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The Plants of the Gods: Hallucinogens, Healing, Culture and Conservation

“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.

Mar 22, 2023

In today’s episode, we embark on a journey learning about one of the most widely used mind-altering substances: tobacco. During this two-part discussion, Dr. Plotkin addresses the duality of this well-known Plant of the Gods. Between its spiritual significance and its ties to addiction, disease and enslavement, the story of tobacco is complicated but fascinating. With his usual mix of knowledge, insight and humor, Mark provides an ethnobotanical perspective on tobacco’s pleasure and pain.


Episode Notes

“A Deep History of Tobacco in Lowland South America.” The Master Plant : Tobacco in Lowland South America

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Emboden, William. Narcotic Plants. Collier Books, 1980. 

Furst, Peter T. Hallucinogens and Culture. Chandler & Sharp Publishers, Inc., 1997. 

Goodman, Jordan. Tobacco in History and Culture. Thomson Gale, 2005. 

Goodman, Jordan. Tobacco in History: The Cultures of Dependence. Routledge, 1994. 

Hobhouse, Henry. Seeds of Wealth: Four Plants That Made Men Rich. Macmillan, 2012. 

Marris, Emma. “The Anthropologist and His Old Friend, Who Became a Jaguar.” Culture, National Geographic, 4 May 2021,

Narby, Jeremy, and Rafael Chanchari Pizuri. Plant Teachers: Ayahuasca, Tobacco, and the Pursuit of Knowledge. New World Library, 2021. 

Ott, Jonathan. Pharmacotheon: Entheogenic Drugs, Their Plant Sources and History. Natural Products, 1996. 

Schultes, Richard Evans, and Albert Hofmann. Plants of the Gods: Origins of Hallucinogenic Use. A. Van Der Marck Editions, 1987. 

Shepard, Glenn H. “Psychoactive Plants and Ethnopsychiatric Medicines of the Matsigenka.” Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, vol. 30, no. 4, 1998, pp. 321–332.,

Steffensen, Jennifer. “The Reality (TV) of Vanishing Lives: An Interview with Glenn Shepard.” Anthropology News, vol. 49, no. 5, 2008, pp. 30–30.,

Wilbert, Johannes. Tobacco and Shamanism in South America. Yale University Press, 1993.