This drug age; 1; Primitive Peoples & Drugs
People wrongly think is a. State of consciousness. I think yes Apollo would be stupid. Yes of. Course it. Has to. Mushroom. Primitive peoples have always been interested in. That sort of. Consciousness. This drug age talk about drugs. What they are and how they affect modern man produced for radio by the American University broadcast center in collaboration with the National Institute of General Medical Sciences Unit of the National Institutes of Health. In our discussions with authorities on drugs and their use We'll explore
where drugs come from how they are discovered the natural substances provided by nature. And this in the ticks invented by man. We'll investigate the latest developments in pharmacological research the ways in which the federal government is concerned with the drugs and drug use. Drug laws why we have them and whether they are beneficial. We'll look into the reasons people take drugs from the medical to the psychological to the purely hedonistic and the problems that have evolved in an increasingly drug dependent culture. On this the first program in a series we examine the use of drugs by primitive peoples. Man has long been aware of the possibilities of drugs. History tells us that the oldest Mesopotamian in God is the God of magical herbes studying the use of drugs among primitive peoples of
the past and of the present can give us a new perspective on the use of drugs in our own society our lives and attitudes today are very much the result of what has gone before and drugs have had a definite effect on the shaping of past cultures in the area of religious ritual for example. Discussing primitive peoples and drugs with Patricia Wakeling consulting editor of the Optical Society publication applied optics is Dr Raymond Bayer administrator of the toxicology training programs of the National Institute of general medical sciences. First Dr. George Cosmetology is program coordinator with the pharmacology Toxicology Program for an eye JMS talks about the evidence of drug use by primitive societies. Look at the anthropological literature and you'll find that drugs were
used very intimately with religion and fact. You can go back almost as far as recorded history and it's seen that almost. In every culture you will find it was maybe that in Colorado they might even sometimes auction of lizard skins and roots and what have you. Organs of animals minerals. But they were involved in religious rigid rituals and and some of these the descriptions that you would do that after apologist or ethno botanist people they go out in these primitive cultures or they studied these primitive cultures would describe the behavior of the participants in the recent religious religious right that was taking place and the description indicates pharmacological effects and sometimes Hoxha kopecks is hysteria
delirium zz. Trips that were induced by these concoctions that were taken and so some enterprising man in the tribe that ultimately evolved into the witch doctor said See here look this guy seems to be when he takes his concoction seem to be immune to pain. I call that or I wonder if I might not use a similar concoction when somebody is you know has a tummy ache. The initial observations were probably made in this way and and this one thing led to another and we had the witch doctor who passed on the little secrets to the from generation to generation and this is how it all began. Many of the drugs that we still use today have ancient origins. I'm always amazed by the sophistication of otherwise prehistoric people. For example in the preparation of karate which is an extremely potent arrow poison which has found application
in modern medicine today. This air of poison is prepared by some of the most primitive tribes in the Amazon from. The plant of the genus strictness. And it isn't a simple technique for the preparation of this material. In fact explorers from whom bought I remember in the early nineteenth century describe it. And many people tried to reproduce it and prepare themselves in the laboratory with absolutely no success in the supply for years really depended upon the savages of the Amazon who used to bring it down in tubes of. Bamboo like grass. And they've developed a filtration technique in evaporation that is certainly not a steam distillation or vacuum distillation but very effective this restaurant over FOSS open fires in one of the I don't think it was one of the early Pina Pina.
