• Fri. Mar 31st, 2023

Maya Drug Enema Study Receives Ig Nobel History Prize


Sep 20, 2022

Mesoamerican tribes have had a protracted historical past of administering liquids by way of the decrease digestive tract in a process identified at the moment as an enema. Maya drug enemas included psychoactive substances, entheogens (substances with hallucinogenic properties), and alcohol. The Maya drug enema absorption course of signifies that these historic individuals knew all in regards to the decrease digestive tract. As depicted in Maya pottery, the “ritual ecstasy” of drug enemas was extensively practiced.

And now a 1986 examine on this topic has been awarded 2022’s prestigious Ig Nobel historical past prize, which was created to “honor achievements that first make individuals chortle, after which make them assume.”

On this Maya enema beaker, a male priest is administering a drug enema to a recipient simply out of the body on the left aspect of this round vessel within the assortment of the Princeton College Artwork Museum. ( Princeton University Art Museum )

The 1986 Maya Drug Enema Research and Traditional Maya Pottery

Maya drug enemas had been the topic of a landmark 1986 examine entitled A multidisciplinary strategy to the scenes of formality enemas in historic Mayan ceramics , obtainable on Science Direct . The primary of those polychrome pottery jars , dated to the late Traditional Maya interval (600-900 AD), was found in 1977. This era of Maya pottery is related to depictions of palace scenes, ball video games, looking events, dances related to human sacrifice, and drug enemas.

After the preliminary discovery in 1977, a number of different ceramic items depicting scenes of drug enema utilization in ritual and ceremonial settings had been. The 1986 examine concluded that drug enemas had been administered incessantly in Maya societies. The 1986 examine was written by Peter de Smet and Nicholas Hellmuth, who’ve simply obtained 2022’s Ig Nobel historical past prize. Peter de Smet personally tried out these drug enemas on a couple of event.

Their exceptional examine analyzed the iconographic traditions on Maya pottery items depicting the administration of drug enemas, and the linguistic glyphs that appeared in these scenes. This prompted them to compile an inventory of attainable “ethnopharmacological” substances that the Maya could have ingested utilizing enemas, based on a report on Arts Technica .

“This concept is sort of opposite to the normal view that the traditional Maya had been a contemplative individuals, who didn’t take pleasure in ritual ecstasy. The occasional show of vomiting actors would appear to offer a believable cause why the Maya opted for rectal utility. Some scenes current a good quantity of proof that an alcoholic beverage could have been taken rectally,” write de Smet and Hellmuth. In reality, “they gave themselves over to ritual ecstasy.”

Peter de Smet went the additional mile and examined the efficacy of quite a few these substances by self-administering varied drug enemas. “The outcomes actually help the theoretical suggestion that alcohol is absorbed nicely from an enema,” the authors of the examine famous.

The famous Teotihuacan Tepantitla mural, now in the collection of Mexico’s National Museum of Anthropology, depicts two attendants (left and right) offering hallucinogenic plants to a central deity or elite. (Juan Carlos Fonseca Mata / CC BY-SA 4.0)

The well-known Teotihuacan Tepantitla mural, now within the assortment of Mexico’s Nationwide Museum of Anthropology, depicts two attendants (left and proper) providing hallucinogenic crops to a central deity or elite. (Juan Carlos Fonseca Mata / CC BY-SA 4.0 )

Entheogens: A Religious and Cultural Historical past

The consumptions of entheogens within the Americas dates again to the Olmec civilization , the earliest identified Mesoamerican civilization (1500-400 BC), who occupied components of the tropical lowlands of recent day Mexico. Central American ethnopharmacological substances have been documented in Maya spiritual texts just like the Popol Vuh, and within the accounts of Sixteenth-century Spanish invaders and chroniclers.

The administration of entheogens throughout ritual ceremonies most frequently occurred underground, in caves, or sacred entry factors to the underworld. The traditional Maya believed that the usage of these entry factors would intensify their visions. This created a positive environment for contact with the world of spirits.

Mesoamerican myths and religions emphasize the position of the priest or shaman as a mediator between the bodily and the non secular worlds, and this case promoted the usage of entheogens in spiritual ceremonies and prophecy,” the authors wrote of their examine.

Probably the most generally used Maya entheogen was a drink referred to as balché. It was comprised of the bark of the leguminous tree fermented in water with honey. The opposite alcoholic drink generally consumed was chih, made by fermenting the sap of the maguey plant.

The Maya additionally used wild tobacco of their rituals, which they referred to as piziet. Piziet helped within the quest for visions and minimized the ache induced throughout blood sacrifices. The tobacco contained an alkaloid that when chewed, inhaled, or combined with datura leaves created a robust hallucinogenic substance.

Hallucinogenic mushrooms referred to as ok’aizalaj okox had been consumed in ritual ceremonies. The mushrooms had been consumed recent, or as a dry, powdered combination with different entheogenic compounds (like psilocybin and psilocin) and produced highly effective hallucinations. The Heritage Daily reported that the Maya consumed magic mushrooms for human decapitation rituals, in preparation for battle, and in some Mesoamerican ballgames.

Now that the celebrated Ig Nobel Prize has been awarded to the students that pioneered Maya drug enema analysis, we are able to count on extra analysis on this matter and certain various “researchers” giving themselves a number of drug enemas for examine functions!

High picture: Maya pottery present in Guatemala depicting a person making use of a ritual drug enema, from the gathering of the Los Angeles County Museum of Artwork.  Supply: Los Angeles County Museum of Art

By Sahir Pandey

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