Date: Friday, October 27 @ 18:11:13 UTC
Topic: Ceremonies & Sacraments

peyo.jpgPeyote (Lophophora williamsii) is a small, spineless cactus whose native region extends from the southwestern United States (including the states of Texas and New Mexico) through central Mexico. It has been used for centuries for the psychedelic effects experienced when it is ingested.


The cactus flowers sporadically, producing small pink fruit, similar in appearance to a chili pepper, which can be very delectable and sweet-tasting when eaten. The seeds are small and black, requiring hot and humid conditions to germinate, one of the reasons this tranquil plant is becoming rare in its natural habitat. Numbers are reducing due to harvesting for commercial purposes. Peyote contains a large spectrum of phenethylamine alkaloids, the principal of which is mescaline. All Lophophora species are extremely slow growing, often taking up to thirty years to reach flowering age (at about the size of a golf ball, not including root) in the wild. Human cultivated specimens grow considerably faster, usually taking from six to ten years to go from seedling to mature flowering adult. Due to this slow growth and over-harvesting by collectors, peyote is considered to be in danger of extinction in the wild.

The top of the cactus above ground, also referred to as the crown, consists of disc-shaped buttons that are cut from the roots and dried. When done properly the top of the root will callous over and new buttons will eventually grow. When poor harvesting technique is used, however, the root is damaged and the entire plant dies. These buttons are generally chewed, or boiled in water to produce a psychoactive tea. The resulting infusion is extremely bitter and, in most cases, the user experiences some degree of nausea before the onset of the psychedelic effects. This is considered quite normal according to experienced users and historians.

Medicinal effects

The effective dose for mescaline is about 300 to 500 mg (equivalent to roughly 5 grams of dried peyote) and the effects last about 10 to 12 hours. When combined with appropriate set and setting, peyote is reported to trigger states of deep introspection and insight that have been described as being of a metaphysical or spiritual nature. At times, these can be accompanied by rich visual or auditory effects (see synesthesia). Unless one is embarking on the experience in a ceremonial context conducted by a "Peyotero" with much experience, similar to a shaman or medicine man, it is recommended, for safety reasons, that the user be accompanied at all times by someone who is not likewise intoxicated. This person is referred to by some as a "guide" or "Trip sitter".


From earliest recorded time, peyote has been used by indigenous peoples, such as the Huichol peoples of northern Mexico and the Navajo in the southwestern United States, as a part of traditional religious rites. In the late 1800s, the tradition began to spread northward as part of a revival of native spirituality under the auspices of what came to be known as the Native American Church, whose members refer to peyote as "the medicine", and use it to combat alcoholism and other social ills. The Native American Church is one among several religious organizations that use peyote as part of their religious practice.


This article comes from Community of One Love

The URL for this story is: