Use of Psychoactive Plants in Ancient Times

Useof Psychoactive Plants in Ancient Times

Useof Psychoactive Plants in Ancient Times

Thehypothesis that it is in the history of human beings to usemind-altering substances to produce profound spiritual and culturalunderstanding(Merlin, 2003).The use of plant substances by the human race dates back to ancienttimes. This paper looks at how Opiumpoppy(Papaversomniferum),Papaveraceae, was used back then, in different societies, to producevarious desired effects. The paper offers insight on the purposes forwhich the poppy plant was put into use.

Thiscommonly grows wild in corn fields or is also cultivated ornamentallyin gardens(, 2014).Soon the petals tumble away to expose a bulging seed-pod, the actualkeeper of your Poppy`s secret. People used the tiny grey-blue seedsin baking as well as were sometimes pressed to yield fine oil othersthought of the Poppy as being a powerful sacred supplement(, 2014).The greatest gift in this sacred plant is concealed inside its milkyjuice. This latex is present within the tissues on the whole plant,but is almost all prolific and potent from the capsules just beforethe seeds ripen. The juice is called raw Opium, and has beenextracted for thousands of years.

Poppieshave been man`s companion since its infancy throughout the upperNeolithic period. According to archaeological studies, remains ofPoppies are found in prehistoric debt settlements in central Europe,Switzerland, Southern Germany and also Southern England which date toat the least 4000 BC(, 2014).Scholars argue among themselves around the origin of this mysteriousand strikingly beautiful magical supplement. Some sources maintainAsia as it is original habitat, some others the eastern Med region.Recent research may seem to point at middle and southern Europeanunion as its unique home, from where it truly is believed to havespread to Pakistan, east to India, Egypt, also China and northern toEngland(, 2014).It is also a point of argument on why Neolithic Farmers chose tocultivate poppy in their farms. Some scientists have proposed theidea that it was grown for the edible seeds and the oil that iscertainly pressed from these for use being cooking oil together withfor lamp fuel. Whilst these uses may well have played part, there areseveral plants that could have been used for these purposes whichwill have been simpler to process. It is very likely that ourancestors and forefathers held Poppy with such special regard for thepsychotropic powers which might well have played a significant rolewithin some sort of ceremonial or habit context.

Naturallyit is usually difficult for Ethnoarchaeologists to substantiate theirideas on prehistoric vegetable uses since organic matter incorporatesa habit of decomposing and also conditions rarely support suchsubstances to survive to the present day and get older(, 2014).Knowledge pertaining on the uses of plants was transferred throughthe generations being orally for thousands of years before thewritten language was possibly invented. However, according to what welearn about the roles of which psychoactive plants engage inprimitive societies even today, it is likely that our ancestors arenot ignorant of hidden powers connected with Poppy. Furthermore, it`sprobably that knowledge with regards to such `magical` facilities,which allowed people to transcend the earth of mundane concerns inorder to commune with their gods, were particularly almost holy andnot the topic of everyday breakfast discussions(, 2014).Thus, the signs are indeed hazy. A look at ancient imagery andmythologies shows poppy`s hidden significance and significanceconnected with sacred plants, which in turn may give a number ofhints to still more ancient traditional knowledge.

Inold Greece, Poppies have been considered sacred to Hypnos, the Lordof sleep(, 2014).Historic imagery often shows Hypnos with Poppy mind in her hands andwrists and adorning her head(, 2014).The entrance to her sleepy realm was in addition surrounded withPoppies. She brought prophetic goals and soothed the pain of thosesuffering from emotive agony. The Romans knew this god named Somnus,an identity which still echoes within Poppy`s Latin identity,‘Papaver somniferum` – somnus ferre – bringer of slumber(, 2014).But Poppy was also perceived regarding Thanatos, or Hades the lord ofthe Dead and also that of eternal slumber, for it can also bringdeath. Such myths reveal Poppy to being a plant that has attachmentwith the Underworld, associated with both temporal and also eternalsleep.

Somearchaeological studies located poppy at ancient funeral sitesconfirming Poppy`s status as being a sacred plant that had beenintimately connected with the rites of passage on the Underworld. Atan affiliate site, known as `Cueva de los Murciélagos` (Bat Cave)positioned near Albuñol, (Granada) in Southeast Spain, evidence toevince this hypothesis has also been discovered(, 2014).The human remains found there are accompanied by totes of Espartotype grass (Stipa tenacissima), that contain numerous Poppy seedscapsules. Subsequent carbon was courting established the date on theburial at around 4200 BC. There is also, a vase that contained Opiumremains that was discovered at Kha in Deir el-Medîna’s tomb withinEgypt that was approximated to be of more than 3000 years ago(, 2014).

Inthe periods of Antiquity Poppy was not only valued for the magicalproperties it possessed, but also for its medicinal powersparticularly evident from the potent latex. It was used as somepainkiller and sedative, to lighten melancholy to calm hysterics, andcure colic, persistent spasmodic coughs and diarrhea (Merlin, 2003).It was also regarded as a powerful Aphrodisiac.

Themost well-known text that mentions Poppy is connected with Sumerianorigin and also dates to about 3000 BC. Poppy is referred to as a`herb of joy`. It is usually mentioned in the infamous Ebers Papyrus(1600 BC) together with several other important healing plants(, 2014).In Egypt it absolutely was also used for medicinal purposes – being asedative painkiller for wounds and abscesses as well as being usedfor scalp problems (Merlin, 2003). A different Egyptian text, datingto about 1300 BC identifies the custom connected with giving Poppy tochildren to stop them from crying. This ancient history has survivedwithin Northern Africa and the Asia Minor, and in many cases, untilthe beginning in this century, was still practiced in certain ruralareas linked to Northern France.

Itis also an interesting fact that even after World War I, Poppiesbecame a symbol of remembrance. To this day it is routine in Englandto wear a paper Poppy every year on the 11th of November being asymbol of remembrance for your soldiers who passed away in Flanders(, 2014).You are able to deduce that even seasons after the struggle, whenpeople first returned on the site of your awful battles almost allthey see are fields and fields of scarlet reddish Poppies, whichremind them of the blood that was shed there. Poppy is significant inthat since the rise of England’s Peace movement, there has been thepractice of wearing some white paper Poppy being a symbol offorgiveness and peacefulness(, 2014).

Whateverthe magical and medicinal blessing on the Poppy may always be, thedark part of its potent latex ought not to be underestimated. WhetherOpium, Morphine as well as Heroin, opiates are generally addictive,and due to that the difference between them should be only a matterconnected with degree. Nowadays, it is argued that addiction is morean issue of a personality structure, than it is an object ofdependency(, 2014).However, it must always be said that within a society suffering frommany psychological dysfunctions, addictive personalities havepractically got to be the norm.

References Poppy:divine herb of joy or evil weed of daemons ?.Retrieved 24 July 2014, from PsychoactivePlants.Retrieved 24 July 2014, from

Merlin,M. D. (2003). Archaeologicalevidence for the Tradition of Psychoactive Plant Use in The OldWorld.