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Common steps and sub-activities

Using lime

Many of the recipes you see for ointments, snuffs and so on have an alkaline base.  Yopo snuff, for example is made by moistening and grinding the beans to make  paste and the adding an alkaline additive made either using the shells of snails or a plant source.  Virola is made in a similar way…..………….


Virola, also known as Epená, is a genus of medium-sized trees native to the South American rainforest ………..The dark-red resin of the tree bark contains several hallucinogenic alkaloids, most notably 5-MeO-DMT (Virola calophylla, 5-OH-DMT (bufotenine), and also N,N-DMT, perhaps the most powerful members of the dimethyltryptamine family; it also contains beta-carboline harmala alkaloids, MAOIs that greatly potentiate the effects of DMT. The bark resin is prepared and dried by a variety of methods, often including the addition of ash or lime, presumably as basifying agents, and a powder made from the leaves of the small Justicia bush. Ingestion is similar to that of Yopo, consisting of assisted insufflation, with the snuff being blown through a long tube into the nostrils by an assistant. According to Schultes, the use of Virola in magico-religious rituals is restricted to tribes in the Western Amazon Basin and parts of the Orinoco Basin.

Basify means “ to convert into a base or make alkaline”.   The purpose of the ash or lime in many of the concoctions is thus to soften the astringent flavor and activate the alkaloids.

Lime is added to quite a large number of substances because it helps to release the psychoactive substances in them.  So, for example, it is used with tobacco, betel, coca, pituri and so on.

We see that in many witch’s ointments they talk of  ‘crustaceans’ being added to the mixture – the ‘crustaceans’ are the source of lime, not some exotic ingredient. 

M Preaud – Les Sorcieres [from Hans Peter Duerr – Dreamtime]

The physician Jean de Nynauld enumerates the following – belladonna root, nightshade, …., aconite, celery, soporific nightshade, soot, cinquefoil, calamus, parsley, poplar leaves, opium, henbane, hemlock, the shells of crustaceans, which make it possible to see the shades of hell, that is, evil spirits in the same manner as on the other hand, the anacrustaceans call forth the images of the holy angels