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Newsgroups: alt.psychoactives
Subject: Calea zacatechichi
From: (Mark Thompson)
Date: 2 May 93 08:13:47 GMT

>Someone asked about Calea zacatechichi...
Beside Willam Bodens book "Narcotic Plants" and Richard Evan 
Schultes/Albert Hofmann's book "Plants of the Gods", a good source of info
about psychoactive Mexican plants is the article:

"Ethnopharmacology and Taxonomy of Mexican Psychodysleptic Plants"
by Jose Luis Diaz, MD published in the Jan-Jun 1979 issue of
"Journal of Psychedelic Drugs"
Diaz lists Salvia divinorum, Calea zacatechichi and Cannabis sativa
as "cognodysleptics", and Calea zacatechichi is mentioned as being smoked
and taken as a tea by the Chontal Indians in Oaxaca for divination and
oneiromancy (dream induction). 
   "Its actions during wakefulness were tested in five subjects after
    several inhalations and the administration of an infusion.
    With high doses, effects included: sensations of well-being
    and light-headedness, difficulty in bringing events to mind,
    somnolence, and an intensification of visual imagery, but only
    with the eyes closed."
It isn't clear from the paper whether the psychoactive substance(s) in
the plant have been conclusively identified:
  "A germacranolid called caleicine, the p-hydroxycinnamide ester of
   junenol, was isolated from a sample of C. zacatechichi taken from
   the state of Veracruz."
  "Other substances with the basic structure of caleicine have been
   isolated from the active, as well as the inactive plants provided
   by the Chontal curandero; they are now being screened for the
   presence of psychoactive compounds.  Independently Bohlmann and
   Zdero(1977) have reported two new germacranolids in C. zacatechichi.
   It should be mentioned that these molecules are terpenes as are the
   cannabinols in marijuana."
Diaz also mentions that there appear to be two varieties (possibly
separate species) of this plant. One is psychoactive and the other
apparently is not.

Hope that's useful to someone.