". . . this superb academic reference is the first comprehensive
work devoted to psychoactive plants. Ratsch, an anthropologist,
ethnopharmacologist, . . . includes more than 400 traditional
and modern substances that 'affect the mind or alter the state
of consciousness'. . . .Each major monograph contains the plant's
scientific and common names, chemical structure, history, distribution,
cultivation, appearance, preparation and dosage, ritual and medicinal
uses, commercial forms and regulations, and effects, as well as
research literature references. . . .This book offers something
for everyone. . . . Highly recommended."
"Rätsch's Encyclopedia is massive in scope, exhaustively
researched, heavily referenced, user-friendly, authoritative,
and beautifully illustrated. It belongs on the bookshelf of everyone
with an interest in psychoactive plants--from those with only
a casual interest to veteran researchers."
"It is a truism in anthropology that virtually all cultures
utilize plants and mushrooms for their psychoactive effects. The
impulse to achieve altered states of consciousness is universal.
Several previous books on psychoactive plants have become classics
on this subject. While valuable historic additions to the library,
they must now move over. This encyclopedia is truly destined to
be the most authoritative reference on natural psychoactive substances
for years to come."
"In the realm of psychoactive plants, Christian Rätsch
is the world's most knowledgeable person. Here is his magnum opus--a
veritable treasure trove of information about the most fascinating
members of the plant kingdom. As the "teachers" and
the gatekeepers to the spirit world, psychoactives help us cleanse
the lenses of perception. No one interested in natural ways to
expand consciousness should be without this magnificent volume."
"Christian Rätsch's remarkable Encyclopedia of Psychoactive
Plants is an essential and comprehensive work that explores
not only the expanse of plants that affect human consciousness
but the genetic necessity for humanity to experience wide-ranging
flexibility in consciousness. The plant world is basic to us,
the foundation of our food, clothing, and shelter. But Christian's
book reminds us that human/plant interactions reach much deeper
than these three needs; plant intelligence reaches deep within
us and teaches us to see, hear, and understand the deep meanings
in the world, meanings that we need, and are meant, to encounter
in order to remain human."
". . . the granddaddy of all drug books."
About the Author
Christian Rätsch, 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 GEO and Spektrum
der Wissenschaften (Spectrum of Sciences).
Before becoming a full-time author and internationally
renowned lecturer, Rätsch 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 The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Plants,
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 Himalayas, and Witchcraft Medicine and 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.
Hofmann is a world renowned scientist and Fellow member of the
World Academy of art and Science. He is a leader in pharmaceutical-chemical