All information is taken (and in some cases abridged) from Wikipedia unless stated otherwise.
Ayahuasca (Banisteriopsis caapi)
Syrian Rue (Peganum harmala)
Chacruna (Psychotria viridis)
Chaliponga (Diplopterys cabrerana)
Blue Lotus (Nelumbo nucifera)
Blue Lily (Nymphaea caerulea)
Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata)
San Pedro (Trichocereus pachanoi)
Peruvian Torch (Trichocereus peruvianus)
Damiana (Turnera diffusa)
Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa)
Banisteriopsis Caapi, or Ayahuasca, is a liana native to the rainforests of South America.
It contains the beta-carboline harmala alkaloids and MAOIs harmine, harmaline, and tetrahydroharmine. The MAOIs in B. caapi allow the primary psychoactive compound, DMT (which is introduced from the other primary ingredient in Ayahausca, the Psychotria viridis plant), to be orally active. The stems contain 0.11-0.83% beta-carbolines, with harmine and tetrahydroharmine as the major components..
According to The CRC World Dictionary of Plant Names by Umberto Quattrocchi, the naming of B. caapi was actually dedicated to John Banister, a seventeenth-century English clergyman and naturalist. An earlier name for the genus Banisteriopsis was Banisteria, and the plant is sometimes referred to as Banisteria caapi in everyday usage.
The name Ayahuasca means "vine of the soul", and the shamans of the indigenous Western Amazonian tribes use the plant in religious and healing ceremonies. In addition to its hallucinogenic properties, caapi is used for its healing properties as a purgative, effectively cleansing the body of parasites and helping the digestive tract.
Harmal (Peganum harmala) is a plant of the family Nitrariaceae, native from the eastern Mediterranean region east to India. It is also known as Wild Rue or Syrian Rue because of its resemblance to plants of the rue family.
It is a perennial plant which can grow to about 0.8 m tall, but normally it is about 0.3 m tall. The roots of the plant can reach a depth of up to 6.1 m, if the soil it is growing in is very dry. It blossoms between June and August in the Northern Hemisphere. The flowers are white and are about 2.5–3.8 cm in diameter. The round seed capsules measure about 1–1.5 cm in diameter, have three chambers and carry more than 50 seeds.
Peganum harmala was first planted in the United States in 1928 in the state of New Mexico by a farmer wanting to manufacture the dye "Turkish Red" from its seeds. Since then it has spread invasively to Arizona, California, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Texas and Washington. "Because it is so drought tolerant, African rue can displace the native saltbushes and grasses growing in the salt-desert shrub lands of the Western U.S."
African rue, Esphand (Persian, اسپند – سپند), Harmal peganum, Harmal shrub, Harmel, Isband, Ozallaik, Peganum, Steppenraute, Syrian rue,Yüzerlik, üzerlik (Turkish), Üzərlik, Luotuo-peng (Chinese, 骆驼篷)
Peganum harmala seeds as sold in a Middle Eastern foods grocery store
Harmal has been used as an entheogen in the Middle East, and in modern Western culture, it is often used as an analogue of Banisteriopsis caapi to create an ad hoc Ayahuasca, the South American mixture of phytoindoles including DMT with β-carbolines. However, Harmal has distinct aspects from caapi and a unique entheogenic signature. Some scholars identify Harmal with the entheogenic haoma of pre-Zoroastrian Persian religions.
A red dye, "Turkey Red," from the seeds is often used in Western Asia to dye carpets. It is also used to dye wool. When the seeds are extracted with water, a yellow fluorescent dye is obtained. If they are extracted with alcohol, a red dye is obtained.The stems, roots and seeds can be used to make inks, stains and tattoos.
Peganum harmala is used as an analgesic and antiinflammatory agent. In Yemen it was used to treat depression, and it has been established in the laboratory that harmaline, an active ingredient in Peganum harmala, is a central nervous system stimulant and a "reversible inhibitor of MAO-A (RIMA)," a category of antidepressant.
Smoke from the seeds kills algae, bacteria, intestinal parasites and molds. Peganum harmala has "antibacterial activity," including antibacterial activity against drug-resistant bacteria.]
The "root is applied to kill lice" and when burned, the seeds kill insects. It also inhibits the reproduction of the Tribolium castaneum beetle.
