Other Names

Iu, khamr (Arabic, "inebriating"), oinos, sdh, vin,

vinho, vino, wein

The term wine is generally used to refer to alcoholic

products that through the action of yeast are

fermented from undiluted fruit juices or, less

frequently, bleeding sap (palm wine). The alcohol

content is between 8 and 14% by volume and is

thus significantly higher than in other fermented

drinks (balche', beer, chicha). The term wine is

often construed as the product made from pressed

grapes (Vitis vinifera) , while the products fermented

from garden or wild fruit juices are usually

referred to by the name fruit wines. Wines can also

be distilled, thereby yielding a corresponding

variety of spirits (cf. alcohol). Winemaking was

invented in many places around the world. All

wines are well suited for use as solvents for other

psychoactive ingredients.

It is possible that the Egyptians knew of a

winelike drink containing mandrake that was called

sdh (cf. Mandragora officinarum). Apparendy, vintners

produced it not from grapes (Vitis vinifera)

but from pomegranate juice (Punicagranatum L.).

The texts describe the sdh drink as more inebriating

than wine. It was praised in love songs as an

aphrodisiac and was a popular libation (Cranach

1981,266*). Many Egyptian drinking vessels were

patterned after the lotus flower. In the pyramid

texts, the lotus is mentioned together with the sdh

drink. The two most important symbolic plants

in Egyptian art and iconography are the lotus

(Nymphaea caerulea, Nymphaea lotus) and the

mandrake. In order to maintain the harmonic

balance between the symbolic pair of lotus and

mandrake, any drink that contained mandrake

would theoretically need to be consumed from a

lotus-shaped vessel.

In Scandinavia, bilberries (Empetrum nigrum

1., Vaccinium uliginosum) were used to make inebriating

wines. In northern Eurasia, birch sap (the

bleeding sap that is produced when the bark is

injured, usually from Betula alba 1.) was fermented

to produce alcoholic beverages (Hartwich 1911,

764 ff. *).

The stems of various rhubarb species can also

be pressed to make wine. In fact, it has been

speculated that soma was a kind of rhubarb wine.

Often, pressed fruit juices (e.g., from Berberis

vulgaris 1.) were mixed with honey to produce

wines with a higher alcohol content. Honey was

added to quince juice (Cydonia vulgaris L.; cf.

Erythroxylum coca) in ancient times (Hartwich

1911, 760*).

In England, many people make fruit wine at

home. Although wild fruits are preferred, almost any kind of fruit can be used for this purpose. A

"counterculture" psychedelic wine is made from

the fresh-pressed juice of forest berries (e.g.,

blackberries) and Psilocybe semilanceata.

In Chihuahua (Mexico), wines are made from

the fruits of various yucca species (Havard 1896,

37*). Mexican Indians also ferment the juice of the

fruits of Opuntia tuna Mill. and Opuntia ficusindica

Haw. to produce a pink-colored wine known

as colonche, the taste of which is similar to that of

cider or apple wine (Havard 1986,36 f.*). Because

mescaline is present in Opuntia, it is possible that

wines fermented from these fruits contain traces of

the alkaloid. Pineapple juice (Ananas comosus [1.]

Merr., Ananas nanus (L.B. Sm.] L.B. Sm.) can be

made into a wine that is called matzaoctli in

Nahuatl; it is produced and consumed primarily in

Mazatlan, the "land of pineapples" (Bruman 1940,


In South America, a so-called vino de cebil ("cebil

wine") with presumably psychedelic activity was or

is brewed from the seeds/fruits of Anadenanthera

colubrina var. cebil. Unfortunately, no recipes are

known. In Chile, the Indians used maqui fruits

(Aristotelia maqui I'Herit.) to prepare a "pleasanttasting

wine" called tecu (Hartwich 1911, 762*).

Wine is pressed from many different palm

fruits, for example, from the fruits of the betel nut

palm (Areca catechu) and the fruits of the saw

palmetto (Serenoa repens [Bartr.] Small [syn. Sabal

serrulata Michx., Serenoa serrulata (Michx.)

Nichols.]; cf. palm wine). Saw palmetto wine has

aphrodisiac effects in addition to the inebriating

effects of alcohol. In phytotherapy and homeopathy,

saw palmetto fruits are considered to be

aphrodisiacs (cf. Turnera diffusa). They also have

beneficial effects on benign prostate hyperplasia

(Metzker et al. 1996).

The Australian Aborigines make fruit wines

from Pandanus spiralis R. Br. (cf. Pandanus spp.),

Banksia species, Hakea species, and a Xanthorrhoea

species that are known respectively as pandanus

wine, banksia wine, hakea wine, and grass tree

wine (Bock 1994, 147*). The banksia wine is

actually a kind of beer (Low 1990, 189*). The sap

of Eucalyptus gunnii (cider gum), which collects in hollows of the trunk when the tree is injured,

ferments more or less on its own, yielding a

potently inebriating wine (Low 1990, 189*).

See also the entries for Vitis vinifera and palm wine.

Feest, Christian F. 1983. New wines and beers of

Native North America. Journal of

Ethnopharmacology 9:329-35.

Lorey, Elmar M. 1997. Die Wein-Apotheke. 2nd.,

suppl. ed. Bern, Stuttgart: Hallwag.

Metzker, H., M. Kieser, and U. Holscher. 1996.

Wirksamkeit eines Sabal-UrticaKombinationspraparats

bei der Behandlung der

benignen Prostatahyperplasie (BPH). Der Urologe

B 36:292-300.

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