A Golden Guide: Hallucinogenic Plants

“Around the same time Albert Hoffman synthesized LSD in the early 1940s, a pioneering ethnobotanist, writer, and photographer named Richard Evan Schultes set out ‘on a mission to study how indigenous peoples’ in the Amazon rainforest ‘used plants for medicinal, ritual and practical purposes,’ as an extensive history of Schultes’ travels notes. ‘He went on to spend over a decade immersed in near-continuous fieldwork, collecting more than 24,000 species of plants including some 300 species new to science.’ Described by Jonathan Kandell as ‘swashbuckling’ in a 2001 New York Times obituary, Schultes was ‘the last of the great plant explorers in the Victorian tradition.’ Or so his student Wade Davis called him in his 1995 bestseller The Serpent and the Rainbow. He was also ‘a pioneering conservationist,’ writes Kandell, ‘who raised alarms in the 1960’s—long before environmentalism became a worldwide concern.’ Schultes defied the stereotype of the colonial adventurer, once saying, ‘I do not believe in hostile Indians. All that is required to bring out their gentlemanliness is reciprocal gentlemanliness.’ Schultes returned to teach at Harvard, where he reminded his students ‘that more than 90 tribes had become extinct in Brazil alone over the first three-quarters of the 20th century.’ While his research would have significant influence on figures like Aldous Huxley, William Burroughs, and Carlos Castaneda, ‘writers who considered hallucinogens as the gateways to self-discovery,’ Schultes was dismissive of the counterculture and ‘disdained these self-appointed prophets of an inner reality.’ Rather than promoting recreational use, Schultes became known as ‘the father of a new branch of science called ethnobotany, the field that explores the relationship between indigenous people and their use of plants,’ writes Luis Sequeira in a biographical note. One of Schultes’ publications, the Golden Guide to Hallucinogenic Plants, has sadly fallen out of print, but you can find it online, in full, at the Vaults of Erowid. Pricey out-of-print copies can still be purchased. Described on Amazon as ‘a nontechnical examination of the physiological effects and cultural significance of hallucinogenic plants used in ancient and modern societies,’ the book covers peyote, ayahuasca, cannabis, various psychoactive mushrooms and other fungi, and much more. …”
Open Culture – The Golden Guide to Hallucinogenic Plants: Discover the 1977 Illustrated Guide Created by Harvard’s Groundbreaking Ethnobotanist Richard Evan Schultes
[PDF] Golden Guide to Hallucinogenic Plants

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