It is also used as an anthelmintic (to expel parasitic worms). Reportedly the ancient Greeks used powdered Peganum harmala seeds to get rid of tapeworms and to treat recurring fevers (possibly malaria).
Peganum harmala is an abortifacient, and, in large quantities, it can reduce spermatogenesis and male fertility in rats.
"The beta-carboline alkaloids present in medicinal plants, such as Peganum harmala and Eurycoma longifolia, have recently drawn attention due to their antitumor activities. Further mechanistic studies indicate that beta-carboline derivatives inhibit DNA topoisomerases and interfere with DNA synthesis."
Peganum harmala has antioxidant and antimutagenic properties.
Peganum harmala as well as harmine exhibit cytotoxicity with regards to HL60 and K562 leukemia cell lines. Ground Peganum harmala seeds have been used occasionally to treat skin cancer and subcutaneous cancers traditionally in Morocco. Seed extracts also show effectiveness against various tumor cell lines both in vitro and in vivo.
Mimosa Hostilis or Mimosa tenuiflora is a shrub that grows all the way from Mexico to South America.
The fern-like branches have leaves that are Mimosa like, finely pinnate, growing to 5 cm long. Each compound leaf contains 15-33 pairs of bright green leaflets 5-6 mm long. The tree itself grows up to 8 m tall and it can reach 4-5 m tall in less than 5 years. The white, fragrant flowers occur in loosely cylindrical spikes 4-8 cm long. In the Northern Hemisphere it blossoms and produces fruit from November to June or July. In the Southern Hemisphere it blooms primarily from September to January. The fruit is brittle and averages 2.5–5 cm long. Each pod contains 4–6 seeds that are oval, flat, light brown and 3–4 mm in diameter. There are about 145 seeds/g. In the Southern Hemisphere, the fruit ripens from February to April.
Mimosa tenuiflora "tepezcohuite" proved vital in the treatment of some of the 5000 burn victims in the aftermath of a series of explosions at large liquid petroleum gas explosion at a huge facility located near Mexico City in San Juan Ixhuatepec (San Juanico), November 19, 1984. It was also used to treat victims of a large 1985 earthquake in Mexico. Powder from the bark has a 2-3 hour pain killing effect on the skin. Bark powder causes skin to regenerate fully in a matter of weeks. The results and some mechanisms thereof have been confirmed in the laboratory. Tepezcohuite is used to treat acne, psoriasis and herpes.
Mimosa tenuiflora is an entheogen known as Jurema, Jurema Preta, Black Jurema, and Vinho de Jurema. Dried Mexican Mimosa tenuiflora root bark has been recently shown to have a DMT (Dimethyltryptamine) content of about 1%. The stem bark has about 0.03% DMT. The bark is the part of the tree traditionally used in northeastern Brazil in a psychoactive decoction also called Jurema or Yurema. Analogously, the traditional Western Amazonian sacrament Ayahuasca is brewed from indigenous ayahuasca vines. However, to date no β-carbolines such as harmala alkaloids have been detected in Mimosa tenuiflora decoctions, yet the root bark is consistently used without added MAOI.
This presents challenges to the pharmacological understanding of how DMT from the plant is rendered orally active as an entheogen. In this view, if MAOI is neither present in the plant nor added to the mixture, the enzyme MAO will break apart DMT in the human gut, preventing the active molecule from entering blood and brain. The isolation of a new compound called "Yuremamine" from Mimosa tenuiflora as reported in 2005 represents a new class of phyto-indoles, which may explain an apparent oral activity of DMT in Jurema.
Psychotria viridis is a shrub from the coffee family, Rubiaceae. It has many local names, including Chacruna and Chacrona (from Quechua chaqruy, "to mix").
It is a close relative of the Ecuadorian Psychotria carthagensis, known as samiruka (amiruca), and some dispute remains as to whether or not the two are actually separate species.
Psychotria viridis is a perennial bush which grows up to 5 m tall and 2 m wide.
In the middle and lower parts of the stem, situated between the insertion points of the two opposite leaves there is a horizontal scar 0.3-1 mm wide that extends between the leaves (or leaf scars) and sometimes also connects over the tops of these scars, and along the top side of this scar there is a dense, usually furry line of fine trichomes (i.e., plant hairs) usually 0.5-1 mm long that are reddish brown when dried.
