Use of Shamanic herbs
This information is offered for educational purposes only! Many of these herbs are mind altering, this is not an endorsement of drug use, but rather the tools used by a specific spiritual tradition. Please respect this for what it is. For the most part I will be very vague as to the exact use and tradition behind each herb listed here. This is done so as to focus on the basics of the herb as they relate to a spiritual path.
"The purpose of these sacraments is to purify, and to open the road. When it opens, it's as clear as the blue sky, and the stars at night are as bright as suns."
—Aurelia Aurora Catarino (Mazatec shaman)
Also known as the “diviner’s sage,” Salvia divinorum is a psychoactive
plant from the mint family. It has been used for hundreds of years by
Mazatec shamans in Mexico. Traditionally, native people either drink a
mixture of fresh leaves and water or they chew fresh leaves.
The Latin name Salvia divinorum literally translates to "Sage of the seers".[
Ayahuasca (Banisteriopsis caapi vine & Psychotria viridis leaves):
Also known as yagé or “the vine of the soul,” is a tea brewed from
the Banisteriopsis caapi vine, native to the Amazon region.
Combining ayahuasca with the wrong foods or drugs could produce
adverse side effects or even be fatal.
Red canary grass (Phalaris arundinacea)
This perennial is a native of Canada, but occurs in northern
Europe and the northern half of the US. In the wild, it is
usually found where there is purple loosestrife. It can grow
over 6 feet tall and tends to form clumps. It is very fond of
It has high concentrations of DMT, beta-carbolines,
5-MEO-demethyltryptamine, and trace amounts of bufotenine.
Bugleweed (Lycopus virginicus)
Bugleweed is in flower from July to September. It can be dried for infusions or used fresh for coughs, consumption and bronchial problems. It contains a bitter principle and lycopin. It is a sedative and a narcotic. The whole herb is used. It is slightly aromatic, with a mint-like odour and is used, fresh, when in flower. The infusion is made from 1 oz. of the dried herb to 1 pint of boiling water is taken in wineglassful doses
Sweet Flag (Acorus calamus)
Sweet flag is a grass-like, rhizome forming, perennial that can grow to 2 meters
high, resembling an iris. This species inhabits perpetually wet areas like the edges
of streams and around ponds and lakes, in ditches and seeps. It often shares
habitat with the common cat-tail. Calamus is associated with the muskrat in many native American cultures as the rodent consumes copious quantities of the root.
The constituents of Calamus are monoterpene hydrocarbons, sequestrine ketones, (trans- or Alpha) Asarone (2,4,5-trimethoxy-1-propenylbenzene), and Beta-asarone (cis- isomer) contained in the roots essential oils.
The asarones are MDA type compounds that are the naturally occurring precursors of TMA-2. The psychoactive constituents break down over a period of time.
The Cree Indians of Northern Alberta use Calamus for a number of medicinal reasons including: as an analgesic for the relief of toothache or headache, for oral hygiene to cleanse and disinfect the teeth, the fight the effects of exhaustion or fatigue, and to help cure/prevent a hangover.
Other Native tribes used it to treat a cough, made a decoction as a carminative and as an infusion for cholic.
The Dakotas use calamus to treat diabetes, and there are several reported cases where of the root had cured people who had been given up by Western medicine. When calamus root was chewed regularly by the Indians, they would be miraculously cured of this disease within a matter of months.
The Sioux used the whole plant, making aromatic garlands from the leaves and using the root as a tea for bowel pains, or rubbed the chewed root on the skin for a general illness cure.
During the middle ages calamus was an mixture in several of the ancient, psychoactive, "witches flying ointments", often being mixed with solanacious herbs.
Hawaiian Baby Woodrose (Argyreia nervosa)
Hawaiian Baby Woodrose is a perennial climbing vine with large heart-shaped leaves and white trumpet-shaped flowers. Its large furry seeds grow in seed pods and contain the psychedelic LSA (d-lysergic acid amide). The seeds of this plant are used and are approximately 10 times more potent then Morning Glory seeds. Hawaiian Baby Woodrose is used in Ayarvedic medicine to increase intelligence, memory and life span.
Vervain (Verbena officinalis)
The uses of vervain are as a tonic, mild bitter and as a nervine, It stimulates bile
secretion and is a mild sedative. Vervain protects against the formation of kidney
stones. It is a tonic for the digestive system. Its bitter principle stimulates digestion.
Vervain is also known to aid absorption.
The Druids used this wildflower in their rites of purification. "The Chair of Taliesin"
describes initiation with a drink containing vervain. It is one of the three sacred
herbs used in their "lustral water" which is used in ritual cleansings.
The Romans used it as a ceremonial herb, and fashioned it into torches, often
placed on their altars. It was also used in medieval times as a tranquilizer.
It is an excellent tranquilizer.
Fly Agaric (Amanita muscaria)
Since mediaeval times it has been used as an insecticide, from whence it derives
its name. Fly Agaric is one of the oldest known hallucinates known to mankind.
The entheogenic constituents of A. muscaria are ibotenic acid (alpha-amino3- hydroxy-5-isoxazole acetic acid), muscamol (3hydroxy-5-aminomethy1 isoxazole), and possibly muscazone (Ott).
Muscamol appears to be the primary intoxicant. After ingestion, a small amount of ibotenic acid decarboxylates into muscamol, which produces the intoxication. Fly agaric mushrooms were used by medicine men or "shamans" of north east Asia and Siberia.
If you cultivate these mushrooms, be very sure of your decision. Eating some varieties especially Amanita Phalloides and Amanita Virosa could be fatal.
