UserWiki:David Hedlund/Less useful psychoactive substances

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Controversial psychoactivity

Heimia salicifolia (Sinicuichi)

Sinicuichi is reported to be an auditory hallucinogen, but the effects of H. salicifolia are not well known. - Heimia myrtifolia and Heimia salicifolia are often reported to have hallucinogenic effects. This controversial attribution of effects appears to be traceable back to a publication by J. B. Calderón in 1896 who wrote that it was said to possess a "curious and unique physiological action ... people drinking either a decoction or the juice of the plant have a pleasant drunkenness ... all objects appear yellow and the sounds of bells, human voices or any other reach their ears as if coming from a long distance."[1][4]

Calderón actually tested the plant and did not experience any noticeable effects. Through a series of exaggerating and dramatizing citations, especially by Victor A. Reko in the first half of the last century, the plant became known as a hallucinogen despite that psychoactive properties of the plant have never been demonstrated. The mildly psychoactive effects described in the original publication have therefore been attributed to a sedative principle or unknown other contents of the brew or, simply, to its alcohol content.[1]

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Morus rubra (red mulberry)

Unripe fruit and young greens are said to have hallucinogenic properties and are known to contain Piperidine alkaloids. -

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Plectranthus (formerly Coleus)

S. divinorum is also known as la hembra ("the female"), when it is included by the Mazatec as part of a family of similar religious hallucinogens. The others it is connected with are Coleus pumila, called el macho ("the male"), and two forms of Coleus blumei which are called el nene ("the child") and el ahijado ("the godson").Marushia, Robin (June 2003). "Salvia divinorum: The Botany, Ethnobotany, Biochemistry and Future of a Mexican Mint" (PDF). Ethnobotany. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-10-07. Retrieved 2007-05-04. 

“the female.”El macho, or “the male,”the male,” is Coleus pumila, of European origin. Then there is el nene, “the child,” and el ahijado, “the godson,” which are both forms of Coleus Blumei. Some Indians insist that these others are likewise psychotropic, but we have not tried them; others say these are merely medicinal (WASSON 1962).

When psilocybin mushrooms are in short supply, and users are willing to settle for a milder but similar mind excursion, they sometimes turn to the coleus plant, particularly the species coleus blumei and coleus pumila. -

From [Salvia Divinorum and Salvinorin A, Second Edition, p12-13]:

(Coleus blumei and C. pumila) and all of their garden va- rieties have strong psychoactive qualities...About fifty of the brightly colored leaves are either chewed and swallowed, or crushed and steeped in water which is later drunk...Like Salvia divinorum, coleus is a member of the mint family, so the psychoactive chemistry of the two plants is probably identical or at least similar (SUPERWEED 1970).

Since no one seemed to know about fresh Coleus and since nothing other than a JOHN MANN book I have claimed fresh Coleus worked like a mini-mushroom trip, I tried it. Bitter, very bitter. I bought a giant plant for four bucks (such a bargain), set some candles up, got my vision-request/pur- pose clear, ate 80 medium leaves and waited. Nothing. Five, ten minutes, nothing. Twenty, nothing. Forty, nothing. I ate a meal after an hour. I doubt that I ate too soon. I truly don’t think it was working. Spread the word. - A.L., CA

It takes about fifty to severnty large, colorful leaves of the coleus plant to get someone going. They can be chewed thoroughly and swallowed. If one prefers

Dried leaves have virtually no effect. -

Plectranthus scutellarioides (syn. Coleus blumei)

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Turnera diffusa (damiana)

Damiana is used as a general tonic for the nervous, hormonal, and reproductive systems. It has an ancient reputation as an aphrodisiac. Some claim damiana tea has a relaxing effect not-unlike low doses of cannabis. Others argue that Damiana has no active ingredients, and that its medicinal reputation is based on damiana tonics from the late 1800s which were inactive, or contained enough alcohol and/or coca to produce unrelated effects. -

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Valeriana officinalis (valerian)

From Although valerian is a popular herbal medicine used for treating insomnia, there is no good evidence it is effective for this purpose, and there is some concern it may be harmful.[1]

There is no good evidence that valerian is helpful in treating restless leg syndrome,[2] or anxiety.[3] There is insufficient evidence for efficacy and safety of Valerian for anxiety disorders.[4]

