Jump to content
The Corroboree
Sign in to follow this  

drugs from animals

Recommended Posts

i know this has come up before, & i've seen quotes from this text, but here it is in full & i'm wondering if anyone's tried anything listed?

Various Drugs

Animals Used As Drugs

From The Encyclopaedia of Psychoactive Substances

A fascinating book about hundreds of different substances in addition to the one presented here.

© Richard Rudgley

Although it is common knowledge that many plants contain psychoactive substances, the fact that certain animals also do is barely known. Modern research into the psychoactive fauna is still in its infancy.

The seventeenth-century alchemist and physician J.B. van Helmont described alchemical research with animals as a quest for the 'Animal Stone' which is a 'mineral vertue' obtainable from the 'natural superfluities and excrements' of animals. Excrements should here be understood to mean all bodily secretions, not just faeces and urine.

Early scientists and alchemists experimented with all kinds of animals. One such experimenter, Nicholas of Poland, is known to have made extensive use of toads, snake skins and scorpions.

Christian Ratsch has noted that scorpion-bite victims report hallucinogenic symptoms and that their poisons still await scientific analysis to determine whether or not they have psychoactive properties.

There are a number of reports of the use of poisonous and other insects for their alleged psychoactive properties.

Bees that have taken the nectar of the psychoactive plant Atropa belladonna thereby transfer the tropane alkaloids contained in it and these remain active in the resulting honey, which if eaten by humans has mind-altering effects.

Multiple wasp stings are known to induce mildly hallucinogenic effects, such as increasing the intensity of colors and the perception of geometric forms. The use of ants for their apparent hallucinogen properties was once a common tradition among various Californian Indians.

A nineteenth-century French explorer named Augustin de Saint-Hilaire (1779—1853) has left behind descriptions of the use of bicho de tacuara, a 'bamboo grub' (which seems actually to be the larva of a certain type of moth) by the Malalis, an indigenous people of eastern Brazil, and some Portuguese residents who had 'gone native'.

He describes its use as follows: When strong emotion makes them sleepless, they swallow, they say, one of these worms dried, without the head but with the intestinal tube; and then they fall into a kind of ecstatic sleep, which often lasts more than a day, and similar to that experienced by the Orientals when they take opium in excess.

They tell, on awakening, of marvelous dreams; they saw splendid forests, they ate delicious fruits, they killed without difficulty the most choice game; but these Malalis add that they take care to indulge only rarely in this debilitating kind of pleasure.

As Saint-Hilaire did not actually witness the hallucinogenic effects he describes, this single anecdotal reference cannot be taken as definitive.

Mention should be made of the infamous aphrodisiac 'Spanish Fly' or cantharides. Cantharides is made from the wings of a beetle (Cantharis vesicatoria) and used to prolong erections, but in high doses it can be dangerous.

The English physician William Salmon wrote in 1693 of the efficacy of distilled cantharides oil mixed together with other ingredients which if: 'annointed upon the soles of the Feet, Testicles, and Perineum, provokes and stirs up Lust, to a miracle, in both Sexes, and invigorates the feeble Instruments of Generation.'

The scarab beetle, that was sacred to the ancient Egyptians, has been reported by the Egyptologist Wallis Budge to be ground up and drunk with water by Sudanese people.

The Aztecs made a psychoactive salve or ointment which had among its ingredients poisonous insects, tobacco and the hallucinogenic morning glory ololiuqui.

Whether these insects contributed to the psychoactive effects of these Aztec mixtures is impossible to say as the species cannot be identified from the early, and unfortunately vague, accounts of these practices.

Toxic species of puffer fish have been identified as the key psychoactive ingredient in the making of the zombi drug.

A number of species of fish found as far afield as South Africa, Hawaii and Norfolk Island in the Pacific have been reported as 'dream fish' or 'nightmare fish' on account of the fact that they cause hallucinations.

Eating the so-called 'dream fish' of Norfolk Island. A species of Kyphosus (it has been suggested that it may be K. fuseus or more likely K. vaigiensis) is reputed to cause dreadful nightmares. Christian Ratsch, the German anthropologist, states that the 'dream fish' contains large amounts of the hallucinogen DMT.

