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Bananadine is a fictional psychoactive substance which is supposedly extracted from banana peels. A hoax recipe for its "extraction" from banana peel was originally published in the Berkeley Barb in March 1967.[1] It became more widely known when William Powell, believing it to be true, reproduced the method in The Anarchist Cookbook in 1970 under the name "Musa sapientum Bananadine" (referring to the banana's old binomial nomenclature). The original hoax was designed to raise questions about the ethics of making psychoactive drugs illegal and prosecuting those who took them: "what if the common banana contained psychoactive properties, how would the government react?"[2] One book of one-liner joke comics, published in 1971, contained a comic in which a teen is secretly handing bunches of bananas to a zoo gorilla at night, uttering the line "Just throw the skins back, man!"[3]

Researchers at New York University have found that banana peel contains no intoxicating chemicals, and that smoking it produces only a placebo effect.

Donovan's hit single "Mellow Yellow" was released a few months prior to the Berkeley Barb article, and in the popular culture of the era, the song was assumed to be about smoking banana peels. Shortly after the "Berkeley Barb" and the song, bananadine was featured in the New York Times.[4][5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Cecil Adams, Will smoking banana peels get you high? The Straight Dope, April 26, 2002
  2. ^ Jay Stevens, "Storming Heaven: LSD and the American Dream"
  3. ^ Phil Hirsch, ed. (April 1971). The Age of Hilarious. New York: Pyramid Books. 
  4. ^ New York Times, March 26, 1967, according to Cecil Adams, The Straight Dope, April 26, 2002
  5. ^ Louria, Donald (1967), "Cool Talk About Hot Drugs," The New York Times Magazine, August 6, 1967 p. 188

External links[edit]

  • Article featuring a fake Bananadine recipe