Healing with herbs, Part 9
Hallucinogens are drug plants that affect the mind more than the rest of the body, distorting the senses and producing the sensation of entering another world. Examples of them are found all over the world and include marijuana, native to the Middle East, Africa,and Asia to Deadly Nightshade, found in Europe, to the various hallucinogenic mushrooms found in the Americas.
In less developed countries hallucinogens are the favored medicines. This is because sickness and death are viewed as being a consequence of interference from the spirit world, rather than being induced physically or organically.
Moreover, herbal hallucinogens as vehicles to the spirit world play significant roles in religious life, in rites of passage, and in general societal relationships. For example, the Algonquin Indians gave wysoccan, a medicine that induced derangement and memory loss, to young men so they would enter manhood with no recollection of childhood. Tribes of the Southwest and Mexico use various Datura species in divination, prophecy, and healing rituals. The Mixtecs of Mexico ingest puffballs so that their questions can be answered by the voices of heaven.
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