Reports by the local people of Hawaii of fish having psychoactive effects led researchers from the University of Hawaii to investigate this unusual phenomenon.

They toyed with the idea of calling the syndrome ichthyosarcephialtilepsis but thankfully decided on the more straightforward 'hallucinatory mullet poisoning'!

In fact, four species offish are known to cause such symptoms, two of the mullet family (Mugilidae), Mugil cephalus and Neomyxus chaptalli, and two belonging to the goatfish or surmullet family (Mullidae), Mulloidichthys samoensis and Upeneus arge.

The last of these is known locally as weke pahala ('the night- mare weke') and a report from 1927 states that about thirty or forty Japanese labourers unwittingly ate the fish and suffered 'mental paralysis' and delirium. Not all those who eat it report having nightmares; some seemed to have enjoyed the hallucinatory effects.

The symptoms vary from person to person. In the case of one family who shared the same fish, some members experienced intoxication whilst others were completely unaffected.

That this could be due to some kind of allergic reaction has been rejected, as individuals who experience hallucinations and other effects when eating the toxic variety offish happily consume the non-toxic variety regularly without any problems.

Neither can the intoxication be explained away as psychosomatic; infants who have eaten it wake up screaming and try to get out of their cots, showing all the signs of having nightmares.

What causes the psychoactive effects is something of a mystery; it is unlikely to be bacterial in origin since the fish is often eaten straight from the sea, allowing no time for decay to set in.

Some local fishermen think that it may be due to the fish eating a certain kind of algae but researchers consider this unlikely.

Hallucinogenic effects from these species of fish have been reported from two of the Hawaiian islands, Kauai and Molokai, and the toxins in question are apparently only present in the fish during June, July and August.

Hawaiian fishermen reported that the nightmare- inducing fish could be distinguished by distinctive red blotches on the lips and sides of the head but others said that they looked the same as the non-toxic fish.

It is not clear which parts of the fish contain the toxins; some say it is only the brain or head, the head and the tail, whilst others maintain the entire fish is psychoactive.

Two further species offish found in Hawaii are rumoured to cause similar effects - the tang or surgeonfish (Acanthurus sandvicensis), and the rudder fish (Kyphosus cinerascens), the latter being a close relative of the Norfolk Island 'dream fish'.

There is no real evidence that these various different kinds of poisonous fish were ever used systematically for their dream inducing properties.

Most reported cases indicate that such intoxication was, and still is, almost always accidental.

Dr Bruce Halstead of the World Life Research Institute stated in 1959 that he had discovered the presence of a hallucinogenic substance in a fish, but did not name either the species in question or the location at which it was found for fear that the Russians would make use of it for developing nerve drugs.

Ratsch has suggested that the yellow stingray (Urolophus jamaicensis) was used for its inebriating and aphrodisiac venom in pre-Columbian times by the Maya.

Amphibian toxins and venoms have also been attributed with psychoactive properties. Zoologists classify the Amphibia into Anura, the tailless amphibians (frogs and toads), and Urodela, the tailed amphibians, including newts and salamanders.

Traditionally the venoms of a number of toxic species of frog have been used to provide hunting poisons which are applied to arrows and other projectiles. The reported uses of frog toxins for their purported psychoactive effects is still largely circumstantial and inconclusive.

Nevertheless, the question of the use of frogs for their possible psychoactive effects is still open and as Richard Schultes, an expert on the hallucinogens of the Amazon, has said, the frog is a powerful and widespread symbol of intoxication in numerous native societies in South America.

The Amahuaca people of the Peruvian Amazon are reported to use the poison from a frog (Phyllomedusa bicolor) to induce states of trance. The poison is rubbed into self-inflicted burns and believed to allow the hunters to communicate with animal spirits.

Although this frog poison is dismissed as a 'pseudo-hallucinogen' by Andrew Weil and Wade Davis, these two researchers have, however, done more than anyone else to demonstrate beyond doubt that certain toads contain hallucinogenic drugs.