This combination of features is diagnostic for many species in the genus Psychotria, though not for any individual species [i.e., these features distinguish Psychotria L. Subg. Psychotria; other subgenera of Psychotria lack the well developed reddish brown trichomes inserted above the stipule scars]. On the upper stems of Psychotria viridis these features are obscured by a stipule (see below), which covers the trichomes; the scar actually marks the point where this structure has fallen off.
These are leafy structures that cover and protect the young developing leaves, then fall off leaving scars on the stem. The stipules are produced in pairs, and their form is distinctive for Psychotria viridis: They are 5-25 x 4-12 mm, elliptic in outline, sharply angled at the apex, papery to membranaceous in texture, ciliate (i.e., fringed) along the upper margins, and longitudinally flanged or winged along the middle. However, stipule shape and size is quite variable among different plants, and also depends on the stipule's developmental stage and other factors such as whether the stem that produced it is reproductive or vegetative.
These are opposite in arrangement (i.e., produced in pairs along the stems), generally 5-15 x 2-6 cm, in outline generally elliptic or often widest above the middle, usually sharply angled at base and apex, papery in texture, overall smooth or infrequently with microscopic plant hairs on the lower surface, have 5-10 pairs of secondary veins, and on the lower surface usually have foveolae (see next item). The leaves are borne on petioles (i.e., leaf stalks) generally 1-10 mm long. When dry, the leaves of Psychotria viridis usually are gray or reddish brown. The leaves of Psychotria viridis are similar to a few other New World species of Psychotria.
These are small pockets found on the lower leaf surface near the junction of the secondary (i.e., side) veins with the central vein. They function as shelter for tiny invertebrates such as mites that live on the plant leaf. These mites apparently often are symbiotic with the plant, taking shelter in these structures and eating fungi and herbivorous invertebrates that can damage the leaf.
The foveolae (also called domatia) are distinctive for Psychotria viridis and a few related species: They are generally 1.5-5 mm long and 0.5-1 mm wide at the top, conical and tapered to a closed base, open and truncate or variously ornamented at the top, and situated along the sides of the central vein with the opening usually near a secondary vein . These foveolae vary in shape among different plants, and in number on individual leaves, and may not even be present on some leaves. Most often each leaf bears at least one pair of foveolae, which may be close to the apex; the foveolae are often more numerous on leaves from vegetative stems than on those from reproductive stems.
Cultivation from cuttings is easiest. A single leaf (or even part of a leaf slightly covered with soil) can be sufficient for a cutting.Propagation from seed is extremely difficult. The germination rate can be as low as 1%. There are approximately 50 seeds/g.
The Machiguenga people of Peru use juice from the leaves as eye drops to treat migraine headaches.
Dried Psychotria vidris contains about 0.10-0.66% alkaloids. Approximately 99% of that is dimethyltryptamine (DMT). Other alkaloids such as beta-carbolines and MMT have been found. The alkaloid content is said to be highest in the morning.
It contains the hallucinogenic—or entheogenic—indole alkaloid DMT (dimethyltryptamine) 0.1-0.61% dried mass. It is known primarily as a principle admixture to the ayahuasca brew used in South and Central America. It is legal in Brazil where native tribes use it religiously.
Vegetalistas, healers in the Amazon regions of Peru, Ecuador and Colombia, recognize different sub-varieties of Psychotria viridis, based on the location of glands on the back of the leaves. The Brazilian ayhuasca church, Santo Daime, holds that Banisteriopsis caapi, the primary component of ayahuasca, provides "force" to the tea, whereas Psychotria viridis, or chacruna, provides "light".
This may not be far from the truth as the recognized mechanism of action is the combination of a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) which allows ayahuasca to be effective in oral doses (unlike smoking DMT crystals which requires no conditioning partner drug).
Diplopterys cabrerana (syn. Banisteriopsis rusbyana) is a South American rainforest vine, commonly known as Chaliponga, Chagropanga and, in parts of Ecuador, Chacruna. It is found in the Amazonian lowlands of Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.
Chaliponga is a common admixture of the entheogenic tea Ayahuasca, and is rich in tryptamines such as DMT and 5-MeO-DMT.
Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) 0.17-1.75%
Diplopterys cabrerana is planted in home gardens via cuttings. The cuttings are either directly planted in soil or rooted first in water.
