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Religion and Psychoactive Sacraments:
An Entheogen Chrestomathy

Thomas B. Roberts, Ph.D. and Paula Jo Hruby, Ed.D.
Author Index | Title Index

The Healing Forest: Medicinal and Toxic Plants of Northwest Amazonia.

Schultes, Richard Evans, and Raffauf, Robert F. (1990).
Portland, OR: Dioscorides Press.

ISBN: 0-931146-14-3

Description: Hardcover, 484 pages. Historical, Ethno- & Economic Botany Series, Vol. 2.

Contents: Foreword by H. R. H. Philip, preface, acknowledgments, abbreviations and conventions, medicinal and toxic plants of the Indians of northwest Amazonia, general bibliography, symptom, disease and treatment index, index to genera.

Note: The authors include and describe 1,479 species and variants, representing 596 genera in 145 plant families. Each description contains references. Readers of this bibliography will be especially interested in the following topics in the Symptom, Disease, and Treatment Index: additives, analgesics, hallucinogens, hypnotics, intoxicants, magic practices, mythology, , sedatives, snuffs, somnifacients, stimulants, superstitions, tobacco, and witchcraft.

Excerpt(s): Our purpose in assembling these notes on the medicinal and toxic plants used by the peoples of the northwest Amazon is twofold: first, to emphasize the importance of what has come to be known as ethnobotanical conservation; second, to call attention to the distinct possibility that from some of these plants might come new chemical compounds of eventual value to modern medicine and industry. Yet in attempting to fulfill our purpose, we acknowledge at the outset that the 1516 species considered in this work represent but a part of the ethnopharmacological wealth of the aboriginal peoples of the region. ...

Knowledge of this bioactivity has been accumulated by experimentation over centuries by people living in intimate association with their environment and wholly dependent upon their ambient flora and fauna for the necessities and ameliorants of life. As a result, almost every primitive society has its own rich vegetal pharmacopoeia. Civilization as we define it is rapidly encroaching on these societies in many parts of the world as a result of road building, wars, air travel, commercial activities, increased missionary efforts, and even tourism. With this encroachment, aboriginal societies are rapidly disintegrating; one of the first casualties is native lore, particularly the knowledge of biodynamic plants. This wealth of enthopharmacological information disappears often faster in many areas than the extinction of plant species which rampant deforestation invariably entails. (Preface, page 9)

Comment: Ethnopsychophysiological conservation. Perhaps the way advanced technological societies are least sensitive (still imperiously colonial, in fact) is our haughty indifference to the psychological and psychophysiological knowledge which resides in less technologically advanced societies and our systematic destruction of this knowledge. The destruction of indigenous knowledge about mindbody states and the psychotechnologies for achieving these states is no less than the destruction of healing plants and indigenous knowledge about them. (Schultes & Raffauf, 1990)

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