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What is 'Yopu' or 'Yopo'?
Q: This summer I had my first overocean flight from Italy, where I live, to Venezuela. As u may easily know, Venezuela contains part of the amazonian forest (Venezuelan Amazonia) and there I went to compare what I always have seen in tv documentary with reality. Deep forest, enormous vegetation, weird insects, wild animals... out of the tourist tracks. Just unforgettable. But another curiosity had to be explored.

I contacted also an american biologist there who gladly accepted to bring me visit a shaman of the local aborigen population... We went to meet the highest grade of shaman in that region, The biologist called him Capitan Bolivares, of the Piaroa tribe. With my great suprise, once in his place, i was invited by him in trying what the biologist called "YOPU". As far as he explained, this is a substance obtained by some kind of ( ugh... sorry for my rusty english...what is the name for that plant that comes down from trees... hm... the one that Tarzan uses to "move" ). Can't remember if he was speaking about the plant itself or seeds of it. It looked like small pieces of hard greenish hash he was holding in a small glass bottle... he put it in a small wooden dish and started crumbling it... then he snuffed a good amount of the powder with a tool made out from the "leg" of a bird.. ( In italy called "Airone"). Then he handed the dish and the tool to me and asked me if I wanted to try just like any friend can hand to you a mirror with a cocaine stripe on it...

I was a bit scared because knowing so little about this substance but the biologist assured me that only "big amount" are really hard trips because of some sort of "treshold" effect ( mild untill you go on and then suddenly strong ). He also said something about the effect being similar to mushrooms or DMT.... so (being well acknoledged with mushes) I tried it. Snuffing it was quite painfull ( Reminded me of snuffing accidentally some pepper) and after some minute ( and more snuffings ) I felt the first effects...just a small buzz of pressure, temperature slightly rising and strong accentuation of colors contrast around me... all cold colors become livid and dark... all warm colors become strong ( The biologist's car! WOW! It was SO RED!!!). With even more surprise the shaman asked me if I wanted to take some with me at home... (I wasn't able to believe my ears!) and so (after he handed me a good amount of it) me, the biologist and my other friends, went away. I easily managed to travel back home with the Yopu well hidden and now it stay into a glass container on my shelves (beside some good hemp seeds and a half used popper glass) :-)

Now the question is:

What the hell have I snuffed?

What the hell is now in that glass container?

Do you know something about this Yopu?

How it works?

What is the main substance?

Note: In case this can help u in the research...The biologist said that it has no link with EPENA... that is another drug used in the amazonian zone. Famous for some picture taken by some anthropologist of people "blowing" the drug into the subject's nose with a long pipe. This is used ( At least, so I know) by ( at least ) another tribe called Yanomama or Yanoama...

Thank you!!


A: "Yopu", "Yopo", or "Yupa" are all traditional names for the same snuff made of the beans of the vine Anadenanthera peregrina. It is found primarily in the Orinoco River Basin of Venezuela. The primary active ingredients of the snuff are N,N-DMT and 5-MeO-DMT.

Both DMT and 5-MeO-DMT are used in snuffs because they are not orally active without an MAO inhibitor. You can find images of the vine in our DMT Image Vault.

"Epena" is a very similar snuff made from the Virola theiodora species. It is not a related plant, but its active ingredients are also DMT and 5-MeO-DMT. The areas where Epena and Yopo are used overlap, with Epena being used in many areas across Northern South America and Yopo being used in a few small areas in the same region. Both substances are used in at least some places by having the snuff blown up the nose of the recipient. From your story it looks like that's not the only method. A chart of the common names, and plant and chemical constituents of a variety of South American Ayahuasca Brews and DMT snuffs can be found at:

Two good printed sources of information about Yopo are "Plants of the Gods", by Schultes and Hofmann and "Pharmacotheon" by Jonathan Ott.

Asked By : Parsec
Answered By : fire
Published Date : 10 / 28 / 1999
Last Edited Date : 9 / 27 / 2006
Question ID : 65

Categories: [ DMT ]

Ask Erowid v1.7 - Jul, 2005

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