oco yage

 


Huambisa

Chaliponga
~ Chagropanga


Diplopterys cabrerana

(formerly known as Banistriopsis rusbyana)

Family Malpighiaceae (liana family)






D. cabrerana near Iquitos


wild D. cabrerana 


D. cabrerana leaves




D. cabrerana
closeup of leaf

Indigenous names:   yajé-oko (Kofán); oco-yajé (Taiwano); chagropanga (Inga); yajé-oco (Siona)

Distribution:
The genus Diplopterys
is comprised of twenty species distributed through tropical America. Diplopterys cabrerana is the only species confirmed to contain tryptamine alkaloids.

Biochemistry

Principal active biochemicals: the tryptamine alkaloids N, N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT) and 5-methoxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine (5-meo-DMT). Trace amounts of bufotenine and N-methyltetrahydro-ß-carboline are also present.

Comments


In northeastern Perú, eastern Ecuador, and western Colombia the leaves of Diplopterys cabrerana are commonly prepared with ayahuasca (Banisteriopsis caapi) to make the ceremonial visionary healing medicine Ayahuasca, also known as Caapi, Yagé, Natema, and by many other names.

Diplopterys is favored by shamans in Amazonian Ecuador and western Colombia, but is less often used in the Peruvian Amazon and Brazil where Chacruna (Psychotria viridis) is by far the preferred companion plant.

Diplopterys leaves are 5-10 times more potent than an equivalent amount of Psychotria so fewer leaves are used.



Psychotria viridis
in fruit

The leaves of either plant are not psychoactive if eaten or smoked due to the relatively low alkaloid content and rapid breakdown of alkaloids by monoamine oxidase, a natural human enzyme. In the Ayahuasca preparation, beta -carbolines present in the harmala alkaloids temporarily inhibit monoamine oxidase function, rendering the tryptamine alkaloids orally active.

References:

Schultes, R.E. and R.F. Raffauf. 1995. The Healing Forest: medicinal and toxic plants of the northwest Amazonia, Dioscorides Press, Portland, Or. ISBN 0-931146-14-3