A plant with narcotic properties, with which J. B. Van Helmont
(15771644) experimented. He stated that, having on
one occasion roughly prepared the root, he tasted it with his
tongue, and in a very short time found that his center of
thought and intellect was situated in the pit of his stomach. An
unusual clarity and distinctness of thought rendered the experience
a pleasant one, and he sought on future occasions to repeat
it by the same means, but without success. After about two
hours he felt a slight dizziness and thereupon thought in the
normal fashion with his brain. But throughout the strange experience
he claimed that he was conscious that his soul still remained
in the brain as a governing power.
The plant with which Van Helmont experimented was Aconitum
napellus, or monkshood, a species of poisonous aconite.
(See also drugs; seeing with the stomach)