Nelumbo nucifera (Sacred Lotus Petals) have become etched in folklore because of a fabulous people who supposedly occupied the north coast of Africa and lived on the lotus, which brought forgetfulness and happy indolence. The Sacred Lotus flower was also what the Ulysses' crew smoked after coming ashore following years at sea. Similar in effect to the Sacred Blue Lily of the Nile, the Sacred Lotus is often steeped in wine or tea. It is said to produce a "feeling of joy that permeates the whole body, emanating from every cell" that is "delightfully wonderful and lasts for some time.
Sacred Lotus contains lotusine, demethyl coclaurine, neferin, and nuciferine.
Some believe that the lotus came to India from Egypt. Later, Buddhism borrowed the flower from Hinduism. In Buddhist painting and sculpture, whenever Buddha is shown delivering an important sermon, he is shown sitting on a lotus pedestal. Buddhist scriptures enumerate fragrance, purity, delicateness and beauty as the attributes of lotus.
The lotus is one of the world's most celebrated flowers. From time immemorial to the present day, it has always been in folklore, religion and the arts in one form or the other. The terms lotus is applied in general to several species of plants. About 100 lotus species are found in temperate regions of Asia, Africa, Europe and North America. The pink and purple coloured variety found in the country and widely used in religion is called Nelumbo nucifera. Scriptures tell us that it first bloomed with the creation of the universe. Over the centuries it has lost none of its allure.
According to Yoga and Tantra there are seven lotus wheels in the human body. The lotus is the object of meditation in Tantric Buddhism. The lotus motif has also been extensively used in shrines, art, architecture and sculpture of the Jains. The Ionic order of architecture of the ancient Greeks is an offshoot of the Assyrian and Phoenician forms which have the lotus as their basis.
Nelumbo nucifera is a wholly edible species. Its seeds are roasted to make puffs called makhanas. The plantâ€™s rhizomes are a source of lotus meal which is rich in starch. In fact is American counterpart, Nelumbo petapetala was source of starchy diet for the American Indians. A number of wild animals feed on the plant. Fish find refuge in its underwater stalks.
Nymphaea Caerulea (Blue Lily) was held in very high esteem by the ancient Egyptians. Nymphaea Caerulea (Blue Lily) was worshipped as a visionary plant and was a symbol for the origins of life. The Egyptians believed that the world was originally covered by water and darkness. A Blue Lily sprang up from the water and opened its petals to reveal a young god, a Divine Child. Light streamed from the Divine Child to banish universal darkness. This child god was the Creator, the Sun God, the source of all life. When the Pharaoh known as King Tut was entombed, his body was covered in Nymphaea Caerulea (Blue Lily) flowers.
Traditionally, Nymphaea Caerulea was drank after being soaked in warm water or wine, while a cigarette made of the dried flowers was smoked. These are flowers and tops only and are suspected to contain aporphine and nuciferine, natural alkaloids.
The secret to the rare Egyptian Blue Lily was revealed on a PBS special. The Blue Lily was traditionally used to relieve pain, increase memory, increase circulation, promote sexual desire, and create feelings of euphoria and ecstacy, without the use of narcotics. According to recent studies, Blue Lily was found to be loaded with health-giving phytosterols and bioflavonoids. It turned out to be one of the greatest daily health tonics ever found. Traditionally, it has been used to create a feeling of well-being, euphoria, and ecstacy.
The passion flowers or passion vines (Passiflora) are a genus of about 500 species of flowering plants, the namesakes of the family Passifloraceae. They are mostly vines, with some being shrubs, and a few species being herbaceous. For information about the fruit of the passiflora plant, see passionfruit. The monotypic genus Hollrungia seems to be inseparable from Passiflora, but further study is needed.
The family Passifloraceae is found worldwide except in Antarctica, and Passiflora is absent from Africa though many other members of the family Passifloraceae exist there (e.g. the more plesiomorphic Adenia).
Nine species of Passiflora are native to the USA, found from Ohio to the north, west to California and south to the Florida Keys. Most other species are found in South America, China, and Southern Asia, New Guinea, four or more species in Australia and a single endemic species in New Zealand. New species continue to be identified: for example, P. pardifolia and P. xishuangbannaensis have only been known to the scientific community since 2006 and 2005, respectively.
Species of Passiflora have been naturalised beyond their native ranges. For example, Blue Passion Flower (P. caerulea) now grows wild in Spain. The purple passionfruit (P. edulis) and its yellow relative flavicarpa have been introduced in many tropical regions as commercial crops.