For a discussion of the possibility of psychoactive substances being found in salamanders, see Salamanders. Some newts have interesting toxic properties.

Californian species belonging to the Taricha genus contain taricha toxin, which is analogous to tetrodotoxin, found in octopuses and puffer fish. European newts of the genus Tritums may also contain tarichatoxin.

Holy men in India are reported to smoke cobra venom for its psychoactive effects.

Both the king cobra (Ophiophagus hannah) and common cobra (Naja naja) are used in this way; their dried venom glands or crystallized venom is often mixed with cannabis when smoked.

There are possible indications that this practice may be of considerable antiquity. The Samgadham Samhita, an Indian text of the eighth century AD, likens the drug bhanga (i.e. bang, see Mang) to 'the saliva of a snake', perhaps a hint that snake venom was known not just as a poison but also-as-a psychoactive substance.

Stories of psychotropic birds are extremely rare. A sixteenth century account of the Aztecs by Diego Munoz Camargo describes how eating the flesh of the bird named oconenetl induces visions. It is not known to which kind of bird this refers, beyond the description of it as being fed and black.

It is possible that either the bird itself produced a psychoactive substance or it ingested the drug from a plant source.

Batrachotoxins (i.e. amphibian poisons) have been recently discovered in the feathers and skin of South American birds of the genus Pitohui Richard Schultes has reported that the bones of a certain bird that ate the fruits of a plant that was used as an additive to ayahuasca were known to be poisonous to dogs.

It is not only laboratory animals that experience drug states, some wild and domestic varieties seem to seek out such experiences.

A Russian traveller in eastern Siberia in the late eighteenth century, whilst among the Chukchi people, reported a strange case of animal intoxication: In the last few days the Chukchi have had two dead reindeer and take the cause to be that they had given them too much human urine to drink.

They give them some from time to time in order to make them strong and improve their staying-power.

The fluid has the same effect on the reindeer as intoxicating drink has on people who have fallen victim to the drinking habit. The reindeer become just as drunk and have just as great a thirst.

At night they are noisy and keep running around the tents in the expectation of being given the longed-for fluid. And when some is spilled out into the snow, they start quarrelling, tearing away from each other the clumps of snow moistened with it.

Every Chukchi saves his urine in a sealskin container which is especially made for the purpose and from which he gives his reindeer to drink.

Whenever he wants to round up his animals, he only has to set this container on the ground and slowly call out 'Girach, Girach!', and they promptly come running towards him from afar.

The Chukchi are known to consume the fly-agaric mushroom and sometimes they also drink their own or others' urine after eating this fungus, as its psychoactive properties are still effective in the urine.

It seems that the above account must be referring to this urine as it is hard to believe that the reindeer would behave so irrationally if they had simply been drinking normal urine.

Reindeer are also known to eat the fly-agaric of their own volition (as are Siberian bears in the rutting season who, according to native opinion, do so in order 'not to fear') and Siberians who find them in such a state bind them with ropes and quickly slaughter them to consume their flesh, which is psychoactive for a short time after death.

Such reindeers are, of course, only psychoactive because of the mushrooms that they have eaten but there may be other mammals that are themselves psychoactive. In Russia it was apparently a custom that if a cat ate mukhomor (i.e. the fly-agaric mushroom) it was given the hemp or cannabis plant to sober it up!

To my knowledge there is no clearly proven case for the use of mammal parts for their own psychoactive properties. There are, however, some instances which would benefit from further investigation.

The apparently hallucinogenic properties of the giraffe were first brought to my attention during a conversation with Professor Wendy James of the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Oxford.

The Humr tribe of Baggara Arabs who live in south-western Kordofan in the Sudan are keen hunters of the elephant and the giraffe. After killing a giraffe the hunters make camp and prepare a drink called umm nyolokh from its liver and bone marrow.

The hunters say that the making of this drink is the main reason for hunting the giraffe.

Ian Cunnison, an anthropologist who took part in one of their hunting expeditions, reported that among the Humr: 'it is said that a person, once he has drunk umm nyolokh, will return to giraffe again and again.

