|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 psychoactiveeffects.
Jakupovic, J., M. Grenz, and G. SchmedaHirschmann.
1988. Rhamnofolane derivatives
from Jatropha grossidentata. Phytochemistry
Schmeda-Hirschmann, G., F. Tsichritzis, and J.
Jakupovic. 1992. Further diterpenes and a lignan
from Jatropha grossidentata. Phytochemistry31:1731-35.