5,000 Tourists a Year Visit North Mexico to Take Hallucinogenic Peyote Cactus
REAL DE CATORCE, Mexico - The consumption of a powerfully-hallucinogenic cactus believed to bring spiritual healing is fast pulling in a following in Mexico where thousands of tourists take part in shamanic rituals every year.
But backpackers looking to 'find themselves' on their travels are being warned of the dangers of taking peyote - which can cause those who consume to go insane.
MailOnline was told of instances where foreigners wanting to be enlightened were taken to hospital, or had to be restrained - with one man allegedly trying to bite off his own arm.
And when MailOnline witnessed a ritual in a Mexican town which has seen the number of 'peyote tourists' double in less than five years, one woman disappeared into the darkness only to be found hugging a tree - then screaming hysterically when she was convinced she had gone blind.
The plant is used by religions such as the Native American Church and Mexican indigenous 'Huicholes' to induce trance-like states, during which they claim participants are enabled to 'see the Gods'. It is believed that Native American tribes have been consuming peyote for more than five thousand years.
Indigenous Huichol shaman Clautini Morales, who goes by the name 'Paritzka' when conducting his ceremonies, says that the plant is often abused by those who come to Mexico seeking to use it as a recreational drug.
'The peyote is a sacred plant', said Morales, who offers ceremonies to tourists. 'It works in your soul, but if you haven't properly prepared to take the drug then it can make you go insane.
Read the rest at MailOnline
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