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Section 3 : Part 2 :
Anadenanthera species

Suggested general reading on Anadenanthera:

Siri von Reis Altschul (1964) Contributions from the Gray Herbarium of Harvard University 193: 1-65. "A Taxonomic Study of the Genus Anadenanthera."
Siri von Reis Altschul (1967)a "Vilca and its Use." pp. 307-314 in; Ethnopharmacological Search For Psychoactive Drugs.
Siri von Reis Altschul (1972) "The Genus Anadenanthera in Amerindian Cultures." Botanical Museum, Harvard University.
William Edwin Safford (1916)b Washington Academy of Sciences 6: 547-562. "Ethnobotany. Identity of Cohoba, the Narcotic Snuff of Ancient Haiti."

Anadenanthera species have traditionally been used for their DMT and/or more often Bufotenine containing seeds and/or seedpods; the basis of an ancient snuff still used today.

Humboldt's description of the preparation of said snuff from the seedpods of Anadenanthera peregrina*: (from Wassen 1967)

Cut pods into pieces, moisten and allow to ferment. When softened seeds grow black, they are kneaded into a paste, mixed with cassava flour and quicklime made from a helix (snail) shell and the whole mass is then heated briskly into small cakes. These are ground into a fine powder.

The snuff is taken in 1-2 tablespoon doses, often repeated at fairly short intervals. It is applied by forcibly BLOWING it up the nostrils and simple snuffing appears to be ineffective.
According to both Seitz and also Holmstedt & Lindgren 1967, Virola derived snuff administration among Waika begins in early afternoon, rarely in the evening and never in the morning.

The snuff and or plant known variously as Angico, Cohoba, Ñiopa, Paricá, Yopo, and other names, orthographic renderings and spellings)]

As far as I can determine, none have been used as an ayahuasca or ayahuasca analog admixture but there seems to be no reason that parts of some could not be.(Unconfirmed rumors on this point do exist but none with locateable published references.)

Pay particular attention to some of the reports concerning the roots and bark, especially with regards to their 5-MeO-DMT content

While variable, Schultes et al. 1977b reported 0.678% in the dried roots of this speciest. [i.e. 678 mg of 5-MeO-DMT per 100 grams of dried roots] Whether this is an environmental, or a seasonal or an individual variation is not clear.

[The highest concentration of DMT reported to occur in a plant (so far) has been the 11% claimed by Ott for Mimosa tenuiflora rootbark. Bo Holmstedt reportedly did the analysis but apparently did not publish the results.On the topic of high tryptamine contentrations in living systems, there is also the up to 16% 5-MeO-DMT from the cutaneous glands of the Colorado River Toad, Bufo alvarius reported by Erspamer et al. 1965. The presence of 5-MeO-DMT, comprising from 5 up to 15% of the parotid and coxal glands (by dry weight) was reported in Erspamer et al. 1967.]

Safford 1916 lists the following common names for Anadenanthera species [and/or snuffs derived from them]. The exact species identity for each is unclear in some cases (see the forthcoming work on hallucinogenic snuffs for more details and specifics)

Argentina: cebil or sebil

Brazil: paricá [Grossa1 notes its seeds are called pararo where cultivated in rainforest areas (NOT its habitat). Cites Cocco 1972]

Guiana: (two varieties) paricá and black paricá

Haiti: Cohoba or cojobo or cojobana

Northeastern Peru: curupa [This may instead refer to a Virola or another plant based snuff] [von Reis Altschul 1972 notes that curupa is said to be made from the leaves of a tree. I might add; a few Virola or Anadenanthera individuals might work.]

Southern Peru: vilca or villca or huillca [and other spellings such as wilka]

Venezuela: curuba [may instead refer to another snuff source] or ñupa or ñopa or niopa or niopo. [Ed.: also as yupa and yopo]

Grossa curiously gives the sources for the "seed preparation" as "the seeds of a Leguminosa i.e. Piptadenia peregrina Benth (syn. Anadenanthera) P. macrocarpa, P. colubrina, Acacia (Acacia ñopo) and Mimosa, which grows in the llanas and the sabana." I have found no confirmed reports of a Mimosa seed incorporated into the preparation of a snuff. [Acacia ñopo is a synonym for Piptadenia peregrina but one must wonder if this is a simple error, confusion with the literature or if it was actually meant to refer to different plants that were not Anadenanthera species. DMT is known from both Mimosa and Acacia (as 5-MeO-DMT may prove to be, if anyone bothers to try and duplicate our TLC screenings.) If the latter turns out to be confirmed, the account of Cocco bears scrutiny.]

(It has been conjectured, but not proven, that the Mimosa may refer to M. verrucosa and the Acacia to M. hostilis)

As the snuff analysis below will show, there is considerable confusion surrounding which plant source the names Yopo, Epena, and Parica refer to.

To help give a better view of the picture (or perhaps contribute to the confusion) some of the Anadenanthera species and their snuffs' common names, associated words and the various usages encountered have also been included.


The main Anadenanthera species of interest


Reported chemistry of Anadenanthera and its snuffs; or not


Some words associated with Anadenanthera and/or snuffs; or not


See also: A look at the Myristicaceae