Banisteriopsis caapi is a plant used throughout the Amazonian region, either alone or in combination with Psychotria viridian (Chakruna plant), which creates Ayahuasca. The DMT present in the Chakruna plant causes hallucinogenic effects and is used in some some South American indigenous rituals, administered by Shamans for its purgative, cleansing, and healing properties.
The Shamans believe that Banisteropsis caapi helps enhance people’s empathy as a protective and nurturing teacher plant, allowing them to give guidance in the community. It may also have the following effects:
- Hunger suppressant
- Hunting aid (improved vision)
- Helps with depression and anxiety
- Helps relieve symptoms of neuro-degenerative diseases
It has been strongly suggested that the widespread use of pure Banisteriopsis caapi and its antidepressant effects may have an influence on maintaining a social stability in the areas where Baniosteriopsis caapi is used. Also, Banisteriopsis caapi is commonly incorporated into ceremonies by the religious groups, the Santo Daime and the Brazilian church União do Vegetal, for purposes of mental and emotional healing.