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  • Published: 1 January 2011
  • ISBN: 9781556438059
  • Imprint: North Atlantic
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 336
  • RRP: $49.99

Pharmako/Poeia, Revised and Updated

Plant Powers, Poisons, and Herbcraft

Anyone with an interest in the psychoactive and healing properties of plants and related substances will find Dale Pendell's Pharmako trilogy an entertaining yet profound overview of this emerging field. The series has rapidly assumed cult status as an unparalleled exposition of its subject, and this North Atlantic updated paperback edition will bring this underground classic to a wider readership than ever.

Immerse yourself in the fascinating universe of psychoactive plants with Volume 1 of Dale Pendell's celebrated Pharmako trilogy

The bestselling magical fusion of science, poetry, history, and philosophy

In this updated paperback edition of the first volume of Dale Pendell's renowned Pharmako trilogy, readers are welcomed on an absorbing journey through the history and applications of psychoactive plants and their synthetic equivalents. Including a new introduction from the author, the book brilliantly merges factual information, historical context, cultural observations, and spiritual insights, all in a voice that is both authoritative and whimsical.

Pendell offers in-depth examination of substances including:

  • Absinthe 
  • Aqua Vitae
  • Beer
  • Calea zacatechichi
  • Heroin
  • Kava kava 
  • Marijuana
  • Nitrous Oxide
  • Opium
  • Ska Pastora (diviner's sage)
  • Tobacco
  • Wine
  • And more 

The examination covers their history, pharmacology, preparation methods, cultural and esoteric connections, and impacts on human consciousness. Pendell presents this study with the sensitivity of a poet, emphasizing not only the concrete facts but also the nuanced implications of each substance's interaction with the human psyche.

Enriched with quotations from celebrated writers, the book serves as a captivating literary concoction that blends science, art, and spirituality, transforming a complex subject into a mesmerizing narrative. The blend of poetic and erudite writing in Pendell's style engages the reader's imagination while being firmly anchored in rigorous research and factual data.

More than an instructive guide on psychoactive plants and synthetics, Pharmako/Poeia: Plant Powers, Poisons, and Herbcraft is a revealing exploration of the ties between human consciousness and nature's own chemical elixirs. It stands as an indispensable read for those with interest in ethnobotany, herbal medicine, or simply the intriguing interplay between humans and the plant kingdom.

  • Published: 1 January 2011
  • ISBN: 9781556438059
  • Imprint: North Atlantic
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 336
  • RRP: $49.99

About the author

Dale Pendell

Plant student Dale Pendell established himself as one of the foremost popular exponents of shamanic ethnobotany with his unprecedented Pharmako trilogy. A noted poet, he was the founding editor of the avant-garde magazine Kuksu and a cofounder of the Primitive Arts Institute and has led workshops on ethnobotany and ethnopoetics for the Naropa Institute and the Omega Institute. Pendell was part of the Oracular Madness theme camp at Burning Man for a number of years (his book Inspired Madness: The Gifts of Burning Man was published by Frog Books in 2006). Also an experienced computer scientist, he lives with his wife Laura in California’s Sierra foothills.

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Praise for Pharmako/Poeia, Revised and Updated

—Terence McKenna, author of True Hallucinations

“Much of our life-force calls upon the plant world for support, in medicines and in foods, as both allies and teachers. Pendell provides a beautifully crafted bridge between these two worlds. The magic he shares is that the voices are spoken and heard both ways; we communicate with plants and they with us. This book is a moving and poetic presentation of this dialogue.”

—Dr.Alexander T. Shulgin, University of California at Berkeley, Department of Public Health

“Pharmako/Poeia is an epic poem on plant humours, an abstruse alchemic treatise, an experiential narrative jigsaw puzzle, a hip and learned wild-nature reference text, a comic paean to cosmic consciousness, an ecological handbook, a dried-herb pastiche, a counterculture encyclopedia of ancient fact and lore that cuts through the present ‘conservative’ war-on-drugs psychobabble.”

—Allen Ginsberg, poet

“Dale Pendell’s remarkable book will make it impossible to ever again underestimate the most unprepossessing plant. This compendium of how-to-get-high-by-eating-your-lawn ethnological data is mind-boggling, useful, and serves as a fine end run around the guardians of ‘official’ consciousness.”

—Peter Coyote, actor