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Paperback Plants of the Gods: Their Sacred, Healing, and Hallucinogenic Powers Book

ISBN: 0892819790

ISBN13: 9780892819799

Plants of the Gods: Their Sacred, Healing, and Hallucinogenic Powers

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Book Overview

World-renowned anthropologist and ethnopharmacologist Christian Ratsch provides the latest scientific updates to this classic work on psychoactive flora by two eminent researchers.

- Numerous new and rare color photographs complement the completely revised and updated text.

- Explores the uses of hallucinogenic plants in shamanic rituals throughout the world.

- Cross-referenced by plant, illness, preparation, season of collection,...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Spectacular Reference

Excellent reference for the serious student. No, this isn't a manual of how to get high from plants in your backyard, nor should it ever be treated as such. Pick the wrong plant and you might well die. Excellent ethnobotanical, anthropological historical and chemical information combined with superb photography of plant species, cultural use and both historic and modern artwork. 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.

Superb Ethnobotanical Reference

There are plenty of books scientific (or otherwise) on the actions of hallucinogenic plants (from every possible viewpoint). What sets this book apart is providing a sound description of the chemical properties of plants together with the spiritual context in which they are used. 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.

Great reference work on entheogens

Plants Of The Gods is a comprehensive reference work on psychoactive plants. It provides a definition of plant hallucinogens and information on phytochemical research on sacred plants, geography of usage and botanical range, the chemical structures of these substances and the use of hallucinogens in medicine. The plant species discussed include the Amanita (Fly Agaric) mushroom, Atropa (Deadly Nightshade), Yellow and Black Henbane, Mandrake, Cannabis Ergot, Datura, Iboga, Yopo beans, Ayahuasca, Yage, Brugmansia, Peyote, the San Pedro cactus, the Morning Glory plus what the authors term "the little flowers of the gods" which include the various types of Psilocybe mushroom. The text is enhanced by a wonderful variety of color and black & white photographs, illustrations and quite impressive paintings. The section Overview Of Plant Use consists of tables listing every plant's common name, botanical name, historical ethnography, context and purpose of usage, preparation and the chemical composition and effects. Plants Of The Gods is a great and detailed investigation of entheogenic plants from around the world. This valuable reference book concludes with a bibliography and index.

A Good All-Around Buy

Plants of the Gods is a condensed ethnobotanical encyclopedia of hallucinogenic drugs with nicely illustrated cultural/art/chemical information . This book illustrates why these psychoactive plants have been so important, nay, a necessity of primordial human consciousness and experience because of their medicinal, teleportal, and communicative capabilities. It even includes a beautifully annotated color-picture field guide lexicon. It begins with a history of plant hallucinogens and then explores their cremonial/ritualistic use in various cultures around the world, creating a sense of their cultural AND artistic importance in other societies that ACTUALLY RESPECT and don't abuse them. Plants of the Gods leaves you with a sense of respect for these plants when you realize that smoking pot in some basement just to break rules is like a rites of passage sacrament practiced by many tribal cultures who know the importance of this experience which we seem to have neglected and even outlawed. Thoroughly descriptive, yet easily digestible,it reads more as a quick refrence guide /bedtime story than a book-"book", but is captivating and informatively engaging at the same time.

An excellent source to get an overview of ethnobotanicals.

This book is a great resourse for people interested in ethnobotanicals. The illustrations are excellent. The reference to the cultural context in which these plants are used helps the reader understand a bit more about how these plants are used but not abused. There is one error I noted. The captions denoting the structures for iso-LSD and lysergic acid hydroxyethylamine should be interchanged.
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