Medicinal Plants of the Amazon

Some of the plants mentioned below are used in conjunction with ayahuasca diets and some are prescribed by our healers to address specific ailments. All our guests have the unique opportunity to learn more about these plants on jungle walks accompanied by a local guide. All of them are found on our property, or in the Acquicuana Reserve.

Ayahuasca Diets and Medicinal Plants

The Ese Eja are known as one of the most botanically knowledgeable tribes of the Amazon. In one study alone, anthropologist Miguel N. Alexiades identified over 200 medicinal plants known to the Ese Eja people. This inventory included a total of 70 flowering plant families, and 155 genera. While extremely impressive, this represents a mere fraction of Ese Eja plant knowledge.

Ese Eja: Otona
Oje; (Ficus Insipida)

Oje is one of the most important medicinal plants used by the Ese Eje and other indigenous communities throughout the Amazon. A member of the fig family, it produces a latex-like resin that’s an effective treatment against intestinal parasites. It can also be used as an aphrodisiac, a remedy for anaemia, and as a memory enhancer.

Oje is often prescribed by our healers to begin the cleansing process. For many guests this will be the first plant to diet. Oje helps individuals obtain more profound insights by cleansing the body physically and spiritually; thereby allowing ayahuasca to work deeper. In Western medicine its recommended in the treatment of ancylostomiasis and jaundice.

Ese Eja: Shawano tamako
Mapacho; (Nicotiana Rustica)

Tobacco is perhaps the most important healing plant in the Americas. Its regarded as a master teacher throughout the continent. Mapacho is used by the Ese Eja to clean physical spaces as well as the energy fields of individuals seeking balance and realignment. During ayahuasca ceremonies, healers blow smoke over participants to clean and protect them. Mapacho can also be smoked by participants to increase the intensity and clarity of the visions. Ayahuasca and mapacho have a highly synergistic relationship.

Mapacho is pure tobacco leaf, with no additional chemicals or processing. Recreational smoking of commercial cigarettes is not allowed in our ceremonies, or in common indoor spaces.

Ese Eja: Bojóshicuji
Ajo Sacha; (Mansoa Alliacia or Bignoniaceae)

Traditionally, ajo sacha was employed by hunters to mask their human scent, while amplifying their senses and focus. Bugs are also less attracted to those dieting this plant. Ajo Sacha is a pain reliever with anti-inflammatory properties used to treat arthritis, rheumatism, pains, colds, inflammation and digestive problems. It’s also used to help purify the blood and get rid of toxins. In addition to amplifying the senses, it can also increase the vividness of dreams.

Our healers often prescribe ajo sacha to ward off negative energy, to help people make transitions, to see beyond conventional reality, and to help open up the shamanic path.

Ese Eja: Chiricsanango
Chiricsanango; (Brunfelsia Grandiflora)

Chirissanango is attractive Amazonian plant with white and purple flowers. It’s used to treat arthritis, hot flashes, fevers and inflammation. When ingested it heats up the body and creates a tingly sensation in the extremities, lips, fingertips and toes. The word “chiric” means “itchy” in reference to this physical effect.

Chiricsanango has strong healing and protective attributes. Healers often prescribe this plant to ‘warm-up’ a cold heart, or ‘cool-down’ a heart enraged with anger. It helps people love and connect with others, as well as themselves. It facilitates emotional healing and mental clarity.

Ese Eja: Mucura
Mocura; (Petiveria alliacia)

Mocura helps propel individuals stuck in a poor mental state. Mocura can assist people who feel they aren’t living life to the fullest and lack the initiative or direction to make the necessary life changes.

Mocura is similar to the plant ajo sacha in effect and both have a strong garlic odor. Its medicinal uses include treatment for bronchitis, asthma, and cholesterol reduction. Our healers often prescribe mocura to protect against malevolent forces such as witchcraft and envy. It’s effective in aiding weight-loss.

Ese Eja: wapa-wapa
Pinon Colorado; (Jatropha gossypifolia L)

Pinon colorado’s immediate physical effects are negligible; however, it’s a very powerful and effective medicinal plant. It’s generally prescribed by healers to assist individuals at a subconscious level, especially in their dream-states. It’s frequently given to dieters suffering from bad luck, or those infected with negative energies.

Our healers frequently give this plant to individuals who’ve suffered from physical or psychological aggression. Pinon Colorado protects people from external negative energies, while also helping them release negative thought patterns. Its resin is used to treat insect bites/stings, burns, fever, gingivitis, and urinary infections.

Ese Eja: Meshíjeeyo
Guayusa; (llex guayusa)

Guayusa is a species of tree of the holly genus, native to the Amazon Rainforest. In many parts of the Amazon, the leaves of the guayusa tree are boiled into a tea for their simulative effects. Guayusca tea is extremely effective at treating excessive acidity and other problems of the stomach.

Its effects are somewhat paradoxical in that it is both relaxing and energizing at the same time. Guayusca is used by shamans to illicit lucid dreams and by hunters to maintain mental awareness even when sleeping. When dieting with this plant, the boundaries between sleeping and dreaming become more fluid. Life becomes more colorful and vibrant. Shamans often recommend dieting this plant for individuals suffering from minor bouts of depression.

Ese Eja: Sosó teteji
Chanca Piedra; (phyllanthus niruri)

The name “chanca piedra” means “stone breaker” in Spanish because of its effectiveness in eliminating gallstones and kidney stones. It effectively softens both kidney stones and gallstones for easy passage out of the body. It is also renowned for its diuretic qualities and has been shown effective at helping relieve edema and urine retention. The plant is employed for numerous other conditions by the indigenous peoples, including diabetes, malaria, dysentery, fever, flu, tumors, jaundice, vaginitis, and dyspepsia. Chanca Piedra is frequently prescribed to guests with kidney and or liver problems; however, its rarely dieted.

Ese Eja: Sie-Sie
Rosa Sisa; (Tagetes Erecta)

At Pisatahua we use the beautiful flowers of the rosa sisa in a multitude of ways. While, occasionally prescribed by our healers to treat digestive problems, rosa sisa is most frequently used at our center for its topical anti-fungal and antimicrobial properties. Its extremely effective at healing sores, ulcers, eczema, sore eyes, and rheumatism.

Rosa Sisa is also considered a potent guard against negative energies. We often plant it at the entrance to our cabins and main moloca for this reason. Additionally, we frequently prepare floral baths with rosa sisa to cleanse and protect our guests.

As infusion of rosa sisa is used to wash floors and as a non-toxic bug spray. Mosquitoes don’t like rosa sisa and we don’t particularly care for mosquitoes. Our guests will see rosa sisa cultivated throughout the property.

Ese Eja: Akwisha Sewiwi
Una de Gato; (Uncaria Tomentosa)

Uña de Gato is a large vine that gets its name from hook-like thorns that grow along the vine that resemble the claws of a cat. It is one of the most frequently used medicines in the Amazon basin. The inner bark has been used for millennia to treat numerous maladies including inflammations, colds, viral infections, arthritis and tumors.

Its most famous quality is its powerful ability to boost the body’s immune system and help induce self-healing. Its not so much that una de gato heals; rather it helps create the conditions in the body for its natural defense mechanisms to function at a heightened level. Our healers prescribe una de gato frequently as many guest arrive with impaired immune function. This can create a range of spiritual issues as well and una de gato is extremely effective in treating spiritual imbalance and depression.