Stimulants pp 219-241 | Cite as

Plants and Plant Constituents as Mind-Altering Agents Throughout History

  • Richard Evans Schultes
Part of the Handbook of Psychopharmacology book series (HBKPS, volume 11)


From his earliest gropings as a distinct animal, man undoubtedly experimented with his vegetal surroundings. He put into his stomach anything from the plant kingdom in his frantic search for nourishment. He early discovered that some plants served to assuage hunger and sustain him; others relieved symptoms of illness; still others were dangerous, making him ill or killing him outright; but a few, he found, transported him from this monotonous and not-too-pleasant mundane existence to realms of ethereal wonder and inexplicable separation from everyday existence. He had discovered the narcotics, especially the hallucinogenic plants, capable of much more than activity on the physical body but able, through their psychoactivity on the central nervous system, to alter in ways most extraordinary the psyche and its relationship to the natural affairs of man.


Psychoactive Drug Visual Hallucination Tropane Alkaloid Morning Glory Plant Constituent 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard Evans Schultes
    • 1
  1. 1.Botanical MuseumHarvard UniversityCambridgeUSA

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