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October 24, 1980

Plants of the Gods: Origins of Hallucinogenic Use

JAMA. 1980;244(17):1980. doi:10.1001/jama.1980.03310170076041

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Any attempt to relate anthropological, botanical, medical, chemical, historical, and geographic information about 91 hallucinogenic plants in 192 pages of text, with an equal number of photographs, maps, and art reproductions, is bound to be unsatisfying, if not unsettling. This book, which makes such an attempt, is divided into nine sections of unequal length. The first is a short, general introduction to hallucinogenic plants with an emphasis on the botanical nomenclature of plants.

The second section, on phytochemical research, is much too brief, scattered, and elementary. The third section, on the geographic distribution of hallucinogenic plants, has a useful map showing the types and distribution of these plants. Sections 4 and 5, which constitute the bulk of the book, list 91 plants with the scientific and common name of each, a physical description, information concerning where, when, and by which cultures the plant is used, the psychoactive hallucinogenic chemical (if