Humr, being Mahdists, are strict abstainers and a Humrawi is never drunk (sakran) on liquor or beer. But he uses this word to describe the effects which umm nyolokh has upon him.'

After drinking it, dreams of giraffes are commonly reported and Cunnison said that he actually heard a man wake up shortly after drinking it shouting 'giraffe on your left'. Waking hallucinations experienced under the influence of the drink also typically involve giraffes.

The anthropologist did not really consider the possibility that this was a genuine hallucinogen (presumably because a psychoactive animal was too strange to even contemplate) and tried to explain it all away saying: 'I can only assume that there is no intoxicating substance in the drink and that the effect it produces is simply a matter of convention, although it may be brought about subconsciously.'

Cunnison's explanation seems weak and we may well be dealing with a genuine case of a hallucinogenic mammal. DMT may be a psychoactive substance possibly present in the bone marrow of the giraffe.

The magic potions of numerous indigenous peoples of Africa, New Guinea and the Americas which are known to contain mind-altering plants also include diverse animal parts among their ingredients, few of which have ever been investigated for their possible psychoactive properties.

Extant recipes that were used by the European witches often include faunal additives such as cats' brains and bats' blood, thus showing the famous witches' scene Macbeth to be anything but purely poetic licence.

Human body parts and substances have long been used in medical practices, something which, of course, continues in our own times (such as organ transplants, skin grafts and blood transfusions).

Yet because we tend to think of early medical practitioners as embroiled in superstition, many of the traditional uses of body parts seem to reek of witchcraft, which may often blind us to the practical and efficacious knowledge contained in the annals of ancient medicine.

The corpses of young men who suffered a violent end were often sought out because they had not died due to illness, thus their flesh and organs were in a healthy state.

The use of a dead young man's brain pounded in a mortar and mixed with the powder of a man's skull 'never buried' is a medicine mentioned by the seventeenth-century chemist John Hartman.

Robert Boyle, one of the key figures in the foundation of modern chemistry, is often portrayed as releasing chemistry from the superstitious garb of alchemy, yet he also mentions the efficacy of remedies involving grated human skull (one of the constituents of the Haitian zombi poisons).

Oswald Crollius, one of the disciples of the great sixteenth- century physician and alchemist Paracelsus, describes what his master meant by the term 'mummy' in his writings on longevity:

By mummy in this place our author means not that liquid matter which is found in the Egyptian sepulchers, in which Humane Bodies, embalmed with Aromaticks, have been kept for many years: But according to Paracelsus it is the flesh of a Man, that perishes by a violent death, and kept for some time in the Air.

Crollius goes on to tell us that Paracelsus also calls it Mumia patibuli (i.e. the flesh of a hanged man). The sixteenth-century physician William Bulleyn recommends that mumia (which to him meant 'dead bodies from Arabia') be beaten into the form of a powder, mixed into water and then squirted up the nose by means of a syringe in order to treat falling sickness and injuries!

The potent hallucinogens DMT and 5-MeO-DMT that are found in a number of psychoactive plants also occur in various mammals and in the cerebrospinal fluid of human beings. Scientific studies have found that the quantities of these psychoactive substances seem to be slightly higher in schizophrenic patients than in control groups of 'normal' subjects.

However, these differences are marginal and no simple conclusions regarding a direct link between these substances and schizophrenic disorders can be made; 5-MeO-DMT has also been reported as being present in the blood of some schizophrenics. A story by the American writer Terry Southern called The Blood of a Wig is about a man who, in search of a new drug 'kick', consumes the blood of a schizophrenic.

Whether Southern was aware of the scientific literature on this topic is unclear but the presence of DMT suggests that his bizarre story may not be pure fiction. That such hallucinogens can be made endogenously in the human organism suggests that the ancient alchemical quest for internal elixirs may have involved the stimulation of such substances to achieve altered states of consciousness without introducing chemicals from outside the body.

