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September 2022

J Ethnopharmacol. 1983 Sep; 8(3): 303-11.

The ethnopharmacology of pituri.

Watson PL, Luanratana O, Griffin WJ.

During the 19th and early part of the 20th century, Australian Aborigines exploited a plant, Duboisia hopwoodii F. Meull. The leaves were cured and packaged in specially woven containers and the finished product, pituri, traded throughout half a million square kilometres of territory. Pituri was used as a stimulant and in larger doses as an analgesic. This anthropological study reports the collection and collation of interpreted historical references to this exploitation of D. hopwoodii. Chemical analysis of samples of D. hopwoodii and in particular of a museum sample of pituri collected from the Mulligan-Georgina Rivers area, an esteemed area for pituri, validate the anthropological hypothesis that the Aborigine had considerable empirical knowledge of nicotine and related alkaloids.

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