It is said that the Indians of the Ecuadoran

highlands smoke this plant, known as shanin, the

effects of which resemble those of Coriaria

thymifolia. The plant is said to give its user "the

feeling of rising into the air or floating weightlessly

away" (Alvear 1971, 23*; Schultes and Hofmann

1992, 53*). Chemical studies to date have not

detected the presence of any alkaloids (Butler at al.

1981; Ott 1993,417*). It is possible, however, that

new diterpenes may be present, as they have been

found in a relative, Petunia patagonica (Speg.)

Millan (Guerreiro et al. 1984). Ketones have also

been found in the genus (Elliger et al. 1990).

Butler, Edward Grant, Trevor Robinson, and Richard

Evans Schultes. 1981. Petunia violacea: Hallucinogen

or not? Journal ofEthnopharmacology 4

(1): 111-14.

Elliger, Carl A., Anthony C. Waiss Jr., Marby Benson,

and Rosalind Y. Wong. 1990. Ergostanoids from

Petunia parodii. Phytochemistry 29 (9): 2853-63.

Guerreiro, Eduardo, J. de Fernandez, and O. S.

Giordano. 1984. Beyerene derivatives and other

constituents from Petunia patagonica.

Phytochemistry 23 (12): 2871-73.

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