Peyote is also known as buttons, cactus, Aztec, blue cap, broken, mesc, or dead. It is a small spineless cactus which has been, and still is, used by native tribes in their healing and religious practices. It has been used to treat various ailments such as diabetes, colds, rheumatism, skin diseases, blindness, fever, and tooth ache. This plant is native to the northern parts of Mexico and southwest areas of the United Sates. Its main component is mescaline, a hallucinogen.
The peyote buttons, situated on top of the cacti, are dried and then chewed, made into a liquid, or ground into a powder and used in capsules or smoked. Though it is generally an addictive and illegal drug, the American Indian Religious Freedom Act (AIRFA) allows Native Americans and members of the Native American Church to use peyote for religious and healing purposes. The church members particularly call peyote as “the sacred medicine” as they claim that it helps them connect to God. The side effects include anxiety, tremors, psychosis, hallucinations, vomiting, paranoia, and rapid heartbeat. Also, peyote use may lead to psychotic and suicidal behavior due to the hallucinations.