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) approved the claim that valerian can be used as a traditional herbal medicinal product in order to relieve mild symptoms of mental stress and to aid sleep. The EMA stated that although there is insufficient evidence from clinical studies, the effectiveness of the traditional use of valerian is considered plausible when it has been used safely for this purpose for many years.[5]

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Absinthe is an anise-flavoured spirit derived from botanicals, including the flowers and leaves of Artemisia absinthium ("grand wormwood")

Absinthes psychoactive properties, apart from those of alcohol, have been much exaggerated. Today it is known that absinthe does not cause hallucinations. -

Neither can it be concluded that the beverage itself was epileptogenic nor that the so-called absinthism can exactly be distinguished as a distinct syndrome from chronic alcoholism. -

The alcohol and Thujone may work against each other on the GABA-A receptor, reducing some specific effects of alcohol intoxication. -

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Acorus calamus (sweet flag)

Chewing the rootstock of the plant can cause visual hallucinations, possibly because of the presence of alpha-asarone or beta-asarone.[6]

The Council of Europe Committee of Experts on Flavouring Substances concluded that β-asarone is clearly carcinogenic and has proposed limits for its concentration in flavorings such as bitters made from Acorus calamus (Sweet Flag).[7]

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Artemisia absinthium (grand wormwood)

Thujone, the active chemical in absinthe, is a GABA antagonist; and while it can produce muscle spasms in large doses, there is not enough evidence that it causes hallucinations. It has been speculated that reports of hallucinogenic effects of absinthe may have been due to poisonous chemicals being added to cheaper versions of the drink in the 19th century, to give it a more vivid colour. -

Thujone is reported[by whom?] to be toxic to brain, kidney, and liver cells and could cause convulsions if used in too high a dose. -

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Brunfelsia grandiflora (manaca)

According to early reports, the effects of consuming Manaka Root are not very appealing. The effects include dizziness, exhaustion, nausea, excessive salivation, muscle weakness, lethargy, facial paralysis, mouth pains, swollen tongue, numbness in the extremities, tingling sensations, tremors, feeling of unbearable cold and blurred vision. At higher does, there are reports of delirium, sustained mental confusion, and possible blindness. Modern reports liken the experience to an overdose of nicotine for non-smokers. Jonathon Ott has commented on his personal Brunfelsia experience, stating that his self experiments with this teacher plant nearly killed him (Ratsch 1998, 115). -

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Claviceps purpurea

Claviceps purpurea: It is important to remember that the ergot fungus species Claviceps purpurea was the source of Albert Hofmann's original discovery of LSD. This fungus, which grows on ryegrass, contains as many as thirty separate alkaloids, some of which are responsible for ergotism, a disease which over the centuries has killed many thousands of people worldwide[.][Psychedelic Shamanism, p151] In A.D. 994, an outbreak of ergotism associated with infected grain killed nearly 40,000 people in France; an outbreak in 1129 killed about 1,200 people. Recently the historian Mary Kilbourne Matossian has argued that La Grande Peur of 1789, a peasant uprising pivotal in the French Revolution, had its roots in ergot- infected rye bread that constituted the bulk of the diet of the rural peasantry of the period. It has also been proposed that ergot-infected flour was a factor in the decline of the Roman Empire and in the Salem witch burnings. [Food of the Gods, p74]

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Mescalbean (Dermatophyllum secundiflorum)

All parts of the mescalbeans are very poisonous, containing the alkaloid cytisine (not mescaline, as suggested by the name). -

[T]here is no clear clinical evidence to support the association of mescalbean ingestion with hallucinations. -

Mescal bean ([Calia secundiflora]), a hallucinogen used before the discovery of peyote, and so toxic that death from its ingestion is as likely as hallucinosis. (Of all the various plants currently eaten for their psychedelic effects, I have yet to encounter a single reference to modern use of the Mescal bean for that purpose.) [Psychedelic Shamanism, p154]

MESCAL BEAN [(Calia secundiflora)], also called red bean or coralillo, is a shrub or small tree with silvery pods containing up to six or seven red beans or seeds. Before the peyote religion spread north of the Rio Grande, at least 12 tribes of Indians in northern Mexico, New Mexico, and Texas practiced the vision-seeking Red Bean Dance centered around the ingestion of a drink prepared from these seeds. Known also as the Wichita, Deer, or Whistle Dance, the ceremony utilized the beans as an oracular, divinatory, and hollucinogenic medium.

