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Originally published in 1998 in German as Enzyklopädie der Psychoaktiven Pflanzen, this is the most comprehensive guide to the botany, history, distribution, and cultivation of all known psychoactive plants.
In the traditions of every culture, plants have been highly valued for their nourishing, healing, and transformative properties. The most powerful plants – those known to transport the human mind into other dimensions of consciousness – have traditionally been regarded as sacred. In The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Plants, Christian Rätsch details the botany, history, distribution, cultivation, and preparation and dosage of more than 400 psychoactive plants. He discusses their ritual and medicinal usage, cultural artefacts made from these plants, and works of art that either represent or have been inspired by them. The author begins with 168 of the most well-known psychoactives – such as cannabis, datura, and papaver – then presents 133 lesser known substances as well as additional plants known as "legal highs," plants known only from mythological contexts and literature, and plant products that include substances such as ayahuasca, incense, and soma. The text is lavishly illustrated with 797 colour photographs – many of which are from the author's extensive fieldwork around the world – showing the people, ceremonies, and art related to the ritual use of the world's sacred psychoactives.