Woodruff (Galium odorata)
Woodfruff has tranquilizing effects and a infusion can be made to produce a good night sleep. It is also useful in a tea for calming someone down.
Use two tsps. of dried herb to a half pint of boiling water.
It is a German custom to steep fresh sprigs of woodruff in Rhine wine
(Maibowle) and was drank at Beltain.
The dried herb may be kept among linen, like lavender, to preserve it from insects.
The plant contains a crystalline chemical principle called Coumarin, citric, malic and rubichloric acids, together with some tannic acid.
Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca)
Motherwort is a sedative by nature but it is also well known as a heart tonic and
relaxant. The herb contains the alkaloid leonurine, which is a mild vasodilator and
has a very relaxing effect on smooth muscles.
For this reason, it has long been used as a cardiac tonic, nervine, and
emmenagogue. It also contains bitter iridoid glycosides, diterpinoids, flavonoids
(including rutin and quercetin), tannins, volatile oils, and vitamin A.
The fresh or dried leaves are used, and the recommended dosage is the standard
infusion of one ounce herb to one pint boiling water.
Juniper - Juniperus communis
Juniper was used by the ancient Egyptians as an ingredient for their embalming fluid as well as for medicinal purposes. It is one of the main flavoring for gin. Juniper is often used as an herb of purification and for banishing negative energies. It is a strong diuretic, antiseptic and stimulates
digestion. It is said to act as a mild hallucigen when smoked.
It contains alpha pinene, cadinene, terpenene, sabinal, tannins, resin, flavone and volatile and essential oils.
Hops - (Humulus var.s)
The first documented instance of hop cultivation was in 736 CE, in the
Hallertau region of present-day Germany, though some evidence suggests that hops were used as much as 10,000 years ago in ancient China.
Hop cultivation in the United States began in 1629 CE.
Hops had been outlawed in England under Henry VI because they were considered to adulterate ale, which was flavored traditionally with heath, ivy, marjoram, wormwood, and yarrow.
The Delaware Indians used of hops as a sedative, drinking hop tea several times a day to alleviate nervousness.
Cherokee, Mohegan, and Fox also used the plant as a sedative.
Lupulin, which consists of the glandular powder present on the seeds and surface of the scales, may be separated by shaking the strobiles. The drug occurs in a granular, brownish-yellow powder, with the strong odour and bitter aromatic taste characteristic of Hops. The drug Lupulin is an aromatic bitter and is reputed to be midly sedative, inducing sleep without causing headache.
Hops have tonic, nervine, diuretic and anodyne properties. Their volatile oil produces sedative and soporific effects, and the Lupamaric acid or bitter principle is stomachic and tonic. Hops improve the appetite and help to promote sleep.
Hops is one of two plants that makes up the genus "cannabinaceae" with the other being cannabis. The active ingredients of hops are lupulin, humulene, lupulinic acid, essentail oils and tannins.
Nutmeg: (Myristica fragrans)
Nutmeg contains some methylenedioxy-substituted compounds, including
myristicin (3-methoxy,4,5-methylendioxy-allylbenzene, and a non-amine
precursor of 3-methoxy-4,5-methylenedioxyamphetamine), elemicin, and safrole
(specifically 3,4-methylene-dioxyallylbenzene, and a non-amine precursor of 3,4-
methylenedioxyamphetamine). It also contains elemycin, eugenol, and
Although nutmeg essential has a psychotropic effect on the body and stimulates the mind, it is an all-over tonic, especially so for the digestion and for helping with diarrhea, vomiting and nausea.
Damiana: (Turnera diffusa/Turnera aphrodisiaca)
Damiana is known as "Turneria aphrodisiaca" and is native in Mexico and the southwestern United States and Central America. The leaves and flowers of this herb have been used since ancient times as a nerve tonifier.
It stimulates muscular contractions of the intestinal tract and delivery of oxygen to the genital area. It is used as an energy tonic and to remedy sexual and hormonal problems. It is known as a "sexuality tonic" for women. Damiana is used as a aphrodisiac and as a tonic for the reproductive organs.
It produces a mild marijuama like high when smoked through a water pipe.
You can make the tea by steeping 1 teaspoon of dried leaves in a cup of boiling water. Steep for five to ten minutes and then strain and sip. Hot or cold the aphrodisiac qualities are the same. For the best sexual response, it is recommended that you drink the tea approximately thirty minutes before sexual activity.
Rubbed Mullein leaf as a base
Fermented Scotch Broom Flowers
Desert Skullcap, just a small amount
Elephant's Head Leaf
Parrot's Beak Leaf
Osha Root, powdered for flavor
Not an everyday smoke, for vision quests and spiritual pursuits. Use consciously.
Mao Inhibitor Recipe Simplified
3 grams of Syrian Rue seeds = 1 serving.
Lemon juice = Acetic Acid
Simple Extraction Method:
Grind whatever amount of Syrian Rue you want to as fine a powder as possible, according to the formula above.
Place the powder into a Crock Pot with 1 part lemon juice to 2 parts distilled water.
Simmer for 12 hours on "High" with the cover on.
Remove from heat and strain the liquid through a paper coffee filter, saving both the liquid and the mush.
Place the mush into the Crock Pot again with fresh 1 part lemon juice to 2 parts distilled water.
Simmer for 12 hours on "High" with the cover on.
Remove from heat and strain the liquid through a paper coffee filter, saving the liquid and discarding the mush.
Combine both liquids and evaporate in the Crock Pot down to a dry residue.
The residue will be a sticky, reddish-brown color. Separate into equal parts according to the initial amount, and place into GelCaps.
This is a powerful MAO inhibitor, and should be treated very carefully!