Cannabis is in good company: these herbs can also inspire euphoria
Flowers, fungi, and trees can be beautiful, and many are useful too. Some herbs deter pests, and the root systems of certain flowers can pull toxins from the soil. The world’s flora has a symbiotic relationship with all other organic beings–including humans. Humans have spent centuries locating, identifying, and learning about the many uses of plants.
From medicine to cleaning, herbs, flowers, and other greenery have been cultivated for specialized uses for centuries. There are certain herbs that are coveted for one thing: euphoria.
Euphoric herbs are often smoked, ingested, or even chewed on to initiate great happiness and excitement. Some go to the apothecary for preparations, while others opt for a specialty mocktail experience. These plants are sought out for therapeutic and recreational purposes.
What is euphoria?
The mood is one thing that marks many ailments. Someone who doesn’t feel well can often be irritable, sad, or frustrated. That might be why the root of the word, the Greek word euphoros, means “healthy.”
A dictionary from the early 18th century regards it as a medical term, defining euphoria as: “the well-bearing of the Operation of a Medicine; that is, when the Sick Person finds himself eas’d or reliev’d by it.”
Over time, the medical meaning of the term took on new meaning. Doctors still speak of euphoria, but often in reference to recreational drug use. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t therapeutic value to these plants but that more research is required to understand their use, efficacy, and safety.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common euphoric herbs around the world.
There’s no way this list would exclude cannabis, one of the most stigmatized plants on the list. Cannabis comes in abounding varieties that can all promote varying effects. On top of that, every person has a unique endocannabinoid system that individualizes the potential effects further. That said, many cannabis strains can set off a bout of euphoria.
With more access to legal cannabis around the U.S., products formulated for a joyous experience are easy to find. Those in medical or adult-use states should ask their budtender for the most euphoric cannabis products, and they’ll surely have some recommendations.
The stunning Blue Lotus flower is more than just a burst of color in the garden. It may have been cultivated for its hallucinogenic properties for centuries. Rituals with blue lotus are painted on the walls of ancient Egyptian tombs with telling found in papyrus scrolls.
Now, psychonauts make high-dose teas and smoking blends with the flower to incite euphoria and sometimes even hallucinations. These effects are due to two naturally occurring aporphine alkaloids in the plant, apomorphine and nuciferine. The euphoric experience caused by consuming blue lotus flowers is light and airy with a side of calm.
There could be risks to taking blue lotus including increased heart rate. Even so, this flower has been used for generations for its hallucinogenic properties, just be sure to approach it in good heart health.
Hawaiian baby woodrose
Elephant creeper, Hawaiian baby woodrose, Argyreia nervosa—this is a plant of many names. Native to India, the euphoric herb has also been introduced to Hawaii, Africa, and the Caribbean. It is said that ingesting this plant can increase serotonin in the brain, creating good vibes all around.
More specifically, the seeds are used as legal psychedelics, and they happen to be widely available. The plant contains ergot alkaloids containing lysergic acid amide (LSA). LSA is structurally similar to lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD).
The similarity doesn’t stop there; the seeds of Hawaiian baby woodrose may induce hallucinations and experiences that are similar to dropping acid.
But be warned that it’s not all fun and games with this euphoric herb. The Netherlands Public Health Department warned citizens when more people started ingesting the legal psychedelic.
The report shared that hallucinogenic effects were just one piece of the puzzle, people may also feel fatigue and lethargy. It can also cause an increased heart rate and elevated blood pressure. Though this isn’t always the case, it’s wise to proceed with caution.
Kratom is sourced from a tropical tree native to Southeast Asia. Its leaves are often used to prepare products sold in the U.S. Mitragyna speciosa (aka the kratom tree) is a cousin of coffee.
People grind up and ingest kratom leaves or make tea from them for a perceived decrease in pain and an increase in pleasure. These effects are caused by two compounds found in the leaves: mitragynine and 7-hydroxy mitragynine. The compounds interact with opioid receptors, making Kratom a popular choice for people kicking opioids.
A number of states have banned or made laws against Kratom consumption, and a few cities too. However, advocates have been fighting on behalf of the euphoric herb. The Kratom Consumer Protection Act (KCPA) allows regulators to set public safety rules, and protects access to the euphoric pain-relieving stimulant.
There are some documented risks to consuming kratom, including dependency and toxicity. Since the compound isn’t regulated by the FDA, there are concerns about quality and contamination. Consume with care.
Many may know this herb as the main constituent in absinthe and vermouth. The hallucinogenic alcoholic beverage was first popularized during the latter years of the 18th century. But Wormwood hasn’t only been used recreationally.
There is historical evidence that the herb has antioxidant, antifungal, antimicrobial, anthelmintic, anti-ulcer, anticarcinogenic, hepatoprotective, neuroprotective, antidepressant, analgesic, immunomodulatory, and cytotoxic activity. On the flip side, wormwood can incite sleeplessness and convulsions alongside possible euphoric hallucinations.
Absinthe is easily made at home, but as with all alcoholic beverages, drink mindfully and in moderation.
This special euphoric herb is also called a plant aphrodisiac, helping with sexual function and satisfaction. Effects of damiana are considered euphoric. It’s been used as an herbal supplement for depression for generations. Though far-reaching, this research is anecdotal and has yet to solidify.
Damiana can be smoked by itself or in a blend. Many like to smoke damiana with ground cannabis flowers. The flowering plant is also made into tea and complements the flavor of other good tea herbs like mint and lavender.
In South Africa, channa is a traditional medicinal plant used for various reasons–one of which is to improve mood. Channa goes by many names including sceletium, kanna, and kougoed.
Preparation of the root is chewed to release its properties, which is where the name kougoed comes from. In Afrikaans, kou translates to “to chew,” and goed translates to “stuff.” So kougoed literally means “to chew stuff.” Indigenous healers also prepare tea out of the plant.
Interest in channa continues to grow as the answer to depression and anxiety. This has led to more research on the dosage, safety, and efficacy of the herb. Some experience headaches, loss of appetite, or depression following the consumption of the herb.
Cannabis isn’t the only herb that alters the mind, and there’s a bouquet of options when selecting euphoric herbs. All plants on this list may provide an altered experience when prepared correctly, just be sure to take any medications or preexisting conditions into account before exploring.