P. incarnata (maypop) leaves and roots have a long history of use among Native Americans in North America and were adapted by the European colonists. The fresh or dried leaves of maypop are used to make a tea that is used to treat insomnia, hysteria, and epilepsy, and is also valued for its analgesic properties. P. edulis (passion fruit) and a few other species are used in Central and South America for similar purposes. Once dried, the leaves can also be smoked.
Many species have been found to contain beta-carboline harmala alkaloids. which are MAO inhibitors with anti-depressant properties. The flower and fruit have only traces of these chemicals, but the leaves and the roots are often more potent and have been used to enhance the effects of mind-altering drugs. The most common of these alkaloids is harman (1-methyl-9H-b-carboline), but harmaline (4,9-Dihydro-7-methoxy-1-methyl-3H-pyrido[3,4-b]indole), harmalol (1-methyl-2,3,4,9-tetrahydropyrido[3,4-b]indol-7-one), harmine (7-Methoxy-1-methyl-9H-pyrido[3,4-b]indole) and harmol[clarification needed] were found. The species known to bear such alkaloids include: P. actinea, P. alata (winged-stem passion flower), P. alba, P. bryonioides (cupped passion flower), P. caerulea (blue passion flower), P. capsularis, P. decaisneana, P. edulis (passion fruit), P. eichleriana, P. foetida (stinking passion flower), P. incarnata (maypop), P. quadrangularis (giant granadilla), P. ruberosa, P. subpeltata and P. warmingii.
Other compounds found in passion flowers are coumarins (e.g. scopoletin and umbelliferone), maltol, phytosterols (e.g. lutenin) and cyanogenic glycosides (e.g. gynocardin) which render some species, i.e. P. adenopoda, somewhat poisonous. Many flavonoids and their glycosides have been found in Passiflora, including apigenin, benzoflavone, homoorientin, 7-isoorientin, isoshaftoside, isovitexin (or saponaretin), kaempferol, lucenin, luteolin, n-orientin, passiflorine (named after the genus), quercetin, rutin, saponarin, shaftoside, vicenin and vitexin. Maypop, Blue Passion Flower (P. caerulea), and perhaps others contain chrysin, a flavone with confirmed anxiolytic and anti-inflammatory, supposed aromatase inhibitor properties. Also documented to occur at least in some Passiflora in quantity are the hydrocarbon nonacosane and the anthocyanidin pelargonidin-3-diglycoside.
As regards organic acids, the genus is rich in formic, butyric, linoleic, linolenic, malic, myristic, oleic and palmitic acids as well as phenolic compounds, and the amino acid α-alanine. Esters like ethyl butyrate, ethyl caproate, n-hexyl butyrate and n-hexyl caproate give the fruits their flavor and appetizing smell. Sugars, contained mainly in the fruit, are most significantly d-fructose, d-glucose and raffinose. Among enzymes, Passiflora was found to be rich in catalase, pectin methylesterase and phenolase.
The medical utility of very few species of Passiflora has been scientifically studied. In initial trials for treatment of generalized anxiety disorder, maypop extract performed as well as oxazepam but with fewer short-term side effects. It was recommended to follow up with long-term studies.
The San Pedro cactus (Echinopsis pachanoi, syn. Trichocereus pachanoi) is a fast-growing columnar cactus native to the Andes Mountains of Peru between 2000–3000 m in altitude. It is also found in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile and Ecuador, and it is cultivated in other parts of the world. Uses for it include traditional medicine and traditional veterinary medicine, and it is widely grown as an ornamental cactus. It has been used for healing and religious divination in the Andes Mountains region for over 3000 years. It is sometimes confused with its close relative, Echinopsis peruviana (Peruvian Torch Cactus).
The plant is light to dark green, sometimes glaucous, and has 4–9 (usually 5–7) ribs. Groups of 1–4 small, yellow to light brown spines are located at nodes which are spaced evenly, approximately 2 cm apart, along the ribs. Echinopsis pachanoi can grow up to 5 metres (16 ft) tall and have multiple branches, usually extending from the base. The tallest recorded specimen was 12.2 metres (40 ft) tall. The cactus blossoms at night with flowers up to 20 centimetres (8 in) in diameter, and rarely it bears red, tasty fruit.
