Tea Reads

Ethnopharmacologic Search for Psychoactive Drugs

Call for Reviewers

Banner image courtsey of ESPD 50

The medicines of the future will come from the forest primeval.
— Richard Evans Schultes

T EA is delighted to be teaming up with the world-leading ethnobotanist Dennis McKenna and Synergetic Press to coordinate our first virtual, interdisciplinary panel to review this landmark collection of papers tracing the journey of ethnopharmacological research.

Certain plants have long been known to contain healing properties and have been used to treat everything from depression and addiction to enhancing spiritual well-being for hundreds of years. Can Western medicine find new cures for human ailments by tapping into indigenous plant wisdom? And why the particular interest in the plants with psychoactive properties? Over the last 50 years, scholars from an array of disciplines have been exploring these questions and more. This collection, edited by Dr Dennis McKenna, Sir Gillian Prance, Benjamin De Loenen and Dr Wade Davis, draws on the proceedings of significant conferences in the field of ethnopharmacology to explore an abundance of answers.

TEA is looking for a number of volunteer reviewers with specialisms in this area to join together to review the volumes and collaboratively discuss their contributions to the field. By dividing the papers between reviewers from around the world and across disciplines, we hope to expand the reach and contribution of this work even further.

If you would like to be considered for the panel, please send a short bio to ethnobotanicalassembly@gmail.com explaining why you are interested and why you’d bring a valuable perspective to the review.

Reviews will take place over this summer – with reviewers asked to read and write up a short summary of 2-3 of the chapters and then collectively discuss (potentially in an online webinar) and collaboratively author a review piece. This is a fantastic opportunity for post-graduates and early career researchers in this field, and we look forward to working with the panel to explore innovative, engaging ways to share their review.

This collection represents a milestone in the research and publishing history on classical and obscure psychoactive plants, as well as pioneering ideas from some of the world’s greatest experts on the subject of the legitimate therapeutic roles that these plants can and do offer to modern medicine and society.
— Mark Blumenthal Founder & Executive Director, American Botanical Council, Editor-in-Chief, HerbalGram & HerbClip

Ethnopharmacologic Search for Psychoactive Drugs

50 Years of Research, 1967-2017

Editors' Summary, by Dennis McKenna

The first international gathering of researchers held in San Francisco, California on this subject was in 1967, sponsored by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and U.S. Public Health Service. It was an interdisciplinary group of specialists – from ethnobotanists to neuroscientists – gathered in one place to share their findings on a topic that was gaining widespread interest: The use of psychoactive plants in indigenous societies.

While the war on drugs slowed advances in this field, research has continued, and in the fifty years since that first conference, new and significant discoveries have been made. A new generation of researchers, many inspired by the giants present at that first conference, has continued to investigate the outer limits of ethno-psychopharmacology. At the same time, there has been a sea change in public and medical perceptions of psychedelics. There is now a renaissance in research, and some of these agents are actively being investigated for their therapeutic potential. They are no longer as stigmatized as they have been in the past, although they remain controversial. There still remains much work to do in this field, and many significant discoveries remain to be made.

So, in June of 2017, once again specialists from around the world in fields of ethnopharmacology, chemistry, botany, and anthropology gathered to discuss their research and findings in a setting that encouraged the free and frank exchange of information and ideas on the last 50 years of research, and assess the current and possible futures for research in ethnopsychopharmacology.

The papers given at the 2017 Symposium, organized by Dr Dennis McKenna, appear in this handsome two-volume boxed collectors set and represent perhaps the most significant body of knowledge in this interdisciplinary field available.