This tropical araliaceous plant is said to have been

used as a hallucinogen in Papua New Guinea. The leaves of this plant (possibly Homalomena

belgraveana Sprague) were ingested together with

the bark of Galbulimima belgraveana (F. Muell.)

Sprague332 [sm. Himantandra belgraveana F. Muell.]

and the root of Zingiber zerumbet (1.) Sm. [syn.

Alpinia speciosa] (see Zingiber officinale). This

allegedly produced strong visions followed by

intense dreams (Barrau 1958). Since this plant is

known locally as maraba, the same name given to

Kaempferia galanga and Galbulimima, the botanical

identity of this purported hallucinogen is still

in question. Chemical studies are lacking (Schultes

and Hofmann 1995,45*).

The species Homalomena cordata Schott and

H. versteegii Engler are used in New Guinea for

rain and love magic, respectively (Ott 1993,409*).

Chemical studies of these species are also lacking

(D. McKenna 1995, 101*). The ginger-scented rhizome

of the East Indian species Homalomena aromatica

was once used as an aphrodisiac (Hirschfeld

and Linsert 1930, 180*). In Papua New Guinea, an

ointment is made from the stem of a Homalomena

species known as iva iva together with coconut oil

(cf. Cocos nucifera) (von Reis and Lipp 1982, 10*).

Barrau, Jacques. 1958. Nouvelles observations au

sujet des plantes hallucinogenes d'usage

autochtone en Nouvelle-Guinee. Journal

d'Agriculture Tropicale et de Botanique Appliquee


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