The Power of the Poppy: Harnessing Nature’s Most Dangerous Plant Ally

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Simon and Schuster, Feb 23, 2011 - History - 320 pages
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A comprehensive look at the inspiring, healing, and addictive powers of the Opium Poppy and its derivatives throughout history

• Covers the history, risks, and benefits of opium, morphine, oxycodone, methadone, and fentanyl

• Provides techniques of cultivation, extraction, and safe consumption as well as methods for overcoming addiction and staying “clean”

• Profiles 11 famous users, including Thomas de Quincey, William S. Burroughs, Lou Reed, and DJ Screw

Few plant allies have a history as long and well-documented as Papaver somniferum, the celebrated and infamous opium poppy. For thousands of years people around the world have been unable to resist the poppy’s siren song of intoxicating pleasure, pain relief, and visionary states--so much so that this potent plant has literally adapted itself to human civilization: in increasing its intoxicating properties, it came to rely solely on humankind for its propagation.

From 6,000-year-old poppy seeds found in archaeological digs in Europe to the black tar heroin factories of South America and the modern “War on Drugs,” Kenaz Filan explores the history of this enduring plant and its many derivatives--including opium, morphine, oxycodone, methadone, and fentanyl--as well as its symbiotic relationship with humans as medicine, food, intoxicant, and visionary tool. Profiling 11 famous users including Thomas de Quincey, William S. Burroughs, Lou Reed, and DJ Screw, Filan examines how opium and other poppy derivatives inspired them as well as the high price it exacted for its inspiration. Covering techniques of cultivation, extraction, and safe consumption along with methods for overcoming addiction and staying “clean,” this book offers a sensible approach to the poppy that recognizes the plant not as a crop to be harvested or eradicated but as a living, sentient ally that can offer healing or harm and must be approached with respect and caution.

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Cover Image
The Bronze Age World
The Islamic World
The Return to Europe
The War on Drugs
Eugene ONeill
Nelson Algren
William S Burroughs
Lou Reed
Layne Staley
Robert Earl DJ Screw Davis
Pills Tablets and Capsules

Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Thomas de Quincey
Dependence Addiction and Tolerance
Getting Clean and Staying Clean

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About the author (2011)

Kenaz Filan is the author of The Haitian Vodou Handbook, Vodou Love Magic, and Vodou Money Magic and the coauthor of Drawing Down the Spirits. A frequent contributor to PanGaia, Planet Magazine, and Widdershins, Filan is the former managing editor of newWitch magazine and lives in Short Hills, New Jersey.

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