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With this volume on stimulants a very important and diverse group of plants has been covered, including species that have acquired worldwide economic importance. Three of these – coffee, tea and cocoa – from respectively Africa Asia and America are the source of the world's major non-alcoholic beverages. Many stimulants that are deeply rooted in the local and regional cultures of South-East Asia do not enter the international market. Their social and cultural role in the region is great. The reader will also be struck by how many species are only used locally, and on which information has been scarce until now. This volume includes 54 species. It gives sound and up-to-date information on the major species and on many minor species. Most species have also other uses, such as medicinal and culinary. The information is presented in the same format as in the companion volumes and includes not only the species' botany, origin and uses, but also basic information on ecology and agricultural practices. Such a synthesis has been achieved by combining a comprehensive literature search in major libraries and databanks with the input of specialists from universities and research centres in South-East Asia and from Western countries.
In this volume, 20 major stimulant species are treated in 17 papers and there are brief descriptions of 34 species of minor importance. A further 250 species with a secondary use as a stimulant or in association with stimulants are also listed.