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Plants of the Gods: Their Sacred, Healing, and Hallucinogenic Powers

Richard Evans Schultes and Albert Hofmann

  • Paperback
PUBLISHED: 30th November 2001
ISBN: 9780892819799
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  • Paperback
PUBLISHED: 30th November 2001
ISBN: 9780892819799


World-renowned anthropologist and ethnopharmacologist Christian Ratsch provides the latest scientific updates to this classic work on psychoactive flora by two eminent researchers.

  • Numerous new and rare color photographs complement the completely revised and updated text.
  • Explores the uses of hallucinogenic plants in shamanic rituals throughout the world.
  • Cross-referenced by plant, illness, preparation, season of collection, and chemical constituents.
  • First edition sold 33,000 copies.
Three scientific titans join forces to completely revise the classic text on the ritual uses of psychoactive plants. They provide a fascinating testimony of these "plants of the gods," tracing their uses throughout the world and their significance in shaping culture and history. In the traditions of every culture, plants have been highly valued for their nourishing, healing, and transformative properties. The most powerful of those plants, which are known to transport the human mind into other dimensions of consciousness, have always been regarded as sacred. The authors detail the uses of hallucinogens in sacred shamanic rites while providing lucid explanations of the biochemistry of these plants and the cultural prayers, songs, and dances associated with them. The text is lavishly illustrated with 400 rare photographs of plants, people, ceremonies, and art related to the ritual use of the world's sacred psychoactive flora.

Publisher Description

Their sacred, healing and hallucinogenic powers. Second edition.

Author Biography

Christian Rtsch, Ph.D., is a world-renowned anthropologist and ethnopharmacologist who specializes in the shamanic uses of plants for spiritual as well as medicinal purposes. He studied Mesoamerican languages and cultures and anthropology at the University of Hamburg and spent, altogether, three years of fieldwork among the Lacandone Indians in Chiapas, Mexico, being the only European fluent in their language. He then received a fellowship from the German academic service for foreign research, the Deutsche Akademische Auslandsdienst (DAAD), to realize his doctoral thesis on healing spells and incantations of the Lacandone-Maya at the University of Hamburg, Germany. In addition to his work in Mexico, his numerous fieldworks have included research in Thailand, Bali, the Seychelles, as well as a long-term study (18 years) on shamanism in Nepal combined with expeditions to Korea and the Peruvian and Colombian Amazon. He also was a scientific anthropological advisor for expeditions organized by German magazines such as GEOand Spektrum der Wissenschaften(Spectrum of Sciences). Before becoming a full-time author and internationally renowned lecturer, Rtsch worked as professor of anthropology at the University of Bremen and served as consultant advisor for many German museums. Because of his extensive collection of shells, fossils, artifacts, and entheopharmacological items, he has had numerous museum expositions on these topics. He is the author of numerous articles and more than 40 books, including Plants of Love, Gateway to Inner Space, Marijuana Medicine,and The Dictionary of Sacred and Magical Plants.He is also coauthor of Plants of the Gods, Shamanism and Tantra in the Himalayasand Witchcraft Medicineand is editor of the Yearbook of Ethnomedicine and the Study of Consciousness.A former member of the board of advisors of the European College for the Study of Consciousness (ECSC) and former president of the Association of Ethnomedicine, he lives in Hamburg, Germany.

Table of Contents

Plants of the Gods Their Sacred, Healing and Hallucinogenic Powers Preface Introduction

  1. What are Plant Hallucinogens
  2. The Plant Kingdom
  3. Phytochemical Research on Sacred Plants
  4. Geography of Usage and Botanical Range
  5. Plant Lexicon
  6. Users of Hallucinogenic Plants
  7. Overview of Plant Use
  8. Fourteen Major Hallucinogenic Plants
  9. Mainstay of the Heavens
  10. The Hexing Herbs
  11. The Nectar of Delight
  12. St. Anthony's Fire
  13. Holy Flower of the North Star
  14. Guide to the Ancestors
  15. Beans of the Hekula Spirit
  16. Seeds of Civilization
  17. The Magic Drink of the Amazon
  18. Ayahuasca Analogs 19 Trumpets of the Angels
  19. The Tracks of the Little Deer
  20. Little Flowers of the Gods
  21. Diviner's Sage
  22. Cactus of the Four Winds
  23. Vines of the Serpent
  24. Semen of the Sun
  25. Gateway to Dreamtime
  26. Chemical Structures of Hallucinogens
  27. Uses of Hallucinogens on Medicine Epilogue Picture Credits Bibliography Acknowledgments Index


"Richard Evans Schultes has been the nexus of almost everything interesting and supportive concerned with economic and cultural uses of plants. Plants of the Gods gives precise and illuminating portraits of the many peoples of the Earth who pay homage to and gain insights with the aid of psychedelic plants: an exquisite, thoroughly scholarly book." Whole Earth Review "It contains an incredible amount of rigorous and fascinating information in a highly accessible, beautiful, and compelling format." Journal of Scientific Exploration, October 2003 "Carefully researched, beautifully written, and abundantly illustrated, this book reminds us that the use of hallucinogenic plants has been a fundamental part of the human experience for millennia." Michael R. Aldrich, Ph.D., Curator Fitz Hugh Ludlow Library "This superbly illustrated, encyclopedic volume provides a much needed, well-balanced scientific perspective on the use of hallucinogenic plants. Richard Evans Schultes, the worlds most eminent ethnobotanist, and Albert Hofmann, the former research director at Sandoz Pharmaceuticals, emphasize the need for continued education about both the potential benefits and the inherent dangers involved in the use of hallucinogens." Shaman's Drum

Product Details

Richard Evans Schultes, Albert Hofmann
Healing Arts Press
Publication Date
Country of Publication
United States
Short Title
Their Sacred Healing and Hallucinogenic Powers Revised and Expanded Second Edition

Product Reviews

20 Sep, 2017
I love it! It is very informative.
By Nicky