina var. Cebil, respectively. Psychoptic (visionary) activity of bufotenine has been established and the 1967 Holmstedt-Lindgren hypothesis of the paricá effect-intranasal potentiation of tryptamines by concomitant administration of monoamine-oxidase-inhibiting (MAOI) beta-carbolines from stems of Banisteriopsis caapi admixed with the snuffs-has been confirmed by 25 psychonautic bioassays. Salient phytochemical and psychonautic literature is reviewed, and isolation of bufotenine from Anadenanthera seeds detailed (with one table and eight references).
A wide range of plants, seeds and fruits used for nutritional and medicinal purposes can give rise to neurotoxic symptoms.
We review the neurological pathology associated with the acute or chronic consumption of plants, seeds and fruits in human beings and in animals. Of the plants that can trigger acute neurotoxic syndromes in humans, some of the most notable include Mandragora officinalis, Datura stramonium, Conium maculatum (hemlock), Coriaria myrtifolia (redoul), Ricinus communis, Gloriosa superba, Catharanthus roseus, Karwinskia humboldtiana and Podophyllum pelatum. We also survey different neurological syndromes linked with the ingestion of vegetable foodstuffs that are rich in cyanogenic glycosides, Jamaican vomiting sickness caused by Blighia sapida, Parkinson dementia ALS of Guam island and exposition to Cycas circinalis, Guadeloupean parkinsonism and exposition to Annonaceae, konzo caused by ingestion of wild manioc and neurolathyrism from ingestion of Lathyrus sativus, the last two being models of motor neurone disease. Locoism is a chronic disease that develops in livestock feeding on plants belonging to Astragalus and Oxytropis sp., Sida carpinifolia and Ipomea carnea, which are rich in swainsonine, a toxin that inhibits the enzyme alpha mannosidase and induces a cerebellar syndrome.
The ingestion of neurotoxic seeds, fruits and plants included in the diet and acute poisoning by certain plants can give rise to different neurological syndromes, some of which are irreversible.
The Uru-Chipaya people are an ethnic group of about 2,500 people, descendants of primitive Andean cultures. Their isolation (they live at an altitude of 4,000 metres in southern Bolivia), their non-written language (Chipaya-Puquina) and their traditional way of life, clothing and customs, which are similar to those used for thousands of years, make this an unusual culture. The aim of our work was to carry out an ethnographic study of the neurological diseases experienced by these people, the way they conceive such disorders and their therapeutic approaches to them.
An ethnographic field study was conducted in June 2004. A structured interview was held with a yatiri, or Chipaya healer, to allow classification of the neurological or mental diseases. Epilepsy (tukuri) is interpreted as being a consequence of an evil spirit entering through the nose. Treatment consists in drinking an infusion containing dried powdered butterfly (jesko), birds or curupancho. Achamixi (headache) is common and is treated by drinking the yatiri's fermented urine, herb tea made from the chachacoma plant and by blowing, which is done by the yatiri over the patient's head. Fright, the symptoms of which are similar to those of a post-traumatic stress disorder, is treated by a wilancha, that is, the ritual sacrifice of a llama offered to the Pachamama. Sadness, the cultural equivalent to depression, is treated with infusions made from ayrampo, a plant found in the Andean Altiplano. Psychosis (sumsu), which is treated by means of a wilancha, and mental retardation/static encephalopathy (pustkis), which are considered to be a result of a fright suffered by the mother during pregnancy, also exist. No mention was made of the existence of extrapyramidal or vascular pathologies.
The cultural equivalents of certain neurological pathologies (headache, epilepsy, mental retardation, anxiety and depression) are present in this ancestral culture.
The San Pedro cactus contains the alkaloid mescaline and other derivates of phenethylamine with hallucinogenic properties. This cactus was used throughout history by a number of different pre-Columbine cultures and civilisations that settled in northern Peru. In this article we review the ethno-archaeological and ethno-historical evidence of the ritual use of the San Pedro cactus in the pre-Columbine cultures, and these findings are compared with the information provided by current ethnographical studies.
The longer a cactus has been stored, the stronger and the higher its content in mescaline-derived alkaloids will be. Archaeological evidence has been found of the use of San Pedro for magical-religious purposes in the following pre-Columbine cultures: Cupisnique (1500 BC), Chavin (1000 BC), Moche (100-750 AD) and Lambayeque (750-1350 AD). Today's master shamans use San Pedro on altars ('mesas') erected for healing rites in order to treat enchantment and bad luck. The mesa follows a sophisticated ritual: 'levantar' (raise) or sniff tobacco with alcohol, ingest San Pedro, pinpoint the diseases, cleanse the evil and 'florecer' (flourish) the sick person. The mesa rite is performed in the early hours of Tuesdays and Fridays, which are sacred days in the Andean religions. San Pedro is sometimes replaced by an infusion of plants and seeds that contain hallucinogenic components, such as ayahuasca and the 'mishas' (Brugmansia sp.).
The ancient tradition of using the San Pedro cactus for healing and hallucinogenic purposes has remained part of the culture in Andean shamanism up to the present day.
Moche (100-700 AD) and Lambayeque-Sicán (750-1100 AD) are pre-Columbian cultures from Regional States Period, developed in Northern Peru. Information about daily life, religion and medicine has been obtained through the study of Moche ceramics found in lords and priests tombs, pyramids and temples.
To analyze archeological evidences of Moche Medicine and neurological diseases through ceramics.
Representations of diseases in Moche and Lambayeque iconography and Moche pottery collections exposed in Casinelli museum from Trujillo, and Brüning National Archeological museum from Lambayeque, Peru, were studied. The most representative cases were analyzed and photographed, previous authorization from authorities and curators of the museums.
The following pathologies were observed in ceramic collections: peripheral facial palsy, facial malformations such as cleft lip, hemifacial spasm, legs and arm amputations, scoliosis and Siamese patients. Male and females Moche doctors were also observed in the ceramics in ritual ceremonies treating patients.
The main pathologies observed in Moche and Lambayeque pottery are facial palsy and cleft lip. These are one of the earliest registries of these pathologies in pre-Columbian cultures in South-America.