The study of hallucinogenic indoles dates back to the twenties of our century. A genuine renaissance of psychopharmacology takes place in Germany. In this atmosphere, Levin and others became interested in the garmin, an indole, the only source of which was Banisteriopsis caapi, a woody vine that Richard Sprus had encountered almost 80 years before. Of course, Levin’s last published work “Banisteria Kaapi – a new, intoxicating poison and therapeutic agent” reflects its enchantment with this plant. She came out in 1929. The excitement of Levin and his colleagues was understandable: the ethnographers and among them the German Theodor Koch-Grünberg returned from the Amazon with reports that some tribes used herbal remedies for telepathy to determine the correct path of their society. In 1929, chemists E. Perrot and M. Raymond-Game isolated the active agent fromBanisteriopsis caapi and named it telepatin. Decades later, in 1957, the researchers came to the conclusion that telepatin was identical to harmaline extracted from Peganum harmala,and the name Harmin was officially adopted.

In the 1930s, enthusiasm for the alkaloids of the harmala was generally reduced, as was the interest in ethnopharmacology. But there were exceptions. Among those interested was Austrian emigrant Blas Pablo Reko, born Blasius Paul Reko, who lives in Mexico.

Reko was a person with a wide range of interests. Wandering life led him to the United States, to Ecuador, and finally to the Mexican state of Oaxaca. There he became interested in ethnobotany and what is today called archeoastronomy – the study of the observation of the world of stars by ancient cultures and their relationship to it. Blas Pablo Reko was an attentive observer of the use of plants by local tribes, among whom he happened to live. In 1919, in his refutation of the article by William Safford, Reko said that the shamans of the Mixtec and Masathek peoples still traditionally use a hallucinogenic mushroom rather than peyote to invoke visions. / Cf .: Victor A. Reko, Magische Gife, Rausch’und Betaubungsmittel der neuen Welt (Berlin: Express Edition. 1987) / In 1937, Reko sent a bag of samples of two plants to a Swedish anthropologist and curator of the ethnographic museum in Gothenburg, Henry Wassen found it particularly interesting. One of the samples was the seeds of piole , a visionary bindweed ipomoea violacea, containing hallucinogenic indoles related to LSD.

Another pattern — unfortunately too decaying to identify the species — was a fragment of theononacatl, the first specimen containing the psilocybin fungus, proposed to scientific attention. Thus, Reko began to study the indole hallucinogens of Mexico and laid the foundation for two areas of research and subsequent discoveries, which will eventually be combined when the Swiss chemist-pharmacist Albert Hofmann determines the characteristics of both compounds in his laboratory.


Reko got his sample of a mushroom from Roberto Weitlander, a European engineer working in Mexico. The following year, a small group together with Weitlander’s daughter and anthropologist Jean Bassé Johnson became the first whites to take part in the all-night mushroom ceremony, the velade .

In the end, Wassen sent Reko’s samples to Harvard, where they attracted the attention of a young ethnobotanist Richard Evans Schultz. Schulz was a medical student until he came across Kluwer’s work on mescaline. Schulz thought that the Recole mushroom could have been the mysterious theonakatl described by Spanish historians. Together with an anthropologist from Yelles University, Weston-La Barr, he published a compilation of evidence that theonacatl is some kind of psychoactive fungus.

The following year, Schulz escorts Reco to the village of Ouatla de Jimenez in the highlands of the Sierra Masateca. Samples of psychoactive fungi were collected and sent to Harvard. But in the late 30s more significant forces would come; as in many areas, research in ethnobotany is suspended, and then completely stopped with the outbreak of the Second World War. Ryoko leaves, and when the Japanese consolidate their position on rubber plantations in Malaya, Schulz accepts an invitation to study in the Amazon basin rubber extraction for the Office of Strategic Services established during the war by the US government. But before that, in 1939, he publishes the work “Identification of Theonacatl, Aztec Narcotic Basidiomycitis”. / Richard Evans Schultes. “Plantae Mexicanae. II: The Identification of Teonanacati, a Narcotic Basidiomycete of the Aztec & ”, Harvard University (1939) 7: 37–54 / In it, he quietly offers a clue to the mystery, which at that time seemed nothing more than a subject scholars debate among specialists in central america.

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