A mythical psychotropic chemical, whose full (mythical) name is Musa Sapientum bananadine. It's said to exist in the peels of bananas, but in very small amounts.

While the widespread knowledge of this drug is largely attributable to urban legend, the initial fabrication of the idea is usually credited to William Powell, who published this bananadine extraction recipe in The Anarchist Cookbook, (often miswritten as, The Anarchist's Cookbook):

  1. Obtain 15 lbs. of ripe yellow bananas.
  2. Peel all 15 lbs. and eat the fruit. Save the peels.
  3. With a sharp knife, scrape off the insides of the peels and save the scraped material.
  4. Put all of the scraped material in a large pot and add water. Boil for three to four hours until it has attained a solid paste consistency.
  5. Spread this paste on cookie sheets, and dry in an oven for about 20 minutes to a half hour.

This will result in a fine black powder. Makes about one pound of bananadine powder. Ususally one will feel the effects of bananadine after smoking three or four cigarettes.

(Full text available here)

The more gullible readers of the Cookbook might not have noticed that the recipe's call to eat fifteen pounds(!) of bananas is just about impossible. Maybe he means that you should eat the fruit over the next few weeks, although it might be kinda gross by then. In any event, and in case I have not yet made it obvious: there is no such thing as bananadine.

Given how popular this recipe has become -- just Google the word "bananadine" and you'll see what I mean -- it's amazing that its proponents have obviously never actually tried it! It calls for quite a bit of work, after all.

Incidentally, Powell has posted a message on Amazon.com's listing for the Cookbook, saying that he regrets ever writing the book, and wants to see it go out of print. He does not own the copyright, though, as he (regrettably) relinquished his ownership of the work to Lyle Stuart, Inc. (the original publishing company) upon the work's publication, and the rights have since been sold to a different company. As far as the copyright owner is concerned -- and for that matter, as far as the public is concerned -- it really doesn't much matter what he thinks. Bananadine now has legs, and it's done walked off to get high.

The moral of the story, kids, is, for Chrissake, don't use drugs!

The concept and recipe for bananadine originally appeared in the March 1967 issue of the Berkeley Barb, a famous underground newspaper published in Berkeley, California. The original article did not hint that it was a hoax, and as this sort of article fit right in with the regular items in the Barb, many believed it to be true, including many students at the University of California.

This caused a minor sensation, with students attempting to make bananadine and, even while failing, trying to raise awareness of this wonderful opportunity to get high. The New York Times quickly took up the story, and reported that "beatniks and students chanted 'banana-banana' at a 'be-in' in Central Park" and paraded around carrying a two-foot wooden banana. This report did more to raise awareness than any be-in could, making it an national headline. The Food and Drug Administration announced that it would be investigating "the possible hallucinogenic effects of banana peels", although researches at New York University beat them to it and later that year announced that banana peels have nothing psychedelic in them. This report was less sensational than the original story, meaning that many people never got the news that banana peels are just as boring as we always suspected.

This did not stop William Powell from including it in The Anarchist Cookbook in 1970, although he must have been aware that it was a hoax. He is also the one who gave it the expanded scientific name, Musa sapientum Bananadine, Musa sapientum being the biological nomenclature for the banana at the time. Presumably, the drug would be called Musa acuminata Bananadine these days.

I can't help but suspect that for a few months in 1967 Bananadine served as an excellent source of plausible deniability for hundreds of drug users -- "no man, I'm high, but it's just banana peels. It's perfectly legal!" Since then it has served as a source of amusement for generations, and no doubt as a source of frustration for many. Surprisingly, the myth that you can smoke banana peels seems to still be believed by many, although tested by few.

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