Calea zacatechichi (Calea)

Subject: Calea zacatechichi
From: Thompson)
Date: 2 May 93 08:13:47 GMT

Beside Willam Bodens book "Narcotic Plants" and Richard Evan Schultes / Albert Hofmann's book "Plants of the Gods," a good source of info about psychoactive Mexican plants is the article:

"Ethnopharmacology and Taxonomy of Mexican Psychodysleptic Plants" by Jose Luis Diaz, MD published in the Jan-Jun 1979 issue of Journal of Psychedelic Drugs."
Diaz lists Salvia divinorum, Calea zacatechichi and Cannabis sativa as "cognodysleptics," and Calea zacatechichi is mentioned as being smoked and taken as a tea by the Chontal Indians in Oaxaca for divination and oneiromancy (dream induction).

"Its actions during wakefulness were tested in five subjects after several inhalations and the administration of an infusion. With high doses, effects included: sensations of well-being and light-headedness, difficulty in bringing events to mind, somnolence, and an intensification of visual imagery, but only with the eyes closed."

It isn't clear from the paper whether the psychoactive substance(s) in the plant have been conclusively identified:

"A germacranolid called caleicine, the p-hydroxycinnamide ester of junenol, was isolated from a sample of C. zacatechichi taken from the state of Veracruz.

"Other substances with the basic structure of caleicine have been isolated from the active, as well as the inactive plants provided by the Chontal curandero; they are now being screened for the presence of psychoactive compounds. Independently Bohlmann and Zdero(1977) have reported two new germacranolids in C. zacatechichi. It should be mentioned that these molecules are terpenes as are the cannabinols in marijuana."

Diaz also mentions that there appear to be two varieties (possibly separate species) of this plant. One is psychoactive and the other apparently is not.

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