What Is Yopo
1 min

What Is Yopo?

1 min

For at least 4000 years, yopo has been used by shaman in South America to induce altered states of consciousness. Learn the what and how of yopo in this Zamnesia guide.


Yopo is a large legume tree native to the Caribbean and South America. Anadenanthera peregrina grows to twenty metres and produces copious amounts of seed pods. Importantly, within each pod are between three and ten flat beans or seeds. When prepared and dried, these seeds become a potent psychedelic. The shamanic use and history of yopo, jopo, cohoba, parica, or calcium tree disappears into the mists of time. Europeans first described its use in 1571, and contemporary archeology dates yopo paraphenalia from Argentina at 4000 years old.

The DMT family star as the primary active ingredients in yopo - 5-MeO-DMT, 2,9-dimethyltryptoline, and DMT-oxide to name a few - but they are not the only alkaloids present in the seeds. There are a number of other active ingredients in the fruit and bark of the yopo tree, such as bufotenin, catechol, methyltryptamine, and saponarentin.

Yopo is of particular interest because it contains monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) and bufotenin. However, it is unclear if the bufotenin is active or chemically “locked” and unavailable.

HISTORY of yopo

History Of Yopo

For thousands of years, South American shaman have used yopo as a psychedelic snuff. Indigenous cultures have allowed it to help shape their spiritual landscape. The earliest evidence of yopo use was in Inca Cueva, Argentina. The puma bone pipes and Anadenanthera peregrina seeds were radiocarbon dated at 2130 BC, indicating yopo use spanning over 4000 years. Similarly, snuff trays and pipes were uncovered on the central Peruvian coast that dated back to 1200 BC.

There was significant use of this psychedelic throughout South America. It was used by indigenous tribes of the Orinoco basin in Columbia, Venezuela and the southern Brazilian Amazon. Further north in the Caribbean, Puerto Rico and La Española tribes also used yopo for ceremonial and medical purposes.

Steven Voser
Steven Voser
Steven Voser is an independent cannabis journalist with over 6 years of experience writing about all things weed; how to grow it, how best to enjoy it, and the booming industry and murky legal landscape surrounding it.
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