Citation: mindbody. "Formosa Surprise: An Experience with Acacia confusa (root bark) (exp85253)". Erowid.org. Apr 5, 2012. erowid.org/exp/85253
A while ago, I stumbled upon online descriptions of using a Taiwanese acacia species, Acacia confusa (also known as Formosa acacia), as a source of DMT (in particular, in ayahuasca recipes). In medical literature, the root bark has been reported to contain large amounts of DMT and NMT. On a recent trip to Taiwan, I obtained a large sample of the root bark (I could purchase the raw root at the huge herbal medicine market next to Longshan temple in Taipei; the tree is locally known as hsiang-si-shu, the `thinking-of-each-other tree').
My original intention was to try the bark in combination with Syrian rue in various doses and post a description of my research. However, a big surprise came up once I started, and I feel compelled to write a report after this first experience.
Because the plant has been researched relatively little, I wanted to test my material without MAOI first to watch for any non-DMT-related adverse effects. I did not have any expectations for psychoactivity. Well, to my surprise, the material turned out to be active without any MAOI, and 'active' is actually a rather mild term for it!
For this first trial, a handful of my dried root bark chips (ground to around 5 tablespoons of fibrous powder) was brewed ayahuasca-style in 5 relatively small (around 1/2 liter) washes of water, without any additives.
First, about 1/3 of my brew was consumed on an empty stomach in the morning. There was some nausea, so I lied down. In about an hour, I noticed to my surprise that colors brightened, everything started to look cuter, mild euphoria emerged and the nausea was gone: a typical low-dose tryptamine signature. At the same time, a lively mental image of two dragon heads charging forth out of the white wall in front of me grew vividly and spontaneously in my imagination. So, because it felt pretty comfortable, I decided to take the risk and drink the rest of the brew.
About 20 minutes later, it hit me like a wall, and the subsequent 40 minutes were pretty horrifying, lasting, it seemed, for a few life-times. Worrisome physical effects included limb tremor and motor coordination impairment. The cognitive/psychological aspect can hardly be put into words, but here are a few remarks on what's been experienced:
- ego displacement: a sense of being controlled, on the one hand, and a sense that the visual distortions follow my emotions and intentions, on the other hand;
- profound modifications in colors and shapes;
- profound synaesthesia (bowel movements translated into sounds of childish giggling, to give you an idea);
- visions of colorful networks extending out of my body (much in the spirit of Alex Grey's paintings);
- hearing myriads of inarticulate playful voices; glossolalia (in auditory hallucinations, but also gaining control of my speech organs);
- breathing and swirling of the surfaces (bedding, etc), at times inviting for a touch or a kiss (I guess they were trying to talk to me, but we didn't quite find a common language);
- thoughts that I have killed myself by taking too much (or by bizarre acacia side effects);
- lightning-speed kaleidoscopic reviews of the behaviors and strategems that I and the people around me have engaged in over the course of my life.
40 minutes later, a rectal purge followed, after which I returned to the baseline almost immediately. Pupil dilation still persisted at this point, but the perceptual distortions were completely gone. I have not observed any major disturbances in the body function after the 'hard tripping' was over. Perhaps lightly exhausted for the next day, but that could be for many reasons.
What to take out of it? I have never succeeded obtaining full-scale psychedelia from more traditional ayahuasca preparations (made from ingredients purchased in Europe). For that reason, I cannot judge from direct experience how the effects compare to the more traditional DMT-based brews. I am well familiar with psilocybin though (and a number of other natural psychedelics). There was a clear resemblance between this trip and my psilocybin voyages, though it was considerably more harsh and relentless, and the peak was completely impossible to control: even body control became quite limited... overall, something like being taken apart, with all the parts staying alive and desperately trying to find each other. This, plus the short duration of the peak, seems to be strongly suggestive that the effects were induced by DMT (or a similar alkaloid).
I will not speculate on the chemical nature of the oral activity produced by the root bark. The story seems similar to what's written about Mimosa hostilis: the root bark is orally active by itself, but the chemical mechanism remains unknown. Acacias are related to mimosas, so perhaps one shouldn't be too surprised. (It is also paradoxical that the experience did start, but only lasted for a short while: could it mean that MAO was repressed in the gut, but not elsewhere in the body?) I intend to proceed with my experimentation, but dosing more conservatively and making appropriate safety breaks between my trials. A thorough chemical analysis of the bark could be of great help at this point.
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