Over at pop archaeology site Ancient Origins, Danny Nemu considers the psychoactive plants referenced in the Bible:
The Odyssey and the Vedas include verses still recited today that describe psychoactive plants and their effects, but the most impressive stash is in the Bible:
Thy plants are an orchard of Pomegranates, with fresh and pleasant things; Henna, with Spikenard. Spikenard and Saffron; Kaneh-bosem and Cinnamon, all trees of Frankincense; Myrrh and Agarwood, with all the chief spices.
Of the 'chief spices' (literally 'head spices') listed in this paradisiacal garden from the Songs of Solomon, eight are identified and seven of them are known to tweak the brain. Both of the resinous gifts of the Magi, for example, are classed as tranquillizers today, though the label doesn't do them justice. Myrrh targets mu- and delta-opioid receptors (like opium), and frankincense contains dehydroabietic acid which works on GABA receptors (like Valium)…
In Islamic jurisprudence, saffron is classed as one of the permissible "drugs that cause joy". It contains the GABA agonist safranal, as well as safrole which is used in the manufacture of MDMA
"Getting High with the Most High: Drugs in the Bible" (Ancient Origins)
Image: "Delicate saffron threads, plucked from crocus flowers and dried" by Huberti