Botanical Name: Banisteriopsis caapi
Species: B. caapi
Common Names: Ayahuasca, Jagube, Caapi or Yagé
Habitat: Banisteriopsis caapi is native to Northern and western S. America – Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia. Ecuador, Venezuela.It grows in the Rainforest.
Banisteriopsis caapi is an evergreen Climber growing to 30 m (98ft) by 1 m (3ft 3in).It is a giant vine with characteristic 12–14 mm (0.5–0.6 in) white or pale pink flowers which most commonly appear in January, but are known to bloom infrequently. It resembles Banisteriopsis membranifolia and Banisteriopsis muricata, both of which are related to caapi.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid and neutral soils and can grow in very acid soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.
The bark, leaves and twigs are the source of a beverage that is hallucinogenic. Commonly used in the Amazonian rainforest, it is used shamanically as a tool to contact the spirits and bring healing, and is also used recreationally. The shoots, roots and leaves, sometimes as an admixture with other species, are used by Indians for the preparation of a hallucinogenic beverage, used for special ceremonies or the roots and stems are chewed for this purpose. The dried leaves are also smoked. In addition to its use as an hallucinogenic, the plant is also emetic and purgative. At low doses it is used as a mild detoxifier. The plant contains an alkaloid, known variously as ‘telepathin’, yagein’ or ‘banisterine’, which has a strongly stimulatory action on the nervous system. The bark contains beta-carboline alkaloids, including harmine, harmaline and delta-tetrahycroharmine. These alkaloids stimulate hallucinations.
For generations, shamans of indigenous tribes throughout the Amazon Basin have processed the bark of Banisteriopsis caapi to produce a ceremonial drink called “ayahuasca.” The shamans use ayahuasca or “vine of the soul” in religious and healing ceremonies to diagnose and treat illnesses, meet with spirits, and divine ..
Known Hazards: Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested
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