The kundalini serpent of the traditions of yoga and other similar descriptions of an 'energy' moving between the base of the spine and the head (e.g. among the Rung Bushmen of southern Africa) may also be references to the workings of such psychoactive substances

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

excellent reading, i read that violin virtuosos have a box containing a buffo toad.

before the concert, to "avoid sweaty hands" they touch the toad for a while...

and one time soon, sience will hopefully proof why for example spiders where used in ancient ointments. after all homaopadics (wrong spell)

include stuff like snake venom.

even more so tcm.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

once, many years ago, while staying w/a saddhu in india, a young traveller was coerced into smoking a puff ov a cigarette he'd seen painted w/freshly milked cobra venom. it was some annual snake festival & the saddhu he was with had met up w/a group ov friends & they all puffed & he didn't want to feel like he was letting his saddhu/himself down so...

the rush was almost as quick as DMT apparently, but not psychedelic- more he felt he had consumed a very large amount ov alcahol, his vision began to swim, then cloud, until he could see nothing but a grey mist- then vague shapes & patterns began to form on the surface ov the mist(he guessed later that his eyes were rolling, & the patterns were some form ov phosphene)

this carried on for maybe 5 minutes, though he felt so numbed & wasted he could have been sitting there half an hour- he came out ov the stupor when his saddhu shook him abit & he could see ok but felt totally weary for the rest ov the day.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

thanks for all this details ! i was sure the animal as drug could interest someone...

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Now I may be wrong about this, but Im pretty sure that cobra poison binds IRREVERSEABLY to (acetylcholine?/muscular) post synapses. Like Curare. In which case smoking it seems to be a bad idea, for it would not be a trip you would come back from.

Unless of course in the drying process of the venom it changes its molecular form.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

sheesh Thelema- it's a good thing my friend was just a carefree youngster- if he'd known that he would have sh*t himself(pretty easy to do in india)- but he seems ok (he did become a sanyassin after that trip, & goes to Poona once a year now- so maybe the venom had more ov a permanent mental effect than a physical one?)

p.s- so in theory, anyone who gets some ov the cobra venom spat in the eye- a common form ov cobra attack- goes blind permanently.

i didn't know that, i thought it varied, but was generally only temporary.

[ 20. March 2003, 07:09: Message edited by: nabraxas ]

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Other psychoactive animals are the Dream Fish( contains DMT but fish is unsafe to eat with a MAOI and would probably taste unpleasant smoked :D ), and the toad Bufo alvaris( 250mg 5MeoDMT per toad! Well worth extracting, and the toad can be milked without killing it. Possibly in B. marinus also, but watch out for the toxic steroidal "bufalgins").

Girraffes produce indole( the tryptamine precursor that gives jasmine its perfume) and a foul smelling substituted indole, from their skin, perhaps to repel insects or as a fungicide( this was reported in a recent New Scientist).

Telema- an irrerversable inhibitor is not permanant, just long lasting, as the body must produce new receptors/enzymes. Aspirin, for instance, is an irreversable inhibitor of the cyclo-oxygenase enzyme, and the older antidepressant MAOIs are irreversable too.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Raetsch should try to speculate less and report the facts more clearly. Though I don't suppose he ever will. There is no evidence or reason in his assumption that there is DMT in the "Dreamfish". Nor in the belief of researchers that the alga the fishermen blame is not responsible. My speculation on these matters may be published sometime.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I know someone who gets 'tanked' off high grade fish.

Although I believe it's to do with tryptophan and not psychoactive tryptamines.

The reference to madmoths & crazy caterpillars (Bamboo Grubs) may be another case of the food source.

Jonathan Ott mentions tryptamine/s found in bamboo species.

There is also the story of the hallucinogenic rabbit; accidental tropane poisoning due to people eating rabbit that had been feeding on belladonna & henbane.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

if something special happens, the brain will remember.

mugil cephallus, i hooked a big one and ate it, woau...

bamboo shoots oh, thx i only remeber china restaurant visits according to, chili hotness and bamboo shoots.

and why, hardly mentioned as "the thing" puffer fish


korea: (if memo works) boku

said to make extreemly horny, 2000us a meal.

[ 05. April 2003, 14:44: Message edited by: planthelper ]

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this