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Pharmako/Dynamis: Stimulating Plants, Potions, & Herbcraft
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Pendell suggests the reader can begin anywhere in either of his two books and arrive at the same place. I read the sections that interested me most and then backfilled. I ended up reading all of PHARMAKO-DYNAMIS (the second volume) first. This volume includes essays on coffee, tea, chocolate, kola, betel, Ma Huang (Ephedera), Khat, Coca, and Nutmeg. Nutmeg?? Yes, nutmeg is a "drug" or herb of choice for some. You probably knew the poppy seeds on your bagel could lead to a positive on a drug test, but you might not have known that nutmeg in the proper doses could lead to euphoria, delirious visions, or headaches. Pendell says he prefers his nutmeg in eggnog.
Pendell writes provocatively, " Billions of dollars are spent to keep adults from having access to methamphetamines, while Adderall (amphetamine) and Ritalin (methylphenidate) are widely prescribed for children." Many of the plants with "suspect" pharmaceutical uses have been cultivated for thousands of years.Read more ›
Another comparison - to Hoffmann and Schultes' "Plants of the Gods" is in order, as both have encyclopaedic range, but the Pharmako series takes a more integrated viewpoint, and (again) is longer. When the series is complete (with Pharmako/Gnosis) I expect it to be one of the fullest and most useful references on this fascinating subject.
One feature which recommends this series is the variety of perspectives which the subsections of each chapter bring to each plant: we learn about botany, about pharmacology, history, religious uses, personal views of the effects, poetic odes, esoteric commentary, and more. The author takes seriously the question of how to report on plants whose effects involve changes in consciousness: he lets the narrative voice reflect some of the kinds of awareness associated to each (one reason the book on stimulants ended up being so long that the two-book series turned into a three-book series!Read more ›
Bravo to the author, publisher and designer for an all-around spectacular work.
I was a bit thrown off by the set up...how taken...history...part used...history...part used...effect....but if read like a fabulous work of poetry instead of an herbal it is a great read with loads of wonderful information in it. want to get the rest of the series now! THank you Dale for sharing your wisdom!!