Synonyms

sometimes written as Pithecolobium

The genus Pithecellobium encompasses some two

hundred species. It is closely related to and is easily

confused with the genus Mimosa. In the Brazilian

Amazon, the name jurema is usually given to

Mimosa tenuiflora [sYll. Mimosa hostilis] , which is

used to prepare an ayahuasca-like drink. However,

several species of the genus Pithecellobium, e.g., P.

diversifolium (known as jurema branca, "white

jurema"), also appear to be used for that purpose

(R~itsch 1988,83*).

In Brazil, the use of a vinho do jurema made

from Pithecellobium has become established

among the followers of various cults of West

African origin. Apparently the use is connected

with the Camdomble god Ossain, who is regarded

as a great magician, protector, and discoverer of

healing herbs. Psychoactive and other constituents

of the genus are largely unknown. Alkaloids and

flavonoids have been detected (Schultes and

Raffauf 1990, 251 *).

The species Pithecellobium laetum Benth.,

which is known as remo caspi, pashaquillo, or

shimbillo, contains alkaloids and is used as an

ayahuasca additive. In Mexico, the species Pithecellobium

arboreum (1.) Urb. and P. donnellsmithii

Britt. et Rose are known as frijolillo

(Martinez 1987, 1189f.*). This name is also used

for Sophora secundiflora.
 

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