Because the red bean drink was highly toxic, often resulting in death from overdoses, the arrival of a more spectacular and safer hallucinogen in the form of the peyote cactus (see p. 11 4) led the natives to abandon the Red Bean Dance. Sacred elements do not often disappear completely from a culture; today the seeds are used as an adornment on the uniform of the leader of the peyote ceremony.

An early Spanish explorer mentioned mescal beans as an article of trade in Texas in 1539. Mescal beans have been found at sites dating before A.D. 1000, with one site dating bock to 1500 B.C. Archaeological evidence thus points to the existence of a prehistoric cult or ceremony that used the red beans.

The alkaloid cytisine is present in the beans. It causes nausea, convulsions, and death from asphyxiation through its depressive action on the diaphragm.

The mescal bean is a member of the bean family, Leguminosae. [Calia] comprises about 50 species that are native to tropical and warm parts of both hemispheres. One species, S. japonica, is medicinally important as a good source of rutin, used in modern medicine for treating capillary fragility. -

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Passiflora caerulea (common passion flower)

A tea can be made of the flower which is said to alleviate stress and anxiety. However, tetraphyllin B and epi-tetraphyllin B, cyanogenic glycosides (which liberate hydrogen cyanide when activated by enzymes), have been found in the leaves. It is possible to boil away most of the cyanide.[8]

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Salvia officinalis (common sage)

Some research has suggested certain extracts of salvia officinalis may have positive effects on human brain function, but due to significant methodological problems, no firm conclusions can be drawn.[9][10] The thujone present in Salvia extracts may be neurotoxic.[10]

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  1. Leach MJ, Page AT (2015). "Herbal medicine for insomnia: A systematic review and meta-analysis". Sleep Med Rev (Review). 24: 1–12. doi:10.1016/j.smrv.2014.12.003. PMID 25644982. 
  2. Bega D, Malkani R (2016). "Alternative treatment of restless legs syndrome: an overview of the evidence for mind-body interventions, lifestyle interventions, and neutraceuticals". Sleep Med. (Review). 17: 99–105. doi:10.1016/j.sleep.2015.09.009. PMID 26847981. 
  3. Miyasaka LS, Atallah AN, Soares BG (2006). "Valerian for anxiety disorders". Cochrane Database Syst Rev (Systematic review) (4): CD004515. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD004515.pub2. PMID 17054208. 
  4. Miyasaka, Lincoln Sakiara; Atallah, Álvaro N; Soares, Bernardo (2006-10-18). Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (in English). John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. doi:10.1002/14651858.cd004515.pub2/full. Archived from the original on 2017-06-29. 
  5. "European Medicines Agency - Find medicine - Valerianae radix". Archived from the original on 2016-08-17. Retrieved 2016-08-08. 
  6. Schultes, Richard Evans. A golden guide to hallucinogenic plants (PDF). New York: Golden Press. p. 73. ISBN 0307243621. 
  7. "Opinion of the Scientific Committee on Food on the presence of β-asarone in flavourings and other food ingredients with flavouring properties" (PDF). European Commission Scientific Committee on Food. 8 January 2002. 
  8. DS Seiglera, KC Spencera, WS Statlerb, EE Connb, JE Dunnb, 'Tetraphyllin B and epitetraphyillin B sulphates: Novel cyanogenic glucosides from Passiflora caerulea and P. alato-caerulea', Phytochemistry, 21/9 (1982), 2277-2285.
  9. Miroddi M, Navarra M, Quattropani MC, Calapai F, Gangemi S, Calapai G (2014). "Systematic review of clinical trials assessing pharmacological properties of Salvia species on memory, cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease". CNS Neurosci Ther. 20 (6): 485–95. doi:10.1111/cns.12270. PMID 24836739. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 Lopresti AL (2017). "Salvia (Sage): A Review of its Potential Cognitive-Enhancing and Protective Effects". Drugs R D. 17 (1): 53–64. doi:10.1007/s40268-016-0157-5. PMC 5318325Freely accessible. PMID 27888449.