The Power of the Poppy: Harnessing Nature's Most Dangerous Plant Ally (Paperback)
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A comprehensive look at the inspiring, healing, and addictive powers of the Opium Poppy and its derivatives throughout history
• Covers the history, risks, and benefits of opium, morphine, oxycodone, methadone, and fentanyl
• Provides techniques of cultivation, extraction, and safe consumption as well as methods for overcoming addiction and staying “clean”
• Profiles 11 famous users, including Thomas de Quincey, William S. Burroughs, Lou Reed, and DJ Screw
Few plant allies have a history as long and well-documented as Papaver somniferum, the celebrated and infamous opium poppy. For thousands of years people around the world have been unable to resist the poppy’s siren song of intoxicating pleasure, pain relief, and visionary states--so much so that this potent plant has literally adapted itself to human civilization: in increasing its intoxicating properties, it came to rely solely on humankind for its propagation.
From 6,000-year-old poppy seeds found in archaeological digs in Europe to the black tar heroin factories of South America and the modern “War on Drugs,” Kenaz Filan explores the history of this enduring plant and its many derivatives--including opium, morphine, oxycodone, methadone, and fentanyl--as well as its symbiotic relationship with humans as medicine, food, intoxicant, and visionary tool. Profiling 11 famous users including Thomas de Quincey, William S. Burroughs, Lou Reed, and DJ Screw, Filan examines how opium and other poppy derivatives inspired them as well as the high price it exacted for its inspiration. Covering techniques of cultivation, extraction, and safe consumption along with methods for overcoming addiction and staying “clean,” this book offers a sensible approach to the poppy that recognizes the plant not as a crop to be harvested or eradicated but as a living, sentient ally that can offer healing or harm and must be approached with respect and caution.
About the Author
Kenaz Filan (Houngan Coquille du Mer) was initiated in Société la Belle Venus in March 2003 after 10 years of solitary service to the lwa. Filan is the author of The Haitian Vodou Handbook, Vodou Love Magic, and Vodou Money Magic and coauthor of Drawing Down the Spirits. A frequent contributor to PanGaia, Planet Magazine, and Widdershins, Filan is the former managing editor of newWitch magazine and lives in Short Hills, New Jersey.
“Kenaz Filan’s well-researched compilation of Poppy’s history, uses, constituents, derivatives, and personal accounts will more than inform you about this powerful plant--it will invite you to deeply consider the price one pays for such a potent ally.”
— Pam Montgomery, herbalist and author of Plant Spirit Healing
“Like cannabis, the poppy is an ancient medicinal plant, both revered and maligned. Kenaz Filan performs a crucial service in educating us about its history, both agricultural and cultural, and examining its potential for healing and harm. Most importantly, the author offers hope and heart to those struggling with addiction.”
— Julie Holland, editor of Ecstasy: The Complete Guide and The Pot Book: A Complete Guide to Cannabis
“The Power of the Poppy offers a frank and precise analysis of the mystical, chemical, and social aspects of a plant that has fascinated humans for millennia. Readers will gain the data they need to make informed decisions.”
— Elizabeth Barrette, author of Composing Magic
“An eminently readable book, this examination of the poppy's contribution to humankind, for both good and ill, belongs on every shelf. Written in a beguiling, conversational tone that kept this reader reading late into the night. . . An open-eyed, unbiased and realistic examination of the history of the poppy and its products, this book will appear to a broad range of readers. They will not be disappointed.”
— Marlene Y. Satter, ForeWord Magazine, March 2011
“The Power of the Poppy elucidates the many ways the histories of man and poppy are intertwined and it’s full of interesting tidbits along the way. . . If you have an interest in opium and its role in human affairs, The Power of the Poppy will be both entertaining and enlightening.”
— StoptheDrugWar.org, May 2011
“The Power of the Poppy is truly a magnificent book. It is essential reading for anyone interested in the history of psychoactives, the drug war, or a personal relationship with powerful plant allies.”
— Stephen Harrod Buhner, author of The Secret Teachings of Plants