Oh yes yes I know how lessened the heat needed us. That is slow slow slow and slow and slow heat you know how they did this over open that particular planet they they use the bark it's a tree I think all early on it called back Mysteria the active principle which has strong hallucinogenic properties just been isolated. I believe it's harm mean and. There are means of administration is crude I must admit. They. Apply it with a blow pipe that's inserted in the nostrils of one Indian. Sort of a forked blow pipe blow pipe as often fancifully card with bird figures or Jaguar. With these Indians place the the stuff Piper the blowpipe into the nostrils and his companion blows a mixture of the snuff deeply into the lungs and it causes a first
stupor and then a nation whose whose Natori period followed Doesn't it was have one other rather unfortunate effect doesn't it. First of all make you vomit didn't. Yes yes and this is part of the process which is accepted. Yes and that was that how often I was it five minutes or so I'm on late doesn't it it's rather rapid onset I would say about half an hour or so. And. The effects of the stuff last for several hours perhaps 12. And this. Leads to dancing. With loud shouts that at short intervals in the long interval is something like 25 30 minutes you suddenly give a loud yell. Yes I suppose this is the part of the ritual of the snuff and of many of these hallucinogens primitive peoples have always been fascinated by this state of other consciousness the pythoness of
Apollo would induce elucidation or at least stupor by inhaling the gases. And of course our American Indians took my shrooms and primitive peoples and primitive peoples have always been interested in. The State of the super awareness or consciousness. Is this to bring them closer to their gods or is it to make them. More conscious of their pod of other people. I believe so I think it's a supernatural state not easily understood where reality is no longer real. And similarly alcohol and the cult of Bacchus was. Considered a holy drug used in the holy state of intoxication. Alcohol is an amazing drug. It has by things like action. Like many of the anesthetics the gaseous anesthetics do as a
matter of fact alcohol is an anesthetic. It's a poor and very dangerous anesthetic but it is and anesthetic nevertheless. When I say it has a bi phase of action as most people who partake in it will know that there's a very brief evanescent excitatory face and this is followed by a much more prolonged depressant phase as anyone who's had too much alcohol know and this depression phases is dangerous because if you take too much alcohol you want to get to the point of anesthesia the the period of the range the dosage range between anesthesia and respiratory arrest is very short and it's a very thin line between anesthesia and
death. Oh when did the primitive world. When did men that say they discovered me. If I may use the word transmogrifying effects of alcohol must be of ancient origin. Almost any fermented. Juice or material containing sugar will ferment and a national product is alcohol. And I'm sure with man sort of and this curiosity that doesn't affect the dream itself fermented just tasted good a little that's gone for good. About what a century ago now I guess Lewis Carroll wrote Alice in Wonderland and in that ad as you remember nibbled on one side of a mushroom to go larger on the other side to grow small again so it would appear that he knew about hallucinations resulting from eating mushrooms possibly the effects of the fly Goetic acid and possibly even about so much. Which I understand is a still identified plant of the Ariens
brought with them some 3500 years ago when they went down into India and which I also understand Dr Watson of Harvard has suggested might well be the fly get it mushroom now. Would you like to tell me first of all how a mushroom got that cool a name. I suppose first of all the insecticide of properties might be mentioned. It's a very weak insecticide but I think more interesting than in medieval times. A mad person was thought to be infested with flies. And if one could watch a fly would emerge from the nostrils and the person would be cured. And since this mushroom induces madness I think that's probably the origin I say of the mushroom in fact even among the Ariens today. Although. The use of the flag Eric has disappeared in that part of Europe. There is an expression for a
foolish person or for one who is acting in a peculiar manner that he's eaten of the mad mushroom. Quite a few of the drugs we use these days especially over the counter drugs are chemically harmless as far as we know. But psychologically beneficial for example regimens. Do the primitive side is that granted to people who have similar substances. I wouldn't doubt it. I'm sure that much of the ritual that. Accompanies the the medicine man's chanting the driving out of demons a good deal of this must be related to the psychology of the patient and. I think the whole mystique of the medicine man must be a sort of placebo in a way and perhaps as effective as his medicine which has come down to us today shall we say through the TV in the form of the TV commercial. If I had a snake oil man perhaps not too different yeah. You know
another thing that made the news quite a bit lately is not Meg. You know that common spies that none of us had ever thought of as being a psychoactive drug. Absent kitchen spices that been used a great deal in the in the western world mint Basil. But you know. With the Beano for example I gather it is fairly similar to the Bolivian Matai and which the Bolivian Indians used to drink to keep themselves as in an excited pitch for 24 hours or so as an intoxicating meant. What I'm trying to get at is are there other drugs an honest place to try to many of them have been implicated. I think the limitation is what the body can stand. Pepper for example and ginger.
