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The Power of the Poppy: Harnessing Nature's Most Dangerous Plant Ally Paperback – February 23, 2011

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The Power of the Poppy: Harnessing Nature's Most Dangerous Plant Ally + Opium for the Masses: Harvesting Nature's Best Pain Medication + 100 Organic White Afghan Poppy Seeds Papaver Somniferum
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Like cannabis, the poppy is an ancient medicinal plant, both revered and maligned. Kenaz Filan performs a crucial service in educating us about its history, both agricultural and cultural, and examining its potential for healing and harm. Most importantly, the author offers hope and heart to those struggling with addiction.” (Julie Holland, editor of Ecstasy: The Complete Guide and The Pot Book: A Complete Guide to Cannabis)

The Power of the Poppy offers a frank and precise analysis of the mystical, chemical, and social aspects of a plant that has fascinated humans for millennia. Readers will gain the data they need to make informed decisions.” (Elizabeth Barrette, author of Composing Magic)

“An eminently readable book, this examination of the poppy's contribution to humankind, for both good and ill, belongs on every shelf. Written in a beguiling, conversational tone that kept this reader reading late into the night. . . An open-eyed, unbiased and realistic examination of the history of the poppy and its products, this book will appear to a broad range of readers. They will not be disappointed.” (Marlene Y. Satter, ForeWord Magazine, March 2011)

The Power of the Poppy elucidates the many ways the histories of man and poppy are intertwined and it’s full of interesting tidbits along the way. . . If you have an interest in opium and its role in human affairs, The Power of the Poppy will be both entertaining and enlightening.” (StoptheDrugWar.org, May 2011)

The Power of the Poppy is truly a magnificent book. It is essential reading for anyone interested in the history of psychoactives, the drug war, or a personal relationship with powerful plant allies.” (Stephen Harrod Buhner, author of The Secret Teachings of Plants)

“Kenaz Filan’s well-researched compilation of Poppy’s history, uses, constituents, derivatives, and personal accounts will more than inform you about this powerful plant--it will invite you to deeply consider the price one pays for such a potent ally.” (Pam Montgomery, herbalist and author of Plant Spirit Healing)

From the Back Cover

POPULAR CULTURE / ENTHEOGENS

The Power of the Poppy is truly a magnificent book. It is essential reading for anyone interested in the history of psychoactives, the drug war, or a personal relationship with powerful plant allies.”
--Stephen Harrod Buhner, author of The Secret Teachings of Plants

Few plant allies have a history as long and well-documented as Papaver somniferum, the celebrated and infamous opium poppy. For thousands of years people around the world have been unable to resist the poppy’s siren song of intoxicating pleasure, pain relief, and visionary states--so much so that this potent plant has literally adapted itself to human civilization: in increasing its intoxicating properties, it came to rely solely on humankind for its propagation.

From 6,000-year-old poppy seeds found in archaeological digs in Europe to the black tar heroin factories of South America and the modern “War on Drugs,” Kenaz Filan explores the history of this enduring plant and its many derivatives--including opium, morphine, oxycodone, methadone, and fentanyl--as well as its symbiotic relationship with humans as medicine, food, intoxicant, and visionary tool. Profiling 11 famous users, including Thomas de Quincey, William S. Burroughs, Lou Reed, and DJ Screw, Filan examines how opium and other poppy derivatives inspired them as well as the high price it exacted for its inspiration. Covering techniques of cultivation, extraction, and safe consumption along with methods for overcoming addiction and staying “clean,” this book offers a sensible approach to the poppy that recognizes the plant not as a crop to be harvested or eradicated but as a living, sentient ally that can offer healing or harm and must be approached with respect and caution.

