In the shamanism of the Ayore Indians of

Paraguay, the dried root of the plant, known as

caniroja, is smoked in order to communicate with

animal spirits and to initiate novices into

shamanism. The shamans (naijna) occasionally

climb into a quebracho tree (Aspidosperma

quebracho-blanca) and sit in its crown, where they

smoke the roots. In this way, they are able to speak

directly to the animals (Schmeda-Hirschmann

1993, 108, 109*). During a self-experiment under

the supervision of one of the last Ayoreo shamans,

no psychotropic effects of any kind could be

observed. However, rhamnofolane and diterpenes

have been found in the roots (Jakupovic et al.

1988; Schmeda-Hirschmann et al. 1992), which

require further investigation (the active principle

in Salvia divinorum is also a diterpene). In South

America, other Jatropha species are regarded as

aphrodisiacs (Schultes 1980, 104*). In northern

Peru, Jatropha macrantha Arg. is known locally as

huanarpo macho and is. one of the most famous

aphrodisiacs for men. Further study is needed to

ascertain whether this species has psychoactive

effects.
Literature

Jakupovic, J., M. Grenz, and G. SchmedaHirschmann.

1988. Rhamnofolane derivatives

from Jatropha grossidentata. Phytochemistry

27:2997-98.

Schmeda-Hirschmann, G., F. Tsichritzis, and J.

Jakupovic. 1992. Further diterpenes and a lignan

from Jatropha grossidentata. Phytochemistry

31:1731-35.

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