And cinnamon have also been named as. A possible hallucinogens and in fact a cinnamon stick cigarettes are smoked by some Indians in the bit where it's grown and I suspect that many of the things in our spice cabinet would have these properties. Now. If you take mushroom the effects are somewhat similar to taking what you were mentioning earlier. You know it makes you very ill to start with It does yeah. Except that the effects are somewhat delayed. I think the mushroom takers have found though that you have this that the body provides a purification system. And it was not uncommon for mushroom takers to drink the urine of a person who had eaten there via Garrick and avoid the hangover period. It seemed to remove some of the hangover properties associated with taking it. The flag Eric I believe was still used quite commonly in Siberia grows in the birch forests. The beginning of this
century. And although the effects have been compared to alcohol the they are really quite separate entities not better or worse according to the takers but just a completely different experience. I think. A substitute for ha she sure. Marijuana. It's so common in the east. What about mace. I may see mace is really the outer covering of the nutmeg seat. It's rather spongy fibrous material and it. Is ground up and used as a spice. I suspect that there is some similar action with mace. And there have been reports of people taking this also. It's a horrible tasting concoction. It became popular after Malcolm X. Published his book his autobiography and mentioned that it was often
taken by prisoners hit by a matchbox full for a weekend high. Unfortunately it gained some popularity among among college students who has since developed a lifelong aversion to nutmeg and it has very unpleasant side effects. An ancient Greek runners were supposed to chew sesame seed to make them run faster and the way that some of our football players one here swallows it till it's not. Would you say there's anything in there. From the amount of sesame seed that is eaten. In the Mideast. I would expect that everyone would be an Olympic runner. Cocked up Oliver Wendell Holmes the father of the justice evidently said something to the effect of that except for opium and anesthetics all the drugs of his day could be dropped into the ocean and that that would be good for mankind and bad for the fish. Now this leads me into the thought that work is now starting to go
on to find out just how rich the sea is and medically important materials did the primitive people from people's farms see what I would do with a fall in the sea. I think that we can still classify ourselves it is primitive people in that respect because as far as realizing the resources of the sea we are still in the hunter gatherer stage. Another thing he has a lot about these days deservedly is the benefits conferred by drugs. Well the early uses of drugs beneficial. When I say early uses I mean in the primitive societies of the medieval societies all where they mainly hedonistic. Well surprisingly enough I think we have. I think people have developed a healthy respect for some of the medieval practitioners although a good deal of hocus pocus and collection of Tongan dog and wing of bat. Went on. Often these strange concoctions did have an active
ingredient which was beneficial. And. I really think they played an important part in the development of medicine ancient ancient used for for example rubble was used by the Hindu since time immemorial and it was only recently that the active principle of rubble field has been separated out its pharmacological activity was recognized and it's been one of the most useful drugs for the control of hypertension that that's known the Indian had had used it for centuries before and attributed to it miraculous properties it was a specific for the Cure of insanity. And it's interesting enough the active principle which is found in minute quantities of Acts in the deep recesses of the brain for it's for it's actually
the raw raw plant was ground up and used so its properties could be guessed. But it's it's interesting to note though that the effective dose is only realized after several weeks of administration of perhaps two or three weeks. Can any sort of therapeutic effect be noticed. And it must. In a case of infinite patience part of these primitive peoples to. Find drugs which might be effective and the trial and error that the techniques that they must have employed must of been used through centuries for you to follow some of the most fascinating early work am I correct went on in China. I think it was only in the nineteen twenty three or the early twenties. OK Kate Chen investigated and isolated the active principle in his snuff that had been
used by the Chinese for thousands of years and it contained the principle that ephedrine. Which is a very commonly used drug today among the other uses that other societies have had for drugs. One involved drugs as punishment in the Middle Ages drugs played a part in the punishment don't outed witch trials. Dr obey R.. I think this was really trial by ordeal there's the famous ordeal tree of Madagascar. And criminals or heretics were forced to drink a dick auction from the made from the leaves and fruit of this tree. That's nothing to do with hemlock. No no they simply had to drink it. And if they survived they were innocent and were punished if they died. Another thing that I did from my reading in primitive drug usage is that the men always took the drugs never the
