Pituri

(Duboisia hopwoodii) An Australian hallucinogen plant that had an important place in the culture of the desert aborigines. Small doses of the plant give rise to hallucinations and time-space detachment. Like coca, it has the ability to quell hunger and thirst and let the aborigines travel the long distances needed to find the bare essentials of life. There were so-called "pituri roads", with trade networks across the desert, for such things as spears, boomerangs, nets, etc., were exchanged by tribal groups lacking the plant in their own habitat. The leaves were packed tightly into woven bags and traded over hundreds of miles. Nevertheless, they were aware of its extreme toxicity, and they even used it to poison emu (Lewin). Pituri would be given to strangers as a token of friendship, or chewed as part of social interaction behaviour. It could be used as payment for certain ceremonials, like puberty rites, or used by old men who acted as seers, as well as simply as a pick-me-up and comforter. The only form of written communication known to the aborigines was linked to pituri trading, for incised message sticks were used to indicate to neighbouring tribes that they wanted to trade the plant. With the advent of Europeans and the introduction of processed tobacco, cigarettes slowly eliminated its use, and today the pituri culture is only a memory (Dobkin de Rios).

A Disquistion On The Evils Of Using Tobacco

A Disquistion On The Evils Of Using Tobacco

Among the evils which a vitiated appetite has fastened upon mankind, those that arise from the use of Tobacco hold a prominent place, and call loudly for reform. We pity the poor Chinese, who stupifies body and mind with opium, and the wretched Hindoo, who is under a similar slavery to his favorite plant, the Betel but we present the humiliating spectacle of an enlightened and christian nation, wasting annually more than twenty-five millions of dollars, and destroying the health and the lives of thousands, by a practice not at all less degrading than that of the Chinese or Hindoo.

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