Psychotria Viridis is known by different names in various locations like Reinha, Folha, Chacrona, America panga, Aurucapanga (Ecuador), Chacruna (Peru) and more.
Native to the Amazon Lowlands, it is a plant belonging to the coffee family. The term Chacruna in the Quechua languages is a verb that means ‘to mix’.
These plants are often found in Colombia, Bolivia, and also in some regions of Brazil and the North of Amazon. Although it is at times used to treat headaches and migraines, it is also used by people for its hallucination inducing effects.
This perennial, shrubby flowering plant is a member of the coffee family Rubiaceae. This plant contains DMT, which is a psychedelic hallucinogen.
It’s not common to see a plant’s botanical name give us a glimpse of the effect it has but that is different for Psychotria Viridis. Psychotria literally means “to influence the psych.”
Nature of the Plant
Psychotria Viridis is an evergreen shrub that can be grown into a small tree with the help of a woody trunk. They usually have a height of 2-3 meters.
These plants have long whorled, narrow leaves, and their shades range from light to dark green and a shiny top. The flowers have greenish-white petals on the long stalks of the plants.
The fruit that this plant bears is a red berry that contains various small oval seeds.
Growing Psychotria Viridis is a challenge. It is quite difficult to propagate them from seeds and they may need up to 60 days to germinate but this all depends on your luck. At times, you may plant 100 seeds but only one may germinate.
Thus, the results are more successful when you cultivate from cuttings. Planting a small branch into the ground and regularly watering it has proven to be successful even with pieces of branch that have only two leaves.
Originating from Central and South America, this is often used in various medicinal treatments by locals. The chemicals that are found in these leaves are termed as controlled substances by the laws of the United States and numerous countries of Europe.
Thus, you could go to jail for the illegal use of this plant if you don’t have a prescription from the doctor.
Indigenous people of Colombia, the Cofán Indians, call this plant oprito. Oporto correlates to the term ‘heavenly people.’
They use this as an additive. Thus, when people infuse this mixture of oprito into their tea, it lets them ‘see’ heavenly people.
Chacruna is used for many purposes. There have been instances of Shamams drinking this concoction to induce out of body experiences.
It is said that the ayahuasca vines provide the power and chacruna provides light or vision, and when mixed together they create a psychoactive potion. A daime is prepared for ceremonious purposes for over a week and is drunk at a festival called feitio.
The vine is further cleaned and pounded continuously by 12 men who represent the 12 apostles. They are pounded until the vines are turned into thin threads. The women clean and sort out fresh leaves as they work on this.
These ingredients are alternatively layered one upon another and then boiled along with filtered water for a span of 12 hours. Then, it is collected and the plant materials are boiled for another 12 hours. The process is repeated many times.
An Active Ingredient
An interesting psychoactive ingredient is found in the leaves of Psychotria Viridis. This is an entheogenic indole alkaloid called dimethyltryptamine (DMT).
This plant contains a very high amount of DMT concentration as compared to any other plant with hallucinogenic values. This is why Psychotria Viridi isn’t easily available in nurseries or greenhouses in the US.
Dried Psychotria Virdis may contain 0.1 – 0.61% DMT. It is also said that if collected at dawn or before dusk, the concentration of DMT present can be significantly higher than those collected at other times. You may find a percentage of 100mg DMT in just 1 ml of juice pressed.
It is also said that if there are white thorns along the central nerve of the leaves, these thorns are highly potent. Other species of the plant also contain DMT like Psychotria Poeppigiama.
DMT oils are also considered dangerous as it is one of the most powerful psychedelics.
DMT is not proactive if consumed orally on its own. Our bodies are equipped with an enzyme, monoamine oxidase (MAO) which quickly breaks down any ingested DMT.
When a MAO inhibitor is ingested, it prevents enzymes from breaking down the DMT and helps it exhibit its hallucinatory psychoactive effects. Thus, when Psychotria Viridis is mixed with Banisteriopsis caapi, the latter prevents the enzymes from breaking down.
This MAO inhibitor induces an altered existential state of mind that produces hallucinations and visions. These effects may start showing up 30-45 minutes after ingestion and may last up to an hour.
Due to it’s intense nature it is often advised to not use DMT for vaping.
One of the main uses of Psychotria Viridis is as a hallucinogen. Tribal and local people of Central and South America claim that drinking a potion made from this plant allowed them to see animals in the Amazonian jungle which normal vision would fail to see.
In North America and Europe, people would mix this with other plants to get even higher altered state of mind and dramatic effects. This also points to why the consumption of this drug is declared as illegal in several countries.
Apart from being illegal in so many countries, there are numerous side effects associated with using this plant for medical purposes. As it is commonly mixed with a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI), this blend of the two can lead to an extremely high blood pressure level.
It doesn’t mix well and may interfere with other pharmaceutical drugs. It is also said to cause anxiety, depression, and other disturbances.
There have also been instances of this drug being used as a purgative. It may cause the user to vomit or suffer from diarrhea for an extended period of time.