Psychotria viridis – Chacruna ‘Shipibo’ (plant)
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A member of the Rubiaceae family from South America, traditionally used in the healing Ayahuasca brew. The word Chacruna derives from the Quechua word chaqruy which means ‘to mix’. It is added to Ayahuasca brews to increase the light and changes the style, visions are often in richer colours, different than when only Banisteriopsis caapi is used alone.
Psychotria viridis contains dimethyltryptamine (DMT), a psychoactive substance found across the plant kingdom in many family, genera and thousands of species (large numbers of Australian Acacia spp. contain DMT), often only as trace amounts. In Psychotria viridis it is found in the leaves at concentrations varying from 0.1 – 0.61% with traces of other tryptamines (Ratsch 1998).
This variety has been in Australia for many decades and is of Peruvian Amazonia origin, being used by the Shipibo-Conibo indigenous people for medicine and ayahuasca.
Care and Cultivation of Psychotria viridis
Psychotria viridis is a relatively medium to fast growing plant if kept in a warm position. Prefers a shady, moist, well-drained site and a rich loam soil with adequate fertiliser. Psychotria viridis is not particularly cold tolerant, depending on micro-climate, preferring tropical/subtropical regions, but can survive further south if protected over the colder months. It is not drought tolerant and if you live in a dry climate, you’re best to keep it in a pot or in the most well watered part of your garden.
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