bananadine by slug signorino

mellow yellow

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 1967 in the ‘Berkeley Barb,’ an underground newspaper. 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?’

Researchers at New York University have found that banana peel contains no intoxicating chemicals, and that smoking it produces only a placebo effect. Over the years, there has been considerable speculation regarding the psychoactive properties of banana skins. 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.


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