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"Drugs are not the problem - but the problems."Erhard Blanck (* 1942), German naturopath, writer and painter.
Psychoactive plants, also called Biodrogen, have ancient tradition, they have been intoxicating humanity since time immemorial and are closely linked to religion, culture and spiritualism. The plants - after all, it is the impressive amount of more than eighty different plants - are taken in the form of simple or elaborate preparation to affect the psyche or change the state of consciousness. They are used for their stimulating, calming, hallucinogenic or generally psychoactive effects.
Well-known psychoactive plants
betel nut - occurs in India, Malaysia, Polynesia and the South Pacific Islands; it stimulates the central-nervous system, influences the sense of time, serves as an aphrodisiacum. Especially used in India, as with us cigarettes and coffee. Chewing on a betel nut is completely normal for Indians. Contains arecoline, chavicol, allylpyrocathechol and chavibetol. Chewing the betel nut should keep the mind awake when the body is already tired. However, one gets from teeth chewing yellow teeth and bad breath. In addition, the nut is also said to cause oral cancer.
opium poppy - Opium is extracted from it; Originally from Western Asia. You harvest the immature seed pod. This is scratched. The exiting milk juice is collected. It is allowed to dry and thus receives a gummy mass. The main active ingredient is the alkaloid morphine. In addition, opium also contains other alkaloids such as codeine, narcotin and heroin. It shows how dangerous a drug opium is. The active substances contained in opium poppy block the action of the autonomic nervous system on the smooth muscle cells in the stomach. But they also affect the respiratory function.
hemp - can be cultivated in all temperate zones of the world. Has been known in medicine for about 5,000 years. The dried flowers of the female plants are smoked. You can also prepare hemp for eating or drinking. Works exhilarating for two to eight hours, depending on usage and quality. Responsible are the ingredients, cannabinols (the result is the well-known tetrahydrocannabinol THC). Feeling, thinking, memory, perception, communication and body experience are influenced. This can be both positive and negative. Consumption influences cognitive performance, ie attention, concentration and ability to learn.
ergot - actually ergot fungus; occurs in all temperate zones of Europe, as well as in North Africa, Asia and North America. Causes muscle contractions (bronchospasm) and vasoconstriction. Possible is a complicated partial synthesis of LSD. Contained are ergoline alkaloids, v.a. Derivatives of lysergic acid. The alkaloids are poisonous. They can cause intestinal spasms, hallucinations and dying of fingers and toes (circulatory disorders). However, the ingredients also induce labor when giving birth, hence the name.
Datura - belongs to the nightshade family and occurs in India, North America and Asia and also in Europe. The leaves are smoked. Eating them can be very dangerous. They are poisonous. Contained are atropine, hyoscyamine, scopolamine, mandragorin and other tropane alkaloids. Datura is a hallucinogen. It has a hypnotic effect and can last up to 36 hours. You have crazy dreams, but do not really sleep. Often plant parts or seeds are boiled as Sud pressed or as a tea. Even the reverberation of the vapors of the flowers can be harmful to health. Datura affects digestion, salivary secretion, heartbeat and pupil concentration.
nutmeg - The nutmeg used in the kitchen has a few other properties than simply spicing up food. The ingredients have narcotic effects, combined with hallucinations, headaches, nausea and dizziness. Nutmeg is very toxic in high doses. Contained is myristicin (in the essential oil), which is transformed in the human body so that hallucinations arise. Even the ancient Egyptians smoked nutmeg as a tobacco substitute.
Stimulants stimulate the mind, awaken and euphorize partially - but do not change the perception: coffee, tea, tobacco, alcohol, guarana, cola, hemp, etc. Only about ten percent of Germans get along completely without drugs. Everyone else is at least stimulating more or less regularly.
narcoticsNarcotic drugs calm and numb and often cause changes in perception, such as Dream pictures: poppy, opium, valerian, hops, etc.
HallucinogensHallucinogens bring a blatant change in perception. Both spatially, temporally and emotionally. These include the nightshade family (datura, belladonna, angel trumpet, henbane) as well as the fly agaric and the psilocybin or magic mushrooms.The consumption of these intoxicating plants is extremely dangerous, since the range between the effective and the lethal dose very narrow - and the intake is thus a balancing act. Their use requires a precise knowledge of both the preparation and the dosage.
Psychoactive plants can be helpers, rescuers or destroyers. This can awaken our senses, they can stimulate and expand our consciousness - or limit and dampen it, even leading to hallucinations. The interest in herbal active ingredients has greatly increased with the growing scientific knowledge, especially for medical applications. To the same extent, however, there are also reports of poisoning and deaths.
In the hands of the doctors even strong poisons are a blessing - in the hands of the layman a curse. And the responsibility towards our body is ultimately on our own... .