Echinopsis pachanoi has a long history of being used in Andean traditional medicine. Archeological studies have found evidence of use going back two thousand years, to Moche culture. Currently it is widely known and used to treat nervous conditions, joint problems, drug addictions, cardiac disease, and high blood pressure, and it has unique antimicrobial properties.
Echinopsis pachanoi contains hordenine and ". . .it has been shown that hordenine, N,N-Dimethyl-hydroxyphenylethylamine, exhibits an inhibitory action against at least 18 strains of penicillin resistant Staphylococcus bacteria."
San Pedro contains a number of alkaloids, including the well-studied chemical mescaline (0.21 - 1.8%), and also 3,4-dimethoxyphenethylamine, 4-hydroxy-3-methoxyphenethylamine, 3-hydroxy-4,5-dimethoxyphenethylamine, 4-hydroxy-3,5-dimethoxyphenethylamine, anhalonidine, anhalinine, hordenine, tyramine, and 3-methoxytyramine.
Mescaline (3,4,5-trimethoxyphenethylamine) is a psychedelic drug and entheogen, which is also found in some other species of genus Echinopsis (i.e. Echinopsis lageniformis, Echinopsis peruviana, and Echinopsis scopulicola) and the species Lophophora williamsii (peyote).
Anecdotal evidence suggests that the highest concentrations of active substances are found in the layer of green photosynthetic tissue just beneath the skin. The darker green the cactus, the higher the alkaloid content, which can be caused by "stressing it" with reduced sunlight indoors or in shade, leaving a cut section indoors for 6+ weeks, and water starving.
There are various mescaline extraction techniques, simple (boiling in water 5 to 7 hours) and complex (such as an acid-base extraction), the latter technique yielding a material with a significantly higher concentration of mescaline.
San Pedro is very easy to grow in most areas. Because it grows naturally in the Andes Mountains at high altitude and with high rainfall, it can withstand temperatures far below that of many other cacti. San Pedro requires fertile, free-draining soil. They are susceptible to fungal diseases if over-watered, but are not nearly as sensitive as many other cacti, especially in warm weather. They can be sunburned and display a yellowing chlorotic reaction to overexposure to sunlight. In warm areas it is best to keep them out of direct sun in mid-summer.
In winter, plants will etiolate, or become thin, due to lower levels of light. This may be problematic if the etiolated zone is not sufficiently strong to support future growth as the cactus may break in strong winds. Some people also find it visually undesirable. If you wish to avoid etiolation when temperatures drop and growth rates slow, encourage it to enter winter dormancy by withholding water and fertilizer from it over the winter.
Like many other plants, Echinopsis pachanoi can be propagated from cuttings. The result is a genetic clone of the parent plant. For example, the top 15-cm end of a cactus column can be cut off with a knife, then the cutting can be left to dry for about two weeks in the shade, or in a dry place. This is so that the surface of the cut end dries out like paper forming a seal to keep out microorganisms such as mold. The cutting can then be dipped in rooting hormone (optional, but effective) and planted on the surface of or buried to a maximum of 2.5 cm deep in good topsoil mixed with some sand and perlite. The cutting is kept in the shade or indirect sunlight, so that the root system can develop and the cactus does not grow too thinly. After about six months, significant roots will have formed and the cutting can be repotted in the same type of soil.
A long cactus column can be laid on its side on the ground, and eventually roots will sprout from it and grow into the ground. After time, sprouts will form and cactus columns will grow upward out of it along its length.
The seeds are quite easy to germinate and grow. Their main requirements consist of high humidity levels, free-draining soil mix, and enough (but not too much) water, light, and nutrition. There are a number of commonly used methods that satisfy these requirements and the choice of a particular method depends mainly on the scale of the cultivation operation.
A large cultivated Echinopsis pachanoi specimen
For soil, use coarse sharp sand (sieved river sand). Some people also find coir or peat, or mixtures, to be effective. The soil can be sterilized by cooking it in an oven on high for 1–2 hours. Sterilization will be most effective if the sand is moist. If one is available, an autoclave would also be useful at this point. Some people find sterilization to be unnecessary. This may depend on other factors. The soil is placed into trays (which can be sanitized with bleach beforehand if desired) and the seeds planted into it (when the soil has cooled). The seeds should be only just below the surface (i.e. two or three sand grains over them). The trays now need to be kept in a humid environment. This may be achieved by the use of plastic bags, glass plates, or greenhouses, depending on scale. About 25 degrees C. is a good temperature for germinating the seed, with 33 deg. C. during the day as a maximum temperature and 15 deg. C. as a nighttime minimum temperature. Seeds usually germinate within two weeks to a month, but sometimes come up after several months.
