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(pāō`tē), spineless cactus (Lophophora williamsii), ingested by indigenous people in Mexico and the United States to produce visions. The plant is native to the SW United States, particularly S Texas, and Mexico, where it grows in dry soil. The plant is light blue-green, bears small pink flowers, and has a carrot-shaped root. The mushroomlike crown, called a peyote, or mescal, button (but unrelated to the liquor mescal), is cut off, and chewed, brewed into a concoction for drinking, or rolled into pellets to be swallowed. The active substance in peyote is mescaline, one of several naturally occurring hallucinogenic drugshallucinogenic drug
, any of a group of substances that alter consciousness; also called psychotomimetic (i.e., mimicking psychosis), mind-expanding, or psychedelic drug.
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. An alkaloid, mescaline tastes bitter, causes an initial feeling of nausea, then produces visions and changes in perception, time sense, and mood. There are no uncomfortable aftereffects, and the drug is not physiologically habit-forming.

Peyote has been used by Native Americans since pre-Columbian times and was regarded as a panacea. It is important in the Native American ChurchNative American Church,
Native American religious group whose beliefs blend fundamentalist Christian elements with pan–Native American moral principles. The movement began among the Kiowa about 1890 and, led by John Wilson (Big Moon), soon spread to other tribes.
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, which fused Christian doctrine with peyote-eating tribal ritual. The use of peyote is said to produce a mental state that allows celebrants to feel closer to their ancestors and their Creator. In 1970, the state of Texas legalized peyote for use by Native Americans in religious ceremonies; a federal law confirming this protection was enacted in 1995. Aside from this use, peyote is a controlled substance, illegal in all 50 states.


See W. La Barre, The Peyote Cult (rev. ed. 1969).

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References in periodicals archive ?
Analyzing her Congressional testimony on peyote and letters from the Uintah Reservation in Utah, meanwhile, do more to explain Bonnin's opposition to the cactus's use than generalized assertions that she was against Native sovereignty.
Melo has refreshed Peyote's menu with dishes inspired by over a decade of cooking across Mexico.
The menu is designed to be shared, and I'd highly recommend doing so as there's a fantastic variety of dishes to be tried here -- and as a bonus, a large proportion of Peyote's dishes are gluten and dairy free.
That evening Richard instructs Jennifer to hide the peyote somewhere because he is afraid of what may happen if it is consumed.
Durante una de estas ceremonias, realizada en Tateikie el ano 2002 al finalizar la temporada de lluvias, Eugenio, un chaman de Tateikita y sus dos ayudantes/aprendices cantaron y escenificaron un vivido viaje a la casa del peyote en Wirikuta.
Inspired by their experience, they wrote a series of essays explaining and defending the consumption of peyote and the practice of peyotism.
It grew out of a decision by the Supreme Court in 1990 that members of the Native American Church could not claim a constitutional right to use peyote, a hallucinogenic drug, during religious rituals.
The 1990 case, argued by Attorney General Dave Frohnmayer, involved two members of the Native American Church who were fired from their jobs as counselors at a drug rehabilitation clinic for using peyote. The Oregon Employment Division refused to approve the men's application for unemployment benefits on grounds that peyote is an illegal drug.
Solid entertainment from beginning to end, "The Divine Cactus Tea Cantina RV-Mare" is comprised of fourteen original short stories, and five 'infotainment supplements (Musical Intro; Peyote; Huichol Indians (Peyote People); Two Spirt Belief System; and Madhouse Perspective).
2) for a pediatrician, using 3-bead peyote stitch--a technique that lends itself ideally to the covering of cylindrical forms such as the stethoscope's rubber piping.