Alicia anisopetala, Calea zacatechichi, Desfontainia spinosa, Heimia myrtifolia, Heimia salicifolia, Mimosa tenuiflora, Tabernaemontana undulata
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Alicia anisopetala, Calea zacatechichi, Desfontainia spinosa, Heimia myrtifolia, Heimia salicifolia, Mimosa tenuiflora, Tabernaemontana undulata

Alicia anisopetala, Calea zacatechichi, Desfontainia spinosa, Heimia myrtifolia, Heimia salicifolia, Mimosa tenuiflora, Tabernaemontana undulata As Glenn H. Shepard, Jr. has written, “though a fair amount is now known about how psychoactive plants and compounds produce their peculiar effects on the human mind, it is still largely a mystery as to why certain plants produce such…

Latua pubiflora
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Latua pubiflora

Latua pubiflora Olivos Herreros calls Latúe, perhaps the rarest of all psychoactive plants, “the classic hallucinogen of Mapuche ethnology.” One researcher translated the name of the plant as “Land of the Dead”, perhaps in reference to the isolated region on the mountainous coast of southern Chile (from Valdivia to Chiloé), which is its sole habitat…

Drimys andina
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Drimys andina

Drimys andina One of the last plants we were able to image, Drimys andina (with thanks to Sacred Succulents in California), enabled us to extend the geographical representation of sacred plants in our project much further south into the immense forests that are the Mapuche ancestral lands on both sides of the cordillera of the…

Leonotis nepetifolia
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Leonotis nepetifolia

Leonotis nepetifolia Leonotis nepetifolia, although originally from Africa, where its common name is Klipp Dagga, has been naturalized and can be found throughout the Caribbean and the Americas as well as the Indian subcontinent, where there are more than a dozen common names corresponding to the linguistic diversity of this region, including Lion’s Ear. Sometimes…

Ullucus tuberosus (aborigineus)
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Ullucus tuberosus (aborigineus)

Ullucus tuberosus (aborigineus) The Peruvian historian María Rostworowski de Diez Canseco explains and recounts a mythic narrative related to Andean food plants, including, of course, the potato, which was domesticated in Peru 7000 years ago: “The feminine and divine element represents the fruitful and prolific mother; not in vain was the earth called Pachamama (mother…

Trichocereus pachanoi (Echinopsis pachanoi)
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Trichocereus pachanoi (Echinopsis pachanoi)

Trichocereus pachanoi (Echinopsis pachanoi) Perhaps the most compelling new research on the ritual use of Wachuma, the San Pedro cactus, is by Argentine Leonardo Feldman.  He points out that San Pedro is one of the plants of power that is best represented in pre-Incan iconography, appearing in the art of a variety of Indigenous cultures…

Paullinia cupana
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Paullinia cupana

Paullinia cupana This plant, whose common name is Guaraná, is held sacred by the Sateré Maué tribe in the Brazilian Amazon and has been cultivated by them for hundreds of years. Containing more caffeine than any plant in the world (2-5 times as much as coffee), Guaraná was traditionally their revered source for boosting energy…

Banisteriopsis caapi, Psychotria spp. and Diplopterys cabrerana (see also Yagé Complex below)
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Banisteriopsis caapi, Psychotria spp. and Diplopterys cabrerana (see also Yagé Complex below)

Banisteriopsis caapi, Psychotria spp. and Diplopterys cabrerana (see also Yagé Complex below) These three plants are the ones most commonly used to create a visionary drink used by numerous Indigenous groups from the Amazon basin.  When B. caapi is prepared with D. cabrerana, the drink is known as yagé (also spelled yajé).  When the crushed…

Justicia pectoralis var. Stenophylla
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Justicia pectoralis var. Stenophylla

Justicia pectoralis var. Stenophylla The Yanomami use the shade-dried leaves of Justicia pectoralis var. Stenophylla as an additive to psychoactive Virola snuffs. The microcosmic world revealed by this unassuming plant that grows throughout the Caribbean and Central and South America with a wide variety of common names is shockingly complex and beautiful. It has a plethora of…

Virola theiodora
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Virola theiodora

Virola theiodora Indigenous healer and spokesperson Davi Kopenawa collaborated for decades with French anthropologist Bruce Albert to produce The Falling Sky: Words of a Yanomami Shaman, an amazing and inspiring life story that Albert calls a “cosmoecological prophecy about the death of shamans and the end of humanity.” The book recounts, in excruciating detail, the…

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