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Cardamine concatenata Psychoactive?

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Jun 9 11 7:43 PM

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This is a plant that I've been interested in for a long time. It's pretty common where I live and it's present in every US state east of the Rocky Mountains. The plant is quite beautiful although somewhat understated. It has deeply cleft palmately lobed leaves and pink flowers. It's a spring ephemeral found in forests and only grows to 1ft tall at the most, so it probably goes unnoticed by most people. The presence of this plant indicates that an area has never been plowed.

It produces tubers of about an inch long that taste almost exactly like horseradish. But most interesting is a that it might have been used as a hallucinogen by the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) people. Here is quote from the University of Michigan-Dearborn Native American Ethnobotany website:
Cardamine concatenata (Michx.) Sw.
Cutleaf Toothwort; Brassicaceae
Iroquois Drug (Hallucinogen)
Plant used to mesmerize.
Herrick, James William 1977 Iroquois Medical Botany. State University of New York, Albany, PhD Thesis (p. 339)

This plant was also used for divination and there is a little bit of information about the specifics of that use, but I've never been able to find anything else about its use as hallucinogen. Not even what part was used.

I've tried eating large amounts of the tubers. I believe I ate either 1 or 2 cups of tubers at one sitting once. There were no notable effects besides a clearing of the nasal passages and a runny nose due to the spicy hot taste. I wouldn't suggest trying this for yourself unless you really like horseradish like I do.

I've also tried making a tea out of the leaves. The one time that I experienced definite psychoactive effect from this herb I used about 20g of dried leaves but I included a low dose of Datura in order to prevent any possible nausea and to possibly amplify any effects from the toothwort. The effects were not hallucinogenic. I experienced sedation, a feeling of pressure in the head, and changes in coordination. It actually felt as though it potentiated the Datura.

I plan on doing more tests with this plant very soon. This is the time to find this plant. If you spend any time in the woods I'd suggest keeping an eye out for this plant. And if anyone else has any experience with cutleaf toothwort I'd love to hear about it.
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#2 [url]

Jun 14 11 4:14 AM

Yup! i've definitely seen this before! and in fact back in like 8th grade I had a friend who misidentified a plant for marijuana (he had no plant identification skills whatsoever) he said that it worked and made him feel heavy and tired he showed it to me and I told him that whatever it was it wasn't marijuana and what he experienced was probably just placebo... Looking back at it, this was definatly the plant he had consumed

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#3 [url]

Jun 15 11 5:16 AM

The plant doesn't have any distinctive smell that I've ever noticed.

Did your friend smoke it or consume it in some other way. I've never tried smoking it, but I feel that it wouldn't work that well since it seems that a relatively large dose is needed.

Then again, maybe smoking would be more effective. I'll have to try that soon.

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#5 [url]

Jun 29 11 7:00 PM

Haven't been able to spot any of this stuff yet.
Hopefully it's still around.

 Read a little about this plant after your post.
It seems there are beta carboline alkaloids
(and other alkaloids) associated with the cardimine genus.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23892204Edit: link to info on Cardimine Diphylla

I think there are other plants in this genus with
higher alkaloidal content, but this one actually
was actually used by the Iroquois
(as you'd said concatenata was).

The wikipedia link below contains this interesting section about how they used it:

"...drink a cold infusion of the roots for "when love is too strong", and use an infusion of the roots when "heart jumps and the head goes wrong."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cardamine_diphylla

These are a couple of it's many uses, apparently.

The quote comes from this book (PhD thesis):
- Herrick, James William 1977 Iroquois Medical Botany. State University of New York, Albany, PhD Thesis (p. 341)

You can still find that book for sale easily.

Anyway,  have you ever tried making an extract of the concatenata?  

I'm assuming you've gotten a good gauge 
for it's safety in a large quantities orally.

Any updates are much appreciated!

Last Edited By: NeonGolden Jun 29 11 7:25 PM. Edited 3 times.

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#6 [url]

Jul 2 11 11:38 PM

I can't find anything about the alkaloids in the genus Cardamine and sadly I don't currently have access to the paper you linked to. The possible active don't necessary have to be alkaloids, but it would be nice to know if this plant really does contain beta carbolines.

I was just in southern Illinois and I saw the plant nearing the end of its blooming period for that region. In northern Illinois it was just starting to bloom last week. Depending on the climate in your area, it might be past the blooming period for this plant.

I've never tried making an extract. That might be a good idea given the relatively large doses that seem to be necessary. I'm just not sure what solvent or procedure would be best to use for this plant. And unfortunately I can only collect a relatively limited amount of the plant each year if I want to the population remain viable.

I'll be collecting some either tomorrow or the next day, so i should have some updates soon after that..

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