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Plants of the Gods: Their Sacred, Healing and Hallucinogenic Powers Paperback – September, 1992
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A truly exellent book. -- Journal of Ethnobiology
An extraordinary blend of botany, ethnobotany, chemistry, history, mythology, and art. A visual, spiritual, and intellectual feast, Plants of the Gods is the best book ever written on hallucinogenic plants and it was written by the two most knowledgeable people on the planet. -- Dr. Mark Plotkin, Conservation International
Richard Evans Schultes has been the nexus of almost everything interesting and supportive concerned with economic and cultural uses of plants. Plants of the Gods gives precise and illuminating portraits of the many peoples of the Earth who pay homage to and gain insights with the aid of psychedelic plants: an exquisite, thoroughly scholarly book. -- Whole Earth Review
This superbly illustrated, encyclopedic volume provides a much needed, well-balanced scientific perspective on the use of hallucinogenic plants. Richard Evans Schultes, the worlds most eminent ethnobotanist, and Albert Hofmann, the former research director at Sandoz Pharmaceuticals, emphasize the need for continued education about both the potential benefits and the inherent dangers involved in the use of hallucinogens. -- Shaman's Drum
About the Author
Richard Evans Schultes is a Jeffrey Professor of Biology and Director of the Botanical Museum at Harvard University (Emeritus). In recognition of forty years of field studies in Amazonian ethnobotany, he was awarded Britain's annual Gold Medal of the World Wildlife Fund by Prince Philip.
Dr. Albert Hofmann, discoverer of LSD, is the retired director of the Pharmaceutical-Chemical Research Laboratories of Sandoz, Ltd., in Basel, Switzerland. He has synthesized or isolated numerous psychoactive alkaloids, contributing immensely to biochemical studies. A member of several prestigious academic organizations, he has been elected a Fellow of the Linnean Society of London.
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Top Customer Reviews
The plant lexicon includes ninety-one known and most common hallucinogenic plants with: a colored picture for each plant, botanical name, geographic location, hallucinogenic properties and a short description of the individual plant. Following the lexicon is a chart overview of each plant that includes: usage in history, context and purpose, preparation, chemical components and effects. Following the chart is a detailed account fourteen major hallucinogenic plants. "Most of these plants are or have been culturally and materially important...that they can not be overlooked "(81). The authors include: a descriptive history, gathering techniques, rituals, the chemical make-up of the plant, pictures of ceremonies, and artwork of "visions" by people.
Plants of the Gods is more than a research book, it is a guide to understanding the role hallucinogens play in various religious cultures using a scientific and anthropological approach.
This review is based on the 1992 publication:
Schultus, Richard E., and Albert Hofmann. Plants of the Gods: Their Sacred, Healing, and Hallucinogenic Powers. Rochester: Healing Arts Press, 1992.
It isn't packed with biochemical formulae, but at the same time has enough information on active ingredients to provide a starting point for understanding and further research (if desired). For those interested in biochemical properties of plants CRC Press publish a range of comprehensive but expensive guides.
The author also provides a cultural context, describing how the plants are/were used by societies both past and present during religious rights. Folklore is also very well covered (my main interest with this book - as an aside there is little of culinary interest within text).
The pictures of plants (and people) are superb. There are also some fascinating diagrams (world map showing indigenous hallucinogens), and a pictures showing illustrating the role of hallucinogens on aboriginal and western art.
The writing style makes this work much more accessible and enjoyable to read than other texts. The text is supported by excellent illustrations. Plants of the Gods is in a class of it's own.
The study of ethnobotany and entheogens deserves much more attention than it gets. These are not drugs. They are vital, important and sacred plants that command our respect.