Scotch Broom

(Genista canariensis) Why "Scotch"? The specific name is accurate enough, for it is a native of the Canary Isles, though it was taken to central America in post-Conquest times, which explains the shaman's use of the plant. It contains cytisine, which in high doses can cause nausea, convulsions, hallucinations, and even death from respiratory failure (Furst. 1976). But Yaqui shamans used to smoke the yellow flowers. Several cigarettes produced the desired "long relaxation, intellectual clarity and physical ease, coupled with psychological alertness" (Emboden. 1979).

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