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*).
Literature

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. Ethnobotanische

Vergleiche. Curare 12 (1): 41-64.

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