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Phamacotheon - Entheogenic drugs, their plant sources and history

Richard Evans Schultes and Robert F. Raffauf

Pages: 639
Price: $39.95 pb $69.95 hb
Publisher: Natural Products, Co.
Pub Date: 1993 (Updated 1996)
ISBN: 0961423439 pb 0961423420 hb

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 Read The Entire Text of The Proemium from Pharmacotheon - A masterpiece

Table of Contents >
Foreword by Albert Hofmann
A note on the Text
six chapters in four parts:
A. Beta-Phenethylamines
B. Isoxazole Derivatives
D. Appendices. 5 Appendices:
I. Sundry Visionary Compounds
II. Putative Entheogenic Species
III. Index of Entheogen Chemistry and Pharmacology
IV. Botanical Index
V. Suggested Further Reading
general index
Description >
Comprehensive, definitive guide to botany and chemistry of entheogens. Has four main sections: phenethylamines (mescaline), indoles (LSD, DMT, beta-carbolines, and psilocybin), isoxazoles (muscimole), and sundry visionary compounds (tropanes, ibogaine, salvinorin, cannabinols, thujones, and others). Also new species to explore. Extensive references and notes for each chapter. Great bibliography and suggested reading list. Chemical, botanical, and general indices. Interesting pro-legalization Proemium on drug policy. By one of the masters in the field. Highly recommended.  - Mind Books
Reviews/Excerpts >

This book reads like a scientific review article albeit one of 638 pages! The book is not recommended for those wanting a quick introduction into the field of entheogenics. One should expect complete pages filled with botanical names and complex chemical names. For those used to reading scientific literature here finally is a book that takes the well informed reader seriously. Ott also includes results of several very informative self-experiments and has an opinion on the whole issue of entheogenic use that deserves to become widely held.  - chris@telebyte.nl

Johnathon Ott has carried the Entheogenic movement one giant step forward with this scholarly text of immense value to anyone interested in the future of entheogens. This book has been limited to a printing of 5000 copies, I am glad that I got mine before they were all gone. - phitzr@mindspring.com


As is immediately obvious from my title, I use the neologism entheogen(ic) throughout this book, a new word proposed by a group of scholars including Dr. R. Gordon Wasson, Prof. Carl A. P. Ruck and me. As we know from personal experience that shamanic inebriants do not provoke "hallucinations" or "psychosis," and feel it incongruous to refer to traditional shamanic use of psychedelic plants (that word, pejorative for many, referring invariably to sixties' western drug use), we coined this new term in 1979 (Ruck et al. 1979). I outline thoroughly the histories of words for sacred plant drugs in Chapter 1, Note 1. I am happy to say, fourteen years after launching the neologism on its literary career, that the word has been accepted by the majority of experts in this field, and has appeared in print in at least seven languages. The term is not meant to specify a pharmacological class of drugs (some, for example, conceive of psychedelic as implying indole and phenethylamine drugs with an LSD- or mescaline-like effect); rather, it designates drugs which provoke ecstasy and have traditionally been used as shamanic or religious inebriants, as well as their active principles and artificial congeners. (page 15)

This book is about those wondrous entheogens, these strange plant sacraments and their contained active principles. The term entheogen was first suggested by classical scholars Carl A. P. Ruck and Danny Staples, pioneering entheogen researcher R. Gordon Wasson, ethnobotanist Jeremy Bigwood and me. The neologism derives from an obsolete Greek word meaning "realizing the divine within," the term used by the ancient Greeks to describe states of poetic and prophetic inspiration, to describe the entheogenic state which can be induced by sacred plant-drugs. (pages 19-20)

Entheogenic (literally, "realizing the divine within") refers to the common perception of users of entheogens, which is anything but an hallucination, that the divine infuses all beings, including the entheogenic plant and its fortunate human user. (page 104)

CSP's Entheogen Chrestomathy entry for Pharmacotheon

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