KENAZ FILAN is the author of The Haitian Vodou Handbook, Vodou Love Magic, and Vodou Money Magic and the coauthor of Drawing Down the Spirits. A frequent contributor to PanGaia, Planet Magazine, and Widdershins, Filan is the former managing editor of newWitch magazine and lives in Short Hills, New Jersey.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Park Street Press (February 23, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594773998
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594773990
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #670,187 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 36 people found the following review helpful By David J. Brown VINE VOICE on April 17, 2011
Format: Paperback
This is an extraordinarily well-researched and extremely well-written book. I found it utterly fascinating and was hardly able to put the book down. Not only is this the most comprehensively researched book on the subject, it is also the only book (that I'm aware of) that views the opium poppy as a shamanic plant ally. The book is simply bursting with hard-to-find information, little-known historical facts, practical extraction and preparation methods, and other botanical, pharmacological, and philosophical treasures. The Power of the Poppy is an absolute delight to read, and it makes clear both the blissful benefits and dangerous risks involved in developing a relationship with this seductive plant ally. Anyone interested in opium, shamanism, and the relationship between drugs and culture will absolutely love this book.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Zachary Griffith on February 20, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
received quickly, and this book is very informative. speaks of the Human history of the use of this plant, the harvesting of its latex, the different ways this has been used by humans. it also covers the addiction that can accompany this plants use. it speaks of how to use without abuse, and also covers staying clean
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Thomas P Tankersley on February 1, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is probably the best book about the history of opium I have read. No matter where you stand on narcotic use this is a very
informative book. I hope a broad range of people will read this book.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 27, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
First off this author is extremely intelligent and before purchasing the book I was astonished just looking at the chapter titles I couldn't believe how diverse they were from ancient history to modern day Poland and a crude form of heroin to the contents of d.j screws white cup of sizzurp!..this book will not disappoint if your interested or intrigued or just a little curious about this magnificent miraculous plant there is no better book I was upset when I finished I did not want it to end!
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By JWH on August 24, 2011
Format: Paperback
This book really drives home the fact addictions are no fun. It shows how people who never thought they would cross a line did. It was a good read to me.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Victor Levine on October 29, 2011
Format: Paperback
It is not often that well-researched books about controversial subjects are able to refrain from moralizing and maintain objectivity. Filan's "Poppy" book is an exception - in more ways than one. First, as other reviewers have noted, there are the scientifically rich assessments of papaver somniferum and its permutations. Detailed descriptions of familiar medical derivatives (oxycodone laudenum, codine, to name a few) are accompanied by, what I found to be highly unusual; the range of biologic, medical, and psychologic effects on humans. Indeed, I felt as though Filan's focus on the relationship between the plant and humankind - dating back some 50,000 years - was the most interesting part. And his deification of the plant - he acknowledges its soul - is as wholistic as it is daring. My own book, "Vaporized", also explores some of these truths. With modern research techniques now employed to re-evaluate the axiomatic verities of civilization, many gems, such as are unearthed in this book, enrich our understanding of who we are and how we got this way. I highly recommend this book for those who have been enlightened by Jared Diamond's seminal work "Guns Germs and Steel".
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Derek Murphy on April 21, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Lots to learn about opium and the poppy; I wasn't expecting the in-depth sections on contemporary medications and painkiller abuse, or the very specific and detailed methods and recipes to use or process these substances at home...
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Raven OrthaeVelve on July 5, 2011
Format: Paperback
It is an absolute pleasure to do a favorable book review for a change. So many books I read just make me angry and frustrated that for the first chapter of this one, I was waiting for the other shoe to drop and my blood pressure to rise, but it never did.

I really enjoyed Filan's book, "The Hatian Vodou Handbook" as a source from a practicioner about Vodou and posession, which is why I initially picked this book up, along with my interest in ethanobotany and my career as an EMT/Phlebotomist with some cross studies in pharmacology. Here is a book that appealed to all these interests and more. It is well referenced, sources are cited in footnotes throughout the book. Coverage also includes the chemistry, pharmacology, shamanism, history and human usage of this important plant, and I found myself thoroughly absorbed.

I was also impressed to see frank discussion of safe needle and injection practices and sharp criticism I resoundingly agree with on the US government's refusal to fund clean needle exchange even though it would save lives and millions of dollars in emergency health care. Poppy as an ethenogen in the form of a tea is covered, as is the dangers of using it as such. All in all, this was an excellent book, though I would have liked to see some more images of ancient art involving the Poppy and more on the use of Iboga root to counter Heroin addiction. Those are personal areas of interest for me, the latter due to my volunteer work at a clinic that sees several habitual heroin users.

All in all, highly recommended, and I am very impressed.
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