The seedlings stay in the humid environment for several months. During this time they must be continually checked for water and nutrient requirements, and fungal pathogens. Ensure the soil stays moist, but not overly wet. Nutrients can be provided with a liquid fertilizer at 1/8 strength whenever growth rate slows down. Fungi can be killed with a sulfur or copper-based fungicide. There have been some reports of seedlings responding negatively to these treatments so be very cautious with the amount used. There is some evidence that garlic is also an effective fungicide.
If germinating seeds in cold weather, a heat mat and fluorescent light can be used. These should be set on a timer to mimic normal diurnal temperature cycles for germination but can be left on permanently for faster growth once all the seeds have sprouted. One good method for growing cacti seedlings using this setup is to germinate them in late winter and have them ready to go outside by spring as temperatures and light levels are increasing.
Peruvian Torch cactus (Echinopsis peruviana syn. Trichocereus peruvianus) is a fast-growing columnar cactus native to the western slope of the Andes in Peru, between about 2000-3000 meters above sea level.
Peruvian Torch (Trichocereus peruvianus) is found high in the Andean mountain deserts of Peru and Ecuador and is similar to the San Pedro cactus (Trichocereus pachanoi) which is found in the same region. The human use of the cactus dates back thousands of years to the northern coast of Peru and the monks of a pre-Inca culture known as Chavín. They prepared a brew called "achuma", "huachuma" or "cimora" which was used during ritualistic ceremonies to diagnose the spiritual links to a patient's illness.
The active compound is 3,4,5-trimethoxyphenethylamine or mescaline which was reported at a concentration of 1.2% in the dried cactus. Besides mescaline, it also contains varying phenethylamines and other substances in minimal proportions. Today it is still used by Curanderos (medicine men) of northern Peru.
The plant is bluish-green in colour, with frosted stems, and 6-9 broadly rounded ribs; it has large, white flowers. It can grow up to 7 meters tall, with stems up to 20 cm in diameter; it is fully erect to begin with, but later possibly arching over, or even becoming prostrate. Groups of 6-8 honey-coloured to brown rigid spines, up to 4 cm in length, with most about 1 cm, are located at the nodes, which are evenly spaced along the ribs, up to approximately 2.5 cm apart.
A short-spined variant which is nearly identical in appearance to its relative, Echinopsis pachanoi (San Pedro cactus), is known. It is therefore possible that many misidentified plants are being sold (both as Peruvian Torch and as San Pedro), but since local variations as well as hybrids do exist (both cultivated and natural), this will obviously make proper identification difficult.
Like many other plants, Echinopsis peruviana can be propagated from cuttings. The result is a genetic clone of the parent plant. For example, the top 15 cm end of a cactus column can be cleanly removed with a knife. The cutting can be left to heal for about two weeks in the scattered or indirect light, by laying it upon its side. Be aware that it should be kept away from excessive moisture that will encourage growth of an opportunistic infection and receive good airflow at this time. The plant will heal by forming a calloused seal to withstand bacterial and fungal attack such as mold. The unrooted cutting can be either kept upright in a propped up position for an extended period of time (2+ years) without harm . Often roots will emerge from the lowest point of the plant between 3–6 months time. Rooting hormone is not required and its use may damage the soft tissues of the plant, giving rise to bacterial or fungal rot that may kill the clone.
Cuttings may be planted after the formation of a callous and before the emergence of roots in either a small pot or directly n the ground. Cuttings should be set far enough below the surface of the soil to ensure stability until the root network is formed as well as access to moisture.
Depending upon the local environmental conditions soil should well draining and able to hold enough moisture for a week or more without drying out. Any soil used should never be "rich" in nitrogen. These are easily identified as being dark in color and / or high in manure content. A good basic soil mixture will consist of a basic "cactus soil mix" supplemented with 25% washed sand and 35% perlite. Pots must be well draining and do not need to be large in order to support a extensive root network.
Most beginning growers experience plant loss by root rot from using a composted soil mix that is high in nitrogen from manure in a heavy wood or peat moss matrix. This will usually compact with time. Watering will cause the microflora to turn to anaerobic respiration resulting in a change in soil Ph, killing the root system and eventual root rot.
