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|Tillandsias are epiphytes that grow on typical
American flora. In pre-Columbian Peru, they were
used as a stuffing in the false heads of mummies
(Towle 1961, 31*). Tillandsias appear on
Mochican ceramic paintings in connection with
winged shamans (Andritzky 1989,169 f.*). It may
be that a psychoactive use was once known but has
now been forgotten. The plant depicted in the
paintings of the Mochica is sometimes interpreted
as Tillandsia purpurea RUlz et Pav. (Ott 1996,
108*). Flavonoids have been found in this species
(Arslanian et al. 1986). The Tarahumara Indians
refer to Tillandsia mooreana Smith as wararuwi,
"peyote companion" (cf. Lophophora williamsii), and presumably used it as a peyote substitute (Ott
1996, 108*). The Tarahumara use a related species,
the ball moss (Tillandsia recurvata [1.] 1.), which
they call muchiki chab6ame, as a cough medicine
(Deimel 1989, 6l). This plant was previously
identified as Tillandsia inflata Mez. (Bye 1975).
In Brazilian ethnomedicine, Tillandsia usneoides
(1.) 1. (Spanish moss) is used as an analgesic. It is
said that a watery extract of this plant induces"visions" (Ott 1996, 420*).
Arslanian, R. 1., et al. 1986. 3-n=methoxy-5hydroxyflavonols
from Tillandsia purpurea.
Journal ofNatural Products 49 (6): 1177-78.
Bye, R. A. 1975. Plantas psicotropicas de los Tarahumaras.
Cuadernos Cientificos CEMEF 4:49-72.
Deimel, Claus. 1989. Pflanzen zwischen den
Kulturen: Tarahumaras und Mestizen der Sierra
Madre im Noroeste de Mexico. EthnobotanischeVergleiche. Curare 12 (1): 41-64.