Devil's Root, Dumpling Cactus, Lophophora williamsii, Magic Mushrooms, Mescal Buttons, Mescaline, Pellote, Peyotl, Sacred Mushroom.


Overview Information

Peyote is a small cactus. Parts of the cactus crown may be chewed or soaked in water to make a tea. In the US, it is illegal to possess peyote. However, peyote can be used in religious ceremonies of the Native American Church.

People use peyote to cause hallucinations, and for conditions such as fevers, wounds, and joint pain, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses. Using peyote can also be unsafe.

How does it work?

Peyote contains a chemical called mescaline, which causes hallucinations.


Uses & Effectiveness?

Insufficient Evidence for

  • Fever.
  • Joint pain (rheumatism).
  • Bone fractures.
  • Wounds.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of peyote for these uses.

Side Effects

Side Effects & Safety

When taken by mouth: Peyote is UNSAFE for use. It can cause nausea and vomiting, anxiety, paranoia, fear, and emotional instability. It can also raise blood pressure, heart rate, and respiration rate. Changes in vision, drooling, headache, dizziness, and drowsiness may also occur. Although it is rarely fatal, peyote can cause homicidal, psychotic, or suicidal behavior related to the hallucinations.

When applied to the skin: There isn't enough reliable information to know if peyote is safe or what the side effects might be.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: It is UNSAFE to use peyote if you are pregnant. The mescaline in peyote can cause birth defects.

Surgery: Peyote acts like a stimulant. Doctors worry that it might interfere with surgery by increasing heart rate and blood pressure. Stop taking peyote at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.



Major Interaction

Do not take this combination

  • Stimulant drugs interacts with PEYOTE

    Stimulant drugs speed up the nervous system. By speeding up the nervous system, stimulant medications can make you feel jittery and speed up your heartbeat. Peyote might also speed up the nervous system. Taking peyote along with stimulant drugs might cause serious problems including increased heart rate and high blood pressure. Avoid taking stimulant drugs along with peyote.
    Some stimulant drugs include diethylpropion (Tenuate), epinephrine, phentermine (Ionamin), pseudoephedrine (Sudafed), and many others.



The appropriate dose of peyote depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for peyote. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

View References


  • Calabrese, J. D. Spiritual healing and human development in the Native American church: toward a cultural psychiatry of peyote. Psychoanal.Rev. 1997;84(2):237-255. View abstract.
  • Carstairs SD, Cantrell FL. Peyote and mescaline exposures: a 12-year review of a statewide poison center database. Clin Toxicol (Phila). 2010;48(4):350-3. View abstract.
  • Drug Enforcement Agency. Peyote and mescaline. (Accessed 14 March 2004).
  • Franco-Molina, M., Gomez-Flores, R., Tamez-Guerra, P., Tamez-Guerra, R., Castillo-Leon, L., and Rodriguez-Padilla, C. In vitro immunopotentiating properties and tumour cell toxicity induced by Lophophora williamsii (peyote) cactus methanolic extract. Phytother.Res. 2003;17(9):1076-1081. View abstract.
  • Gilmore HT. Petoye use during pregnancy. S D J Med 2001;54:27-9. View abstract.
  • Henry, J. L., Epley, J., and Rohrig, T. P. The analysis and distribution of mescaline in postmortem tissues. J Anal.Toxicol 2003;27(6):381-382. View abstract.
  • Huttlinger, K. W. and Tanner, D. The Peyote way: implications for Culture Care theory. J.Transcult.Nurs. 1994;5(2):5-11. View abstract.
  • Lu, B. Y., Woofter, C., and Escalona, R. A case of prolonged peyote-induced psychosis resolved by sleep. J.Clin.Psychiatry 2004;65(10):1433-1434. View abstract.
  • Nolte, K. B. and Zumwalt, R. E. Fatal peyote ingestion associated with Mallory-Weiss lacerations. West J.Med. 1999;170(6):328. View abstract.
  • Pelner, L. Peyote cult, mescaline hallucinations, and model psychosis. N.Y.State J.Med. 11-1-1967;67(21):2838-2843. View abstract.
  • US Department of Justice. Drug Enforcement Administration. Diversion Control Division. Accessed July 5, 2019.

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CONDITIONS OF USE AND IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.

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