Kew Gardens opens drugs festival with chance to try 'mind-altering' plants

Visitors will sign medical disclaimer before sampling tasters of mind-altering drugs used through history

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The Independent Online

Kew Gardens are giving visitors the opportunity to sample mind-altering plants as part of a new season focusing on intoxication and drugs.

The Plant Connoissuers’ Club, a workshop which will be run by what Kew Garden calls architectural foodsmiths Bombas & Parr, will give visitors the “opportunity to try an unusual plant”. The workshops will run from September 20 to October 13.

Visitors taking part in the workshop will be required to sign a disclaimer confirming that they have read and understood the medical guidelines associated with the tester.

“Adventurous types can also seek spiritual enlightenment with our Grand Master host, by directly sampling a small amount of one of four plant-products that are widely consumed on a global basis, but which we’re less familiar with in the UK,” Bombas & Parr said. “Betel nut, kola nut, raw guarana and blue lotus tea are all variously attributed certain psychoactive, mind-altering properties and have been consumed for centuries as far afield as Ancient Egypt and the jungles of South America.”

The workshop will also explore the history and cultural significance of mind-altering plants, in keeping with the theme of Kew Gardens’ Intoxication Season.

The season will also feature explorations of plants roles as intoxicants and medicines, including lectures by scientists and exhibitions of fungus and plants such as cannabis.