Phantastica: A Classic Survey on the Use and Abuse of Mind-Altering Plants (Paperback)
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Long out of print, this is a landmark study on narcotic and psychedelic substances by a world-renowned pharmacologist and toxicologist
• The first book to bring non-judgmental scientific insights to the use of drugs around the world
• Provides detailed information on all major drugs of the time, including opium, cocaine, heroin, cannabis, peyote, fly agaric, henbane, datura, alcohol, kava, betel, coffee, tea, cocoa, and tobacco
• A book credited with starting an era of ethnobotany that continues to the present day
The publication of Louis Lewin's Phantastica in 1924 began an era of ethnobotany that is still flourishing today. Until Lewin, books on the use of drugs were purely works of anthropology, concerned with how people used these plants, rather than how the plants produced their famous effects. Lewin, a world-renowned pharmacologist and toxicologist, was fascinated by both, and Phantastica was the first book to bring scientific insights to a survey of the use of drugs around the world. Lewin traveled extensively and acquired an astonishing variety of knowledge, reflected in this book, which provides detailed information on all major drugs of the time, including opium, cocaine, heroin, cannabis, peyote, fly agaric, henbane, datura, alcohol, kava, betel, coffee, tea, cocoa, and, of course, tobacco. For thirty years ethnobotanists have bemoaned the fact that Phantastica has been impossible to find; now this landmark work is once again available.
About the Author
Louis Lewin, M.D., (1850-1929) was the author of more than 200 major publications on the subject of pharmacology, including 12 books. He was the first researcher to study peyote with the Native Americans and the first to publish a monograph on kava. He directed a private laboratory in Berlin, and he was considered the leading toxicologist in Germany.
"Phantastica has weathered the test of time quite well, and it continues to bear testimony to the scientific dedication and keen wisdom of one of the world's great psychopharmacologists. [An] open-minded, scientific approach to the study of psychoactives."
— Timothy White, Shaman's Drum, Summer 1999
"One of the primary classics in the field of ethnopsychopharmacology. The information is given in a lucid, authoritative manner and represents the most advance thinking on these substances up to the first quarter of this century."
— Mark Blumenthal, HerbalGram
"This book gives the reader a worldwide tour of inebriation, addiction, and devotional ecstasy along with his insightful perspective of human nature."
— American Herb Association
“. . . for the psychoactive enthusiast and scholar it [Phantastica] remains a vital text in the creation of modern drug culture and, as such, is a must read. . .”
— Psychedelic Press, UK March 2011