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Pharmako/Dynamis: Stimulating Plants, Potions, & Herbcraft

5.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1562791254
ISBN-10: 1562791257
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Dale Pendell is a poet, software engineer, and longtime student of ethnobotany. His poetry has appeared in many journals, and he was the founding editor of Kuksu: Journal of Backcountry Writing. His work appeared in Entheogens and the Future of Religion. He has led workshops on ethnobotany and ethnopoetics for the Naropa Institute and the Botanical Preservation Corps.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Mercury House (September 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1562791257
  • ISBN-13: 978-1562791254
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,709,943 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Dianne Foster HALL OF FAME on April 5, 2003
Format: Paperback
Since my own interests include gardening, herbs, plant poisons, and natural pharmaceuticals such as caffeine, I quickly decided Dale Pendell's PHARMAKO-DYNAMIS and PHARMAKO-POEIA were must-read books for me. These books are also for historians, drug counselors, people who write laws associated with drug use, those concerned with the impoverishment of countries invaded by world-based industrialized corporations, and drug users. Think you aren't a drug user? Other than tea, coffee, chocolate, wine, beer, the paregoric my mother fed me as a child, and the aether and morphine I ingested at different times as a hospital patient, neither am I. Incidentally, paregoric and morphine are related to opium and it's offspring heroin.
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.
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Format: Paperback
Dale Pendell's "Pharmako" series is an excellent resource for those interested in the relation of human cultures to plants, especially plants with consciousness-changing properties. The author devotes sections to each of a wide array of different plants, as well as sections dealing tangentially with aspects of the "Poison Path". One of the most refreshing aspects of the series is the way it deals with the whole spectrum of these plants - coffee, chocolate, marijuana, opium, tobacco, wine and beer, cocaine, and many others, on the same footing. One of the few other books to take this perspective - Terrence McKenna's "Food of the Gods" - is also well worth reading, but is shorter, deals with a narrower range of "allies", and lacks some of the poetic and stylistic verve of Dale Pendell's books.
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!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
a wonderfully creative book - in design and content. This incredible, magical book was obviously formed from an amazing mind who looked beyond normal book requirements and envisioned something that would satisfy (like the subject matter) beyond expectations.
Bravo to the author, publisher and designer for an all-around spectacular work.
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Format: Paperback
THis is a fantastic book!

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!!
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