Ecosystems that blow your mind and find your maker! In so many blockbuster movies, the desires to push us past our human limits are an obsession, or are it? Governments around the world have prohibited usage, preparation and consumption of these natural organic plants due to their potency to make us mentally, memory, creativity, or motivationally and physically charged beyond our normal ability. These plants have been studied at length and even used in defense missions around the world for many years. Certain indigenous people and subculture tribes around the world have used these plants in ceremonies, which gain enhanced cognitive and physical function beyond human limitations. However, for many centuries, the indigenous people it is a way of life and an understanding of the connection between nature, man and the spiritual world. Whether it is for spiritual enlightenment or a sacrament to the Gods, certain plants have been put on this planet have the ability to manipulate our molecular structure and push us to another level deep into our subconscious mind. To add to this there are also animals, which have similar effects on the humanity and mind. Is this all a coincidence or is nature speaking with us in its own subliminal way!
Central Africa, Gabon – The Iboga Plant. “The being who calls.”
The root of the plant is scraped and pounded into a powder prior to ingestion, with the ceremony performed by a spiritual leader known as an “N’ganga”. It’s also a ceremony that brings together the whole community - healers, elders, and entire families. It involves hallucinogenic effects that can last for up to 48 hours, and it’s revered as a right of passage that receives special guidance from the N’ganga.
South America, Andes and Amazon – Ayahuasca “vine of souls"
A ceremony that’s receiving increasing attention, it involves the Ayahuasca plant that was used for spiritual and religious purposes by ancient Amazonian tribes.
The plant’s vine leaves are boiled for up to 12 hours, along with select other natural plants. A shaman performs and guides the ceremony. It’s ingested as a tea and begins to take effect within an hour, which is when the purge begins. There’s a period of vomiting as the tea flushes out your mental and physical toxins, a process that is accompanied by both visual and auditory stimulation.
Ayahuasca is said to deliver a profound experience that induces transcendental healing. Via the hallucinations that are induced, Ayahuasca is said to connect the user with the spectrum of emotions, stretching from fear to profound love. Participants even speak of meeting their maker, who guides them to a more enlightened and spiritual life.
Southern Texas Northeastern Mexico – Peyote "Divine Messenger"
Peyote is a small thornless, cactus-like plant with a seductively pretty flower at its helm. Found in the deserts of North East Mexico, this hardy plant has been in use by the Aztecs, Mexican Indians, and Native Americans for more than 5,000 years and remains part of traditions to this day. As with all ceremonies, there is a shaman who guides the practice, which carries cultural, religious, ritualistic as well as medicinal significance for the community. The plant’s growth is slow and it has a complex form, from which dried buttons are curated and ingested. As with Ayahuasca, Peyote induces violent vomiting, particularly for those not used to ingesting the plant. It’s followed by hallucinations, which are said to whisk the user through time and space, and on an emotional journey that forces you to face your darkest fears on the path to enlightenment. It has various side effects, some of which include a potentially heavy impact on heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing (it’s illegal in certain countries. Native American tribes Believe it contains certain curative properties.
Pacific Islands – Kava “nourishment of the gods”
The Kava Kava plant is said to be less potent than other plants mentioned here, and it’s also legal in the US. Kava contains a leafy plant with long roots that are dried and pulverised into a milky tea. It contains anaesthetic and euphoriant properties, as well as the ability to enhance cognitive behaviour, said to be a mix of warm fuzzy feelings and alertness of the mind. It has been used as part of Polynesian life and is considered a vessel between the spirit force and people. Research has shown that prolonged use of Kava may lead to certain forms of mental illness.
Southern Mexico, Oaxaca - psilocybin mushrooms
Psychedelic fungi, also known as Magic Mushrooms, delivers profound experiences for the user. Mushrooms have served medicinal purposes in the healing of physical ailments and mental awareness. Quite similar to Ayahuasca, the psilocybin of mushrooms have the capacity to guide the user into a realm of psychedelic awareness and enlightened perspectives. Out of all the plants mentioned, this is the most widely used to date. First used by the Mazatec tribes of Mexico, it was also used ritually by other pre-Columbian Mesoamerican peoples. It sees the mushrooms bathed in smoke from copal incense and eaten in pairs (symbolising the unification of the sexes). A shaman also acts as the medium during the experience performs. It takes place in a hut and is usually conducted with two or more people at a time. Mushrooms can be found in many forestations around the world.
Mediterranean and South African Sarpa salpa - "the fish that makes dreams"
The Serpa Salpa is a small colourful fish that’s related to your typical bream. It can be found in the Mediterranean Sea, on the British coastline as well as the coasts of South Africa. It’s often claimed that when eaten, the Serpa Salpa causes LSD-like hallucinations that can last for up to several days, with the intensity depending on the season. There are no significant facts regarding this species of fish, meaning there’s only one way to find out! What causes the hallucination in humans is unclear; German Anthropologist Christian Ratsch believes it may contain the infamous hallucinogen known as DMT.
Colorado River toad Mexico and United States
Also known as the Sonoran desert toad, it can be found in northern Mexico and the South-West of the United States. It grows to a staggering 7.5 inches long and can live for up to five years. It is considered to be one of the largest toads in the United States. When the Colorado River toad is frightened or stressed, a defence system kicks in and it secretes a toxin for less than a second that is lethal to certain small mammals. The venom has been used in traditional Chinese medicines and can be taken orally or smoked. In recent years there has been a trend of capturing the toads and licking their skin for the hallucinogenic and aphrodisiac effect. The main compound in the venom is called bufotenin, which is outlawed in California. It is a criminal offence in the USA “is unlawful to capture, collect, intentionally kill or injure, possess, purchase, propagate, sell, transport, import or export any native reptile or amphibian, or part thereof...”