FAMILY :: MALPIGHIACEAE
YAGÉ, YAGE, AYAHUASCA VINE: A tropical liana growing to immense proportions in the rain forests of South America. This is the central plant in the Ayahuasca potions of Amazonian shamans. It is variously called “vine of the soul,” “the drink of reality,” and the “vine of the dead,” being considered man’s second umbilical cord to the universe.
In practice, the vine is always used with admixture plants (dozens have been documented) that produce uniquely varied effects from telepathy to visions of a heaven, the past, the future, to shamanic journeys, and to healing divination.
To prepare the vine the bark is removed, pounded or pulverized and is boiled down for many hours (with the Psycotria leaves) into a black syrup. A traditional mixture is about 1′ of ½” thick pieces per person per approximately 40 leaves of Psychotria viridis.
Yage is a strong MAO inhibitor that permits certain psychoactive chemicals (most often DMT from P. virirdis) to enter and effect the body’s nervous system. It is said that harmaline, of the type found in yagé, is capable of increasing the frequency of copulation in males.
To grow this plant outside of a tropical rain forest, it is necessary to provide it with high humidity, shade, rich, well-drained moist soil, and warmth (above 60º f. at night for growth and above 40º f. for simple survival). As with most plants, it will acclimate over time to more severe conditions but it will never be easy. It likes lots of root room and needs to be repotted regularly. In tropical consitions, it is extremely easy to grow and quickly grows to immense proportions. It can flower after as little as 3 years in tropical conditions and I’ve read that it “will flower only after climbing through the canopy to the sun” but this doesn’t appear to be true. It flowers here in Puerto Vallarta in part shade conditions as well as in the full sun. Flowering occurs here in December. We obtain viable seeds from out plants, not a large percentage, but some.
In one scientific study matching ayahuasca with placibos, this formula was used to mask the somewhat horrible taste:
“To each liter of ayahuasca were added 70 g of artificial grape juice (Â®Fresh, Kraft Foods Brazil S.A.), 3ml of cherry essence (Â®Saborfort, Mix Industry of Food Products LTDA., Brazil) and 3ml of saccharin- and cyclamate-based artificial sweetener (Â®Finn, Boehringer Ingelheim Brazil). This procedure was designed to disguise the distinctive flavor, odor and color of ayahuasca in order to blind the volunteers regarding whether they received ayahuasca or vehicle-control.”