Banisteriopsis caapi is a giant jungle vine of the Malphigiaceae family that is native to the Amazonian jungle. This long woody vine with many branches can reach a height of 40 feet. It’s round, green leaves are pointy at the end while its flowers, which rarely emerge in the tropics, have small white or pink petals.
Traditionally the Banisteriopsis caapi vine, commonly known as Ayahuasca, has been used in ritual context throughout the Amazonian rainforest and is known as “the great teacher” and the “vine of the soul” in the Quechuan language.
Shamans of the Amazon claim that they can achieve altered states of consciousness just by using this plant alone. Considered a ‘Master Plant Teacher’, there are approximately 70+ tribes who have traditionally used this vine for various purposes, including healing, spiritual sight, foretelling the future, divination and is responsible for the breadth of botanical knowledge held by these tribes peoples.
The vine grows plentifully in the Amazon rainforest. The root enjoys a rich, moist soil to grow, with partial shade to full sun. Its leaves are broad and have little hairs on the abaxial (lower) leaf surface that gives the green leaves an etheric silvery appearance. Banisteriopsis caapi is used to make Ayahuasca, used for thousands of years by various tribes of the Amazon. The Banisteriopsis vine is combined with another plant containing a chemical compound known as Di-Methyltryptamine. This brew has a long history of use as an entheogen and as a medicinal remedy. It is said to have a hypnotic effect; also it is known for its profound and deep cleansing effect on the body as a purgative, but it also cleanses the mind, heart and energetic field of the user. The vine itself contains numerous active constituents with medicinal value such as harmine, harmaline, and tetrahydroharmine, which are beta-carboline harmala alkaloids and Mono-amine-oxide inhibitors.
Traditionally, the Banisteriopsis caapi vine is taken and shredded, usually done by the pounding of smaller sections with a stone. Other than drying, the vine does not go through any other treatment.