Once established these plants will be able to handle large amounts of watering compared to other cacti genera. Like other plants warm temperature and sunlight will result in rapid growth. Watering should take on a cycle between watering and keeping the soil moist (but not damp) with a short "drying out" period to keep soil microflora in check once every 10–14 days/ 5 days watering should be stopped or severely limited in the winter months when plant's go dormant.
Turnera diffusa, known as damiana, is a shrub native to Central America, Mexico, South America, and the Caribbean. It belongs to the family Turneraceae.
Damiana is a relatively small shrub that produces small, aromatic flowers. It blossoms in early to late summer and is followed by fruits that taste similar to figs. The shrub is said to have an strong spice like odor somewhat like chamomile, due to an oil present in the plant. The leaves have traditionally been made into a tea and an incense which was used by native people of Central and South America for its relaxing effects. Spanish missionaries first recorded that the Mexican Indians drank Damiana tea mixed with sugar for use as an aphrodisiac.
Herbal Incense sold in stores as THC-less weed.
Damiana is an ingredient in a traditional Mexican liqueur, which is sometimes used in lieu of Triple Sec in margaritas. Mexican folklore claims that it was used in the "original" margarita. The damiana margarita is popular in the Los Cabos region of Mexico.
Damiana has been used by Agent Provocateur in their Beauty Range products for its aphrodisiacal qualities. It has been combined in their Poudre D'Amour with Purple Orchid, Passionflower and Cocoa.
While scientists have found conclusive data on Damiana, it has recently been shown that a chemical essential to the plant's structure, damianin, has relaxing effects on the central nervous system. This chemical may therefore account, in part, for the reports of relaxation effects, however the research involved is limited at this point.
Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) is a medicinal leaf harvested from a large tree in the Rubiaceae family native to Southeast Asia. It was first formally documented by the Dutch colonial botanist Pieter Korthals. It is botanically related to the Corynanthe, Cinchona and Uncaria genera and shares some similar biochemistry. It is in the same family as coffee and the psychoactive plant Psychotria viridis. Other species in the Mitragyna genus are used medicinally in Africa, and also used for their wood.
Kratom has been traditionally used for its psychoactive properties in Thailand and Malaysia, although it is now illegal in these countries. In Southeast Asia the fresh leaves are commonly chewed, often continuously, by workers or manual laborers seeking a numbing, stimulating effect. Less commonly, the leaves are decocted or extracted into water and then evaporated into a tar that can be swallowed. Kratom is not often smoked due to the active alkaloids being destroyed by the heat.
Kratom contains many alkaloids including mitragynine (once thought to be the primary active), mitraphylline, and 7-hydroxymitragynine (which is currently the most likely candidate for the primary active chemical in the plant).
Although 7-hydroxymitraygynie and mitragynine are structurally related to yohimbine and other tryptamines, their pharmacology is quite different, acting primarily as mu-opioid receptor agonists. Other active chemicals in kratom include raubasine (best known from Rauwolfia serpentina) and some yohimbe alkaloids such as corynantheidine.
Kratom's primary pharmacology is mediated by the alkaloids 7-hydroxymitragynine and mitragynine, which share molecular similarities to the alkaloids yohimbine and ibogaine but which act on the brain primarily on opiate receptors. The subjective effects of kratom use are similar to the effects of opiate receptor agonists such as codeine or hydrocodone, and will prevent withdrawal symptoms in an opiate addicted person. Kratom's psychoactive effects typically fade after a few hours.
The most potent leaves generally come from older trees, most of which grow on mildly acidic jungle type soils. Alkaloid content is a function of age, genetics, soil, location, and season. Alkaloid production is highest in late summer and early fall.
Kratom trees usually grow to a height of 12–15 ft tall and 15 ft (4.6 m) wide, although under the right conditions, certain species can reach to 40 ft (12 m)–100 ft (30 m) in height tall.
The leaves of the Kratom tree are a dark green colour and can grow to over 7 inches (180 mm) long and 4 inches (100 mm) wide. The flowers are yellow and grow in clusters.
The kratom tree grows best in wet, humid, fertile soil, with medium to full sun exposure, and an area protected from strong winds.
Kratom is a controlled substance in Thailand, Bhutan, Australia, Finland, Denmark, Poland, Lithuania, Malaysia and Myanmar (Burma).