Banisteriopsis Caapi – Peruvian Huitoto Cielo
Shredded “Huitoto” vine from the Pevas area, down river from Iquitos, Peru. This vine is around 25 years old. One of the older shamans (curanderos) from this community does the planting of the vines. They are Bora and Huitoto Indians. Before they harvest it sacred Tobacco smoke is blown over the vine. They leave gifts of Tobacco around the Mother Vine to show respect and to give thanks. The roots of the mother vine remain in the ground and with time fresh Caapi grows once again and the circle continues. The harvesting of these vines happens in the early morning when they are at their most potent.
Banisteriopsis caapi is one of a thousands of species of plants in tropical South America. They use three of these in combination with other plants to prepare Ayahuasca. These three plants are B. inebriens, B. caapi and B. quitensis. The best known of these three species and the main component of Ayahuasca is Banisteriopsis caapi. There are many sub species in the B. caapi family of plants depending on the region where the vines grows.
Banisteriopsis caapi only contains harmaline which acts as a reversible MAO inhibitor it is not hallucinogenic by itself. Since harmaline is a reversible monoamine oxidase inhibitor, it could increase the effect of some drugs problematically.
The geographical origin is not known because the plant is cultivated throughout the entire Amazonian region. The plant grows in the wild in Peru, Brazil, Bolivia, Equador, Colombia and the other countries of the Amazon basin. Many of the local tribes have used it in their religious traditions through the millennia.
in tropical forests it grows as a shrub or as an extensive liana. The bark is usually chocolate-brown and smooth. It has opposite oval-shaped green leaves. They are between 8 to 18 cm long and 3.5 to 8 cm wide with an glabrous upper surface. It has inflorescence axillary or terminal cymose panicles. The flowers are 12 to 14 mm in diameter, 2.5 to 3 mm long and 1.5 mm wide with pink petals. The petals are 5 to 7 mm long and 4 to 5 mm wide. This liana propagates both vegetatively and from seed. The fan-like shaped seeds are green when fresh, but turn brown with age.
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