Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Naughty Mind-Bending of Morning Glories!

photo by ana traina
The most common Morning glory variety is Heavenly blue, others are Pearly gates, Flying saucers, Wedding bells, Blue star, and Summer skies
The root was used for a tea by Native Americans as a diuretic, laxitive, expectorant and for coughs. A powered tea of the leaves for headaches and indigestion. As far as we know, Morning glory nowadays is not commonly used as a medicine.
The Zapotecs used Ipomoea violacea by grinding the seeds up and wrapping them in a meal cloth. They would then soak it in cold water and find out about the illness of a patient, a troublemaker among the people, or the location of a lost object. Morning glory seeds called tlitlitzin were used ritually by the Aztec for their psychoactive properties. Spanish chroniclers in the mid 16th century reported on the divinatory use of these seeds. Their use has continued in southern Mexico, although it wasn't until about 1900 that tlitlitzin was identified botanically as Morning glory.
The seeds of several varieties of Morning Glory are known to contain a naturally occurring tryptamine called Lysergic Acid Amide (LSA), which is closely related to LSD. Seeds are taken orally, and can be eaten whole or the active alkaloids can be extracted. Like LSD, LSA acts as a "psychedelic" or "hallucinogen" which can have strong mental effect.
WARNING: To discourage morning glory's use as hallucinogenic drugs, some commercial seed producers have started treating seeds with a chemical that will not wash off. This chemical has been known to cause vomiting, nausea and abdominal pain. Also, seeds are also sometimes treated with Methyl mercury to prevent spoilage. These in themselves are poisonous and can cause liver and neurological damage (to the brain and nerves). Nausea is common even with untreated seeds.
THE MORNING-GLORY 
Florence Earle Coates [1850-1927]
Was it worth while to paint so fair
Thy every leaf - to vein with faultless art
Each petal, taking the boon light and air
Of summer so to heart?
To bring thy beauty unto perfect flower,
Then, like a passing fragrance or a smile,
Vanish away, beyond recovery's power -
Was it, frail bloom, worth while?
Thy silence answers: "Life was mine!
And I, who pass without regret or grief,
Have cared the more to make my moment fine,
Because it was so brief.
"In its first radiance I have seen
The sun! - why tarry then till comes the night?
I go my way, content that I have been
Part of the morning light!"