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What Are the Medical Uses of Psychotria Viridis?

Psychotria viridis, a plant native to the Amazon, is renowned for its traditional use in healing ceremonies. It contains the psychoactive compound DMT, which, under medical supervision, shows promise in treating depression and PTSD. As research unfolds, the therapeutic potential of this plant could revolutionize mental health care. Wondering how ancient wisdom meets modern medicine? Let's explore this intriguing intersection further.
Dee Saale
Dee Saale
Dee Saale
Dee Saale

Psychotria viridis is a small-sized tree species that is often referred to as "chacruna" or "the visionary vine." It originated in Central and South America and is often used in medicinal treatments by the local people in those regions. Although it is believed to treat migraine headaches and cleanse the intestines, it is typically used by people for its hallucinogenic effects. Since a chemical found in the leaves of Psychotria viridis is a controlled substance according to the laws of the United States and in many European countries, it may be illegal to use this plant in some areas around the globe unless it is prescribed by a medical doctor.

People in Central and South America countries, such as Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, and Colombia, have been using Psychotria viridis for centuries. The leaves of the plant are often used in religious rituals. In addition, drinking a concoction made from the leaves is believed to help one foresee the future, prevent witchcraft, and perform miracles. In addition, it is also thought to treat migraine headaches and to purge the stomach, thereby cleansing the intestines.

Psychotria viridis is sometimes used to treat migraines, although it contains a hallucinogen.
Psychotria viridis is sometimes used to treat migraines, although it contains a hallucinogen.

Many who use Psychotria viridis use it as a hallucinogen. South and Central American tribal people claim that drinking a brew made from the plant will let them see animals in the thick Amazonian jungle where their normal vision will fail them. In North America and Europe, some individuals attempt to use Psychotria viridis as a recreational drug, mixing it with other plants to create an even more dramatic effect.

Traditional healers in Brazil and elsewhere in South America have long used psychotria viridis.
Traditional healers in Brazil and elsewhere in South America have long used psychotria viridis.

Psychotria viridis contains a substance called dimethyltryptamine (DMT). In fact, the plant contains a relatively high amount of the chemical, especially compared to other hallucinogenic plants. As a result, Psychotria viridis is not sold in plant nurseries or greenhouses in the United States or in many European countries. In addition, a person in possession of Psychotria viridis leaves may face criminal charges in some jurisdictions, as the leaves do contain large amounts of DMT, which is a controlled substance in many places.

Psychotria viridis may cause high blood pressure levels.
Psychotria viridis may cause high blood pressure levels.

Besides the fact that it is illegal in many countries, there are side effects associated with using this plant for medicinal purposes. Since it is commonly mixed with a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI), the concoction may create dangerously high blood pressure levels. In addition, it can interfere with other pharmaceutical drugs. In some cases, its use may cause depression and convulsions as well. Also, since it often works as a purgative, it could cause the user to vomit or have diarrhea for extended periods of time.

Dee Saale
Dee Saale

Dee is a freelance writer based in Colorado. She has a B.A. in English Literature, as well as a law degree. Dee is especially interested in topics relating to medicine, legal issues, and home improvement, which are her specialty when contributing to TheHealthBoard.

Learn more...
Dee Saale
Dee Saale

Dee is a freelance writer based in Colorado. She has a B.A. in English Literature, as well as a law degree. Dee is especially interested in topics relating to medicine, legal issues, and home improvement, which are her specialty when contributing to TheHealthBoard.

Learn more...

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    • Psychotria viridis is sometimes used to treat migraines, although it contains a hallucinogen.
      By: fred goldstein
      Psychotria viridis is sometimes used to treat migraines, although it contains a hallucinogen.
    • Traditional healers in Brazil and elsewhere in South America have long used psychotria viridis.
      By: Iryna Volina
      Traditional healers in Brazil and elsewhere in South America have long used psychotria viridis.
    • Psychotria viridis may cause high blood pressure levels.
      By: Monika Wisniewska
      Psychotria viridis may cause high blood pressure levels.