Psychotria viridis is referred to as chacruna in Peru and Brazil and samiruka or amiruca in Ecuador. In Ecuador, “chacruna” refers to a different plant, Diplopterys cabrerana, which is also used in ayahuasca. The word “chacruna” means “the mix” and refers to what is mixed in with caapi to create a non-ordinary state of consciousness. It may also be called the mix because it “mixes” your consciousness to make you aware of different aspects of life.
All forms of chacruna contain a high amount of dimethyltryptamine (DMT). DMT is found in most plants and mammals, but the presence of MAO in humans prevents DMT from having a psychological effect on us normally. But when mixed with caapi, DMT crosses into the brain and bonds with serotonin receptors in the prefrontal cortex and the amygdala. This causes a classic non-ordinary state of consciousness with visual and aural hallucinations as well as a reduced fear and shame response and increased empathy and interconnectivity. Unlike other classic psychedelics, DMT also binds with sigma-1 receptors, which is currently being researched due to the sigma-1’s relation to schizophrenia, depression, addiction, and cancer. But at the moment, the full significance of this binding is unknown.
Our Chacruna, (Psychotria viridis) leaves are grown in a kichwa home garden (family chakra) in Ecuador. We are honored and grateful that we are allowed to use their sacred plants to grow our mushrooms. The leaves are dried slowly in order to keep as many plant properties intact as possible. This Chacruna is planted, harvested, and blessed by a Kichwa shaman. Together with his family, he lives on his ancestral lands in the Rio Napo Province in Ecuador. Working together in a ‘minga’ (traditional communal team work in kichwa language) . These plants are to be used for both their ceremonies and for us to spread around the world and share. On the community’s land, there is an amazing cave with a waterfall where rituals are held in complete silence and peace. Only a part of the leaves is harvested so the plant remains strong. The Kichwa family owns many Psychotria viridis plants growing in their ‘chakra’ together with a wide variety of staple food plants for everyday use, medicinal herbs, construction materials, and spiritual plants. No harmful fertilizers or pesticides are used. Native Use In Perú, Psychotria viridis has been traditionally used by applying drops of its fresh juice directly into the eyes for the treatment of migraines. The ‘Machiguenga’ indigenous people also use fresh leaf juice to assist in hunting. It causes a burning sensation, which will eventually subside resulting in heightened alertness. The ‘Andoke’ people will also crush up the leaves and infuse them with water that is then applied to the eyes to promote sharp vision and to see with greater understanding. Habitat Psychotria viridis is a common perennial tree or shrub of the Rubiaceae family. It grows to a height of approximately five meters. The leaves are opposite and are typically 5-15cm, elliptic in shape, and are papery in texture. The leaves tend to become grayish to reddish-brown when dried. It also produces many open, inflorescent flowers, which turn into a red fruit, 4-5mm in diameter. Psychotria viridis is native to the Amazonian lowlands but is also cultivated throughout northern South America and much of Central America. It is an evergreen, tropical tree or large shrub growing in full sun to half shade. It grows naturally in wet, tropical forests and is most common in Amazonian Perú, Ecuador and Bolivia. Scientific Information Psychotria viridis can be confused with other plants of similar genus, including Psychotria alba and Psychotria carthagenesis. They do look similar to Psychotria viridis and they are all commonly used among shamans.