Anadenanthera peregrina | Yopo – Cohoba
We wildcraft our 100% organic Anadenanthera peregrina seeds ourselves in Bolivia.
Traditionally, local people use the Yopo seeds in sacred rituals and healing ceremonies. We can see from the discovery of snuff trays and tubes from around 1200BC, that people of the northern Amazon basis(nowadays Brazil, Colombia and Venezuela) used them as snuff for spiritual healing. Anadenanthera peregrina is therefore is considered an entheogen among ethnobotanists.
They say that in Perú, Incan medicine men used the snuff to foretell the future by communicating with otherworldly spirits. Many of these indigenous cultures of the Amazon have disappeared, so it is a mystery exactly what these cultures used the seeds for. We need to rely on archaeological findings and oral history.
The pods of Anadenanthera peregrina or Parica tree open when ripe, exposing the greyish seeds inside. Traditionally, local people gathered these (sometimes fermented) seeds then moistened and ground them on stones to create a paste. They gently toasted the paste over a slow burning fire and allowed it to dry. Some accounts say native users then added an alkaline substance such as the ash of various plants or ground snail shells. The addition of calcium or and alkaloid was common practice among indigenous peoples. They believe it activates the Yopo. However, there is no real consensus if the additives are really necessary.
It’s also been known that the indigenous tribes of South and Central America have also used Yopo for the treatment of dysentery and gonorrhea. Some reports also say they used it to treat digestive problems and pneumonia.
The Anadenanthera peregrina or Yopo, is a magnificent perennial tree that can reach a height of up to 30 meters. The leaves of the tree are feather-like and made up of several smaller leaves. The flower hues go from yellow to white, and have a spherical shape. These later on become seedpods, carrying many small seeds. It is the seeds the indigenous cultures of South and Central America most revere.
Anadenanthera peregrina is almost identical to that of a related tree, Anadenanthera colubrina, commonly known as cebil or vilca which in quechua language means sacred. The beans of A. colubrina have a similar chemical makeup to Anadenanthera peregrina.