COMMON NAMES: Biaxii, Chagrupanga (Inga, ‘chagru leaf’), Ka-hee-ko (Karapana), Kahi (Tukano, ‘that which causes vomiting’), Mene Kahi Ma, Nyoko-buko Guda Hubea Ma (Barasana), Oco-yage (‘water yage’), Yaco-ayahuasco (Quechua/Peru), Yahe Vine
Diplopterys cabrerana is a very long vine with opposite oval leaves. The inflorescenses each bear four tiny flowers. However, the plant rarely develops flowers, and almost never does so in cultivation. D. cabrerana is easily confused with Banisteriopsis caapi, but the leaves of D. cabrerana are much wider and larger (Ratsch 1998, 221).
D. cabrerana is found only in the Amazon basin. It does grow in the wild, but is usually cultivated in gardens in South America from cuttings. Young shoots or branch tips are allowed to sit in water until roots develop. The cuttings may also be placed directly in moist jungle soil. The wild form prefers to grow near river banks. It is possible to buy Diplopterys cabrerana plant material online from certain websites (Ratsch 1998, 220-221).
TRADITIONAL USES: The Barasana of the Eastern Amazon use D. cabrerana to prepare a psychoactive beverage that they use in a manner similar to ayahuasca. The vine is also used as a source of N, N-DMT in ayahuasca brews, similar to Psychotria viridis leaves (Bristol 1965).
TRADITIONAL PREPARATION: Many indigenous peoples of the Colombian Amazon, including the Desana, Barasana, and others, use the leaves of D. cabrerana to prepare ayahuasca brews. In the Sibundoy, Banisteriopsis caapi vine and D. cabrerana leaves are boiled down to prepare an inebriating drink known as biaxii (Bristol 1965).
To prepare an ayahuasca brew, D. cabrerana is boiled for 4-12 hours. Acidifiers such as vinegar or citrus juice may be added to facilitate the extraction of alkaloids. B. caapi or another MAOI containing plant is either boiled in the same pot, or boiled in a different pot and combined with the D. cabrerana preparation at a later time (Bristol 1965).
TRADITIONAL EFFECTS: The leaves of D. cabrerana contain 0.17-1.75% N,N-DMT, as well as 5-MeO-DMT, bufotenine, and several other alkaloids. The stems also contain a lower quantity of these alkaloids. When combined with an MAOI of some sort, D. cabrerana leaves cause effects ranging from pleasant intoxication to violent nausea. Visual hallucinations in vivid color are common. The intoxication generally ends with deep sleep and vivid dreams. Some shamans seem to fear D. cabrerana and avoid using it. This is perhaps because it seems to contain exceptionally high levels of DMT, along with the alkaloids 5-methoxy-DMT and bufotenine, both of which are known to bring about adverse effects in some cases (Erowid 2001).
Bristol, M.L. “Sibundoy Ethnobotany”. Harvard University Press, 1965.
“Erowid Diplopterys Vault: DMT Contents and Dosages”, 2001. http://www.erowid.org/plants/diplopterys/diplopterys_info1.shtml.
Ratsch, Christian., The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Plants: Ethnopharmacology and its Applications. Rochester: Park Street Press, 1998.