The Peyote - Lophophora williamsii, is a small, generally spineless cacti that is found primarily in the Chihuahuan desert of Mexico. They grow low to the ground and often form groups with numerous, crowded stems. Its common name comes from the Nahuatl language (known informally as modern Aztec) ' peyƍtl', and is said to mean glisten or glistening.

This particular species of Lophophora is well known for its psychoactive properties alkaloids, particularly mescaline, and has a long history of ritualistic and medicinal use by indigenous Americans going back to at least 5500 years!  Taking peyote is reported to trigger states of deep introspection and insight and are described as producing a metaphysical or spiritual nature. The effects last between 10 to 12 hours.

Some Native American tribes use Peyote for its curative properties, notably for treating such ailments as toothache, pain in childbirth, fever, breast pain, skin diseases, rheumatism, diabetes, colds, and blindness.

The stems contain are generally chewed, or boiled in water to produce a psychoactive tea.

Sadly the stems are extremely slow growing reaching only 2 cm in 4 years in the wild! Cultivated plants will grow perhaps twice as fast but even so will still need to be approximately 10cm wide before they are worth harvesting.

How to prepare Peyote

Remove the stem of the cactus but do not cut  into the root. Firstly the roots do not contain a significant amount of psychoactive material, and by leaving a certain amount of stem the plant is usually able to produce new buds over time.

Remove any spines and wash thoroughly in clean water. Peel back the skin and cut slices around the core, but do not remove the core as this part is discarded. The sections can be chewed, or ground down and added to water