FAMILY: Solanaceae (Nightshade)
COMMON NAMES: Belladonna Tree, Bloodred Angel’s Trumpet, Borrachero Rojo, Chamico, El Guantug, Floripondio, Guantug, Huacacachu, Huanto, Humoco, Misha Colorada, Perecillo, Poroporo, Red Brugmansia, Tonga, Yerba de Huaca
Brugmansia Sanguinea is a perennial shrub-like tree, indigenous to the midlands of South America. It can grow 15 feet (5 meters ) tall, with long thin oval shaped leaves that grow up to 16 inches (40 cm) long and 6 inches (15 cm) wide. The flowers are up to 9 inches (23 cm) long, narrow and trumpet shaped, and range in color from a light pink to a deep blood-red, but it can also produce flowers that are pure yellow, yellow–red, green¬–red and pure red. Unlike the closely related Golden Angel’s Trumpet, the Sanguinea’s flowers do not produce an aromatic fragrance and tend to be slightly smaller.
Bloodred Angel’s Trumpet is native to the midland and lowland areas around the Andes mountain range in South America. It grows wildly throughout Bolivia, Chile, Columbia, Ecuador, and Peru. It has also been found growing at sea level in Chile.
The plant’s stems, flowers, leaves and seed are known to contain large quantities of tropane alkaloids. Recent research has shown that the main active compound in this plant is Scopolamine, it also contains aposcopolamine, atropine, hyoscyamine, meteloidine, and norscopolamine. All of these compounds may be illegal in most parts of the world when extracted from their naturally occurring sources.
TRADITIONAL USE: Mestizo Shamans have used the Bloodred Angel’s Trumpet as a sacrament in their burial ceremonies and grieving rituals. It was believed that widows would be gently lulled into the afterworld by consuming a hallucinogenic maize beer, Chicha, while they were being buried alive with their deceased husband. Chicha was made from corn, tobacco and the Sanguinea flowers and allowed to ferment. Modern day shaman’s use this traveling plant to communicate with their ancestors as well as the animal spirit world, diagnose disease, find lost objects, prophesize and to predict the future. The native tribes still use the seeds, mixing them in with coffee, to induce sexual arousal or to harm someone and put them into a coma or even kill them, depending on the dosage.
TRADITIONAL PREPARATION: There are several traditional ways in which the seeds, flowers, and leaves were prepared to produce various intoxicating drinks, teas and powders. The native Canelo Indians would scrape the pith from the stem and flowers and squeeze out the juices, which were then consumed straight away. Other preparations include steeping the leaves and flowers in hot water to make delirium inducing teas; in some areas the seeds would be dried and powered and then added to Chica, a fermented maize beer; there are also reports of Indians mixing the dried leaves with tobacco and smoking the resulting blend. One of the most powerful decoctions was exclusively made and consumed by shaman, they boiled the fruits and seeds of the plant to produce a potent drink called tonga.
MEDICINAL USES: It seems that almost every tribe in region had a different medicinal use for this magical plant, most prominently it was used to treat rheumatism and arthritis. It has also been used to treat sore throats, stomach pains caused by parasitic worms, to cleanse wounds of infected pus, and to help sooth irritated bowels and reduce flatulence. Due to many undesirable side effects and after effects there are no currently accepted medicinal uses for this plant. Although, today in Ecuador, the pharmaceutical industry grows Brugmansia to produce pure Scopolamine for medicinal purposes.
TRADITIONAL EFFECTS: One of the earliest documented reports of the effects Brugmansia was written in 1846 by Johann Tschudi: the user “feel into a heavy stupor, his eyes vacantly fixed on the ground, his mouth convulsively closed, and his nostrils dilated. In the course of a quarter hour, his eyes began to roll, foam issued from his mouth, and his whole body was agitated by frightful convulsions. After these violent symptoms had passed, a profound sleep of several hours’ duration followed.” It is during this delirium that users reported hallucinations, visions, and communication with the animal spirits. This is certainly a very powerful Shamanic traveling plant and needs to be studied with great care. Unfortunately, ingesting it is a crime in most parts of the world, so any study can only be historical, rather than actually working directly with this plant or any preparations that may have been made from it.
Erowid. 2009. Brugmansia. Erowid.com
Ratsch, Christian. 2005. The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Plants: Ethnopharmacology and Its Applications. Park Street Press; Rochester, VT.
Schultes, Richard E; Hofmann, Albert; Ratsch, Christian. 2001. Plants of the Gods: Their Sacred, Healing and Hallucinogenic Powers. Healing Arts Press; Rochester, VT.
- Brugmansia aurea - Golden Angel's Trumpet ()
Golden Angel’s Trumpet is native to the highland areas around the Andes mountain range in South America. It is very well known throughout southern Columbia, Ecuador and Peru. It has also been transplanted throughout Mexico and Central America, and it is frequently confused with Datura.
- Brunfelsia grandiflora - Brunfelsia ()
Brunfelsia Grandiflora is a tree-like shrub indigenous to the tropical regions of South America, ranging from Venezuela to Bolivia and it is especially abundant in Brazil and on the Caribbean Islands.The plant’s psychoactive compounds are found in the leaves, stems and in the roots and root bark. The roots are especially abundant in active alkaloids like Aesculetine, Cuscohygrine, Manaceine, Manacine, Scopoletin.
- Datura metel - Datura ()
The Indian Thorn Apple - Datura metel - was first documented in Sanskrit literature. The Arabic physician Avicenna touted the importance of its medicinal applications as well as prescribed the exact amount of dosage to the Arabs, who categorized the plant as “mokederrat narcotica.” Ingesting too much Datura metel can be dangerous.
- Hyoscyamus albus - Yellow Henbane ()
Hyoscyamus albus, or yellow henbane, was the most important tool in ancient times of inducing trances and providing visions to oracles and soothsayers. Today, the plant is still treasured in many parts of the world for its medicinal and psychoactive properties.
- Hyoscyamus niger - Black Henbane ()
Black Henbane was used as a ritual plant by the pre-Indo-European peoples of central Europe. In Australia, handfuls of henbane seeds were discovered in a ceremonial urn along with bones and snail shells, dating back to the early Bronze Age. During the Paleolithic period, it has been speculated that henbane was used for ritual and shamanic purposes throughout Eurasia.
- Mandragora officinarum - Mandrake ()
Mandrake is unquestionably the most famous magical plant, and the most widely used psychoactive of ancient through medieval times. Mandrake use is much less common today, but certain parts of the world still value its medicinal and magical properties.
- Scopolia carniolica - Scopolia ()
Scopolia carniolica is an annual plant with many magical and medicinal uses. In its various preparations and dosages, it produces mild to intense psychoactive effects.
- Solandra grandiflora - Chalice Vine ()
Many aboriginal Indian tribes from central Mexico and northern Central America have long believed in the magical and mysterious powers of Solandra grandiflora, (Kieli/Kieri-Plant of the god’s), some of these tribes include the Huastec, Huichol, and Mixtec; there are even pre-Colombian, Aztec era artifacts clearly depicting Kieri that may actually predate their Peyote (Lophophora williamsii) cult rituals.
- Plants as Teachers Among 4 Mestizo Shamans of Iquitos, Peru ()
In the city of Iquitos and its vicinity there is even today a rich tradition of folk medicine. Practitioners, some of whom qualify as shamans, make an important contribution to the psychosomatic health of the inhabitants of this area.