Natural stimulants are consumed on a daily basis by many people - the most famous among them is caffeine: Coffee is the most consumed hot beverage in the world, even before green tea.
For many people the mental ability to control and influence one's own dreams is very desirable, because dreams can reveal one's own personality. Ethnobotanical research and practice has long been exploring plants and herbs that promote and support these processes.
Many plants and herbs are traditionally ascribed an aphrodisiac, lust- or potency-increasing effect in folk medicine and ethnobotany. Accordingly, the leaves, flowers or roots of many edible and medicinal plants were ingredients of love potions which were used to increase erotic pleasures or act as sexually stimulating agents in general.
The hyoscyamus plants are nightshades, a genus of the family Solanaceae. They are among the oldest known medicinal herbs and have already been described by Hippocrates (460-370. BC.) as a drug.
Incense is made of plants that develop a soothing, aromatic smoke when they are burnt. People have probably been burning dried plants since they first learned how to make a fire, and the aromatic smoke was more of a coincidental byproduct of fire.
The calming effect of St John's wort and valerian is well known in European culture - many sleepless nights have been prevented by the active ingredients of these herbs.
Among the 'magical plants' are many medicinal herbs which have already been known since ancient times. Not without reason, people associated them with magical powers, because there are mostly plants that contain psychoactive substances.
Shamanism has a very close relationship with plants and shamanic herbs, and with nature in general, trying to connect humans - holistically, with body, mind and spirit - with the cosmos to establish harmony. This is done with the help of the shaman, who is able to move between this world and the world beyond in order to cure diseases and to communicate with "spiritual beings". Many shamanic rituals require special medicinal herbs and plants whose seeds are collected here.
The nightshade plant family (Solanaceae) comprises approximately 3000 species. Among those are major crops such as tomatoes and potatoes, but also many medicinal plants.