Anadenanthera: Visionary Plant of Ancient South America

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Psychology Press, 2006 - Health & Fitness - 256 pages
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A multidisciplinary study of pre-Columbian South America--centering on the psychoactive plant genus Anadenanthera

As cultures formed and evolved in pre-Columbian South America, Anadenanthera became one of the most widely used shamanic inebriants. Anadenanthera: Visionary Plant of Ancient South America is more than a comprehensive reference on shamanic visionary substances; it is a useful tool for archeologists and pre-Columbian art historians. This thorough book examines the ritual and cultural use of Anadenanthera from prehistory to the present, along with its botany, chemistry, pharmacology, anthropology, and archeology.

The earliest evidence for the use of psychoactive plants in South America is provided by remains of seeds and pods recovered from archeological sites four millennia old. Various preparations were derived from it with the intent of being a shamanic inebriant. Inhaled through the nose, smoked in pipes or as cigars, and prepared in fermented drinks, Anadenanthera served a central role in the cultural development of indigenous societies in South America. Anadenanthera: Visionary Plant of Ancient South America explores the full spectrum of information gleaned from research, covering numerous archeological sites in the Andean region, as well as discussing Amazonian shamanic rituals and lore. Analyses of the artistic expressions within the decorations of associated ceremonial paraphernalia such as ritual snuffing tubes and snuff trays are included. The text is richly illustrated with photographs and images of decorated ritual implements, and provides a comprehensive bibliography.

Anadenanthera: Visionary Plant of Ancient South America explores:
  • botanical aspects, taxonomy, and geographical distribution of Anadenanthera
  • ethnographical, historical, and traditional aspects of Anadenanthera use
  • chemical and pharmacological investigations of the genus and the various visionary preparations derived from it--with emphasis on the biologically active constituents
  • theories of the mechanisms of action of the active tryptamines and carboline alkaloids
  • comparisons of wood anatomy, morphology, and percentage of alkaloid content
  • evaluation of stylistic and iconographic traits

Anadenanthera: Visionary Plant of Ancient South America is a thorough, useful resource for archeologists, anthropologists, chemists, researchers, pre-Columbian art historians, and any layperson interested in pre-Columbian art, archeology, or visionary plants.
 

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Contents

Archaeological Evidence for Anadenanthera
11
Anadenanthera in NonAndean South America
61
The Chemistry of the Genus Anadenanthera
95
The Pharmacology of Bufotenine
143
Drugs
187
Summary and Conclusion
193
Bibliography
205
Index
251
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