Document Detail

Psychoactive substances of the South Seas: betel, kava and pituri.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  3890824     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Before white man brought his alcohol to the South Pacific, the indigenes were using many wild plants possessing psychoactive properties. The most prominent were betel in much of Melanesia, kava in much of Polynesia, and pituri in much of Australia. The use of each of these three drugs was widespread, institutionalised as a ritual and the occasion for extensive trade. Each was valued for its effect in reducing tension or in producing altered states of consciousness. Each was also capable of inducing intoxication. Since few physicians nowadays have had my opportunity to observe the use of all three of these substances, their main features are recalled here. Attention is paid to their traditional use and probable future use, to their pharmacological and clinical properties, and to their place in the zeitgeist of people and period. There is no indication that these substances will be espoused by the drug enthusiasts of the West as avidly as other ethno-psychopharmacological agents such as Peruvian coca leaf, the Indian hemp, the Asian poppy, or the American tobacco. The possibility, however, of some use in the West cannot be discounted.
J Cawte
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Historical Article; Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  The Australian and New Zealand journal of psychiatry     Volume:  19     ISSN:  0004-8674     ISO Abbreviation:  Aust N Z J Psychiatry     Publication Date:  1985 Mar 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  1985-07-23     Completed Date:  1985-07-23     Revised Date:  2009-11-11    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0111052     Medline TA:  Aust N Z J Psychiatry     Country:  AUSTRALIA    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  83-7     Citation Subset:  IM; Q    
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MeSH Terms
Ethnic Groups / psychology
History, 20th Century
Medicine, Traditional
Plants, Medicinal*
Psychotropic Drugs / history,  pharmacology*
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Psychotropic Drugs

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