“Plants of the Gods: Hallucinogens, Healing, Culture and Conservation” is a new and unique podcast focusing on the hallucinogenic plants and fungi whose impact on world culture and religion – and healing potential - is only now beginning to be appreciated as never before. Unlike other podcasts relating to these issues, “Plants of the Gods” is hosted by renowned ethnobotanist Dr. Mark Plotkin, a Harvard and Yale-trained scientist who has been studying the healing plants and shamans of the Amazon rainforest for almost four decades. An award-winning scientist and best selling author, Dr, Plotkin is a spellbinding storyteller who will be speaking from personal experience and will be joined by other leaders in the field.
Plants of the Gods: S2E8. Magic Frogs: Hopping Hallucinogenic Healers of the Rainforest and Desert
In today’s episode, Dr. Plotkin will discuss the history and biology of magic frogs. From poison dart frogs to the hallucinogenic green monkey frog, we’ll learn how these amphibians have been used in traditional societies for a multitude of purposes, and their unexpected yet promising potential for therapeutic uses in western medicine.
Plants of the Gods: S2E7. Jews, Jazz and Joints: Marijuana and the Birth of Jazz in New Orleans and Chicago
From New Orleans bordellos to The Beatles, marijuana played a seminal - but often-overlooked - role in inspiring the greatest music of the 20th century. This episode - the third and final installment of the Marijuana Trilogy - delves into this history and tells the story of two remarkable African American Jewish men: Louis Armstrong and Mezz Mezzrow.
Plants of the Gods: S2E6. Albert Hofmann, Richard Schultes and Gordon Wasson: The Holy Trinity of Ethnomycology, plus the two women who must be added to the Pantheon!
The birth of the Psychedelic Renaissance is often attributed to Richard Schultes' research on peyote and magic mushrooms in the 1930's. Nonetheless, it was his collaboration with both Gordon Wasson and Albert Hofmann that brought this indigenous wisdom and chemistry to a wider world. At the same time, the equally extraordinary contributions of Valentina Wasson and Maria Sabina merit equal recognition and appreciation.
Plants of the Gods: S2E5. Rum, Rebellion, Pirates, & Tiki
"Yo Ho Ho and a bottle of rum!” This immortal chant from Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic “Treasure Island” encapsulates much of the history of sugar and rum and the role they played not only in piracy, but also the rise of capitalism and slavery. This episode covers those issues as well as the underappreciated role these plant products played in the American Revolution. Also discussed is the rebirth of rum culture in the 21st century with an emphasis on all things Tiki.
Plants of the Gods: S2E4. Magic Mushrooms and the Roots (actually, the Mycelia) of the Psychedelic Renaissance
The much-heralded Psychedelic Renaissance began in 1938 when Harvard graduate student Richard Schultes traveled to southern Mexico to investigate reports that the Mazatec peoples were ingesting mind-altering mushrooms for healing and divinatory purposes. His findings led to further research in both the field and the lab by folks like Gordon Wasson and Albert Hofmann, and this in turn eventually brought the healing potential of these and other mind-altering natural substances to the outside world.
Plants of the Gods: S2E3. Palms: The Sacred Princes of the Plant Kingdom
Palms- The Sacred Princes of the Plant Kingdom - In the words of the late ethnobotanist Richard Schultes, “A panorama does not seem tropical unless palms occupy a distinct and conspicuously visible part of the flora.” Although primarily associated with lowland rainforests, palms range as far north as Scotland and as high as 10,000 feet in the Andes. Furthermore, palms are considered sacred by many if not most of the world’s religions.
I truly enjoy this dive into ethnobotany. It’s part anthropology, history, ecology and botany while simultaneously providing a critical look at our modern culture and the crises affecting our planet. POTG is thoughtful and thought provoking. I hope there will be a season 2!