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Phantastica: A Classic Survey on the Use and Abuse of Mind-Altering Plants [Paperback]

Louis Lewin
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Aug 1998
Long out of print, this is a landmark study on narcotic and psychedelic substances by a world-renowned pharmacologist and toxicologist. * The first book to bring non-judgmental scientific insights to the use of drugs around the world. * Provides detailed information on all major drugs of the time, including opium, cocaine, heroin, cannabis, peyote, fly agaric, henbane, datura, alcohol, kava, betel, coffee, tea, cocoa, and tobacco. * A book credited with starting an era of ethnobotany that continues to the present day.

The publication of Louis Lewin's Phantastica in 1924 began an era of ethnobotany that is still flourishing today. Until Lewin, books on the use of drugs were purely works of anthropology, concerned with how people used these plants, rather than how the plants produced their famous effects. Lewin, a world-renowned pharmacologist and toxicologist, was fascinated by both, and Phantastica was the first book to bring scientific insights to a survey of the use of drugs around the world. Lewin traveled extensively and acquired an astonishing variety of knowledge, reflected in this book, which provides detailed information on all major drugs of the time, including opium, cocaine, heroin, cannabis, peyote, fly agaric, henbane, datura, alcohol, kava, betel, coffee, tea, cocoa, and, of course, tobacco. For thirty years ethnobotanists have bemoaned the fact that Phantastica has been impossible to find; now this landmark work is once again available.


Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Inner Traditions Bear and Company; New edition edition (Aug 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0892817836
  • ISBN-13: 978-0892817832
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 15 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 792,698 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

One of the primary classics in the field of ethnopsychopharmacology. The information is given in a lucid, authoritative manner and represents the most advance thinking on these substances up to the first quarter of this century. -- Mark Blumenthal, HerbalGram

Phantastica has weathered the test of time quite well, and it continues to bear testimony to the scientific dedication and keen wisdom of one of the world's great psychopharmacologists. [An] open-minded, scientific approach to the study of psychoactives. -- Timothy White, Shaman's Drum, Summer 1999

This book gives the reader a worldwide tour of inebriation, addiction, and devotional ecstasy along with his insightful perspective of human nature. -- American Herb Association

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
From the first beginning of our knowledge of man, we find him consuming substances of no nutritive value,but taken for the sole purpose of producing for a certain time a feeling of contentment, ease, and comfort. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Landmark study 11 May 2004
By Pieter Uys HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
This classic of ethnobotany was first published in 1924. Louis Lewin (1850 - 1929) was a world famous pharmacologist and this interesting work remains a landmark of psychedelic research.
The preface provides an overview of psychological considerations; the introduction looks at the motives for the use of these substances, the importance of the mental constitution in relation to external stimuli, tolerance and habituation, and immunity against poisons.
The author then looks at the mode of action and the classification of narcotic and stimulant drugs. The next section, EUPHORICA, investigates mental sedatives like opium, cocaine and codeine and its derivates. Next is PHANTASTICA (on hallucinogens) which deals with anhalonium lewinii, Indian hemp, fly agaric and the solanaceae.
Alcohol, chloroform, ether, benzene and nitrous oxide are discussed under INEBRIANTIA, whilst HYPNOTICA: SOPORIFICS deals with stuff like chloral, veronal, potassium bromide, sulphonal and kava-kava. The last chapter is called EXCITANTIA and investigates camphor, betel, kat, caffeine, tea, kola nut, guarana, cocoa, tobacco and others.
This early work remains a fascinating study of an impressive array of psychoactive substances from around the world. The text is engaging and will appeal to the general reader as much as the scientist. The book concludes with notes containing bibliographic references, and an index.
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Landmark Study 11 May 2004
By Pieter Uys - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This classic of ethnobotany was first published in 1924. Louis Lewin (1850 - 1929) was a world famous pharmacologist and this interesting work remains a landmark of psychedelic research.
The preface provides an overview of psychological considerations; the introduction looks at the motives for the use of these substances, the importance of the mental constitution in relation to external stimuli, tolerance and habituation, and immunity against poisons.
The author then looks at the mode of action and the classification of narcotic and stimulant drugs. The next section, EUPHORICA, investigates mental sedatives like opium, cocaine and codeine and its derivates. Next is PHANTASTICA (on hallucinogens) which deals with anhalonium lewinii, Indian hemp, fly agaric and the solanaceae.
Alcohol, chloroform, ether, benzene and nitrous oxide are discussed under INEBRIANTIA, whilst HYPNOTICA: SOPORIFICS deals with stuff like chloral, veronal, potassium bromide, sulphonal and kava-kava. The last chapter is called EXCITANTIA and investigates camphor, betel, kat, caffeine, tea, kola nut, guarana, cocoa, tobacco and others.
This early work remains a fascinating study of an impressive array of psychoactive substances from around the world. The text is engaging and will appeal to the general reader as much as the scientist. The book concludes with notes containing bibliographic references, and an index.
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