Stimulating Plants, Potions, and Herbcraft: Excitantia and Empathogenica
By Dale Pendell
North Atlantic Books, Paperback, 9781556438035, 293pp.
Publication Date: September 28, 2010
This is the second volume of North Atlantic Books updated paperback edition of Dale Pendell's "Pharmako" trilogy, an encyclopedic study of the history and uses of psychoactive plants and related synthetics first published between 1995 and 2005. The books form an interrelated suite of works that provide the reader with a unique, reliable, and often personal immersion in this medically, culturally, and spiritually fascinating subject. All three books are beautifully designed and illustrated, and are written with unparalleled authority, erudition, playfulness, and range.
"Pharmako/Dynamis: Stimulating Plants, Potions, and Herbcraft" includes a new introduction by the author and as in previous editions focuses on stimulants (including coffee, tea, chocolate, and coca and its derivatives) and empathogens (notably Ecstasy). Each substance is explored in detail, not only with information on its history, pharmacology, preparation, and cultural and esoteric correspondences, but also the subtleties of each plant's effect on consciousness in a way that only poets can do. The whole concoction is sprinkled with abundant quotations from famous writers, creating a literary brew as intoxicating as its subject.
The "Pharmako" series also includes "Pharmako/Poeia" (which covers tobacco, alcohol, cannabis, opiates, salvia divinorum, and other substances) and "Pharmako/Gnosis" (which addresses psychedelics and shamanic plants).
“A poet, ethnobotanist, and amateur chemist, he’s the best writer on drugs to come along since the late Terence McKenna.”
—The Village Voice
“Dale Pendell, most elegant eloquent writer on drugs because both scientist and poet, has exuded a book as charming as The Compleat Angler or Brillat-Savarin’s Physiology of Taste. It will be preserved amongst the scriptures of an entheogenic revival that will recognize the scribe Pendell as an inspired prophet and forerunner.”
“Dale Pendell’s books are elegant tapestries of accurate chemistry, pharmacology, and botany, interwoven with rich poetical imagery. I use them as textbooks in a large annual undergraduate class which I teach at the University of California in Berkeley. The students love them.”
—David E. Presti, PhD, Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, UC Berkeley