04 Jun FOR U OF M PROF, HALLUCINOGENIC PLANTS OFFER MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE | MINNESOTA PUBLIC RADIO NEWS
By Dan Olson
ST. PAUL, Minn. â€” To the untrained eye, a certain greenhouse of plants at the University of Minnesota’s St. Paul campus may seem like nothing special. But Dennis McKenna, an ethno-pharmacologist, sees much more than that.
Some can cure disease, like the Madagascar periwinkle.
“It is the source of two really important drugs to treat childhood leukemia,” McKenna said.
Other plants in the greenhouse are the source of psychedelic drugs that some scientists say could be therapeutic.
McKenna, who teaches at the university’s Center for Spirituality and Healing, is an authority on hallucinogens derived from plants such as ayahuasca, a tea brewed in South America’s Amazon basin and used as part of religious ceremonies.