The baroque art rifle

Anthropologist Wade Davis’s wonderfully vivid description of the effects of Amazonian hallucinogenic plants from page 216 of his fantastic book, One River:

In the case of yagé, some twenty one admixtures have been identified to date. Two of these are of particular interest. Psychotria viridis is a shrub in the coffee family. Chagopranga is Diplopterys cabrerana, a forest liana closely related to yagé. Unlike yagé, both of these plants contain tryptamines, powerful psychoactive compounds that when smoked or snuffed induce a very rapid, intense intoxication of short duration marked by astonishing visual imagery.

The sensation is rather like being shot out of a barrel lined with baroque paintings and landing on a sea of electricity.


Link to more information about One River.


  1. Posted September 14, 2010 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    Those plants are interesting in that they contain the hallucinogen n,n-dimethyltryptamine, but even more interesting are the other
    “type” of admixture, such as
    Banisteriopsis caapi that contain MAOIs such as harmine. The MAOIs allow the DMT in t’other plants to be consumed orally as it’s usually broken down by monoamine oxidase enzymes in the gut.
    You’d have to smoke a tonne of the DMT containing plants to feel anything, so the brew of DMT + MAOI is far more effective.

  2. andrew
    Posted September 14, 2010 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

    he repeats a line like this in one of his awesome Ted talks. I am an occasional enjoyer of yage and it is indeed very much like this. It is also very much like this:

One Trackback/Pingback

  1. […] here anyway This entry was posted in Research. Bookmark the permalink. ← ‘Thanks to […]

Post a Comment

Required fields are marked *


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 26,871 other followers