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This page is intended for pure research. This paper may seem off topic but really it has everything to do with botanicals and natural alkaloids because the ergot fungus thrives off of plants. This website is dedicated to anything natural, from plants, to fungi, to the pharmacology of those plants and fungi. It's not intended to encourage dangerous or illegal behavior. Knowledge is legal and this topic is one of interest to a large number of related fields including ethnobotany, ethnopharmacology, pharmacology, phytochemistry, history, and even anthropology in general. I just thought the world would like to know the truth behind this historic psychedelic substance. Nature deserves to be credited with the actual invention of alkaloids from this realm.
LSD - Was it invented or discovered? On the 16th of November, 1938 Albert Hoffman first synthesized LSD. He worked for a big pharmaceutical company and they were researching the ergot fungus. Their goal was to purify and isolate various alkaloids from the ergot fungus ( Claviceps purpurea ) for use in pharmaceuticals. Ergot is a fungus, sort of like a mold, that grows on various plants including Rye. It contains the natural ergot alkaloids that lead to the discovery of LSD. It was more of a chemical reaction than an invention if you ask me. These ergot alkaloids are psychedelic in their own nature.
There are a large number of pharmacological and psychoactive alkaloids produced by the Claviceps purpurea fungus. To name a few there is ergotamine, ergometrine, ergotoxine, ergotamin ( used for headaches nausea and vomiting ). All of these compounds are derivatives of lysergic acid. The drug company was interested in making big bucks off of the medicinal value these naturally occurring constituents could provide for them. Long before the drug companies got their hands on these chemicals, they had already had a history of use as medicine.
As early as at least the 18th century women in European culture used ergot to increase labor speed and control post pardon hemorrhaging. In the 18th century a man named John Steams introduced the medical possibility of it to doctors. As far as use as a medicine goes, the Arndt–Schulz rule or Schulz' law had to be utilized. This rule states that any poison is a medicine in dilute enough doses, and vise versa. Any medicine in a large enough dosage can be a poison. In the case of these ergot alkaloids, the dosages had three varying applications and they are: medicine, psychedelic, poison.
Interestingly enough, the fungus itself is in the same class of fungi as that which penicilin is extracted from. Having all of this in mind, we can now see that not only are plants pharmacological gold mines, but fungi as well. Albert Hoffman was also the first person to isolate, synthesize, and name the compounds of psychedelic mushrooms psilocybin and psilocin. This is yet another example of incredibly powerful naturally occurring compounds. After reviewing the studies of MAPS ( Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies ), it seems that their power, potential for medical, scientific, and spiritual breakthroughs are epic.
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