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Ayahuasca: alkaloids, plants & analogs
assembled by Keeper of the Trout
Section 3 : Part 3 :
Desfontainia spiosa

This plant was reported by Carlos Mariani Ramírez, to be used as a `narcotic' and stomachic in Chile.

Later, in Colombia, Schultes determined its tea is or was used for inducing visions and diagnosis of illness. Safety, dosage, toxicity, adverse reactions and active components are unknown.

Its leaves are or were used by medicine men in the Sibundoy Valley who apparently show(ed) great reluctance to discuss its use.

Interestingly, it is said to never be cultivated.

Relatively little is known of the use of Desfontainia spinosa, which is known in the Páramo de Tambillo as borrachera de páramo. Other common names used in Chile for this shrub include chapico, michai blanco, taique and trautrau.

A yellow textile dye is obtained from the leaves.

Has variously been placed in the Solanaceae, the Gentianaceae, the Aquifoliaceae and the Loganiaceae but is most widely accepted in the monotypic Desfontainiaceae.
    Schultes 1977a


Photo by Trout
Desfontainia spinosa under cultivation in California