woman. I think this is probably boned up in the tradition of the position of the man in the tribe and being the leader that women very seldom participated in magical rites that were limited exclusively to men in many cases. The American Indian for example only the men persist paid in certain secret ceremonies in the kiva and for women even to look at the ceremonies and punishment or even death. This I suppose was different in various parts of the world because some of the Greek. Societies The woman was dominant. Yes that's true and of course the women developed their own rituals. The natives of South America chew coca leaves. To stimulate themselves now the negatives of North America. A soft drink made from coca leaves COLA not other substances now I feel one ought to
be able to draw a conclusion or make a point about this but I must accept it excuse me the only thing that I can remember is that when I was growing up in England there was a citrus and tea cola movement you know don't give our kiddies drugs to drink and such wild statements and nothing was ever said by the way about the dragging effects of drinking coffee. We define a drug is any substance that affects a biological function. And this would include the caffeine in your coffee and the alcohol in your martini. Our primary source and really the source of most of our modern drugs is nature and. We can cite numerous examples. I think two interesting ones are asked for. Most people would think of asking as a purely a chemical drug a drug that is synthesized in the light in the laboratory of a chemist but it finds its roots all the way back to the willow tree substance that extracted from the
world tree which is no Salicin back many years ago it was as terrified into a compound derivative of Salicin which was known as methyl salicylate which is oil of wintergreen and there's the once chemists identifies a chemical and knows what its structure is. He begins to play this chemical with a game of chemical roulette and he changes the the more if these are the groupings on the basic molecule and then you get Sodium Salicylate and and then eventually you get a single salicylic acid and that is aspirin. Another example is that we got directly from nature is the corona reform drugs the muscle relaxants that have been so important in making our anesthesia safe relatively safe. At one time it was a dominant surgery was extremely dangerous because to obtain the necessary
relaxation of the abdominal musculature. You have to take the patient very low when anesthesia when you anesthetize a person that deeply. You're coming close to respiratory arrest and it's a very touchy situation for the anesthesiologist. When it be wonderful if you could do the same thing by very late anesthesia just enough to anesthetize a patient and also get the necessary relaxation of the abdominal musculature. When I say the abdominal muscle which I don't mean the stride of muscle I mean the smooth muscle of the intestinal track. If you made in this incision without much of this relaxation of the smooth muscle into you know in fact it would just balloon out it out of the incision. Some anthropologist. In the noticed pigmy shooting darts into the big elephants and become completely paralyzed and he wondered what was this amazing stuff that was on the tip of their little darts and found he
learned that they made a concoction from the bark of a tree and they had this potent paralyzing effect and this was karate and this opened the field to all the what we call the Cure are a form of drugs and it led to D to both cure our ring which was the first drug used to induce this relaxation of the smooth muscle intestinal tract. And this led to the one that's used most widely today sucks a little colon chloride which is of the same type of a drug one drug and without without this Don the surgery would be a very difficult thing to to do to do today but it's made life a lot easier for anesthesiologists and a lot safer for the patient. There are two drugs that have come directly from nature which ultimately well and you mentioned digital Oxenden sure they did well here. Here's a drug that a midwife or a little lady in England.
This really discovered she should go out pick the leaves of this clamp and Taylor still unaided and it fucks the foxglove is the common name for it and should make a t and he was the only person who could cure dropsy. Yes the best medical minds of the time could do couldn't do a thing that one of the physicians English physicians with a Marine doctor with me. I was confident enough in his own abilities and not so proud to go over and find out what she was doing and he course developed the use of introduced the used to medical practice of detailing. Once the chemist identifies and chemically characterizes the. The active ingredient in the natural product the natural plant. Then he goes into his laboratory says Now can I improve on nature. If I change the grouping here and grouping over there on the basic structure of the basic nucleus of
this compound that nature has just introduced us that we've found that we've learned about from nature. Maybe I can improve on nature. And then they do this of course even if they can't do this at least the next step is to try to synthesize it in the laboratory where they have better control and can control the production etcetera. You know nature sometimes if you don't have a good growing season you don't have enough quinine or enough Digitalis etc. so a man tries to make it himself. Patricia Wakely talking with Dr. Raymond BI And Dr. George cosmic of the National Institute of general medical sciences about the use of drugs among primitive people. On this the first program in a series this drug in the next program
- This drug age
- Episode Number
- Primitive Peoples & Drugs
- Contributing Organization
- University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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- No description available
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University of Maryland
Identifier: 70-6-1 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
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