This week, I am working on an ethnobotanical herb review…
Common Names: Yopo, Hisiomi, Cohoba, Angico Rosa, Parico, Niopo
Scientific Name: Anadenanthera peregrina
Family: Leguminosae – mimosoideae (part of the mimosa family)
Parts Used: Seeds
Harvesting: Tree native to South America (specifically Brazil, Columbia and Venezuela). Needs full sunlight and well-drained soil. Not frost resistant. Large tree with rough grey/brown lumps or warts on the bark. Seeds are taken from the ripe seedpods.
Constituents/Nutrition: The main constituents that have been isolated are the hallucinogenic alkaloids: -5MeO-DMT, Bufoteine, and DMT (di-methyltryptamine)
Properties/Actions/Ethnobotanical History: This plant has been used for its psychoactive effects for ~4500 years! The seeds are made into a snuff and the inhaled. Some tribes grind the seed into a powder, while some moisten it and make it into a paste. Some even smoke the seed. Once it is processed it is then either blown into each nostril through a long pipe (usually made of bamboo) or sniffed through a forked tube (a reed or bird bone). Although there is also evidence that the powder has been put into eyes, ears, or used as an enema.
The plant is used to induce altered states. Some tribes consider the seeds to be a door that allows access to the place where learning can occur. It is thought that there is a being at the door that, once you inhale the snuff, acts as an intermediary between you and the other world. It is used to talk to the spirits, for spiritual healing, and vision questing. Many chiefs will use Yopo when attending meetings that are of great importance.
The seeds can be used by alone, but often tribesmen will add other thing to the powder to intensify and/or lengthen the effects (snail shells, ash, other plants).
The effects of inhaling Yopo come in two stages. First it is stimulating – excitement, hallucination, and delirium sometimes accompanied by violent vomiting. Second there is sleepiness, drunkenness and deep hypnosis.
This site has a great description as well as a nice picture.
Anadenanthera Peregrina (Yopo) seeds. Retrieved on December 15, 2005 from
Anadenanthera peregrina. Retrieved on December 15, 2005 from
Anadenanthera – Yopo, Cebil, Villca. Retrieved on December 15, 2005 from
Native hallucinogenic drugs piptadenias (Anadenanthera). Retrieved on December 15, 2005 from
Economic Botany Collections. Retrieved on December 15, 2005 from
Yopo From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved on December 15, 2005 from
Anadenanthera spp. – Villca & Yopo. Retrieved on December 15, 2005 from