Mexico is a country that is known to preserve its endemic variety of sacred plants. Due to their medicinal and recreational properties, the consumption of these plants has prevailed as a habit through the passing of time. Since Pre-Columbian times, highly spiritual and mystic rituals made use of these natural elements to experience an "elevation of consciousness."
After drinking a beverage made out of hallucinogenic plants, shamans would reach a divine state, since this elixir would modify the mind and allow them to perceive other spheres of the universe. This approach to divinity created the multidimensional and colorful cosmic vision that characterized Pre-Hispanic cultures.
The Florentine Codex, a sixteenth-century manuscript that describes Mesoamerican customs and beliefs, talks about the unique experiences caused by the psychedelic, and millenary effects of sacred plants. Aztec knowledge about these herbs was preserved, and now we can find them in everyday products, since they are non-toxic and legal.
However, its consumption requires self-knowledge and the realization that another way to change your perception of reality is through inner healing. Here are five sacred plants you can legally consume in Mexico.
It's also known as "Ska pastora," "Ska María," or "Sage of the diviners." The plant was used by the Mazatec –an indigenous group in Oaxaca– shamans to induce themselves into a trance that would allow them to reach the unconscious of a sick person and discover the origin of their disease.
As it has been stated by the Center for Substance Abuse Research (CESAR), some of the effects include "Intense hallucinations, such as sensations of traveling through time and space, of floating or flying; sensations of twisting and spinning, heaviness or lightness of the body, and 'soreness'."
Mazatecs chewed and then swallowed the leafs, but they also dissolved them in water to drink it in rituals.
This species, which was used by the Aztecs, comes from the family of the Papaveraceae. Also known as "Mexican prickly poppy" or "Food of the dead," all of this plant's properties are psychoactive, meaning that it is a substance that modifies the brain function, causing alterations in perception and consciousness.
This is used as anesthesia, to heal fever, inflammation, the flu, tooth pain, etc. In some places, it's also used to treat tumors.
Among its chemical components are terpenoids, flavonoids, phenolics, and long-chain aliphatic compounds belonging to the group of alkaloids that can be found in plants and possess medicinal and pharmaceutical properties. Nowadays, it's commonly consumed in infusions or smoked.
Also known as "Dream herb" or "Bitter grass," this plant is used to treat inflammatory ailments. It increases the number of dreams one can have while asleep and also the capacity to remember them. It has oneirogen effects, that is, it enhances dream-like states of consciousness. It's also used as appetizer to increase the appetite and improve metabolism.
It is commonly consumed in teas made from dry leaves, and then the remaining leaves are smoked.
Also known as "Damiana," the Turnera aphrodisiaca was used by Aztecs to stimulate their genital organs and as a cure for sexual dysfunction. Regular use of this plant can enhance vigor and helps regulate feminine hormones.
Beyond that, it helps blood flow and has components that stimulate the nervous system, making it also a very used treatment for light depression, anxiety, and nervousness.
"Damiana" is consumed as an infusion.
It's known as the "Herb of the spirits," perhaps because it is a hearing hallucinogen. It makes you perceived sounds as far and distorted murmurs. Mexican shamans still use it to connect with divine spirits.
Just as the previous ones, this plant is considered sacred, and it's believed that it has supernatural properties. It's used in rituals to bring forth past experiences.
All these plants have become a cultural and natural heritage. Their study and consumption is a legacy filled with enigmas that haven't been uncovered. There's no doubt that nature's majesty and the psychedelia derived from sacred plants has transcended the passing of time.
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