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Banisteriopsis caapi

105 Herbs of the Gods

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Banisteriopsis caapi, a vine, is the foremost ingredient of ayahuasca, a traditional medicinal tea from the Amazon region. The vine itself is also called ayahuasca, or a host of other names, such as natéma, mihi, kahi, pindé, dápa, yagé, nixi honi xuma and hoasca. This plant is one of the most discussed items in ethnobotany and ethnomedicine.

Some indigenous people distinguish over 40 varieties. Two varieties that are common are Ourinhos and Trueno. "Ourinhos" literally means "little gold" and this strain is apparently the one used by the ayahuasca-drinking churches (Santo Daime, UDV and Barquinha). Some say the name comes from the colour of the infusion made with this variety.

"Trueno" means "thunder" and some people say this type causes relatively high-intensity physical effects.

Effects ayahuasca

Indigenous shamans and others say they can reach altered states of mind by using an infusion from B. caapi alone. This requires a lot of practice. Furthermore, there are 72 tribes that we know of who drink ayahuasca and say the vine itself is their "teacher plant", giving detailed information about other plants. They claim B. caapi is responsible for their excellent botanical knowledge.

In most cases, people add a second plant to the brew. This compound is inactive when taken orally by itself.



Some people use B. caapi prior to ingestion of other psychedelics, typically psilocybin mushrooms. According to some this prolongs and intensifies the effects of the mushrooms, and alters the general direction of the experience. Depending on many factors, usually, quantities of 25 grams or more are used.


We sell the vine, not the leaves. The primary active ingredients in this part of B. caapi are harmine, harmaline and tetrahydroharmine (Raetsch 2005).


B. caapi contains MAO-inhibiting substances. This means it can be very dangerous when combined with certain foods or other psychoactives that are totally harmless when taken by themselves.

Visit our maoi page for safety details!

Azarius Encyclopedia: Using Psychedelics Safely

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