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Plant/Botany Book Reflection 2 - Essay Example

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Botany One River: Explorations and Discoveries in the Amazon Rain Forest By Wade Davis A Preface This book reads something like a novel, yet it chronicles the story of two ethno botanists who travel to South America, in essence, recreating a trip their mentor/professor, Richard Evans Schultes, had done some decades before…
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Plant/Botany Book Reflection 2
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Download file to see previous pages It was a great read. Schultes most likely can be called the ‘discoverer’ of all plants hallucinogenic, mainly because he wanted to study the historical background of these plants and how they related to everyday life and rituals in the ancients societies of the South American countries, such as the Aztecs. His expertise in these plants would take a great leap forward to fame in the 1970s as popular culture (although not the police) embraced the psychedelic world and consequently, began reading many of Schultes’ old research works (22). Schultes was also an instrumental participant in the great rubber program which was instigated by World War II and the need to find new resources for wild rubber. Schultes is, therefore, the basis for this book as he inspired and helped Tim Plowman and Wade Davis to make the journey back to South America in order to follow some of the same paths and to also note the changes in the rain forests. Part I Juan’s Farewell, Mountains of the Elder Brother, The Peyote Road, Flesh of the Gods, The Red Hotel. In “Juan’s Farewell,” we get a taste of what life is like in a rural farm, close to Medellin, Columbia. Davis stays often with Juan and Rosa, the farm owners and from there, he made forays out to look the rain forests of northern Antioquia, Acandi and the Darien which was just across the Gulf of Uraba, and also to the mountains of Huila (17). During this time, the drug cartel, soon to be a major factor in the cocaine industry, was slowly taking shape in Medellin. Every day was rich in its simplicity and Davis would get a good dose of the culture there. For instance, as he heads towards the train station in Juan’s truck, he mentions that ‘in Columbia, there are no train schedules, only rumors” which indicates that people manage their own time at will (19). It is here when Davis is on the train that he goes through his mail and finds a letter from Schultes telling him to get together with Plowman, who had just become research associate and was now heading on a government-funded expedition to study coca, a sacred plant found in the Andes. The information to be gathered is on the chemistry of the leaf, pharmacology of coca chewing, plant’s role in nutrition, the range of its growth pattern, and the relationship between the cultivated and wild coca plant. To the Indians, the plant is known as the ‘divine leaf of immortality’ and can be found along the Andean Cordillera. Mention is made here about the background of the Kogi and Ika groups who draw strength from the goddess of fertility, Great Mother. who is the deity most native groups in the Sierras worship. The variety of coca, Hayo, is chewed as part of a religious observance of this goddess. The book then goes into a bit of history with Schultes and also an experience that Plowman had with testing a plant called Brunfelsia chiricaspi that gave him quite a strong, almost incapacitating, reaction (27). “Mountains of the Elder Brother” talks first of the lower slopes of the Sierra Nevada which is where the best harvest of marijuana was made in Columbia and this is where Davis catches up with Plowman to begin the journey. Wade also gets a haircut from a one-armed barber which is a brief story in itself. Much of this first part of the chapter is a history of the area when the Spaniards first arrived and destroyed the people and their culture. Then Davis and Plowman begin their journey in Plowman’ ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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