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Yanomamo/Waika Snuff
Epena, Ebena, Ebene
by Christian Rätsch
Originally published in The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Plants
Citation:   Rätsch C. Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Plants. Park Street Press. 2005. pp. 789-90.
The Yanomamo make a potent psychoactive snuff from the bark of Virola theiodora or Virola elongata and the leaves of Justicia pectoralis. The active constituent is the Virola; the Justicia leaves impart more pleasant aroma to the powder and also appear to make it easier for the snuff to be absorbed through the nose (Prance 1972, 234 f.). The ashes of the magnificent Elizabetha princeps tree are sometimes added to this blend (Brewer-Carias and Steyermark 1976, 60).

The Yanomamo (Waika) of northern Brazil use the bark of the Virola theidora tree (also known as epena) to make snuff and add ashes from the bark of Elizabetha princeps, which they call ama, ama-asita, or chopp (Brewer-Carias and Streyermark 1976, 63; Schultes and Raffauf 1990, 239*; cf. also Chagnon et al. 1970).

They also make a snuff from the ground, roasted seeds of Anadenanthera peregrina (Prance 1972, 234 f.).

References #
  1. Brewer-Carias C, Steyermark JA. "Hallucinogenic snuff drugs of the Yanomamo Cuburiwe-Teri in the Cauaburi River, Brazil". Economic Botany. 1976;30:57-66.
  2. Chagnon NA, Le Quesne P, Cook JM. "Algunos aspectos de uso de drogas comercio y domesticación de plantas entre los indígenas yanomamö de Venezuela y Brazil". Acta Científica Venezolano. 1970;21:186-93.
  3. Prance GT. "Ethnobotanical notes from Amazonian Brazil". Economic Botany. 1972;26:221-37.
  4. Schultes RE, Raffauf RF. The healing forest. Medicinal and toxic plants of the northwest Amazonia. Dioscorides Press. 1990.
Revision History #
  • 1.0 - 2005 - Rätsch - Original published in The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Plants
  • 1.0 - Apr 23, 2008 - Erowid - Exceprt published on