|In West Africa, this treelike curcubit is known as
pebe. Its seeds are reputedly used to establish
contact with the water spirits (mamiwata).
Apparently they are ingested and also smeared on
the arms. The seeds are used by the Pygmies as a
stimulant and to treat headaches. With a scent
reminiscent of that of nutmeg, they are also used as a substitute for the true nutmeg (Myristica
fragrans) , which may also represent a pebe for
contacting the water spirits (Wagner 1991; cf. also
Ott 1993, 413 f.*). The seeds contain an essential
oil in which myristicin or safrole may be present;
this would make them a useful psychoactive substance.
African slaves introduced the plant into the
Caribbean, where the seeds are used as a spice
Another curcubit species (Echinocystis Iobata
Torr. et Gray) is rumored to be psychoactive or
even hallucinogenic (Schultes and Farnsworth1982, 188*; Schultes and Hofmann 1980,367*).
Wagner, Johanna. 1991. Das "dawa" der mamiwata
(Ein moglicherweise pharmakologischer Aspekt
des westafrikanischen Glaubens an Wassergeister.)Integration 1:61-63.