GKD

The Bagadong tribe of New Guinea make a drug called gai kau dong (‘The Way Home’) from the fermented leaves of the kwina plant. After encountering the tribe and learning of the drug during World War Two, Dr Bunny Winton brought samples back to America. Later, it was used as the basis of an antidepressent by Winton and her colleague, Dr Will Friedrich, in their researches at Yale University in 1951.

After fermentation, the drug exists dissolved in the alchohol also produced by the fermentation process. After distilling, the GKD takes the form of chartreuse coloured crystals, which were then diluted in a solution of distilled water to produce the end drug.

Although the drug was effective in combatting depression, it had two major problems: the positive emotions it unlocked verged on megalomania and tended to erode the morality of the user; and withdrawal from the drug tends to leave users in a deeper and more paranoid state of depression than they were before taking it. As a result of these problems, it never progressed beyond the test stage in the United States, although presumably it is still used in the traditional manner by the Bagadong.