Synonyms

Quamoclidion multiflorum Torr.; cf. Schultes

and Farnsworth 1982, 189*]

The so-called Hopi hallucinogen belongs to the

four-o' clocks, those amazing flowers whose blossoms

always close at the same time each late

afternoon. Known as so:'ksi or so'kya, the plant

produces red flowers and a long, deeply penetrating

root. Hopi medicine men chewed the root

or drank the juice pressed from it in order to

obtain diagnostic visions (Whiting 1939, 75).

Twenty-eight to 57 g of the root is said to result in

a "half-hour of gaiety:' The Zuni Indians bake a

bread using flour made from the root and,

interestingly, use the bread as an appetite suppressant

(Moerman 1986, 293*). The active

principles are unknown (Ott 1993, 413*). The

botanical name Mirabilis nyctaginea is also

sometimes applied to this questionable hallucinogen

(Moerman 1982,81 f.*).

On the basis of this information from the older

ethnographic literature and the superficial

similarities between this genus and the

nightshades, many closet shamans believe that

another four-o'clock, Mirabilis jalapa 1., is also

psychoactive. The seeds of this plant, which is now

cultivated throughout the world as an ornamental,

are used ethnomedicinally as an antibacterial and

anti-inflammatory agent (Kusamba et al. 1991). It

is unknown whether the tuberous root has psychoactive effects. The Pima Indians of

northern Mexico use the leaves to brew a tonic for

the elderly (Pennington 1973,221*).
Literature

Kusamba, Chifundera, Kizungu Byamana, and Wa

Mpoyi Mbuyi. 1991. Antibacterial activity of

Mirabilis jalapa seed powder. Journal of

Ethnopharmacology 35:197-99.

Whiting, Alfred F. 1939. Ethnobotany ofthe Hopi.

Museum of Northern Arizona Bulletin no. 15.

Flagstaff.: Northern Arizona Society of Science

and Art.

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