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Use of Traditional Psychoactive Substances: An Overview from Ancient to Modern

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Official data in SubjectManager for the following academic year: 2019-2020

Course director

Dr. Ádám FELDMANN (, assistant professor

Department of Behavioural Sciences

Subject data

Code of subject: OAF-TRP-T  |  1 credit  |  General Medicine |  Optional module  |  both semesters

Prerequisites: -

Number of hours/semester

0 lectures + 0 practices + 12 seminars = total of 12 hours

Course headcount limitations

min. 3 – max. 20 person


The main objectives of this course is an introduction to traditional and modern drug-related behavior from cultural aspects. Many psychoactive herbs are available on the Internet with no cultural tradition in western civilization. Indeed, active ingredients are often unknown. Here, we attempt to summarize the potential health and psychological risks factors and potential therapeutic effects.




  • 1. North America (Ephedera Sininca (Mormon tea), Pedicularis (Indian Warrior), Mexican Poppy, Peyote)
  • 2. Central and South America (Calea Zacatechichi (Mexican dream herb), Heimia Salicifolia (Sinicuichi), Ayahuasca, Guarana, Mulungu, Peruvian Torch cactus, Salvia divinorum)
  • 3. Africa (Sceletium Tortuosum (kanna), Silene Capensis (xhosa dream root), Leonotis Leonurus (wild dagga), Alepidea Amathimbica (imphepo), ubulawu (african ayahuasca tea)
  • 4. Eurázsia (Lactuca virosa (wild lettuce),Nymphea Caerulea (Blue Lilly), Amanita Muscaria (fly agaric), Psylocibe species, Lagochilus Inebrians, (Turkestan Mint)
  • 5. Australia and Oceania (Kava-kava root, Argyreia Nervosa seeds, kratom tree)
  • 6. Aspects of traditional usage
  • 7. Aspects of modern usage
  • 8. Risk assessments
  • 9. Rite or abuse?
  • 10. Evolutional point of view
  • 11. Internet world trends
  • 12. Therapeutic aspects

Reading material

Obligatory literature


Literature developed by the Department




Recommended literature


Conditions for acceptance of the semester

Maximum of 25 % absence allowed

Mid-term exams

Exam: a short (2-3 pages ) essay about a selected psychoactive plant/theme and related traditional and modern usage.

Making up for missed classes


Exam topics/questions



Instructor / tutor of practices and seminars

  • Dr. Feldmann Ádám